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WALLA SPEAKS Speak to him – email@example.com THIS MONTH ON PLANET JIMBO
l Edition 38 The best VW show I’ve been to in ages. Simple, fun and focussed upon what matters – cars and Vans. What else do you need?
How many shows do you attend a year? And how do you choose which ones?
Too many shows due to jumping on the band ’Wagen? Jimbo certainly thinks so
’m just back from a truly stellar weekend at VW Action and the Edition38 show ’n’ shine meet in Northamptonshire and I’ve had an epiphany. There are too many shows. Long gone are the days of, let’s say, 10 major gatherings per year of all things VW / Audi Group, these days it’s not unusual to find five or six events on a single weekend, and that’s just around the UK. I believe this over saturation of events has led to an acceptance of hum drum cash cows that are lacking in thought and content and simply milking the scene with half-arsed enthusiasm. There’s also, dare I say it, a little bit of laziness on the part of owners when it comes to actually driving anywhere in our Vans. Ten, or maybe 15, years ago, everyone that was into VWs would congregate at events such as Bug Jam, GTi International, Stonor Park, VW Festival, Stanford Hall, VW Action and Bus Fest, while the more adventurous might include some of the bigger European shows such as Wörthersee, Spa or European Bug-In, but now there is so much choice, so much diversity and so many clashes that even the most hardcore can’t possibly attend them all, which means we don’t all really come together in the same way we did when there were fewer options. I understand why people like the smaller, more personal events but, if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, in my mind big is most definitely better when it comes to shows. If we could return to just having the big hitters, and less exposing everything we’re building via social media (remember the excitement of driving through the gates of one of the big’uns, not knowing what new cars you were going to see? I, for one, miss that dearly), I’m convinced the scene would be a healthier place. Purely from a journalistic point of view, the thrill of finding new feature cars makes all the early
morning starts worthwhile, and I’d rather save valuable editorial space for something exciting and inspirational, be it a car or a show. Sure, I get that everyone’s expectations are different, but knowing where to go and how to map out a passage through the annual events list is becoming increasingly difficult, not to mention costly. I’m not suggesting all the smaller events close down, far from it. There are a handful I’ve attended this year that have the potential to be truly great – particularly the Quex Park VW Show – but a lot of the others I have made the effort to support and to attend have caused me to feel a certain dilution of the VW scene I love so much. I know full well that what I’m about to write won’t be popular with the organisers of some such events, but please, I beg you, accept that mediocrity doesn’t cut it and just bow out gracefully. If you’re a punter facing the same dilemma as me, my advice is to spend your time and money wisely by supporting the big events where the big hitting, inspirational stuff competes alongside each another for the trophies, where the organisation and entertainment is first rate and where you will return home feeling inspired, not disappointed. Even if you can’t afford to, or don’t want to, replicate what you’re seeing on the show fields, go for a wander around the car park and you’ll find all of the vehicles that make up the attendance at some of the local events parked there, only as a ‘support act’ to the main event rather than the headline set. As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter, or anything else VWt related, so please direct all emails to james.wallace@kelseymedia. co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org t
In my mind, big is most definitely better when it comes to shows
James Wallace – Editor
l VW Action Spent the Saturday up at the Pod. Racing action was epic, especially seeing Shaun Lewis clock a 15.1 in his T5 l Charge! My Mk1 Golf / Honda VTEC project took a new turn when a Rotrex supercharger landed, offering a potential 400bhp and 9,500rpm redline. Bwwwwwaarpp! l Exeter Drove down to Devon to shoot a very, very fine T4 indeed. More next month… l Milton Keynes Went for a ride in Steve Gibbo’s mental Caddy Van (see p56). Statistically, the second quickest thing I’ve ever been in, but it felt like the quickest l HR heresy My good friend, Harv, bought a Holden Commodore HSV, so we’ve spent the month trying to kill a set of Nankang’s finest
l Bus Fest Three Counties Showground for the ultimate gathering of all things Van and Bus shaped VWt 5
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05 VWt Kelsey Media Cudham Tithe Barn Berry’s Hill, Cudham Kent TN16 3AG EDITORIAL Editor: James Wallace Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Art Editor: Barbara Stanley Sub Editor: Mike Pye Contributors: Jim Blackstock, Jared Coulson, Stephen Gosling, Josh Reynolds, Dom King, Michael Leighton, Danny MacAskill, Adam Walker ADVERTISEMENT SALES Hill View Media Ltd Advertisement sales manager: Ben Foster 01959 543 722 or 07494 270 133 firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Foster 01959 543 722 or 07494 270 136 email@example.com PRODUCTION A.T. Graphics firstname.lastname@example.org 01733 363485 Team Leader: Melanie Cooper 01733 362701 MANAGEMENT Managing Director: Phil Weeden Chief Executive: Steve Wright Chairman: Steve Annetts Finance Director: Joyce Parker-Sarioglu Retail Distribution Manager: Eleanor Brown Publishing Operations Manager: Charlotte Whittaker Audience Development Manager: Andy Cotton Brand Marketing Managers: Debra Hagger and Nikolas Lovely Events Manager: Kat Chappell SUBSCRIPTIONS 13 issues of VWt are published per annum UK annual subscription price: £51.35 Europe annual subscription price: £67.99 USA annual subscription price: £67.99 Rest of World annual subscription price: £74.99 CONTACT US UK subscription and back issue orderline: 01959 543747 Overseas subscription order line: 0044 (0) 1959 543 747 Toll-free USA subscription order line: 1-888-777-0275 UK customer service team: 01959 543 747 Customer service email address: email@example.com Customer service and subscription postal address: VWt Customer Service Team Kelsey Publishing Ltd Cudham Tithe Barn Berry’s Hill, Cudham Kent TN16 3AG United Kingdom WEBSITE Find current subscription offers at: shop.kelsey.co.uk/vwt Buy back issues at: shop.kelsey.co.uk/issue/list/publication/VWT
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5 Walla speaks Too many shows? Walla certainly thinks so 17 News and products Commercial scrappage and the best detailing products around 21 Inbox Can you open a beer bottle using a T5? 24 Readers’ rides The coolest Pure Grey T5.1 we’ve seen yet 49 Free posters A Caddy Van that will rip most supercars to pieces 92 Wall of fame We’ve gone for a wheel-y good theme this time 95 Next month Are you ready for Issue 61? 98 Guest Q&A Jared Coulson tells it how he sees it
Kelsey Publishing Ltd uses a multi-layered privacy notice, giving you brief details about how we would like to use your personal information. For full details, visit www.kelsey.co.uk, or call 01959 543524. If you have any questions, please ask as submitting your details indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we and our partners may contact you about products and services that will be of relevance to you via direct mail, phone, email or SMS. You can opt out at ANY time via email: email@example.com or 01959 543524. VWt is available for licensing worldwide. For more information, contact bruce@ bruceawfordlicensing.com
98 Back issues If there’s a gap in your VWt collection visit:
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006-07_VWt_60_November 17_Contents.indd 6
IN THIS ISSUE 10 Shine a light Light up your life with a drinking den T6 36 Caddy R The 500bhp Caddy that’s timewarp fast. 0-60 in 3.2 seconds anyone? 56 Zest for life A T4 so bright, Mr. Del Monte said, “No” 66 Danny MacAskill We spend the day with the trails riding legend and his T6 EVENTS 30 Camping at the Castle A weekend at the beautiful Eastnor Castle 44 Mille Miglia road trip pt.2 3,200 miles on a road rally aboard a T6 4mo
COMPANY PROFILE 86 Leighton Vans The Transporter supermarket TECHNICAL 74 Project Shed We might have to stop calling it that soon 80 Trimming a pillars We get our Alcantara on, and love it
66 Next month
The December issue of VWt goes on sale Friday October 27 Don’t miss it, subscribe here: http://shop.kelsey.co.uk/ suboffer/vwtweb VWt 7
006-07_VWt_60_November 17_Contents.indd 7
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buttons A T6 with a Chesterfield sofa vibe – just add a smoking jacket, some brandy and a cigar for the ultimate in manliness Words James Wallace Photos Adam Walker
t’s easy to get carried away with trying to be unique. We all want to achieve something different and stand out from the crowd, right? But in the current Transporter age, where new converters seem to pop up almost weekly, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly differentiate yourself from the masses. For Mark Cherrington, head honcho at Starlight Campers in Dudley, pulling in the punters at shows hinges upon building a demo Van that is not only of the highest quality, but achieves something out of the ordinary. Regular readers will surely recall his
powder blue, vinyl-wrapped T5 we featured at the start of 2016 (VWt issue 43). Not only was that Van memorable, it had a wonderfully functional interior to boot. Yet, as the march of time proceeded, Mark decided to build a new demo Van, one that he felt would appeal to new wave Van owners, who may potentially have bigger chequebooks at their disposal. The outcome was inevitable. Yep, that’s right, a T6 – what else? With close ties to his local VW dealership, the ideal candidate was only round the corner. A quick visit to see what was in stock saw a 2016, Indium Grey, SWB, T28 102 Trendline
calling his name. With just 8,500 miles on the clock it was as good as new in every way. “I had to have it,” Mark says. “We wanted a bare Panel Van as the plan was for every part of the conversion to take place in house anyway, just to showcase the business. After all, it’s what we do.”
Nibble rings The first change happened in the rolling stock department. Wolfrace Eurosport Aero wheels in 8.5 x 20in all round with 255/35 tyres were first on the agenda. Next, Mark and the lads
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Welcome aboard! Gaz Ultra Low coilies see it stanced well enough not to disgrace itself on any show field. Wolfrace Aero 20in wheels really suit the sharp, boxy lines of the T6 chassis got busy with the metal nibbler to liberate both side window panels in order to bond in some new tinted glass. Before they were done with the cutting, they bust out the jigsaw and made a whopping great big void in the roof in preparation for a Skyline elevating roof. “We didn’t just want the conventional version though, we went for the scenic, unzippable, burgundy canvas so we could showcase how
tidy the install is with more light flooding in on sunny days,” Mark continues. While they were at it, the hydraulic roof bed base was also double skinned with ply and trimmed in carpet to allow space for the wiring for a bunch of 12V LED downlights and a 17.3in slimline flip-down monitor. All the wiring runs back to a 120Ah leisure battery contained in the cupboard space out back.
the plan was for every part of the conversion to take place in house
Most significantly, though, Mark wanted to use the brand new, and might we say extremely neat, CBE PC210 electronic control panel to look after starter and leisure battery levels, water levels, water pump, lights, inside and outside temps and more besides. Opting for a CBE system means there’s a separate intelligent battery charger, 240V RCD consumer unit and a 12V distribution block as part of the well-established kit. “We also wired in a separate 12V Durite split charge relay kit and separate 12V live for the fridge so it has a steady and reliable supply that, all being well, never dips below 11.5V, thereby causing it to VWt 11
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If sir and madam would like to retire to the drawing room, there will be cake and fine wines presented shortly. We’d imagine this is what lies behind the doors of Soho’s infamous Groucho Club. Minus the wasted celebrities of course
THE STYLE STEAL Model 2016 T28 SWB 102 Trendline Engine Stock 102bhp 2.0TDi; five-speed gearbox Chassis Gaz Ultra Low heightadjustable coilovers; Wolfrace Eurosport Aero 8.5 x 20in wheels; 255/35-20 tyres Styling Maxton Design V1 front splitter; Maxton Design rear tailgate spoiler; TVW tinted side windows Camping interior Insulated, sound deadened and carpet lined; Skyline Roofs elevating pop-top; Starlight Campers Driftwood furniture run; Amazon Echo Dot; Smartbeds Evolution 2 rock ’n’ roll bed; custom tan leather upholstery throughout; Dometic MO9722R sink and hob; CBE PC210 control panel; 120Ah leisure battery; Durite split charge relay; Waeco CRX50 fridge; built-in chopping board; purple laminate worktop; Van-X curtains; 907 gas locker in cupboard; CBE 240V RCD consumer unit and intelligent battery charger
While the Eberspächer D2 night heater is stowed beneath the Van, the control unit lives just next to the fridge so you can operate it while the bed is out
Cabin Tan leather front captain’s seat and twin passenger seat; VW RCD510 head unit
There’s some nifty attention to detail here as when you remove the chopping board the Amazon Echo Dot presents itself, ready for Google searching action One of our favourite touches is the use of the latest CBE PC210 control panel to monitor 12V, 240V, power levels, water levels, lights, batteries and the tap
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The colour-keyed, scenic Skyline canvas looks ultra swish. You can even watch TV in bed, thanks to that slimline
Flip-down monitor is sandwiched between two sheets of ply in the bed base, both of which are trimmed so the wiring for the LEDs and TV remains invisible LED strip lights, laminated worktop and that really useful built-in chopping board dominate the furniture run
switch off,” Mark reveals. The control unit itself is also very compact and, thanks to remote control LED lighting, the Vohringer Driftwood ply units are kept exceptionally clutter free, bar a CBE 240V double socket and a little digital panel to control the temperature of the Eberspächer D2 night heater that’s mounted underneath the Van and feeds in beneath the driver’s seat. It really is a well considered and specified conversion inside. “We spend a long time scribing our units into each and every single Van we do, so they fit nicely compared to a lot of off-the-shelf CNC’d furniture runs you might see.” The addition of a stepped out unit behind the driver allows for a built-in chopping board and storage space for an Amazon Echo unit beneath.
