Final yr, the Nationwide Caravan Council noticed registrations enhance by 71% in comparison with 2019, a quantity set to climb even increased this yr because the nation as soon as once more turns to holidaying on wheels. However we do not all must splash out on a flashy Hymer or blingy Winnebago. For me, it is my Mazda Bongo Friendee, an eight-seater Japanese minivan, fondly known as Bingo Bango, who has been the saving grace of many a household tenting journey.
After transferring to Brighton in 2011, it was solely a matter of time till I too joined the camper cult. My very own magical thriller machine is a 2004 fourth technology Bongo Friendee, imported second-hand from Japan (these are often called gray imports as Mazda by no means formally exported them to the UK) which I purchased recent off the boat full with chopsticks and Japanese cash tucked between the seats.
There are three different Bongos in my avenue alone. My neighbour, Lee Taylor, is on her third and vows by no means to drive the rest. “I simply love them,” she says. “I like the massive steering wheel, the excessive seats on the entrance, and the truth that I can preserve three kids aside (and subsequently comfortable) on lengthy journeys. And it seems like I am in a gang just like the VW camper crew, simply cooler and with the added benefit that it’ll begin first time!” It appears I wasn’t simply shopping for only a minivan, I used to be shopping for a way of life.
It was within the early 2000’s that enterprising motor sellers determined to import the Mazda Bongo as a less expensive different to the VW Camper. The UK’s Bongo growth was partly due to Japan’s strict inspection coverage for highway autos. New automobiles must have an costly inspection each two or three years, whereas older autos must cross one yearly. Consequently, most automotive house owners in Japan write off their automobiles after 10 years and purchase new.