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click above for more pics of the Ursa Minor ECamper

The family vacation just hasn't been the same since the ubiquity of the Westfalia Camper and the VW Type2 as a family vehicle, both of which have been toppled by the rise of the minivan. There have been Westys since VW went mostly conventional with the Eurovan, but they're not much of a common sight on US Highways anymore.

Ursa Minor Vehicles understands that all those former kids who took trips to the Grand Canyon in a Westfalia have a soft spot for the poptop. Thus, the Ursa Minor ECamper kit for the Honda Element has been born. For those willing to part with an additional 4,000 bones, they will regain the ability to tilt up the roof again and contort themselves into an upper bunk area. The ECamper does require that the donor Element have a sunroof, which is the access hatch to the 85" x 50" sleeping area under the carbon fiber lid. Options such as color matched paint and roof racks are also available, and Ursa Minor will even sell you a fully outfitted Element if you don't want to tackle the kit. $4,300 is about what it'd cost in parts and labor to fix the head gaskets in your Wasserboxer, again, isn't it?

[Source: Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ever seen a Zooom? They are quite popular here in Europe.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I own an '02 VW eurovan with a poptop roof, and it is a great, great, great car for weekend camping. There really isn't anything like it on the market in the US these days -- you have to get an RV or a van conversion to get a camping vehicle, and all of those are bigger vehicles and MUCH more expensive.

      The Element is a fabulous utilitarian car already (and, as a honda of course has it all over VW for reliability), and $5000 is not that much to pay for what looks like a terrific conversion. Honestly: if I didn't already own the eurovan I would be seriously looking at one of these.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think I'll just save up for an Airstream... LOL!!

      • 7 Years Ago
      I loved those VW vans! I've been looking at them used for just such random camping purposes. I thought they were a great idea.

      This looks very cool indeed. But I'm not sure it's necessary considering the extras you can already get for the Element. like the tent.... plus the seats fold bed-like flat already right?
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a small and rather pathetic step in the right direction. I agree with the other posters - no way this $5k tent can replace the VW Westy for efficient camping comfort and utility for outdoor enthusiasts. The perfect Westy replacements are all over Europe but (still) nowhere to be seen on the American continent. Yo automakers wake up! There's a LOT of money that your missing out on by not going after the true outdoor enthusiasts market - a typically affluent group that is currently paying BIG BUCKS to drop Subaru engines in 1990 vintage VWs in a frustrating effort to have a vehicle that meets their outside needs.
      • 7 Years Ago

      This conversion just put the Element back on my radar screen.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is supposed to be the new answer to a Westfalia? An ugly little Honda cube with a padded tent laid onto the roof that you crawl up into -- through the sunroof?

      I don't think so. My friend's old camper Bus has loads more functional space and utility in its 40 year old bones than a trendy 'surf-urban' econobox with a tent stuck to the top and even trendier 'e' stuck on the front of 'camper' to make it oh so très chic for yuppies.

      They'll sell a few of these and sure, it's a cute idea to bump the 'beach factor' of the Element (and maybe make VW or someone else look seriously at mini campers again), but a Westy this is most certainly not.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have never liked the Element, this makes it make more sense. Why does this remind me of the Aztec? didn't Pontiac have one with the tent off the back of the vehicle? Thank goodness that is gone!
      • 7 Years Ago
      NOW I understand the Element. This completes it, it's what the slightly-oddball Element was lacking all along.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, they fold flat, but have you ever tried to sleep on one? Not exactly the most comfortable thing. I just found this post on Winding Road and am already looking into it. Should be perfect little support vehicle for my mtb racing exploits.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This way it could sleep all four passengers. I love it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      now honda just needs to put their 2.2 liter turbo diesel in the Element and I would buy one.