Button up Such attention to detail also applies to the two-tone carpet lining, sound deadening and insulation package Starlight installed behind those new ply panels. So when it comes time to get away with his family – Anna,
Ethan and Liam – there’s no need for Mark to worry about a poor night’s kip at his favourite Cornish retreat. The use of an M1-tested Smartbeds Evolution 2 assists in that and, because it had to stand out from the crowd, he had it stitched up in a tan leather with
We spend a long time scribing our units… so they fit nicely those all important deep button details to replicate his favourite sort of sofa. “I’d always fancied doing a bit of a gentleman’s drinking den Van and this one seemed like the perfect opportunity. The burgundy roof canvas also adds to the ambience inside.” We can just imagine kicking back with a snifter of our favourite after-dinner digestif in here. Make ours a port and WKD please,
Jeeves! While Jeeves is sorting out your drinks, he can also use the chopping board to cut up some Wensleydale and Stilton – how cool is that? The aforementioned chopping board is inset into a deep purple laminate worktop that also houses the ever-trusty slimline Dometic MO9722R sink and twin-burner hob, while overhead lockers provide a little extra stowage for your beans and Pot Noodles. So what we have here is the perfect blend of style and function. Old school style, using new age tech, if you will, which, considering Mark also has a ’57 Split Screen restoration on the go, should come as no surprise. Because he’s a bit of a petrolhead at heart, and subscribes to the golden rule that everything looks better lower, Mark has resorted to a set of Gaz Ultra Low coilovers [before they went out of production and were replaced by the Gold version – Ed]. This allows him to tailor the ride height with up to 120mm of slamming possible. He’s the first to admit that the back doesn’t need to come down that much because the additional weight of the conversion takes up quite a lot VWt 13
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Iâ€™d always fancied doing a bit of a gentlemanâ€™s drinking den Van
010-15_VWt_60_November 17_Starlight T6.indd 14
The feel of an old boys’ drinking den, but with the twist of modern tech outside
Continuing his ‘favourite sofa’ theme, Mark opted for tan leather throughout with button inserts Uprated VW sounds come courtesy of RCD510 Bluetooth-enabled head unit
of the slack, but the front end sure does sit nicely above those 20in wheels. “We’ve since tried the Bluebird Customs coilovers on a customer’s Van and, to be honest, there’s not much in it in terms of getting them closer to the floor, but the Gaz might just have the edge in terms of ride quality. It’s difficult to call really.” All we know is for a very highly specified Campervan, it wouldn’t disgrace itself on a show field. A Maxton Design front splitter and Sportline-style rear spoiler help ramp up the wow factor as Mark and his family pull into any of the National Trust attractions they frequent, or get away to the coast in their favourite getaway Van. “My family absolutely love it. We’ve done so many miles in it this year going to shows and jetting up and down to the West Country and back that I thought they’d have got bored of it by now,” he says with a grin. As if. t
Mark Cherrington and his wife, Anna, and their lads, Ethan and Liam, have been immersed in the Campervan lifestyle ever since Mark started Starlight Campers around seven years ago now. From his Dudley HQ he now turns out some truly epic builds and because this is, at the end of the day, a rolling business card, its future as the Cherrington family ’Wagen might not be safe. Mark knows it’s a competitive marketplace and that he needs to continually updates his demo vehicles to keep pace with shifting VW tech and the needs and desires of customers. All we can say is when this T6 does come up for sale, someone is going to get a very high-spec Van they can be proud of. VWt 15
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NEWS & PRODUCTS
Scrap that! Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched an attractive scrappage scheme encouraging the purchase of latest generation, loweremissions, new vehicles, in tandem with the removal of older, Euro 1-4 emissions standards vehicles from UK roads. Owners of diesel vehicles that comply with pre-Euro 5 emissions legislation [That’s all you diesel T4 owners – Ed] qualify for the scheme. That means you can trade in your old Van and benefit from cash incentives – ranging from £1,000 to £2,000 – against the majority of new VW Commercial Vans and passenger carriers (exceptions being Amarok, California and Transporter Sportline) ordered before December 31 2017. The only stipulation is that you must have had the trade-in vehicle registered in your name for at least six months. All new Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles petrol and diesel models meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, currently the most stringent yet. Until Euro 7 comes along and deems all these unfit for human consumption as well of course.
Errata Last month we used the wrong picture to illustrate the HiLo roof and, to top it off, gave you the incorrect web address as well. Clearly, a senior moment all round, and profuse apologies for that. So here it is again in all its low profile, stealth-like glory. It fits the T5 and T6 Transporter and then doesn’t look you’ve got a pop-top at all. Check out the range of options for your HiLo roof at www.hiloroofs.co.uk. Prices start from £4,750 fitted.
The VWt guide to detailing You may not be interested in cleaning your Van, or may be quite happy to just occasionally pay a random person in a car park a fiver to do it for you. If, on the other hand, you take a little more pride in your ride then here’s our recipe for success, followed by a round up of some of the latest and greatest car cleaning products around. So, two buckets ahoy, it’s time to set your inner buff daddy free!
Snow foam with hose / pressure washer to loosen any really crusty dirt. Tip: allow foam to dwell, drag the dirt down itself and then rinse off with a hose. Do not touch your Van at this point.
Dry. We prefer to use a special drying towel designed for the job. Kleen Freaks do a fantastic one.
Polish. Assuming your paintwork or lacquer isn’t tired or badly swirled, in which case it might need DA mopping with some cutting compound, get to work in the shade with your favourite polish. Buff on, allow to haze, buff off.
Fill two buckets with clean, warm water. Use one for washing, one to rinse your wash mitt in. At the end, rinse your mitt with a hose to get rid of any suds.
Seal, wax or both. Sealants typically last longer and are made from synthetic ingredients, waxes are natural products with high percentages of carnauba. They all promise unsurpassed shine, gloss and reflectivity. There’s no reason you can’t do both.
If you don’t fancy spending hours sealing and waxing every few months by hand there are now a number of ceramic and nano-tech coating options out there that claim to add a synthetic layer of lacquer to your paint. Just make sure your paintwork is spotlessly clean before coating or they will lock the dirt in underneath.
Have a wellearned cup of tea, or beer.
017-19_VWt_60_November 17_News and prods.indd 17
We’ve fallen in love with this brand over recent months. The Professional Polish (£16.95), White Diamond (£13.41) and Black Hole (£16.99) show glazes in particular are awesome for light and dark-coloured Vans with light swirls or scratches and the EX-P sealant (£14.90) and Natty’s Paste Waxes (£15.59) are also exceptional. Hell, even the QD+ quick detailer (£12.99), Iron Remover (which smells like pure sulphur evil) and wheel sealant are terrific. Basically, we can’t fault this lot.
Who? www.poorboys.co.uk and www.amazon.co.uk
How much? Glass Cleaner - £10, Ultimate Compound and Polish - £14 each (473ml), Ultimate Wax - £30 (473ml)
How much? From £12.99
A comprehensive range of both bodyshop specific and retail products to suit every possible need. You all know who Meguiar’s are, and you all know what they do. From what has to be our favourite glass cleaner, through compound, polish, wax, sealant, metal polish and microfibre cleaning mitts, they sell everything you need to get your motor gleaming. Who? www.meguiars.co.uk
Time to shine Auto Finesse Iron Out
Our go-to fallout remover. Spray onto your wheels to loosen extra stubborn dirt, brake dust and iron particles. As it turns purple and runs off, you can agitate it with a brush for added effect or simply rinse it off with a hose. Don’t let it dry onto your wheels or paint though, it’s aggressive stuff.
Treat your Van to a little pampering. With something for all budgets and degrees of dediction, you’ll soon be able to see your proud face in that paintwork
Autoglym Rapid Aqua Wax
Rapid Aqua Wax is effectively a quick wax for use just after washing your vehicle. Spray it onto your wet Van and use it as a ‘drying aid’ with a clean microfibre towel to both buff and dry. Use on paint, plastic, rubber and glass. Who? www.autoglym.com How much? £14.99
Carpro Eraser, Hydr02 and Reload are new arrivals in our cleaning arsenal. They’re a one-stop shop to perfect paint. Once you’ve washed your car and got it spotless, ideally after a clay bar treatment, use Eraser as a spray-on alcohol cleanser to strip paint of old polish, wax and sealants. Then seal the paintwork with the spray-on, water-activated Hydr02 silica sealant and hose off. Reload is then used as a rapid detailer to keep the Hydr02 coating topped up.
How much? £11.95
How much? From £16.99
If you’re going to tackle a spot of mopping and polishing, you might as well choose the right ‘bite’ of mop head for the job. The Hex Logic range features no fewer than seven different levels of cut depending how scratched and swirl marked your paint might be. From harsh cut (yellow) for serious compounding and swirl removal right through to zero cut (red) super soft foam for final finishing with waxes and sealants. There’s no need to own them all, but this way you can tailor your compound, polish, wax and sealant applicators to your needs.
Gtechniq EXO V3 Get on the DA mopping bandwagon for not a lot. You could spend a great deal more than this and probably get a longer warranty and longevity, but this is perfect for the first time ‘mopper’. Go steady and keep your panels well lubed at all times when mopping and polishing. Check out the Chemical Guys Hex Logic range of pads to go with this.
Sci-fi car cleaning tech. Said to act as another layer of lacquer for your paint, it’s vital that the surface you apply it to is so clean it squeaks, and is free from contaminants, polish and other waxes, then clay barred so it’s glassy smooth. This tiny 30ml bottle of hydrophobic coating is then applied with finger applicators panel by panel, allowed to cure and buffed off. It promises months of protection, enhanced gloss and crazy water repellency.
How much? From £6.95 each
How much? £88.25
How much? £44
Kestral DA mop
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Poorboy’s World Wheel Sealant
If you’ve just bought a new set of wheels, or had a set refurbed, you’ll want to seal them up with multiple coats of wax, especially with winter coming. This stuff is really easy to apply and buffs off without drama even after 30 minutes to an hour of curing time, and really does what it says on the tin. Give your wheels a fighting chance against the elements, brake dust and who knows what else with this pink wonder stuff.
Bouncer’s Done and Dusted Our drying towel of choice stems from this lot. Don’t let the water dry on your Van and leave murky water spots, remove it quickly and easily with one of these. Then you can get onto the fun stages of polishing, sealing and / or waxing.
We were pleasantly surprised by this quick detailer from Bouncer’s, which was recommended to us by a recent feature Van owner. It’s won awards and is safe to use on glass, plastics, paint and pretty much everywhere, even your interior. If you just need a quick all-round spruce up in between major details, look no further.
How much? £14
How much? £9.99
How much? £12.99 (500ml)
Kirkland microfibre cloths
Meguiar’s Quick Clay kit
Autoglym Ultra High Definition Shampoo
Who? www.poorboys.co.uk / www.amazon.co.uk
We recommend these every year because they’re ultra plush, massive (40 x 40cm) and you get loads for your money. Unless you’ve got a CostCo account, you’ll have to go through eBay or Amazon where a middleman will take his cut, but they’re still only 58p each.
As another step to perfect, glassy smooth, falloutfree paint, a clay kit is a must have. Clean and dry your car, roll up a bit of clay, wet the surface with the quick detailer and then rub across each individual panel. You’ll be amazed how much crud and dirt you remove that wasn’t even visible.
A relatively new product from Autoglym, and one we were keen to try out. This shampoo is the perfect wash solution if you want to give your paintwork a clean up without leaving anything behind. Ph neutral, smells amazing and produces incredibly thick foam with a good cling time. Who? www.autoglym.com
How much? £21 for a 36 pack
How much? £20
How much? £17.50
Bung one of these in the bottom of your bucket(s) and prevent your wash mitt from picking up any grit and dirt. Simples. They also sell the wash and rinse buckets to match.
Choose from microfibre noodles or lambswool for the ultimate posh wash solution. Here we have a lambswool offering from Meguiar’s (£12.50), the same company’s microfibre (£10) and a Halfords microfibre offering (£3). We’ve also recently bought a microfibre wheel brush (£4) from Halfords, which is proving really useful.
Who? www.meguiars.co.uk and www.halfords.com
How much? £6.99 per shield
How much? From £3
Bouncer’s Bead Juice
Spray-on, rinse-off sealant with high durability, beading and water sheeting properties. This nanotech spray sealant, constantly being praised on the Detailing World forum, promises to take the hard work out of waxing or sealing your paint. Who are we to argue? Who? www.bouncerswax.com How much? £11.99 (500ml) VWt 19
017-19_VWt_60_November 17_News and prods.indd 19
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Got something to tell us? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Popping tops Good evening VWt-ers, I thought I’d write in to enlighten you lot to the best thing I’ve found with my recent T5 purchase. There we were on a campsite in utter dismay that my better half had bought a fine selection of bottled beverages, chilled them in the fridge on the way to the campsite and got them perfectly prepped for consumption – we even bought some fruit to put in them! The stumbling block? That’s right… no bottle opener! Fear not though, for the ever faithful T5 holds the answer. Simply insert your crinkled top of choice into the door striker / aperture, apply a little downward pressure and hey presto, one open bottle with minimal effort, no damage and no fuss whatsoever. I dread to think what would have happened to us on that chilly night in the Cotswolds had we not made this vital discovery. We may even have had to go down the pub to console ourselves. Yours, always merry, Mary Constavalos
Genius. So, even if your T5 breaks down, there’s still hope at hand to drown your sorrows! Thanks for sharing your brilliant discovery with us. VWt
Spare wheels Hello there VWt, I just wondered what you’ve done about a spare wheel now that you’ve swapped over to the TT RS brakes on your Van? I’ve just fitted the same brake set up to mine and the only way I could get a set of 18in Sportline wheels to clear the Audi caliper was to run a 15mm spacer on the front end. How will you cope if you get a puncture with your swanky new 1552 rims? Jack Davis, via email
Well Jack, we’re glad you asked as we’ve come up with a rather cunning plan for just such an eventuality. Not only do we now carry a couple of tins of Tyre Weld (only for use in dire emergencies), we’ve also figured out that we can swap one of the rear wheels onto the front and use our factory steel spare wheel on the rear. How’s that for logical? It might take a little longer at the roadside, no doubt in the dark in the rain when / if it ever happens, but it’s better than waiting hours for the AA, right? VWt
New generation My son, Kenzie, aged 2½, loves it when I come home with the latest edition of VWt. We read it for hours over and over again, and he would love to see his photo in the next mag. Thanks, Gavin Ross, via email
Love the Fanny Hi VWt, we would love to see our Fanny (she’s Welsh) on your Readers’ rides page. We have camped under canvas for years but, seeing as we are getting on in years, in 2014 we decided to go for a Campervan. Naturally, there was only ever going to be one option, so early in the year we started a search for a T5.1. If I may say a big thank you to Mike at CMC for the bra. What a head turner. He matched the colours perfectly to suit the interior. Just a word of warning though – the Spanish have never seen these, and several people actually came up to touch it and asked what it was made of. We make the run to the same region every year now as we love it. Chunnel already booked for next July. Cheers, Gaz and Jenni
If we may be so bold, your Fanny looks lovely. Unfortunately, we need to see four or five other pics of her before we can include her in Readers’ rides, but buzz them over and we’ll make your Fanny famous. VWt
Swap shop Hello there VWt types, can you advise me on the engine swap options into either a T4 or T5? I’m desperately in pursuit of more power from my Van, but would rather not pursue the conventional diesel tuning route? Christina Moulton
That’s a big question, and a tough one to call Christina. Unless you want more than, say, 200-250bhp from your Van (not forgetting the obvious torque advantage of a turbo diesel) the wise money would always say keep the factoryfitted engine and uprate the turbo, intercooler, injectors and exhaust. However, if you are dead set on an engine swap, T4s owners seem to stick to the 1.9TDi from the Passat B5 and Mk4 Golf, or the 1.8 20v turbo petrol engine from the Mk4 Golf, Skoda, Seat and Audi range. The T5 crowd, on the other hand, have been known to use the 2.0 turbo FSi petrol engine from most of the Mk5 Golf-on VAG range. In fact, VW offered a 4motion T5.1 in mainland Europe with this very engine fitted so all parts should be available through a main dealer and listed on ETKA. VWt
GOT SOMETHING TO SAY? DON’T BE SHY! DROP US A LINE AND WE’LL PUT YOUR POINT OF VIEW IN FRONT OF THE VW WORLD vwt.ed@ kelsey.co.uk
On the social Any stories you have to share, any pictures you’d like the VW community to see, send them our way n @hornywills Is it me, or has the T4 crowd lost its way recently? In my experience, T5s are so unreliable I’m not sure why anyone would choose one as a base vehicle.
Follow VWt on Twitter @vwtmag n Susan Griffiths Oi, what’s going on with the web address for HiLo roofs in the Products pages last month? I was directed to a window cleaning business when I went to check it out? VWt: Apologies, entirely my fault that one, Susan! Check out www.hiloroofs.co.uk for the splendid range of super low profile pop-tops the company offers, and see p17 for another little snippet on the excellent HiLo product.
