Recently I spent a day at Camper Jam 2017 and I’ve never seen so many VW Transporters and conversions in my life. There were plenty of T5 and T6s, as well as T2s, T25s and T4s as well.
The contrast in vans was astonishing. There were some that looked like they were ready for the scrap heap, lovingly held together with gaffer tape and pieces of baling twine. And there were some that looked immaculate.
I watched a couple pull up next to a water point and fill up their water tank before proceeding to fill their buckets with water, bring out a couple of sponges and a step ladder and wash their van from top to bottom. I passed 2 hours later and they were still at it, using baby wipes to clean the door hinges! Not once did they talk to each other, not apparently because they’d fallen out, but rather they were so intently working away. I was told that there is something called’ show and shine’ and I think they were preparing for that…albeit on Friday for the judging two days later!
The vast range of vans was mirrored by a vast range of owners. Some were bohemian types who would have looked at home at Woodstock back in the 60s. Some were traditional families, dragging bored looking children around and some were rivet counters (you know the sort… they look under your bonnet and point out that the thread on your jubilee clips is incorrect). The number of dog owners was so great, I briefly wondered if there was a dog show running in parallel somewhere.
It was fascinating just watching people and soaking up the atmosphere. The one thing everyone had in common was a love for VW campervans. For some, it was clearly an obsession and the number of people who kept referring to ‘him’ or ‘her’ when apparently talking about their van made me smile. Most of the vehicles I’ve ever owned have been nameless, but one or two got named. ‘Ermintrude’ for example was an old cow of a thing and ‘Maurice’ was named after my late grandfather who left me £500 in his will which I used to buy it. 29 years on and Maurice is parked down my drive, my most treasured possession.
At Camper jam there were a number of conversion companies showing their work; some of the conversions were bizarre in my eyes. A bright orange T6 with a roof tent bolted to it, rather than a poptop for example. It had chunky off road tyres on it and looked very cool and rugged, but I’m not convinced that it was a good idea. You couldn’t stand up in it and you’d have to get out of the vehicle to go to bed in the tent.
Then there was a van that was lowered so much that I’m unsure how they even got it on to the site without ripping the front spoiler off. It was clipping the grass that had just been cut. It just looked like it had broken suspension to me, but there again spotty teenagers have pointed out that I’m notoriously uncool.
Certainly these vans made you take an interest, but practicality and longevity were not priorities to their owners.
At 8 Ball Camper Conversions we’ll try to give you the best of all worlds; a conversion that is practical and well thought through, at the same time as being stylish and elegant (even a touch edgy if you’d like), but one that actually works as a camper should. A home away from home, useable every day as your main vehicle, but one that opens up the possibility to get off the beaten track.
We’ve just been sent this photo by one of our customers using his van in the Outer Hebrides. It says it all…….