Tuesday 20 March 2018

Kind widower gives away his precious van so couple can go on 'adventures' like he did with his late wife

Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook
Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

A kind-hearted widower had just one condition when he agreed to sell his beloved Volkswagen van to a newlywed couple – to have as many great adventures in it as he did with his late wife.

Pensioner Peter Von Maltzahn made the decision to sell the Kombi van to couple Elise (26) and Domenic (29) Cooke for half the asking price, in the hope that they would make as many memories as he did before his wife's recent death.

Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook
Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook

According to the Daily Mail, the Dutch-South African car enthusiast travelled across Europe in the vehicle after marrying his wife in Germany in 1972, and the couple brought the van along when they finally emigrated to South Australia.

Spotting the ad for the van online, Elise and Domenic were devastated to discover it was for sale with an asking price of $39k (€27k) but decided to go see it even though it was out of their budget.

"Occasionally I would scroll through sale ads online much in the same way one dreams about winning the lottery," Elise told the publication.

"Most of the vintage VW vans for sale in South Australia read along the lines of 'great family van, starts sometimes' or 'moves when in neutral'.

"While these vans sounded like a great time as soon as I saw the ad for 'Scout' I had to calm my racing heart.

"A Westfalia campervan in beautiful condition, no rust, a V6 Holden engine that has her running like a dream and strong enough to tow a caravan, a completely original interior, and one owner since the year she was made in 1972."

Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook
Photo via Instagram.com/elisecook

Travel Instagrammer Elise was inspired when she met Peter, who was so well travelled it made her "envious". After visiting him, the couple left the pensioner’s home with heavy hearts, determining that the van was too far out of their budget.

"[Peter] told us it had been places and seen things that would make the most seasoned traveller envious.

"We left, grateful to have met Peter and his beautiful van, but unable to put an offer in," she said.

However, just over a week later, the couple received a call from Peter, who told them although he had received two offers to sell the van for the original asking price, he had decided to sell to Elise and Domenic because they reminded him of he and his wife when they were young.

"He told us that both the offers where from men who were collectors. His van would sit in a shed, collecting dust, or on display, or perhaps even have some work done to spruce her up.

"He asked us, in all seriousness, what we could afford. While I sat at the table silently, my heart racing, Dom said to Peter that he meant no offence, but the most we could spend was around half of what he was asking."

"He told us that the idea of the Kombi going to a young married couple, beginning their lives together, just like he and his wife when they bought it together back in '72, meant so much more to him.

"With tears in his eyes he told us he would accept our offer, but only on one condition.

"I told him we would do anything. He said, 'You have to promise me you'll have adventures and when you have your own children you have to take them on many, many adventures'."

After paying $19k (€13k), the couple have been travelling ever since, giving up their home in South Australia for life on the road in their beloved van.

You can follow their travels on Instagram @elisecook

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