Join us at facebook.com/ VWtMagazine VWt 21
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Want to see your Van in the mag? Email us at email@example.com
THE STYLE STEAL
Krafty colouring Tim Tyler, Northants
y T5 journey started in 2013 when a friend and I started a bodyshop in Wellingborough called Colourkraft. We started doing a fair bit of Transporter work – facelifts, colour coding, window fitting etc. It was then the bug bit and I needed one of my own. After doing a 2k Caddy, I already knew in my head how the T was to look. So much so, I bought the AirRex suspension and 20in BBS RS2s before I’d even got a Van to bolt them to! It took around a month to find the right Van – a totally standard, 140bhp six-speed in Pure Grey. So now I had the Van in the colour I wanted, which would save me so much time painting it, I could get straight on with fitting the air ride and sorting the tyre size for the rims. It was always my plan to keep it clean looking with no side windows as I love the
subtle look of a real Van. As for the rest of the outside, just the usual mods – ABT bumper extension, homemade splitter, mesh lower grilles, DRLs and aftermarket headlamps, which have been split and BiXenon lamps fitted. The DRL lamps now double up as sweeping indicators, with all parts supplied by EM Tuning. With a standard grille painted gloss black and chunky side bars to complement the concave on the BBS rims I think it’s looking pretty sweet now. The front brake upgrade was a bit of a must, more for looks really as the standard brakes look lost when running 20s. The Van has also been re-mapped and had the EGR valve blanked and DPF deleted. As such, it now makes around 180bhp. Inside, I just wanted it to be simple but effective, so the cab roof lining has been done in light grey Alcantara to match the seats and
Check out those modified Bi-Xenon headlights. The DRLs within now double as sweeping indicators as well
DIY BBS RS table Bought from that ever popular online auction site, it’s an inspired touch that matches perfectly with this Euro-style Van FROM eBay.co.uk
there’s a full-width rock ’n’ roll bed plus some homemade cupboards for storage. The table was a bit of spur of the moment thing brought off eBay on a Tuesday and made and in the Van by Wednesday. Finally, the rear doors were not only glazed for light, but also to stop the constant moaning from the kids!
This is one fine looking Van from any angle, but from the back those 20in BBS rims tuck just perfectly in the ’arches
Tim admits the Maserati calipers were added more for aesthetic gain than performance Colour-tinted rear lights are done by mixing a little red with some lacquer and remain MoT legal if done sympathetically 24 VWt
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Just look at how it arrived. Amazing to think only 12 months separates these pictures In Yas Marina Blue, Daniel’s facelift ’5 is a far cry from the old red builder’s Van that arrived a year ago
World Wide Webb Daniel Webb, Newport
i there VWt, I’d like you to feature my Van in your magazine, if you are interested? Please. I bought it a year ago as a regular 2007 Paprika Red Panel Van and have since converted it. It has been resprayed in BMW Yas Marina Blue with a T5.1 front-end conversion that features the ABT-style spoiler. DPE Flowtech FP5 concave alloys were also fitted, while the interior is a full Evo Motion Design furniture run that incorporates a Smev stove and Waeco fridge. I’ve also fitted an electric, remote control rock ’n’ roll bed, all covered in black leather with blue stitching by Ed and the good people at Celtic Motorhomes. The engine is a 1.9TDi (BRS) with a stage 2 re-map, 2¾in de-cat exhaust from turbo back and an EGR blanking kit, so it goes slightly better than it did when I first got the ol’ thing. It’s been a full-on build though, so I’ve also dropped in a sizeable JL Audio ICE install that includes a pair of 10in subs beneath the bed, a four-channel amp and a mono amplifier to
JL Audio 10W0V3 subs kick out the jams
Plush black leather with blue stitching is a classy combination give the bass plenty of boom. I hope you like enough to give it a shout out in the mag, or maybe even a full feature at some point. I’ve just put it up for sale, so there’s a chance it might be with a new owner soon, but I love it so much I’d rather keep hold of it.
THE STYLE STEAL
We’ve not seen many sets of these DPE concave rims before, and we like them a lot
VW approved If you simply have to have the nod from VW, choose an SCA elevating roof – still the only officially VWapproved pop-top of the lot
You know when you see a 1000/1D amp that a system is really going to honk
FROM www.banwy.co.uk VWt 25
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Want to see your Van in the mag? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a 2004 Van but it belies its age with those T5.1 Caravelle rear lights
Stunning Westfalia cloth trim is supported by that super bright headlining treatment
L-shaped seating area and still space for a Smev 8821 single hob and sink
THE STYLE STEAL
Matt Vince and Serena Brooks, Portsmouth
e saw your post on Facebook a while back asking for readers’ rides, so we thought we would drop you a line. Here goes. Our Van is a 2004 T28 1.9TDi with twin sliders. We bought it in November 2014 as a Panel Van and have converted it ourselves to how you see it today. First job was to carpet, insulate and install side and rear windows. Initially, we planned to go down the standard rock ’n’ roll bed and side cabinet route, but didn’t like the fact the bed fitted across the rear wheels, using up valuable space. A little research later, we stumbled across the Van Project77 furniture – it’s an L-shaped sofa that folds out into a bed and has a unit either side of the Van. The larger one incorporates a Smev 8821 single hob and sink. There is also additional storage under the seat / bed area. We have trimmed the headlining and a / b pillars in vintage food and drink plaque fabric, which we think gives a really eye-catching look. Then we had the front seats re-trimmed in black leatherette and orange plaid by Joe at
Trim Deluxe and we are simply over the moon with them. Other mods include Pro Street coilovers (70mm drop), 20in Team Dynamics Jade-R wheels (staggered nines and 10s), Sportline sidebars and Sportline rear lights trimmed to fit the barn doors. We use the Van as much as we can and are members of the South Coast Transporters Club, often attending camp outs and shows with them. Keep up the great work with the magazine!
20in Team Dynamics Jade-R wheels certainly look the part
Project77 We’re massive fans of alternative layouts like this as you don’t lose the load carrying practicality of a Van FROM www.facebook.com/ VANPROJECT77
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THE STYLE STEAL
RS4 wheels You literally can’t go wrong with a set of these. Genuine or replicas, they always look on point FROM www.ebay.co.uk
All shows, all go
You can see from the amount of stickers on it that Craig and Sal’s T4 is well travelled, and it’s a fine looking Van in that Mazda Blue hue
Craig and Sal Delves, Sussex
fter years of living with Volkswagens and building two other Campervans from the ground up, my wife and I decided we wanted a T4, and that this time we would look for one that had already been converted. After months of searching, we came across a 1999 Mazda Blue 1.9TD in Northampton. A train journey, an amount of cash and we were on our way back to Sussex in it. What we have now is a mint Camper, fully loaded with a Reimo pop-top, top-of-the-line
fridge, hob and sink unit, a ¾-width rock ’n’ roll bed and even some Van-X blackout curtains to make it extra cosy at night. It’s got a fully carpeted interior with black leather rear seats trimmed with detailing to mimic the Alfa black leather seats up front, one of which is a swivel chair. ‘Gumball’ is now running on a set of genuine 18in Audi RS alloys, powder coated in Audi Gunmetal Grey, and has lowered suspension, which gives it a meaner look. We keep adding to the Van with bits and pieces from the shows we attend all over
the UK: Camper Jam; Van West; Bus Fest; VAGs at the Manor; VolksWorld; T4 Festival at Beaulieu; Bus Stop; Beach Buggin’, Dubs in the Park and Grill-n-Chill, to name a few, along with our local club camp outs on beaches around Sussex and Hampshire. We also do a bit of wild camping when it suits us – just me, my wife Sal, and our Cockershon, Mabel. After years of surfing and mountain biking – both cross-country and downhill – the Camper is perfect, and, of course, only a Volkswagen will do!
Once you’ve invested in sticker bombing this heavily, you know you’ve got a theme going on Presumably the roof box and bars need removing before the side-elevating roof can be popped into use VWt 27
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Camping at the Castle
The hills are alive A family-friendly VW weekend in an idyllic part of the countryside. Time to turn off your mobile data and leave those woes at the gate
WHAT? Camping at the Castle, www.volksworldshows.com WHERE? Eastnor Castle deer park, Ledbury, Herefordshire WHEN? 28-30 July WHY?
Words and photos James Wallace and Dom King
Family and dog-related fun, usually in the sun
hen the chance to truly lose yourself for the weekend pops up, we’re always up for it. And Camping at the Castle offers the perfect opportunity to turn off your ’phone and just concentrate on being within your Van, with your family, and possibly even your dog. Whichever way you look at it, there’s something quite magical about losing yourself on a campsite for a few days, particularly when there’s a car show, dog show, soapbox racing and a variety of bands to keep you entertained while you’re there. That’s why we bust out our favourite Frisbee, stocked Project Shed with a BBQ, a fire pit and more alcoholic beverages than strictly necessary, and moseyed on down to Eastnor Castle at the end of July. Now in its fourth year, and expanding with each successive event, this show promises to deliver some mighty fine T4-T6 exotica, as well as plenty of stunning air-cooled machinery to boot.
Austin Hornsby’s Bay Window interior offers plenty of inspiration for us water-cooled folk
Unfortunately, the inclement British weather reared its head this year and, just as Friday afternoon began to get into the swing of things with The Nutty Boys and a Madonna-alike giving it their all on stage, the heavens opened. No matter, the hardcore, we-areBritish mentality just saw everyone heroically don plastic Camper&Bus magazine ponchos, Helly Hansen or Berghaus all-weather wear and carry on with only pints of cider, rum and real ale to numb the cold. If there’s one
thing you can’t accuse a stoic bunch of British campers of, it’s being beaten by the rain. Oh yes, we battled on.
As Saturday morning dawned bright, a promising collection of rust ’n’ prime entrants took to the show field, situated alongside the main entertainment arena where the stage, dog show, tug-o-war and the chilli-eating contest would later unfold. Six entrants took home gongs for their ratty and rusty
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Adam Roberts’ super cool, Mustang P-51-influenced T4 always draws a crowd. Jägermeister washer bottle hints at party bus purpose
Rust ’n’ Prime winners Adam Roberts – Jägermeister bar T4 James Clarke – patina T4 on air Tod Wright – slammed T5 Commercial Celia Rumbold – Star Wars T5 on air Justin Webb – Natural Grey T5.1 Michael Hughes – Type 25 Doka on air
Also flying the Type 25 flag high was Michael Hughes’ lovely Double Cab Pick-up, which now benefits from an Old Dub Shop air ride set up as well as those girthy Borbet As James Clarke’s T4 might look like it’s broken, but there’s a very involved air ride system on this Van that allows this sort of thing to take place
Tod Wright’s stunning, still Commercialspec T5 proves ride height is everything. Banded Amarok steels help of course
Justin Webb’s work of utter devotion justifiably clears up on the trophy front wherever he goes. 405mm brakes all round from PB Brakes in Taiwan and every possible toy onboard makes sure of that
If there’s one thing you can’t accuse a stoic bunch of British campers of, it’s being beaten by the rain
Phillip Vaughan’s cool-as-you-like T4. This was the first time we’d seen this Van, and hopefully not the last. Can you tell us why it’s so unusual? VWt 31
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Camping at the Castle
It’s called the Glawning, and you know you want one. We do, but with prices starting at £849 we’ve got some saving up to do
Martin and Blanche Adams came along in their frankly epic Karmann Colorado motorhome. It’s both big and beautiful
It’s a dog’s life Lots of our canine friends took part in the dog show, and so did a 50-year-old, nearly house trained mongrel called Dick. He was quite happy with his time through the agility course and even stood on two legs (just) to celebrate afterwards, despite his blood alcohol readings!
transportation, though in their own unique way most were anything but. Come Saturday evening, the weather once again decided to play its evil hand, but the partygoers still came together for a right rivetting night in torrential rain and in the company of no less than Slash, Michael Jackson and Queen tribute acts. Were we the only ones who thought ‘Freddie Mercury’ looked remarkably similar to MJ himself? The ever-popular Soapbox Derby saw no fewer than 16 entrants this year, including our VWt pick of the bunch – the T5s R Us mini T5 – and this special part of the show proved as popular as
ever with the young and old alike. All entrants on the show field on the Sunday took part, whether they liked it or not, in the Editors’ Choice award. Although we’re probably not meant to pay as much attention to the air-cooled rides as we did, a few absolute corkers caught our eye and, if we as watercooled Transporter owners can draw inspiration from the air-cooled crowd, it’s the light and airy interiors that demand contemplation. With over 600 camping pitches reserved, a quick perusal around the campsite also netted some fine specimens, with plenty of home-grown readers’ rides to have a gander at. Most
notable was Phil Vaughan’s new-to-us T4 that had made its debut at Bristol VolksFest. Simplicity itself, it benefitted from a most unusual lack of sliding door and a very ’70’s porthole window in the passenger side. Once complete, we hope to bring you the full story. So, another year, another Camping at the Castle complete. If entertaining your dog, your kids and your Camper is your kind of thing, we hope to see you there next year. There’s talk of opening it up to all makes of classic car too, rather than just VWs, and, with any luck, our events chap will talk to the big man upstairs and book the sunshine to go with it all. t
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Editor’s Choice awards
You could eat your dinner off the floorpan of Carl and Helen Wheatley’s amazing ’67 Split Camper. It’s one of those Buses you had to get on your knees to fully appreciate
Best Split Screen – Carl and Helen Wheatley Best Bay Window – Andrew Thomas Coolest Type 25 – Davyd Clark Best T4 – Damian L Jones Best T5 – Geno Melici
Geno Melici’s T5-T6 facelift cover van (Issue 58) scooped Best of Show and Best T5 of the weekend. It’s so good it’s difficult to know how to judge this Van now
Damian L Jones’ simply sublime Reimo T4 is as spotless as the day it left Concept MultiCar in Hythe after a full conversion from new
Davyd Clark’s Type 25 caused more than a few people to take a second look at the ginger stepchild of the VW Bus family. Unsurprisingly, Davyd went home with the best example of the breed gong on Sunday afternoon
If entertaining your dog, your kids and your Camper is your kind of thing, we hope to see you there next year
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. . . t n e r e f f i d g n i h t e m o s Try k .u o .c s er t r o p s n a r t b u d ee v 5 0800 292 200
Sleeper on the job A VW Commercial vehicle with the potential to keep pace with a Ferrari Enzo or a Porsche 997 Turbo up to 60mph?! Oh yes, this Caddyâ€™s nippy Words and photos James Wallace
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e don’t feature Caddys. We do now. Why? Because this is arguably the most exciting vehicle I’ve photographed and written about in the last couple of years. Why? Allow me to explain. There I was, stood in the pit lane at Rockingham Speedway during my annual pilgrimage to GTi International when an innocent looking Caddy Van pulled into stage for the 1/8th mile sprint. It looked pretty clean from a distance, and it had some swanky, lightweight motorsport rims on it, but the Mk7 Golf R in the next lane looked like it had it covered.
