Van life living might seem like a “new” thing. But there were self-professed “dirtbags” and road-tripping hippies long before Instagram was ever a thing. Way back in the 1950s — we’re talking before Buzz and Neil even set foot on the moon — Westfalia was turning Volkswagen buses into pop-top RVs so our parents’ parents could road trip in (relative) style. Now, after a two-decade absence, the company is returning stateside with an all-new custom ride that’s swankier, roomier, and more luxurious than any Westfalia van before it.
While Westfalia made a name for itself by customizing VW buses in the 1950s, its latest project takes a surprisingly different tack. The Wave is based on the tried-and-true Ram Promaster 3500S platform with a 3.6L V6, pushing 276 horsepower through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Westfalia makes good use of the van’s 20.7-foot bumper-to-bumper length, allowing for tons of space for sleeping, cooking, storage, and even showering.
True to its roots, Westfalia made sure the entry-level Wave sleeps four adults comfortably between the rear queen-sized bed and convertible dinette, while the upgraded Pop Top model adds room for two more in the expandable rooftop tent area. That is a lot of sleep space for a 20-foot camper van (although it does only feature four belted seats, so you’ll need a separate “chase” vehicle to get all six people to camp). Like many of the best van life-worthy camper vans, the Wave also packs a surprising amount of amenities into a compact space. Standard features include a well-appointed kitchenette with a refrigerator, microwave, combination sink/stove, and a hidden slide-out countertop extension. Plus, there’s a wet bath with a hot-water shower, a cassette toilet, and a complete climate control system with heat and air conditioning. Westfalia also promises plenty of “intentional storage” for essentials like cookware, kitchen utensils, camping gear, and more.
On the tech front, most of the coach’s systems can be monitored and controlled via a Firefly touch panel or the companion Bluetooth app. Both Wave models also come standard with a 600-amp lithium battery bank bolstered with 200-300 watts of rooftop solar panels and an underhood generator. It’s all managed via a 3,000-watt sine wave inverter, meaning you can run laptops and other sensitive electronic equipment without issue. When the weather cooperates, it’s a setup that can keep you comfortably off-grid for a week or more.
The Westfalia Wave just dropped this month at the Florida RV SuperShow, and it’ll only be available through two Florida dealers. Of course, any well-kitted-out luxury RV/camper van — especially one with the Westfalia nameplate — doesn’t come cheap. Base price for the entry-level Westfalia Wave is $155,333, while the flagship Wave Pop Top model stickers for $165,680. Sure, it ain’t cheap. But that admission fee will get you the keys to a ready-to-roll van life-worthy rig made by one of history’s most iconic custom manufacturers.
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