A rainbow of color in the form of Volkswagen vans lined the parking lot of The Beetle Shop on a recent weekday in Belfast.
Shaped like toaster ovens and retrofitted for multiday excursions, many of the VWs are camper-style vans. Crammed inside are a sink, stove, removable table, multiple beds and a fridge. The interiors were immaculate in some of the vans, despite being almost 30 years old.
“Any other car would be worn out, probably thrown away at this point.” said Ian Pottle, the shop’s current proprietor.
The small two-bay automotive repair shop was started in 1977 by Ian’s father, Allen Pottle, to service the high volume of VWs needing repairs at the time. Pottle said more of his business is now coming from camper van repair.
“These have stuck around because I think they represent an idea more than anything else, the idea of travel and adventure,” said Pottle.