Then… the Caddy launched like a scalded cat, clocked 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds and left the Golf R looking like the driver was asleep at the wheel. It was awesome, and I vowed there and then to find out more. A quick walk around the pits found it sat there on the VAG Tech stand looking like part of the stand delivery crew. Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 rims were the only hint that what I was looking at wasn’t quite as it seemed. Is that really the same vehicle that just dusted a 35 grand Teutonic über hatch? Yes, it was. To put that 0-60mph time into further perspective, that’s V12 Vanquish, Caterham R400 and R8 V10 fast, and it has since
gone even faster than that on the strip at Santa Pod, but we’ll come to that in a second. Or less.
Gift of the Gibbo For Steve Gibbo, a VAG UK Assistance Technician from Aylesbury, the story of this Caddy starts out almost as harmlessly as its innocent façade suggests. “I bought the Van off an oven cleaning bloke who’d come to me to have cruise control fitted to his 1.9TDi DSG Caddy. But someone parked a Transit Connect in the back of it and stoved the doors in, so I figured I’d patch it up and use it for VWt 37
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THE STYLE STEAL Model 2006 Caddy 2k Engine EA888 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo engine; Revo stage 3+ tune, comprising Revo induction kit, hybrid IHI IS38 turbocharger, stage 3 ECU software and Forge Mk7 R frontmount intercooler; Skoda Superb front subframe; Mk5 Golf slam panel; custom ali fuel cell to accommodate propshaft
The money shot, and where most of the work has gone in this incredible creation. Check out the custom ali fuel cell, Haldex rear diff, driveshafts, subframe and those rear springs. No Caddy was ever built by VW with this combination of parts
The back seat came from a Eurospec Caddy Life and Steve changed the floor panel for the Life version as well using his trusty MIG welder
Transmission Six-speed DSG 4WD gearbox rebuilt by STA Aylesbury Chassis Mk7 Golf R front suspension and rear subframe, trailing arms, driveshafts and Haldex rear differential; Mk7 R rear suspension; custom length propshaft; re-designed rear chassis legs; custom rear suspension turrets; Brembo TT RS four-pot front calipers; AP Racing two-piece bells and 362 x 32mm front discs; Mk7 R rear brakes Wheels and tyres 8 x 18in Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 wheels; 225/45-18 Toyo T1-S tyres Styling Refinished in VW Lapiz Blue; 2016 Caddy rear lights; side window bonded in; smoked headlights; 2010-on Touran mirrors Interior Leon Cupra Sub 8 front seats; Mk7 R electronic handbrake; Mk7 R head unit and MFA display; Mk7 R steering wheel 38 VWt
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dump runs and throwing our bikes in to go up the woods,” he recalls. That was all fine and dandy as Steve added a pair of back doors, a new back bumper and some second hand rear lights to his £500 bargain Van. But a surprise ’phone call from the brother of an ‘acquaintance’ who had been caught farming a sizeable amount of the wrong sort of crop resulted in a part-finished Mk3 Golf project being offered at a price that was simply too good to refuse. Especially as said project just happened to come with all the best bits of a barrel rolled Mk7 Golf R to boot. You can see where this is going, can’t you? Following a heavy festive chat with his mate and genius welder, Chris Harman, the duo came to an inevitable conclusion: “Let’s make it stupidly fast and four-wheel drive.” They meant it too, and had the minerals to back up the banter.
Data management “I got hold of VW’s dimension data sheets for the Mk7 Golf R and C20 Caddy Van, and it turned out there was only 52mm difference
in the wheelbase length and just 5mm in the track,” recalls Steve. The pair were sure they could overcome that with a little propshaft extension (it actually turned into a 7cm extension in the end). And with that, the amalgamation of parts began. Steve started by stripping all of the essentials from both the Mk3 and Mk7 donor
Let’s make it stupidly fast and fourwheel drive vehicles, including every part of the incredibly high tech Mk7 wiring loom, with all its god knows how many sensors. The original Mk7 head unit that displays the choice of driving modes also came out, as well as both front and rear subframes, the engine, DSG gearbox, intercooler, transfer box, rear axles, rear diff, driveshafts… you get the picture! Doing all of this in Steve’s single garage on
the side of his house was no mean feat, but he was convinced the outcome would be worth all the effort. “We measured everything again and again, then set out string lines and used axle stands, jacks and whatever we could get our hands on to mock up the positions of things like the rear diff, diff hanger and things like that.” Just three days later, the Mk7 R engine was sitting in the Caddy’s engine bay on a Skoda Superb subframe, along with the six-speed, flappy paddle, DSG gearbox – though that’s since been fettled by STA in Aylesbury for extra heavy duty use and fitted with uprated twin clutches. Five different steering racks were considered, the eventual winner being an Audi RS3 (8V) item, and that was the front end pretty much sorted.
Nine-inch grinder The real complication of this most ambitious of engine swaps came with the rear subframe and suspension. “The frame fell well within the original chassis rails out back, so we had to cut the originals in half with a nine-inch
These little buttons allow you to switch between Comfort, Normal, Race, ECO and Individual settings, thanks to the 7 R’s DCC adaptable chassis electronics
Mk7 R steering wheel is not one of those just for looks affairs, this one has full functionality, including DSG paddles. Note Mk7 R head unit, digital MFA display and clocks have all been grafted into the Caddy binnacle. Now Race mode can be engaged via the OE Mk7 switch just like in a Golf R
Using the Mk7 rear brakes meant the electronic handbrake lever also had to be grafted into the cabin A Caddy has leaf spring as standard, so rear suspension turrets had to be hand fabricated to accept the Mk7 rear struts. Steve admits it’s more function than form in here, but it all works
Standard Caddy seats were never going to cut it in here, so a current generation Seat Leon Cupra donated a pair of its finest front chairs instead VWt 39
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a frankly mental 500bhp and 479ft.lbs of torque
Looking at the outside of this sleeper youâ€™d never guess it was capable of giving chase to virtually anything you can buy off a global production line 40 VWt
036-42_VWt_60_November 17_Caddy R.indd 40
Slotted in on a Skoda Superb subframe using an Audi RS3 steering rack, this conversion was carried out solely in Steve’s single garage on the side of his house Revo intake kit for the current generation of MQB chassis VWs adds to the extremely capable nature of this drivetrain and chassis swap
Doing the CAN CAN The use of a CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus system makes it possible to network electronic control modules and intelligent sensors throughout a vehicle. Airbags (the safety ones, not the posing ones), central locking, traction control, ABS, air con, wheel angle, electric windows, stereos, bulbs, ECUs – they’re all linked and communicate via a twisted pair of wires that run through the car and carry CAN High (voltage above 2.5V) and CAN Low signals (below 2.5V). It’s meant to ease fault finding, and has evolved over the years from an analogue system (OBD1 – K line) through to digital (OBD2). Over the years VW has improved and added functionality to its CAN-Bus systems, so trying to get a 2006 Caddy to ‘talk to’ a series of 2016 Golf R sensors and control modules was no mean feat. Steve had to pick apart both looms wire by wire and create a bespoke wiring loom that allows the Caddy’s standard functions of central locking, lights, wheel angle sensor etc. to all work alongside the Mk7 Golf R’s more complex engine, ECU, traction control and braking sensors. To put the work involved into perspective, Steve says he spent four months doing the mechanical side of this conversion and three months making the wiring loom, all on his own, in his garage, with a relentless supply of tea, bacon sandwiches and VW wiring diagrams from his better half. Take our advice, if you ever meet him, don’t get him started on CAN-Bus versions through the ages, or what LIN4 is – like us, you’ll be lost within seconds.
grinder and fabricate our own rails to support the Mk7 rear subframe. Even though I’m a qualified welder, I didn’t trust my own ability with such drastic fabrication, so Chris took on the main structural stuff,” recalls Steve. The switch from old school leaf springs to an independent back end also meant the lads had to knock up some shock towers inside the Van. “We thought about using really tiny coilovers but, in the end, we had virtually brand new Mk7 R suspension to hand, so it would have been madness not to use it.” The resulting fab’ work inside the Van is deliberately functional, as Steve explains: “I didn’t want to grind down all the welds just for show and then compromise the strength of the joints, so it looks pretty gnarly inside but, with a coat of Schultz, it’s all good. This wasn’t really built for show anyway.” At the end of all the hard graft, the Caddy was treated to a laser alignment on the VAG Tech ramp, where it was found to be just one degree out from the factory settings. Not bad for tape measures and string, eh?
EA888 special With the fundamentals in place and the 2.0-litre, turbocharged, four-pot engine wired in using a bespoke ‘Steve loom’ that somehow manages to accommodate two wildly differing versions of VW’s CAN-Bus system, the EA888 engine was fired up. Remembering the earlier comment about making it stupidly fast, it now benefits from what’s considered a Revo stage 3+ upgrade. This comprises a Forge Mk7 Golf R front-mount intercooler, Revo intake kit, stage 3 ECU software, three-inch exhaust system and a properly sorted IS38 (the high blow version to begin with being an R) hybrid turbo that benefits from all sorts of cut back, larger turbine and compressor wheels and 360-degree bearings, all within a conventional size housing. The end result is a frankly mental 500bhp and 479ft.lbs of torque which, at Santa Pod recently, translated into a 1.8-second
Not bad for tape measures and string, eh? 60ft time, 3.2 seconds to 60mph and an 11.7-second quarter mile. That makes this understated Caddy the second fastest vehicle I’ve ever been in but, due to the way it uses that power, it feels like the fastest because you can make use of all that power so devastatingly effectively. Little wonder then that Steve saw fit to upgrade the brakes by launching a set of TT RS four-pot calipers and 365mm AP Racing two-piece discs at the front end of the Caddy just before we arrived to take the photos. “I cooked the old Mk7 R brakes at Donington, but the new stoppers feel absolutely rock solid,” he laughs. Alongside all this mechanical wizardry, the exterior and interior treatment are almost VWt 41
036-42_VWt_60_November 17_Caddy R.indd 41
a 1.8-second 60ft time, 3.2 seconds to 60mph and an 11.7-second quarter mile It’s just pure wolf in sheep’s clothing this thing. Trips to the dump will never be the same again for Steve
Later Touran mirrors jazz up the Caddy exterior further still Huge AP Racing 362mm front discs are now clamped by TT RS Brembo four-piston calipers. Trust us when we say it stops rather well
insignificant. It’s been repainted in Mk7 R Lapiz Blue and features facelift 2016 rear lights as well, but details like that play second fiddle to the devastating pace of it.
Rapid delivery What we really love about this Van is the head unit still allows you to select from the Mk7 R chassis and gearbox modes, the central dash display brings up a Mk7 R doors open warning and everything smacks of OEM fitment. In fact, that’s probably the biggest complement we can pay it. Imagine a factorytuned Mk7 R with a Commercial body on top. That’s what this is, and it’s just brilliant. As he settles into those Seat Leon Sub 8 front seats and looks back at the Caddy Life rear seat conversion – a new panel needed welding in behind the front seats and genuine VW fixtures attached to the floor to accommodate that – he might for one second forget he’s piloting the fastest dump run vehicle we’ve ever featured in VWt. Plenty of people have made claims about having the quickest and / or fastest VW Van in the world, so we’re not going to go down that route, other than to say that this thing is mad on a whole other level and, while there are some extremely quick quarter-mile Vans around, this one can happily be driven to the shops, across to a show on the continent and can also keep pace with a McLaren F1, Ariel Atom 300 or a Koenigsegg CCX at the traffic light grand prix. Steve, you have built something that will go down in history as an all-time legend, and for that you should be very proud. t
2016 Caddy rear lights need a wiring tweak and a resistor to operate on the money
Steve Gibbo loves his Caddy Van. He talks about it with so much enthusiasm, vigour and passion that it’s clear there’s no way it’s going anywhere, other than faster. As we left him for the day after our photoshoot he was off to visit VW HQ in Milton Keynes to take the Global Head of VW Commercial Vehicles out for a blast around the land of concrete cows and roundabouts. With connections like that, is it any wonder this is one of the most amazing technical achievements we’ve ever featured in VWt?
036-42_VWt_60_November 17_Caddy R.indd 42
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Jack the giant slayer gets a quick check over before leaving for another day of utter madness
Insanity rules (part 2) Last month we left the Just Kampers Mille Miglia team at the end of a high-speed, adrenalin-fuelled run from Brescia to Padova. This month they’ve got Rome in their sights... Words Stephen Gosling Photos Stephen Gosling and Josh Reynolds
ur second day started with bleary eyes after a distinct lack of sleep. Everyone had trouble switching off from the excitement of the first day and sleep hadn’t come easy.
Day 2: Padova to Rome Mark, Josh and Jack left the start to the sound of the klaxon horn we fitted to amuse the spectators. As per the first day, we immediately jumped in the Van and took up the chase, only to get immediately lost. Don’t ask me how. We had a road map book, just like the racers, but once you missed one of the directions it was near impossible to get back on the right route. Not made any easier by the fact the road book wasn’t always correct (well, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it!). Fortunately, Josh and I had GPS trackers on our ’phones so at least
we knew where each other was, though it took an annoyingly long 15 minutes to update. Luckily, we spotted another support car and followed them… Only to find they were heading for a broken down race car, back towards the start! Much cursing followed, before we realised they had led us back to the proper route, albeit some way behind Jack. As you can imagine, the next hour or so spent trying to catch up was a blast. Speed limits? What are they?! Pete was fully embracing this new style of flat-out, lawless driving and the T6 was just chewing up the miles and spitting them out. This is where the size of the T6 came into its own. Where other support
teams struggled through traffic in their big, well-equipped rigs, we nipped in and out of gaps, darted through red lights and generally enjoyed ourselves.
Helping hands It was a long day, but we kept ourselves amused. With literally nothing going wrong with Jack, we took to helping out other racers. We met a 1950’s Maserati in a petrol station. They needed a hammer to knock a wheel back on, which we happily provided. We met them again on the long climb up into San Marino, having conked out in the middle of the road and failing to re-start. We jumped out, got it started,
Pete was fully embracing this new style of flat-out, lawless driving
WHERE WE STAYED n Rome Holiday Inn – Eur Parco Dei Medici www.ihg.com/ holidayinn/hotels/ gb/en/rome/ romdm/hoteldetail Tel +39 06 65581 n Parma Holiday Inn Express Parma www.ihg.com/ holidayinnexpress/ hotels/gb/en/ parma/pmfit/ hoteldetail Tel +39 270593 MUST SEE n Rome – Everything! Spanish steps, Coliseum, Vatican etc. n Modena – Maranello, otherwise known as the Ferrari factory. We went past it at night, at 70mph, but I’ve heard it’s cool n Parma – I don’t know, dry cured ham? We saw nothing but the inside of our hotel THE FIGURES n Miles covered: 3,122.9 n Time taken: one week n Fuel: £862 in total n Breakdowns: zero n Roadside assists (by us): lots
044-47_VWt_60_November 17_M Miglia R trip2.indd 44
Miss one instruction from the road book and you can quickly find yourself up a certain creek without a paddle
Helping out a Fiat 1100 / 103 in need on the streets of Rome
The morning after the night before. Despite trying to drown our T6 4mo, the trusty thing pulled through unscathed. It would have been poor form to kill the support vehicle
As support vehicles go, this one looked the absolute business
Support team selfie! Take note teenage girls – not a silly pout in sight. And for the rest of you, we’re all married!
What else are you going to have for lunch when you’re in Italy? One of Mark’s many safe overtakes. There were more than a few sketchy ones though!
