This is one of the coolest camper vans we’ve ever seen. And it is an actual, genuine Porsche camper van.
What we’re looking at here is a Tempo Matador Mifaka Sport. Tempo was a German builder of light-duty vans and pickups that was founded in 1924 and lasted until ’77. The Matador was launched in ’49 and proved to be Tempo’s best-selling vehicle by some margin. Mifaka was a local coachbuilder that produced a number of different bodies for Tempo chassis, including a camper van. The Sport was the top-of-the-range version of that camper.
This is one of just three Mifaka Sports to be fitted at the factory with a Porsche 356 flat-four engine. It was legit enough for Zuffenhausen that Tempo was allowed to put Porsche badges on it and it’s registered as a Porsche.
The Matador chassis was front-wheel-drive so the Porsche engine was a pretty straightforward fit, being intended for a rear-mounted, rear-wheel-drive application.
Sadly, this particular Mifaka has lost its Porsche engine somewhere along the line. Now it’s fitted with an unspecified boxer ‘four’ – likely a Subaru unit.
The rest of the Mifaka is as it left the factory in 1955 and it’s in gloriously original condition. Inside, there’s a kitchenette with cooker and fridge, a toilet/washroom, a rear dining/seating area that presumably converts into a double bed and not much else, it seems. The furniture, panelling and dashboard appear to made from wonderfully simple varnished plywood.
Outside, the camper is equally uncomplicated – even elegant. Inside and out, it’s an amazing piece of mid-20th Century design.
The original engine may have gone missing, but this is still a seriously desirable thing whether you’re into Porsches, camper vans, Mid-Century design or stuff that’s just plain bizarre.
It really is anyone’s guess how much the camper will go for when it crosses the block at Mecum’s Monterey sale in August. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if it realised six figures.
But whatever the price paid, we really hope the owner gets out there and uses it.
By Graham King