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Classic VW T5 Transporter paint colours

As you’re driving out and about, you are sure to come across a Volkswagen vehicle in one form or another. Whether that be an iconic VW Type 2 Campervan, or a T4 Transporter, you don’t really need to keep your eyes peeled to spot one on the road. 

A brief history of the VW Transporter (T5) 

The first T5 emerged off the production line in 2003. For 12 years the T5 was in production, and the last vehicle of the range was built in 2015. Currently in 2023, the T5 has been succeeded by the T6. 

When the T5 was rolling out the factory, there were over 100 combinations available. Drivers could choose a short or long wheel base option, as well as low, medium or high rooflines. It was a popular vehicle because it could be configured for a variety of uses, such as:

  • Panel van - a delivery van that had side windows and rear seats removed
  • Pick-up - a flatbed truck suitable for a range of commercial and leisure uses
  • Kombi - a cargo and passenger vehicle combined into one by coming with side windows and removable rear seat

For the first time in the history of the Transporter series, VW released a revamped version of the T5 that flared its nostrils at the first whiff of petrol it got - the T5 Sportline. It came off the production line with 174hp, 6 speed manual gearbox and a Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) engine. It’s easy to see why this is a popular choice amongst motoring enthusiasts for purchasing second-hand and refurbishing for racing away-days at the Nürburgring.  

While the T5 Sportline gave petrolheads something to quench their thirst, VW remained true to type and released a camper based on the new T5 chassis - the VW California. 

A more modern VW camper

Whilst the iconic T1 and T2 are likely what you envision when a VW camper van is mentioned - times change, and so therefore does the camper. Come 2005, VW decided to stick with serious and functional style, married to the unmistakable camper look. However, this time its design was more suited to its day. 

Now based on the T5 and branded as the ‘Westfalia California’, VW’s remodelled camper didn’t lose its functionality to explore the unknown, outstretched swathes of tarmac that lay before it. Available with 7 seats as well as capacity to sleep up to 4 people and coming with a tow bar, any buyer could still utilise what the original camper was made for - epic, memorable road trips. 

Volatile camper style

The T5 camper will perhaps become known as the ‘ever-changing’ camper. In 2013, the camper changed style once again as it was now based on the T5.1 (remodelled T5). Along with the style, the name changed too. VW now branded it the ‘Volkswagen California’. 

What’s more, 2013 brought additional changes to the newly revealed Volkswagen California. The ‘California Tramper’ and more affordable ‘California Beach’, both variations of the standard California, were released during this year too.

The variations didn’t stop there - an SE model (based on the California Beach) came soon after. Powered by a 2.0-litre TDI engine which produced 178bhp and also equipped with 4-wheel drive, amongst other features, the SE certainly earned its top-of-the-line status.

VW camper restoration projects

Classic VW campervans have always been popular as restoration projects and the T5 will undoubtedly give you many more years of fun. With the prospect of memorable road trips still capturing driver’s imaginations, VW T5s are a great choice to convert into your own camper style, and have plenty more miles left in them, even after 100,000 miles on the clock.

With the sheer variety that the T5 came in, it’s a worthwhile option for any enthusiast looking for a restoration project. Being the youngest of all the models that are no longer in production means there will be less chance of rust too. Though this isn’t to say that it won’t exist at all - you may still have to get out the rust converter, filler and car touch up paint. Check cills, wheel arches and the bottom edges of doors especially for signs of rust.

  • A well looked-after T5.1 Kombi, with spoiler, Highline spec and was brand new in 2010, only minor damage to body work and generally in good condition for the age of the vehicle, Toffee Brown and fitted with a 2kW Eberspacher blown air heater - £9,200
  • A Pure Grey T5 that’s nearly 20 years old, 125,000 miles on the clock, good condition for its age, fitted with new springs and suspension and complete with ECU remap and custom LED lighting -  £10,000
  • A tidy 2005 VW T5.1 which may deceive you as it has had a T6 Sportline facelift. With a 1.9L TDI engine under its bonnet, 163,000 miles, Transporter HQ sidebar, detachable tow bar and fully resprayed in Tornado Red - £16,500

Restoring a VW campervan?

If you do a Google search, you’ll see there are plenty of used Transporter T5s waiting for a touch of individuality. 

Unlike their T2 siblings, the T5 is liable for road tax - they were launched in 2002 and current UK vehicle tax rules for exemption only apply to classic vehicles if it was built before 1 January 1982. If it’s not roadworthy, you’ll need to SORN it and store it off the highway - preferably in a garage where you can work on it.

Bear in mind, some of these T5s will have a lot going on - but if you do the work, you’ll know it’s being done right. Here’s what we noticed while browsing the second hand T5 boards:

  • Some are left hand drive imports
  • Many have a mileage just over 100,000 miles
  • Some hobbyists fit new gadgets to their restored VW campers though - like heated windscreens, parking sensors and air conditioning.
  • Many have minor rust issues that will need filling and repainting with touch-up paint
  • Some bodywork might need a complete respray
  • Occasionally, a camper is clearly an original that is one or two decades old, but the restoration has included a partial rebuild and it has been reregistered with the DVLA.

The 10 best-selling VW paint colours

VW is part of the Volkswagen Automotive Group (VAG) and shares the same colours and paint codes with Audi, Seat, Skoda and Porsche classic cars too. 

We can mix an exact match to almost any car's original colour, including VW Transporters. Our best selling VW paint colours are below:

  1. Pastel Weiss
  2. Elfenbein
  3. Indian Blue
  4. Savanna beige
  5. China Rot
  6. Sierra Gelb
  7. Elm Green
  8. Leucht Orange
  9. Niagara Blue
  10. Lotus White

Find your classic VW paint code

Unlike modern cars, where we’re able to look up your car colour with your reg, ordering original classic car paint requires a code. Having said that, T5s are relatively modern and you may still be able to find their paint code with your reg. Failing that, you can get the paint code from a car club or other specialist website, a dealership, or the manufacturer. 

Bear in mind, with classic paint colours there can be multiple codes for the same colour. For example, they can have a BLMV or BLVC code which can also have an ICI, Glasurit or PPG equivalent code – all which would create the same colour.

Confused? Don’t be! Just let us have your paint code and we’ll make sure you get the right colour of vintage car paint for your Classic VW camper.

How to order your touch-up paint

Simply enter your paint code, make, year and key (basic) colour into our search tool and follow the instructions. 

As classic car paint suppliers, we’ve also made it easy to order directly from our Classic VW product page.

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