Because Jack was proving so reliable, Pete turned to helping out any other stricken motorists, such as this stunning 1939 Fiat 500 sport Zanussi held the traffic up so it could get going again and gave the navigator a lift to the top. We didn’t see them again after that so assume the Italian electrics bit the dust not long after.
Bella vista One thing I’ve not mentioned yet is the scenery. It was truly amazing. In between the regular “Oh look, another Gullwing” comments, and Alex nervously saying, “I think you should get over now Pete…” every time we overtook something, “Wow!” was the next most commonly used word on the whole trip. Italy is a beautiful country. From rolling green hills, to sun-soaked olive groves, to amazing mountain passes, every corner threw up a new, more beautiful vista. Albeit seen at 85mph, from the wrong side of the road, while trying to read a map! As Alex kept saying, this would be one
In the minds of men, what every petrol station should look like
hell of a road trip at normal speed, when you could actually take it all in. We managed to stay with Jack after San Marino, winding our way through the countryside in unison. Mark was still flat out, and Josh hadn’t looked up from the road book in two days, which was probably a good thing as there were some sketchy manoeuvres, including overtaking another competitor around the outside of a blind, 90-degree, right-hand corner. Mark didn’t seem bothered at all, but he had all of us holding our breath in the Van on several occasions. The day ended with us entering Rome in an almighty thunderstorm. I’m talking a full-on deluge. This was when
Jack had his first issue of the race. A wiper arm fell off! Thankfully, on the passenger side, so it didn’t slow Mark down one bit. We finally arrived at the finish at 1am, shattered but elated. We weren’t staying in the same hotel as Mark and Josh, so we arranged what time we were meeting in the morning and parted company. That should have been the end of our day, but things were about to get exciting. We turned out of the car park we were in, to be greeted by what looked like a small puddle. How we laughed when the car in front of us turned around. Pete stuck the T6 in first and into the puddle we went, and went, and went... As the water started lapping over
this would be one hell of a road trip at normal speed
044-47_VWt_60_November 17_M Miglia R trip2.indd 45
ROAD TRIP Jack crossed the finish line in 223rd position, not bad considering we started out in position 460
The calm before the storm A 1952 Ferrari 225 S Spider Vignale – a touch more expensive to buy than our T6
Pick a Gullwing, any Gullwing!
Beautiful Italian vistas took us by surprise – it really is a stunning part of the world
John and Daisy in their 1956 Sunbeam Rapier Mk1 were in need of a hand. We were only too pleased to help Another one of those common as muck Gullwings
the bonnet, we realised we’d made a hideous error. But it was too late, we were committed. The T6 started spluttering and kangarooing and, silently, we all had the same thought – who’s going to call Mark and tell him we’ve drowned the support vehicle, tools and spare engine? More importantly, how the hell are we going to carry on with the race?! But then, out of nowhere, the VW gods saved us. The T6 cleared its throat and pulled us out the other side. Phew!
Day 3: Rome to Parma The third day of the race started with beautiful blue skies and sighs of relief. We didn’t have to tell Mark we killed his Van, instead we had a good laugh at how many leaves were wedged in the grille, as this was the only thing we had to show for our T6’s near-death experience.
And so the race continued. Things started to become a blur by lunchtime. I’d had six hours sleep in 48 hours and living on adrenalin was starting to take its toll. What I do remember was helping out our new-found friends, John and Daisy, in their Sunbeam Rapier that was failing to charge, and assisting a guy with the biggest cigar I’ve ever seen in a 1940’s Fiat sports car.
finish, the roads started to become lined with people waving flags and cheering the teams on. By now, we’d
we pinched it up and were back on the road in under five minutes
Day 4: Parma to Brescia Day 4 started with the driver of an ex-Le Mans D-Type Jaguar coming up to us asking us what the hell we had done to the Beetle, as Mark had out braked him into a roundabout the night before. Nothing we said, just added an extra carb and a driver with a heavy right foot! The rest of the day was plain sailing. As we got closer to the
started to make friends with other support crews, as well as a few of the racers, and there was a real sense of camaraderie among the teams. Yes, it was a race, but we were all on this mad adventure together. We rolled into Brescia at 3pm and Jack crossed the finish line 223rd out of 460. Considering the calibre of some of the machinery he was
044-47_VWt_60_November 17_M Miglia R trip2.indd 46
Monsoon rains in Rome nearly did for our T6 support vehicle. Jack just pushed on through
Another chance for a spot of lovely Italian lunch
Night time prep for Jack. The only fault he suffered was a lost windscreen wiper on the driver’s side
Give up Alfa and Mercedes, Jack is in giant killing mode! T6 mobile photo studio meant we could snap, download, blog and write as we were thrashing along
Even during a race you’ve got to stop for a nice spot of lunch. Left to right: Steve, Mark, Josh, Pete and Alex up against that was an incredible achievement. We wanted to finish, but to finish in the top 50% was more than we could have ever hoped for. We beat cars worth millions of pounds, often with infinitely more horsepower, in a pretty much stock Beetle built in a small workshop on the side of JK HQ. That was something to be proud of. And although we in the support Van weren’t actually in the race, it felt like we were, we felt part of it. Although our experience differed from that of Mark and Josh – we had air con and Pete’s fantastic iPod play list for starters – it really felt like we were all in it together. And the sense of achievement was immense. Jack was a star and ran flawlessly. Flat out for over 1,000 miles, up hill and down valley, through hot and cold, rain and shine. That was all down
to Alex and Pete’s work pre-race to ensure only the best parts were used and everything was thoroughly tested. Preparation really was everything. In hindsight, we didn’t actually need the support crew, or the T6, at all!
The drive home With the race over and most of the team heading for the airport, there was nothing left for Mark and Pete to do but load Jack on a trailer behind the T6 and head home through Italy, Switzerland, France and back to good old Blighty. The T6 did 3,122.9 miles in total, at least 1,200 of which were flat out. It performed faultlessly throughout, got us out of a few small scrapes and pulled us out of near disaster in the flood in Rome. By the end of the trip, I think we all had a soft spot for it. So what next? Well, we haven’t
O sole mio! A bit like Guinness, it tastes better where it’s made
decided yet, but what we have talked about is what we’d do to the T6 if we ever did anything like this again. Top of the list is a re-map. Nothing crazy, but a bit more grunt can’t hurt, can it? -40mm lowering springs, just to bring the centre of gravity down a
The T6 did 3,122.9 miles in total, at least 1,200 of which were flat out bit and the street cred up. And some really bright flashing LED lights in the front grille, just to get people out of our way quicker! Other than those three things, it proved itself to be the perfect road race support vehicle. t VWt 47
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Diffâ€™rent strokes Trying to do something unique with a VW Transporter is hard, but Voodoo Campersâ€™ latest creation has managed it, in a subtle, have-to-looktwice kind of way Words Jim Blackstock Photos Adam Walker
056-61_VWt_60_November 17_Orange T4.indd 56
ike the advice given to Americans during the recent solar eclipse, you probably don’t want to stare too long at Chris Male’s latest creation. But therein lies a conundrum, a paradox if you will. You need to look, and look closely, to identify exactly what it is about this Van that sets it aside from all the other T4s. When I first saw the photos of it, I knew it was different, unique even. But I couldn’t put my finger on why. It was only when I started speaking to Chris about it that it all fell into place. In fact, there is so much different about it that it really stands out from the crowd. And not just because of the eye-catching paint. Conceptually, the Van belongs to the Male family, but technically it belongs to Chris’ wife, Jenni Rowbottom, who was made redundant from her job four years ago and bought the Van with her payout. It’s testament to the success of Chris’ Voodoo Campers business that it has taken this long to find time to get it sorted, ready for the family to use it.
In style The Van was originally taken in as a part-ex by Voodoo but, when Chris drove it and found it had a nice, tight engine and chassis and no rot at all, he knew it was the perfect base for creating something different. So straight away, The super mean RS2-esque front bumper and custom front elevating roof lip give it a real scowl
056-61_VWt_60_November 17_Orange T4.indd 57
Chrisâ€™ wife, Jenni Rowbottom, was made redundant from her job four years ago and bought the Van with her payout 58 VWt
056-61_VWt_60_November 17_Orange T4.indd 58
he set about creating the bespoke exterior styling, a fairly mammoth task in itself. Wanting to eliminate the swage line and the grille aperture in the bonnet, Chris welded a sheet of metal across the entire panel. Next, he wanted to extend the wheelarches front and rear, so applied expanding foam to the outside of the Van and shaped it by hand until he was happy with the profile. He then took moulds from the rears and transferred the new shape into glass fibre and made new front wings in metal, before seamlessly blending the new parts into the original metal with a flush of filler. He then set to creating the unique front and rear bumpers, using a combination of wood and more glass fibre until he had the shape and fit he wanted, giving the front a deep and moody feel, while the rear still allows access for ease of loading and unloading.
to fit the side of the Van. Apparently, he tried T5 versions in every possible orientation first, but nothing worked. These do, though. The side and rear door glass was all replaced with limo-tint glass and a Cheshire Motor Caravans elevating roof fitted, though with the front of the roof cut off and bonded to the roof of the Van and the join sat further back. “I did it because I hate the obvious rubber seal along the front that telegraphs
as he was about to walk out of the door to buy the paint, an issue of VWt landed on his doormat with a candy red Van in it, so he had to have a re-think.
Do the Twist Chris had already bought the 18in Porsche Twist rims (mounted with 5 x 130 PCD adapters) from a burned-out car and this got him thinking about Porsche colours. In the end, he chose the orange that complements the light blue of the famous Gulf Oil racing colours and stripped the entire Van down to its component parts before it headed into his paint booth. On paper, you might think there would be too much metal to put bright orange paint on but, in our opinion, it works because he’s broken it up with touches of contrasting black. The wheels, for example, are painted in gloss black, with just the rims finished in the matching orange. The black-painted door pillars combine with the limo-tint windows, and the lining through create a single slab of black on the side to further break up the
it works because [the orange is] broken it up with touches of contrasting black
You’re barred Somewhere along the way he acquired a container load of sidebars of unknown origin and fitment, and two of these were modified
the fact the Van has a pop-top. It was a crazy thing to do really.” Looking at the finished job, though, you have to admit it does keep the front end really neat and tidy. Aftermarket headlights, with LED DRLs and projector lamps, went on next before starting to think about what colour to paint the Van. The original plan was a candy red but, literally
R8-style DRL headlamps suit the orange and black theme beautifully Chris’ skilful handiwork and mastery of glass fibre is evident in the custom bumpers and moulded extended ’arches
Unknown make sidebars are from a collection Chris has amassed over the years. They fit a treat and have, of course, been colour coded in orange
8 and 9 x 18in Porsche Twists bolt onto the hubs using PCD adapters VWt 59
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¾-width bed from JDS Metaltech was centrally mounted so the bench seat can be used for additional sleeping space. Slimline furniture run mounts behind the passenger for practicality and maximum kipping comfort
THE STYLE STEAL Model 2002 88bhp T4 Panel Van Engine 2.5-litre turbo diesel; larger injectors; fuel pump timing advanced; ECU re-map; induction kit; stainless steel cat-back exhaust; estimated 150bhp Chassis Lowered approx. 60mm front and rear Wheels and tyres 18in Porsche Twists with 225/45-18 tyres Exterior Limo-tint side and rear door glass; CMC elevating roof with front end cut off and bonded to Van roof; bonnet grille and swage line removed; custom made bumpers and extended wheelarches; repainted in Gulf Racing orange Interior Mk7 Golf GTD front seats; ¾-width rock ’n’ roll bed trimmed in Golf tartan; full-length bench forming fullwidth bed; 22in TV / DVD set into storage; Waeco under-seat chest fridge; 6 x 9in speakers; 12in sub box and amplifier
056-61_VWt_60_November 17_Orange T4.indd 60
orange. The graphics just above the side bars hark back to the older Porsches. Obviously, the sliding door had to be spaced out to clear the new, wider rear ’arches – in fact, part of the nearside rear ’arch actually sits on the door, and this was achieved by encasing a piece of wood in glass fibre to give the necessary clearance. The chassis was lowered, naturally, at least 60mm all round and a little more at the front. So much so, Chris admits it’s resting on the bump stops the way it is here. Chris says he briefly considered chopping the rear floor out to get it really low but, as the intention was always to keep the Van useable, the rear was left riding slightly higher than the front to allow for any load carrying.
the owner of the GTD seats wanted. So a straight swap was done and, in a supreme moment of fate, the GTD seats even bolted straight into the Van on the stock bases. The only issue is they sit too high to allow a pair of
sit and watch TV on the 22in TV/DVD player mounted into the nearside – again, bucking the trend for traditionally fitting furniture behind the driver. There’s also a Waeco chest fridge under the seat and Chris says he will shortly be fitting a pull-out double burner behind the seats in the rear. It’s an ingenious and potentially more space efficient way to go about the furniture layout. To help with moving along at a decent rate of knots, Chris had his mate, AJ from engine tuner VDDS, work his magic on the 2.5TD engine. AJ re-mapped the ECU and, between them, they fitted bigger injectors and advanced the fuel pump a bit to bring the power up to around 150bhp. Not bad at all considering it started with just 88. There’s also an induction kit and a cat-back stainless steel exhaust system in place to maximise the breathing potential. The engine produces a little – alright, a lot – of black smoke, so Chris admits perhaps they went a little too far and might need to wind it back a bit, but he still likes to surprise other motorists. T5s being his current prey, so watch out. t
an ingenious and potentially more space efficient way to go about the furniture layout
Seat swap shop In the cab is a pair of Mk7 Golf GTD (GTis come with the red tartan) seats that he massively lucked into. They’re an unusual choice, but he had a pair of T4 captain’s seats he’d paid £50 for and they were exactly what
swivels to be fitted, even with the integral height adjusters set as low as possible, so eventually they’ll be cut down and modified to suit. The rear of the Van is still a work in progress, according to Chris at least. He needed something in the back so his wife, their two kids and two dogs would have somewhere to sit when they’re out and about using the Van, so for now a ¾-width rock ’n’ roll bed provides two travelling seats when they are on the move. Then, when parked up, the large bench means the whole family can
As you can see, Chris has a bit of thing for T4s at the moment. He’s one of only a few converters still specialising in VW’s more reliable Transporter
The cab area is as clean and functional as the rest of this Van. Sony head unit fronts a pumping ICE install as well Vibe 10in woofer provides the subsonic frequencies and flows nicely with the custom bench seat as well
Mk7 Golf GTD ‘Jacky’ tartan seats are a VW all-time classic. Not bad for effectively £50 either VWt 61
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There’s low, then there’s HiLo The lowest proﬁle elevating roof on the market
www.hiloroofs.co.uk View our website for full spec, reviews, UK & European Fitters and 100’s of pictures HiLo conversion by Visiontech Automotive, Essex
One of the wor ldâ€™s best street trail riders also own a tastefull happens to y tw e a k ed T6. Time to Words James Wallace Pho get your lifesty tos Adam W alker & Cut M le onâ€Ś edia
066-71_VWt_60_November 17_Danny Mac T6.indd 66
anny MacAskill is one of the best known bike riders on earth, especially when it comes to jumping off stuff, spinning like a top or pulling off simply unbelievable stunts. Thatâ€™s why, when he approached the good people at Leighton Vans for something to cart his collection of Santa Cruz and Inspired twowheeled contraptions around our fine isle, as well as further afield into Europe, Danny had his eye on a high-spec VW to ease the burden of the serious mileage he covers every year. VWt 67
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Of course, it couldn’t just be a run-of-the-mill Panel Van either, and that’s where Michael Leighton, the big cheese at Leighton Vans, came into play: “I went to school with a lad called Steve Peat [now an internationally renowned downhill mountain bike racer – Ed], and when he popped in one day to buy a Van, all kinds of weird, wonderful and exciting things started happening for us as a business.” In a curious circle of events, it was mountain bikes that got Michael into VWs in the first place. He bought a Van to cart his own bike around in and hasn’t looked back since. But once ‘Peaty’ bought one, the floodgates opened for Leighton lifestyle Vans, that not only make the drive to the event an 68 VWt
066-71_VWt_60_November 17_Danny Mac T6.indd 68
Of course, it couldn’t just be a run-of-the-mill Panel Van either
absolute pleasure, but also the time spent in the desolate reaches of places such as Fort William. “No longer was it just about owning and driving a low-spec means of transport you can throw your tools, an air bed and a few bikes in,” Michael continues, “With the VW Vans we were able to combine a bit of luxury with absolute functional appeal. They literally tick every box these guys are after.”
Online appeal So much so that once word, and pictures, of Peaty’s Van got out, the popular online Singletrack World forum became a place
of worship for VW’s finest outward-bound vehicle. Like Woodys to surfers in California in the ’60s, the world of outdoor pursuits now had a go-to Commercial vehicle for its reverence, and a supplier with the knowledge and skills to provide such high-spec mobile living spaces, either to order or in stock for immediate delivery. It was a lovely example of serendipity, as mountain biking and Vans make perfect companions. Nowadays, Michael and the Leighton Vans team sponsor no fewer than three internationally known bike riders – Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat and Danny MacAskill, as well as pro rock climber, Shauna Coxsey, all of whom require the best Vans to help achieve
the best possible performances. “When Danny first ’phoned us, he was saying, ‘Hi, I’m Danny, pro sponsored trails rider, blah, blah, blah…’ and I had to go away and check out whether it was really him, and not someone trying to have us over. The amazing thing is, though, he came to us, it wasn’t the other way round.” The whole notion of passion breeds passion rings true here, because once Michael discovered it really was Danny Mac’ on the ’phone, he started spec’ing a new T6 to help make the frankly mind-melting YouTube sensations such as Wee Day Out, Cascadia, Imaginate and The Ridge achievable in some of the UK’s most remote locations. Word to the VWt 69
066-71_VWt_60_November 17_Danny Mac T6.indd 69
Having a word with...
VWt: How old are you, where are you from? DM: I’m 27 (getting on!) and I’m from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. VWt: What is your day job? DM: Professional bike rider – living the dream! VWt: Apart from working and riding, what do you like to do? DM: At the moment I’m really into riding my trials motorbike and mountain biking. And watching videos of other people riding theirs. VWt: Favourite food / drink? DM: My favourite drink is Red Bull, and my favourite food is mince and potatoes. VWt: What music do you listen to? DM: Anything that isn’t commercial pop music, but I really like stuff with a nice chilled vibe to it. I like finding cool, unknown bands. VWt: What films / TV shows do you like? DM: I don’t really watch much TV, but my favourite film would probably be Pulp Fiction or something like that. Classic. VWt: How long have you been riding, and how did you get into it? DM: Getting on for 15 years now. I got into it as a young lad, just doing skids and stunts around where I grew up. VWt: Who are you favourite riders? DM: [Chris] Akrigg is still up there as the greatest in my eyes. He just makes everything look so stylish and easy and can ride pretty much anything. Ali C is also one of my favourites. He’s pushing a different style of riding at the moment, really innovative and stylish. I love to watch him ride and get ideas for my own riding. VWt: What would be your ideal day? DM: I’d get up on a sunny day, go out for a blast on my mountain bike with some friends, come back for some lunch and then go out on my trials motorbike in the afternoon with some more friends and then put some headphones in and head out for a street ride in the evening – just me and my bike – get some sweet lines and ride until I was running on empty.
Leighton Vans now offer ultrafunctional Slidepod conversions for those Kombi and Caravelle owners who use their Vans during the week, but still want to get away at the weekend
VWt: Where is the best place you’ve ridden? DM: In the UK I’d say Aviemore is where I’ve had the most fun on a bike. It’s just such a beautiful place to ride. Abroad, I’d probably say the Expo area in Lisbon. It’s really cool there. VWt: What motivates you to ride? DA: What else would I do? Riding is just so much a part of me, and it’s just so easy-going and fun going out and playing. Whenever I’m on my bike I feel like a 13-year-old kid again. VWt: Why a T6? DM: Because they’re the best. I’ve had all sorts of Vans over the years, but the VW Transporter range is untouchable for quality, options and aftermarket support. If you ever see one of my Drop and Roll Tour stickers on any kind of Van, give us a wave. 70 VWt
066-71_VWt_60_November 17_Danny Mac T6.indd 70
You know you’re a true MTB-er when you get more excited about a VW Van than you do about a supercar
LED headlights are an upmarket option from VW that tip the scales somewhere in the £1,380+ region. If you don’t fancy ticking that box, you could always settle for twin H7 Caravelle headlamps, or have a firm such as EM Tuning convert your stock headlamps to HID Xenons for around £600
20in Audi RS6-style alloys give Danny the style and durability he needs to look cool and go anywhere in his Van with his head held high wise – if you didn’t catch The Ridge on BBC One it’s something you should Google with immediate effect as the level of skill and bike control is almost beyond belief.
High spec Though looks were second place to functionality, they certainly weren’t overlooked, and an ABT body kit found its way onto Danny’s ’17-plate 204 BiTDi Sportline. 20in RS6 style wheels up the styling ante, complemented by a little -40mm hit with the H&R lowering stick. Danny also requested a split charge conversion with the capability of charging some of the camera gear his pals at Cut Media use to film his two-wheeled exploits. Given where they might end up, the whole set up needed to be independent of a hook-up, and that’s where the pair of 2,000W, 240V inverters come in handy. For added comfort, the full Leighton sound deadening and carpet lining package went in, while LED headlamps and a seriously high
spec from the factory was vital. “We simply don’t sell base-spec Vans,” says Michael. “Our average Van goes out around the £45k mark these days, and we find that if we don’t spec them up with night heaters, park assist, lane assist and all of the toys, such as the LED lights on Danny’s black Van, they tend to hang around for a while.” Now you might think that sounds like a lot of dough, but clearly there are plenty of people with that sort of money to spend. “We’re getting through around 300 Vans a year at the moment and, with a 39-41 week lead time from Volkswagen, we tend to order four or five at a time, so we’re often a safer bet to get the Van you really want immediately.” Of course, having internationally renowned athletes such as Danny endorsing the company on its website adds to the credibility Leighton Vans has built up over the last five years. Michael: “It’s mad to think that if Danny Tweets something, or puts a photo on Instagram, upwards of a million people see it instantly. You can’t buy that sort of publicity.” What’s most refreshing of all is that Michael’s obvious enthusiasm for mountain
biking still rings true. You know what they say though, don’t you? “You know you’re a true MTB-er when you get more excited about a VW Van than you do about a supercar.” Amen to that. t Contact: www.leightonvans.co.uk
Michael and Danny have become acquaintances through their shared love of both bikes and Vans. Who’d have thought the Cosmos would so perfectly unite a trails legend with a VW Van dealer? VWt 71
066-71_VWt_60_November 17_Danny Mac T6.indd 71
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Sound and vision
It’s been a busy couple of months for Project Shed, so much so we might not be able to call it that for much longer… Words and photos James Wallace
Project T5 Owner James Wallace What we’ve spent n Brakes: £856 n Suedeliner: £14 per metre n LED downlights: £36 (for four) n Wiring components: £12 n 12V switch: £3 n Central convenience module: £82 (from Poland via eBay) n Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant: £13.99 n Running total: £11,494 (inc. cost of Van)
Project Shed has been down at Johnson’s Auto Electrics for a few days, where safety, sonic and lighting improvements were all made
hat with the new wheels and TT RS brakes going on a couple months ago now, Project Shed is moving ever closer to my original vision for the Van – a tuned, but useable daily driver with motorsport overtones that I can have fun driving and enjoy camping out in at weekends. It’s not too much to ask of a Van, is it? And so onto this month’s big upgrade. Electrics. While we were over at Johnsons Auto Electrics (www. johnsonsautoelectrics.co.uk) and the seats were out for our posh new stereo install, the Durite split-charge system I’d had in stock for ages was finally plumbed into the 110Ah leisure battery I fitted under the driver’s seat a while ago. While under there, Lee also suggested we fit a 12V fuse block and matching earth block as part of the install. This nifty little fuse block from www.rayneautomotive.co.uk allows you to supply any number of 12V extras such as USB sockets, LED lights, micro-switch taps and the like
with the six extra fused supplies. The earth block is directly earthed to the handy point on the floor beneath the driver’s seat. And rather than have the battery held in place by the cheap and cheerful hook and bracket I’d bolted in, Lee knocked up a simple MDF arrangement that also provides a mounting point for the fuse blocks. With a snifter of carpet trimming, it
8-gauge terminals) to wire in enough amps to power a small festival. We’ll get to the exciting part of the stereo install next month, but trust us when we say it’s pretty good…
Light it up
The real reason for plumbing the leisure battery in was to power a series of LED downlights in the new headlining. It might only seem like a minor thing, but the original VW headlining in the back of our Van was damaged beyond redemption and it really bugged me. So, using the original parts as a template, we made some new hardboard panels and then measured 11 inches down and 10 inches in for light placement, hoping that means the rear lights will settle directly above the forthcoming rock ’n’ roll bed. Trimmed in a lovely bit of faux Alcantara, the new headlining transforms the overall feel of the Van. Again, Rayne Automotive came to the rescue with four 1.8W LEDs that Lee then made a wiring loom – red 12V and earth from leisure battery to b-pillar switch, then yellow 12V feed to
a tuned, but useable daily driver with motorsport overtones that I can have fun driving and enjoy camping out in at weekends looks like the factory did it and the battery is held much more securely. There’s no chance of any kind of shorting out now because we also used some fancy new Audison battery terminals that are polycarbonate coated and give enough connection options (0-gauge, 4-gauge and two
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The MDF panels Lee made are simplicity themselves but hold the battery securely and offer a tidy place to mount an additional fused positive distribution block and earth block
With the seats, bases and cab mat out of the way, it’s easy to trace and locate any cable runs in the floor ruts so you don’t tread on them and damage them in the future The Durite split charge relay kit came with fuse holders for both ends
The basic ingredient for a leisure battery that’s solidly mounted – some MDF board lights, all soldered. The four LED loom earths are then soldered to a separate wire earthed through the switch. Now, at the flick of a switch, we’ve got illumination in the back of the Van and, being LEDs, they draw so little current and generate so little heat that you can leave them on for days. I know that for a fact. As an accidental test, I left them on for three days straight and, when I discovered it, found the leisure battery still holding well above 12V of charge, even without starting the engine. Having said that, there’s a lot written about LEDs drawing too much current when the alternator is spinning but, let’s be honest, how often do you have the lights on in the back and the engine running anyway? Finally on the inside this month, despite my best efforts with the red vinyl trimming on the panels, I’ve decided to re-do them with some Suedeliner material from Harrison’s Trim Supplies (www. harrisonstrimsupplies.co.uk). Even though I’d used 6mm foam scrim to back the vinyl, the hidden fir tree clips were still showing through, and doing my head in. Whereas with the small
It might all look a bit messy at this point, but things have to get worse before they get better
The thick red wire you see here supplies the leisure battery with a charge from the starter battery. The really thick (4-gauge) orange wire that goes into the b pillar will supply an amplifier distribution block with 12V from the leisure battery Dave twists together the leisure battery to b-pillar switch loom using red for 12V feed and black for the earth, then repeats the process for the LED loom from the switch VWt 75
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Wallace’s Shed Both the 12V feeds and the earth wires from the LEDs are stripped and soldered to the respective yellow and black wires
We used low profile, 1.8W, Sycamore LED downlights for our headlining
A quick re-cap We covered the brake upgrade we’ve done on Project Shed in full in Issue 58 of VWt, but questions keep flying in via social media about the parts we used, so we thought we’d cover the vitals again here, just in case you missed Issue 58. The most popular question is where did we source the calipers? Simple answer – eBay. But look to the VW / Audi forums, post a request on social media and spread the word among your contacts. If you can’t find any TT RS / RS3 calipers, you could use the twin-piston calipers from the T32 / Sportline (p/no. 7E0 615 123 / 7E0 615 124). These match the VW 340mm discs perfectly, and are said to give impressive performance gains. We used the 340mm brake discs from the later sporty T5.1 (p/no. 7E0 615 301C) because they’re cheap, available (£56 each from Just Kampers) and easy to replace. We were a bit more extravagant when it came to friction material, choosing EBC Yellowstuff pads (£156 for both sides), but Pagid offer a set of TT RS pads for just £56. Your choice. To bolt the whole lot together, we used Vagbremtechnic’s (www.vagbremtechnic.com) excellent, CNC-machined caliper carrier adapters. These bolt directly to the stock T5 hubs, albeit using slightly different pitch thread bolts, which are a must. The adapter kit comes complete with HEL braided brake lines for a simple installation. The only other parts we bought were new pad pins and spring clips from TPS. At £63, they were a bit of a shock.
£856. Far from cheap, but we could have reduced this by £100 if we’d used cheaper brake pads. Was it all worthwhile? Most definitely. Not only do they look cool – not the point, I know – but the difference over the stock set up is night and day. It’s particularly noticeable during initial bite of the brakes, with little effort required at the pedal end, but really stomp on the anchors and they haul up so well they inspire confidence and improve the driving experience no end. Yep, the brake upgrade is officially my second favourite T5 mod, after the H&R anti-roll bars.
You can see the difference here between the standard 308mm discs and the new, vented, 340mm T32 Sportline discs
Our bargain reconditioned calipers caught us out later on when we realised they didn’t come with pad pins and spring clips. Because they come in Brembo bags, you’re looking at £63 for both sides from TPS. And there’s £78 worth of EBC brake pads in this picture, too!
Both earth leads crimp together to meet at the switch with a blade terminal
Lee wired in our light switch with ease having made new soldered looms from the LED feeds and from the leisure battery
Money no object option
Should our ‘budget’ upgrade not be enough for you, you could stick a set of 362mm AP Racing two-piece bells and rotors on using the same BM5 four-piston Brembo calipers, or use the bigger eight-piston calipers that were factory fit on RS4 / R8 / Lamborghini Gallardo. At this point, though, you’re into £900+ for the discs alone, and won’t see much change from £2,000 for this ultimate OEM set up. That puts you in the realms of high performance aftermarket set ups from the likes of Forge, Reyland, Ceika, PB Brakes or VMaxx.
The full caliper conversion kit for our front brakes – TT RS calipers, Vagbremtechnic adapter brackets, new bolts, Hell brake pipes, EBC Yellowstuff pads
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The new Alcantara headlining is a very welcome addition to the Van. It’s amazing how much difference having lights in the back makes when camping
The 12V+ yellow wire feeds the LED lighting loom and runs with the original VW wiring down the b pillar. LED loom earth goes to the switch In all their twin needle, Alcantaraclad glory, the a-pillar builds are exceptional. Once fitted and wired in, they’ll transform the acoustic presentation of the Van
Our central convenience module (under the driver’s seat in a T5) started playing up, causing the central locking to go haywire. Notice how badly corroded the terminals inside are
this Van is turning me into a right ol’ fusspot
Our b-pillar switch allows for easy on / off of the LED headlining. Wiring is simplicity itself: 12V red from leisure battery; earth from battery to switch; 12V yellow to LED lighting loom; earth back to switch
test panel of Suedeliner it’s much easier to hide the clips, making things look more presentable and a whole lot more professional than my first attempt. Feels more tactile, too. Less exciting, but no less annoying, the central locking started playing up on Project Shed. It’s a problem that’s well documented on the forums, and we reckon the central convenience module (p/no. 7H0 959 733B) under the driver’s seat is almost certainly to blame in our case. Corroded beyond belief and full of the green / blue gunk they all seem to suffer from, we’ve bought a new one to hopefully remedy the key fault. However, if anyone has a quick de-oxidisation fix, let us know and we’ll give it a try. Lastly for this month, I’ve been conducting a wheel sealant test on my new 1552s and am pleased to report, in line with what I’d read on detailing forums, both Poorboy’s World Wheel
Sealant and a high temp wax from Finish Kare called FK1000P absolutely prevent brake dust from getting a grip on my newly painted rims. The Poorboy’s stuff in particular seems to hold up really well in bad weather, rain and keeps that super invasive, wheelkilling dust at bay. So much so, the first time I kerb one of my wheels, I think I’ll cry. I don’t know, this Van is turning me into a right ol’ fusspot. t
Three coats of Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant on this side of the Van and some regular day-to-day use. Note the lack of brake dust and road grime present
Thanks: www.johnsonautoelectrics.co.uk www.ebcbrakeshop.co.uk www.justkampers.com
Next time: We get onto the juicy bits of the stereo install. This little lot is going to improve our lives no end VWt 77
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Choose from our stock of new or quality used Transporters. Each one is built to our exacting standards. Purchase outright, choose a finance or lease package to suit you, or hire the perfect panel, Kombi or Camper van for the trip of a lifetime - we have daily, weekly and long term flexi-rental schemes available. You could be driving away a Leighton Van for much less than you think. Visit us at Dodds Close or online to find out more.
Trim your a pillars
Keeping in trim There’s a big difference between using the right materials with a lot of knowledge and the wrong materials with a little bit of knowledge Words and photos James Wallace
have to hold my hands up here and confess to having had a bit of a moment. I’d already trimmed the a pillars in Project Shed using some cheap red faux suede material sourced from eBay. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it started fading in the sun almost before the spray glue had dried. In hindsight, maybe I should have coated it with some sort of UV protection, but more likely I shouldn’t have been such a cheapskate. You live and learn. As pink a-pillars were not the look I was after, they had to go. And when the opportunity arose to have some proper swanky a-pillar builds inserted as part of the stereo install, I thought it was
the perfect opportunity to do a compare and contrast with a bit of professional trimming, done by someone who knows what they’re doing, not a numpty in his garden with a can of spray glue. So, with the compound curves of the new speaker housings
about this job was how Seb, from Q Trim in Essex, didn’t just larrup spray adhesive all over the plastic and the material and then whack them together. Oh no, this is a job that requires cleanliness, a bit of time and steady workmanship. It is not a job that can be rushed. Seb only uses high temp contact adhesive from a company called Fix It. Suitable for headliners, Alcantara, carpets, leather and suede, he swears by it. He also prefers a brush to a spray can as it allows more intricate, measured application. Before we move onto the pictures, we’ll leave you with this pearl of wisdom that seems to be the key to trimming: work from the middle out and address any curves or contours first. t
requires cleanliness, a bit of time and steady workmanship finished off last month, it’s now time to finish them off with a dab of heavy duty contact adhesive, more patience than I applied to my efforts and a healthy sprinkling of expertise. The one thing that struck me
NEED TO KNOW TOOLS
n Leather or
n Twin-needle sewing machine n Contact adhesive
(we used Fix It) n Paintbrush n Aerosol primer n Sandpaper n Loads of patience TIME TAKEN
n Half a day
COST DIY n £40 COST PRO
n Approx. £120
080-83_VWt_60_November 17_How to trimming.indd 80
STEP 1 Lay out the parts you want to trim – in this case, our a-pillar builds – and measure how much material is required for both sides. Leave at least 10cm excess all round STEP 4 Using thinners, petrol or panel wipe, the pillars are wiped down so the glue has a nice clean surface to adhere to
STEP 2 Because our a-pillar builds weren’t quite symmetrical, Seb measured where the tweeters fall in relation to the start of the contour on the a pillar itself. In order to get the stitching in the same place on both pillars, he then traced a rough line while pressing the material into the contours of the speaker ring
STEP 3 Holding the material firmly, he was then able to draw a straight line to where the pillar started to curve away towards the dash. By tracing a rough chalk line and marking where the material should curve, Seb knew where the stitching should rest
STEP 5 As the GRP filler would absorb glue, the glass fibre areas were primed and keyed with 180-grit sandpaper to give the glue a nice surface to bond to
STEP 6 Following the contoured lines he’d drawn earlier, Seb was able to stitch matching lines in red thread on a twin needle sewing machine. Thanks to the excess material cut earlier, there was plenty to manipulate into the complex shape of the a pillars VWt 81
080-83_VWt_60_November 17_How to trimming.indd 81
Trim your a pillars
STEP 10 While you still have time to manoeuvre the material, smooth it into the contours and press it firmly into place within the speakers cups, big cup first. Then snip a few little triangles into the material within the hole so it presses neatly down into the recess. Very sharp scissors are a must here, and donâ€™t cut right up to the edge of the speaker cup
STEP 7 Then he drew the curved profile onto the plastic pillars to give a guide to follow as the stitched material is glued down bit by bit. This way, while the profile may vary, the stitching looks equally spaced against the tweeter cups on both sides
STEP 8 Brush on a light coat of contact adhesive and leave it to go tacky. Repeat the adhesive on the reverse seam side
STEP 9 Lay the fabric on and follow the pencil contour lines as you press the seam home
STEP 11 Working slowly along both panel and material, apply glue gradually and in small amounts, allowing it to go tacky before smoothing the Alcantara into position. Ensure there are no wrinkles by doing a small, flat area at a time and keeping it pulled taut
STEP 12 Cut some slashes into the excess material along the edge, apply a little more glue to both surfaces and smooth over the top section
080-83_VWt_60_November 17_How to trimming.indd 82
STEP 13 Repeat along the bottom edge with coats of contact adhesive allowed to go tacky on both surfaces before smoothing into place
STEP 16 Now turn the work piece over and slowly work your way around the edges, trimming and glueing to the reverse side as you go. If the material won’t give as much as you’d like, cut another small triangular tab into it. You can always enlarge it a bit if you need to
STEP 14 Ensure the material is pulled tight but evenly along the length of the part, then fold and smooth the sections around the edges
STEP 17 If you do it like a professional, the finished article will look like this, with the awkward location tab cut around and finished like so. Now we really can’t wait to see how they’ll look in the Van, with the speakers in place STEP 15 Trim off any excess material, leaving enough so you can cut small triangular tabs into the edge so it lies flat when glued down. Again, don’t cut right to the edge
Next issue: More trimming, only carpet lining in the back this time VWt 83
080-83_VWt_60_November 17_How to trimming.indd 83
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Leighton Vans You know you’re doing something right when world class athletes choose your company over VW itself to buy a Van from Words Jim Blackstock Photos Adam Walker
WHO? www.leightonvans.co.uk WHAT? The best value new and
secondhand, high-spec T5s, T5.1s and T6s
WHERE? 1 Dodds Close, Bradmarsh Industrial Estate, Rotherham S60 1BX Tel. 0114 2838484 WHY? To buy, rent, service or have a Van converted to your spec
offices, showroom and workshop all under one roof This is not a staged shot. It’s always this busy and this well organised in the 11,500sq.ft Leighton facility
he owner of Leighton Vans, namesake Michael Leighton, didn’t set out to become one of the country’s most prominent suppliers of VW Vans. In fact, little more than five years ago, he was selling used cars and hadn’t even considered the possibility of people such as internet phenomenon trails bike rider, Danny MacAskill, coming to him to source his new ride. However, five years on, and with a history of exceptional product knowledge and supply, as well as customer service, behind it, Leighton Vans has become one of the biggest players in the UK VW Van scene. Knowing some of the key movers and shakers in the off-road cycling world has helped, of course, but being fully immersed in both the mountain bike and VW scenes have created the phenomenal success that has seen the company move from a rented yard to its own million-pound facility. We spent an afternoon with Michael to find out how it all came about.
VWt: Hi Mike, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. So, how did Leighton Vans come about, and how long have you existed as a firm? ML: It all began around five years ago. I was a keen mountain biker and, of course, I needed a van to cart my bikes and all my gear around. I bought a VW as I was, and still am, passionate about them and, over the course of the next year, modified it because I wanted it to look a bit special. After a year or so, I wanted to upgrade so I put the Van up for sale and it sold pretty quickly. At that time, I was a car dealer and hadn’t dealt in vans before, but I thought there could be something in it. So I bought a few more and it seemed to take off. For the next 12 months, I sunk everything I had into buying more Vans and building the Leighton Vans reputation and brand. We’ve now become successful enough to be able to move into this fantastic new facility.
VWt: The workshop looks absolutely enormous. How big is it? ML: It is! It’s 11,500sq.ft and gives us the room for offices, showroom and workshop all under one roof. We have an open-plan showroom and workshop so people can see what we do and how we do it, and we have five ramps and seven working bays. It’s interesting because people now want to come and visit us, even without the intention of actually buying there and then. We’ve had people down from Scotland just to come and have a look. VWt: Who’s involved in the firm now? What is the majority of the work you do? ML: We have 16 employees now and the majority of the work we do is sales and rentals. We have both Vans and Campers – the Campers are just short term, but the Vans are both short and long-term hire. We’re doing more conversion work now as well, mainly because we have
086-88_VWt_60_November 17_Leighton Vans.indd 86
Fully-equipped workshop is reminiscent of a dealer facility
The Love Not Money BMX race team nurture up and coming riders and Leighton like to get involved with all aspects of cycling Choose any set of brand spankers 20s you like
If it’s a highspec T6 you’re after, look no further
We’re hoping the ramps don’t see that much use with ’16 and ’17-plate Vans, though Leighton offers full service facilities as well
Top quality leather work has become a standard of the Leighton approach. As Michael put it, “We don’t sell basespec Vans.”
Dynamic modern art brightens up the workshop no end, and the theme is carried through to the offices
Rearmounted Slidepods have become a mainstay of the Leighton Vans conversion arsenal VWt 87
086-88_VWt_60_November 17_Leighton Vans.indd 87
Yeah, so there’s a few to choose from when you visit the undisputed HQ of modified Van sales LED headlights are sure to be the must-have T6 accessory, once an aftermarket company susses out an alternative to the genuine article
This really cool Triumph Scrambler was in the workshop so we had to take a photo of it VWt: You guys offer finance, is that right? ML: We do. We have both traditional hire-purchase options, as well as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP). As we work with a range of parties, we can also help out if people’s credit history is less than perfect.
It’s hard to fault a set of BBS-esque Calibre 20s VWt: Is it mainly Volkswagens you deal with? ML: Yes. We have dabbled with other makes of Van but it’s not the same. We are passionate about VWs and have found that VW customers are the same and are primarily concerned with quality, whereas those who look for other makes tend to be all about price, price, price.
We are passionate about VWs [and] VW customers are primarily concerned with quality additional capacity in the new facility. We have our Sportline conversions, with carpet lining, insulation and retrims, and have also started doing Day Van conversions. We use the Skyline roof, which provides two sleeping berths up there. We also use the Slidepods unit, which sits behind the second row of seats in a Kombi and offers a really neat solution to get a cooker, sink, storage and even a shower into a Van. The Kombi seats fold down and, with a mattress topper, creates another double bed, so the vehicle has four berths overall and five seats when travelling.
VWt: What’s all this stuff we keep seeing with Danny MacAskill doing back flips off your Vans? How did you get involved with all these MTB, BMX, trails riding and bouldering athletes? ML: We sponsor Danny and he has a Van from us. In fact, he’s on his second one from us at the moment. It started because I was friends with Steve Peat, the champion downhill racer. He started to post stuff that he was doing with us on social media, and this was when people like Danny would have been following him. Then, as their own success grew, they followed Steve and came to us for support. We’re just about to start sponsoring another Red Bull athlete, Shauna Coxsey, the rock climber. She won the Bouldering World Cup last year and this year and the relationship came about the same way.
VWt: We noticed the other month on Instagram that the Supercar Driver crew seem to zip about in one of your T6s. How did that come about? ML: It’s another relationship that grew off the back of our support for people like Steve, Danny and Brendan Fairclough. They are all high-end athletes and generate a huge following. The Supercar Driver club came to us to see if we could support them, and we provided them with a crew bus to use on their events. VWt: Cheers Mike. If you ever fancy lending us one of your ABT-kitted, Slidepod-equipped, 204bhp T6s you know where we are, right? ML: Er, I’m sorry, you cut out there for a moment… t
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T25 WESTFALIA LHD
VW T5.1 TRANSPORTER 4 BERTH
VOLKSWAGEN EARLY BAY WINDOW WESTFALIA
1972, £20,000 ono. Good condition. Some extras inc awning MOT till Dec17. Garage maintained. Reg, UBK543K. Dorset. david. firstname.lastname@example.org.
T2 CROSSOVER EARLY BAY
1987, 200,000 miles, £7,500. I imported the van from California in 2006. 2L Petrol Watercooled engine. Power Steering, air conditioning. Engine reconditioned @150K. All original interior and trim in v good condition. Pop top roof. Rare slot in double bench seat converting it from a 5 to a 7 seater. Serviced by local VW specialist, FSH. West Yorkshire. 07875 299621.
22,000 miles, £37,995. T30/102 2.0L TDi. Cruise Control, Rear parking sensors, Skyline roof, MOT compliant Rock n Roll bed, 18 inch White Audi Rota-style wheels, Double swivel front seat, Can 1401 sink and gas hob, Cold running water, Indel B Fridge/freezer, Platinum Leisure Battery (A Rated), Evo-Design Kitchen units, Fully insulated and Sound deadened. robertwoollven@ outlook.com.
T2 EARLY BAY WESTFALIA
1978, £19,000. Very straight and sound. Having lived on a Cape Town vineyard. Documented mechanical. Work done has MoT but awaiting birth certificate, honest untouched bodywork as imported complete with rear drop sides. Dorset. 01308 862045 / 07791 530618.
VOLKSWAGEN MYSTERY MACHINE
T1 SPLIT WINDOW
TYPE 2 DOUBLE CAB PICK UP
1969, £35,000. California imported rust free. Fully restored 2011 owned since. Wax oiled. Summer miles winter stored in insulated garage. 1776 completely rebuilt motormachined heads 40 twin Webber carbs. Braided hoses, electronic ignition, stainless exhaust, oil cooler, custom Porsche front disks, new rear drums with servo, anti roll bar, empi or original wheels, halogen headlights. Durham. 07515 855472.
1969, £19,950. SO67 Campmobile, LHD US import, ready to go! Fully WaxOiled underside. 5 new tyres. 10 months MoT. Tax Exempt. Devon. 07814 481400 (RA)
£19,000. In Blue located in south of Spain Sheetmetal/ Paint: good. Motor: goodSeating: good. Interior: some details-Matching numbers: good. Origin: Brasil (1973). Included: new battery 60 Ah, oil, European Customs full documented (DUA), Spanish taxes (IVTM-2017), temporary Spanish plate, and insurance (third parties + assistance) until Mar-2018. If wanted to keep in Spain, I can add “Vehiculo historico plate” for extra +1000€. +34 654 33 54 69 (RA)
1964, £30,000. LHD. Bare metal restoration,originalbeige grey overSealingwax red. Single unitsmev hob and sink. New headliner, insulation throughout.Fresh 1776cc engine, twin carbs, new ancillaries. 07764 857129 (RA)
VW CARAVELLE CAMPER
1983, £6,000. New clutch, new tyres, new exhaust. Resprayed. 3 berth, WHB and gas cooker, radio, tow bar. 12 months MoT. New awning. Dorset. 07971 385242 (PB)
VW LATE BAY CAMPERVAN
1970. £29,995. California import, left hand drive, full restoration summer 2014. Great runner comes with MOT till September 2017, orginal van with new canvas and extras. Guildford. 07500 777 147 90 VWt
1989, £10,500 ono. Professionally converted 78PS Panel Van. Fitted out for fun or business. Sound and video.1915cc Petrol. New stainless steel exhaust. New tyres. Recent Service. MOT October. Kent. 07721 942732.
1979, £26,000. Exterior/ interior excellent condition. Mileage: 82,313. Features: rock n roll double bed, double bed in pop up, CD player, fridge, sink, gas hob, stow away table. Mot til May 2018. Wiltshire. 07766 541749 (RA)
1975, £24,000 ONO. Tax Exempt, 1.6L Engine, Beautiful condition and great bodywork following restoration. 3/4 Rock and Roll Bed. Lighting and AV setup throughout. 3 Berth plus Hammock for over front seats. 12 Month MOT Leisure battery plus charging system. Herts. 07538 163882 (RA)
Trade advertisers call: 01959 543500 CARS FOR SALE
VW T5 CAMPER LWB
POLO CLASSIC 1.0
2007, 220,000 miles, ÂŁ13,500. 2 berth, Bebb R â€˜nâ€™ R bed. Front captainâ€™s swivel seats. Smev 9322 hob. Resprayed Spanish green. DRL style headlights. New ABS control module. MoT December 2017. East Sussex. 07904 917389
2002, ÂŁ1,500. 2LTR. MOT Until Jan 2018. 90,000 miles. Full service history. Silver. Much loved car owned since 2005. Leather Upholstery, heated front seats. 6CD Multi-changer. Call for more information. 07776 247 386 OR 07526 460 381
VW WESTFALIA ADVENTURE WAGON
1990. ÂŁ3,750. MK1 Golf Clipper manual 1800cc in Black with only 108,325 recorded miles. The Golf has just passed its MOT and has some service history (Service receipts/MOTs ..etc) and is fitted with period BBS Alloy wheels. This is rare opportunity to acquire one of these performance Classics â€“ a real drivers car and ready to enjoy the Summer. 07866339451
1969, ÂŁ14,300 ono. LHD, Californian Import, 1.6, Rock and Roll bed, Electric Hook Up, MOT, Waxoiled, Service History.Solid Original Bodywork, Tax Exempt, U.K Spec Electrics, Serviced by VW Specialist. 07980 165243 / 01614 837405
1990, ÂŁ1,500. Tornado red, very sound and reliable. New MoT. Would swap for London taxi Fairway automatic. No texts please. Northamptonshire. 07941 803765.
1984. ÂŁ3,000 ONO. 36,000 genuine miles. Full VW service history, Comes with all documentation, tax discs and Haynes manual, Totally standard and original. MOT due in may. Detailed engine. Lancashire 07891419769
LITERATURE & INFORMATION FOR SALE 1999, 50,000 miles, ÂŁ450. 4 door. Diesel 1.9. 2 owners. Good solid car. 6 months MoT. History. North Yorkshire. 07970 000068.
VOLKS WORLD + VOLKS CAMPER AND BUS MAGAZINES ÂŁPOA. Volume 1 â€“ 45 plus years. London. 07710 507460
2012 VW T5 Danbury â€˜Royaleâ€™, 38,451 miles. 2.0 Diesel, 2 burner hob, grill, sink, fridge freezer, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof, safety pull-tested single beds, electric flushing cassee toilet, raising roof etc. ÂŁ34,995. Ref: ZKX.
2015 VW T5 Danbury 6 Seat Surf. 29,900 miles. 2.0 Diesel engine, 2 burner gas hob, grill, fridge freezer, sink, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof, comfortable king-sized bed, rear parking sensors, colour-coded bumpers, double cab front seat. ÂŁ32,995. Ref: MKE.
2011 VW T5 Danbury 5-Seat â€˜Royaleâ€™, 12,813 miles. EXTREMELY LOW-MILEAGE. 2.0 Diesel, 2 burner hob, grill, sink, fridge freezer, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof, safety pull-tested single beds, electric flushing cassee toilet, raising roof etc. ÂŁ34,995. Ref: BYG.
2013 VW T5 Danbury Trail. 27,000 miles. 2.0 Diesel engine, 2 burner gas hob, grill, fridge freezer, sink, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof, comfortable king-sized bed, double cab front seat. ÂŁ30,995. Ref: GUH.
2001 VW T2 Type 2 Danbury Diamond, 30,000 miles, 1.6 air-cooled petrol engine, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof and spacious double bed, underseal an-corrosion treatment, heated windscreen, heated rear window, CD radio and much more, ÂŁ16,995. Ref: FFO
2017 VW T6 Danbury Acve, 0 miles, 2.0 diesel engine, 2 burner gas hob & grill, stainless steel sink, camping leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof and two large, comfortable, safety pulltested single beds, air condioning, front & rear parking sensors, pcruise , control, p gdriver and , passenger armrests, ÂŁ46,717. Ref: 3088
2011 VW T5 Danbury â€˜Royaleâ€™, 48,953 miles. 2.0 Diesel, 2 burner hob, grill, sink, fridge freezer, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, raising roof, safety pull-tested single beds, electric flushing cassee toilet, raising roof etc. ÂŁ34,995. Ref; YEB.
2015 VW T2 VW Diamond SE, only 3,623 miles, 1.4 water-cooled petrol engine, 2 burner hob, grill, sink, fridge freezer, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, alloys, chrome pack, roof rack, side step, POWER STEERING, air condioning, CAT2 Alarm, bike rack, buddy seat, Freeview TV and much much more. *Private Plate Not Included* ÂŁ56,995. Ref: 3071.
2014 VW T5 Surf, 37,976 miles. 2.0 Diesel engine, 2 burner hob, grill, fridge freezer, sink, leisure baery, 240v mains hook up, king sized bed layout, metallic paint, rear parking sensors, cruise control. Only ÂŁ31,995. Ref: HFA.
2017 VW T6 Danbury Surf, 0 miles, 2.0 diesel engine, air condioning, front & rear parking sensors with reversing camera, metallic paint, a double cab swivel passenger seat, fixed tow bar with electrics, wind out sun canopy awning, diesel powered camping heater and internal TV Aerial socket with booster aerial, ÂŁ55,290. Ref: 3095
Email: email@example.com www.danburymotorcaravans.com 01454 310 000 VWt 91
WALL OF FAME
Porsche Fuchs painted in candy pink on a T4? They shouldn’t work, but somehow they just do
The VWt cool wall Wheels! You love them. We love them, too! That’s why this month we’re bringing you some hoop Nirvana
American Racing reps on the same T4 as the pink Fuchs. Why limit yourself to one sort of wheel? Why not run two different sets, or go mad and run four?
With more than a passing nod to BBS motorsport rims of old, the 1552 Formula GT, in a 9.5 x 19
Rad to your wild or
Rotiform now produce a bewildering array of forged, three-piece wheels to suit the Transporter range
Rotiform LAS-Rs smack of lightweight motorsport pedigree, yet support a fair amount of weight as well
Ah, three s three s
e’ve had another bumper month travelling far and wide across the UK to bring you the best that planet t has to offer. What’s abundantly clear is the T6 scene is kicking off big time, as evidenced at Busfest, VW Festival, VWNW, Grill-n-Chill, Edition38 and VW Players this month. Keep your Vans coming in via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget to keep tagging us in your Instagram posts with #vwtmag and #vwtmagazine. We see them all, even if we don’t always get time to comment. Keep it up good people. t
Radi8 are knocking out some bizarrely leftfield stuff at the moment, including the R8t12. Check them out www.radi8wheels.com
MB Design offer a variety of BBS-esque motorsport rims that show off flash brakes to great effect, like these LV1s
And rims on they’re
More Rotiforms. The designs change so quickly, and they’re not always listed on the website, so it keeps up guessing. Polished copper finish here is double swish
Watercooled Ind. WCI10s here on Colin Campbell’s Caddy Van. Complex patterns are the flavour of the moment, and keep detailers busy
We think the Still Static T6 delivery ’Wagen runs a set of ultra exclusive Vossen LC108Ts. Hard to be sure though as this design looks different on the website
With MB De machin
092-93_VWt_60_November 17_Cool wall.indd 92
nod ld, the 19
Wagen 108Ts. ooks
Rad48 rims are custom made to your specs, so you can go as wild or as wide as you like
Surf’s up, dude Ah, remember the good ol’ days of Antera three spokes in Max Power? Work Equip three spokes are like a step back in time
We were north bound on the M5 from Exeter to Bridgwater when we found this T5 resting in Cullompton services, looking like it was destined to go surfing somewhere on the Cornish coast. Is it yours? Give us a shout and let us know email@example.com
Andy Stephenson rocks these Rotiform ZRH rims on his carbon fibre T6. Like the Rad48s, they’re an acquired taste, but oh-so exclusive
OZ Super and Ultraleggera remain our favourite bits of motorsport wheel porn
If you need to ask how much a set of ADV.1 wheels cost, it’s probably best you don’t enquire
With a hint of BMW Alpina about them, MB Design VR1.3 are custom-made, CNCmachined, split-rim perfection
VSP Type2 wheels are a new one on us, but we rather like the slab sided look of them, especially in primer grey
These are 1552 R43s, which always look jazzy, particularly in this season’s must-have bronze / copper colour VWt 93
092-93_VWt_60_November 17_Cool wall.indd 93
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Bonnet de douche A T6 needn’t be just for the weekend, this one you could spend weeks in
As show season draws to a close, we go into hibernation and hope for some time to sort Project Shed out ready for next year. What are you doing to your Van over the coming winter?
Even with sidebars, it’s still one of the lowest we’ve seen around
Work / life ’Wagen
A Van that can deal with everything, built on a sensible budget
Edition38 and VW Festival
Fit a rock ’n’ roll bed
Blinds, vinyl floor and audiophile ICE
Issue 61 (December) on sale Friday 27 October
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*Contents subject to change due to the fact we don’t know who’s shot what and generally what’s going on in life at the moment. As Travis Bickle said in Taxi Driver, one of these days I’m gonna get myself organizized. Hopefully… Meanwhile, Project Shed will hopefully get us to Grill-n-Chill, VW Players, Brighton Breeze and Oktoberfest without breaking down (again). If it doesn’t, I’m buying a T4.
095_VWt_60_November 17_Next month.indd 95
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View from the inside
Mr. Controversial Head honcho at wheel refurb specialist, Fix A Wheel, Jared Coulson is known for being slightly, er, outspoken. We love him though VWt: Watcha Jared, how’s it going? Going by what I’ve read on t’internet, you seem to annoy people quite easily… why do you think that is? JC: Hey mate, I’m good thank you. I’m not sure if people get upset with me because I’m so damn handsome and they feel threatened, or because I don’t mind giving my honest opinion. I feel there is too much ass kissing in the scene and I don’t go in for that. VWt: We’ve been after a feature on your Van for blooming ages. When are you going to finally finish it? JC: Tell me about it. Did you actually see it when you first wanted it? It smacked of forum spec, and it hurts to look back at it now. It’s pretty much where it needs to be at the minute though, with just a few things still to be tweaked, then it’s all yours. It will never be fully finished though, as I love nothing more than going outside on the drive and tinkering with it as the Mrs. and I get to spend time together doing it. VWt: Anyone would think you’ve been busy running your own business. How’s that going? JC: Yeah, business is good, thanks. It takes plenty of time up though, and has delayed the Van being back together this year, but without it I wouldn’t have the Van. We are branching out into other aspects of the industry now too, and are agents for Forge Motorsport, Bilstein, EBC Brakes and many more, and also have our own range of detailing products coming out soon, too. Go check out Fixawheel on social media and www.fixawheel.co.uk VWt: So, being a wheel guy, if you could choose your ultimate set of wheels, where would you spend your money? JC: The Rotiforms I have now are pretty damn close, and I haven’t seen anything to replace them yet. I’m tight anyway, so couldn’t justify the extra expense of a one-off design. I get bored of looking at wheels all day as it is. VWt: How would you improve the current VW scene? JC: To be fair, I quite like the scene. It is what it is. People complain about the financed rides and air ride and wheels, but youngsters are financing cars, so
that’s how it goes these days. Finance wasn’t a thing when I passed my test! I had a £150 Mini and was thankful if it got me where I wanted to go. What I don’t like about the scene is the seriousness surrounding show ’n’ shine – you know what I mean? The people who only go to shows if the prizes are worthwhile, or those who stamp their feet if they don’t win. Just chill out and meet good people. Eastnor Castle this year was brilliant. I had a wicked time with the Lowdown Transporters lads. I didn’t even register for show ’n’ shine on the Saturday, just sat there having a laugh and chatting nonsense. VWt: What’s worse, online forums or social media experts? JC: Unfortunately, I think forums have had their day, with social media now taking over. I still like the odd forum, and have a little build thread going on Edition38. Facebook is a big old place and is somewhere that people with massively differing opinions gather, so it can end up in a mess as there are so many pub mechanics. VWt: What got you into VW Vans in the first place, then? JC: I started out in classic Minis, having built stacks of them while running the local Mini club. Then I moved onto Ford RSs. Now, if you want to see a cliquey scene, attend an RS show!
You know you’ve got it made when your partner and family not only encourage, but are actively involved in Van life
I think forums have had their day, with social media now taking over
I got sick of that eventually and had a crappy estate car not long after my daughter was born. We went away to Devon and it was full of T4s and ’5s, so I decided to get one. I’ve had three T4s, then the T5 we have now and haven’t really looked back since. The VW scene is something I have always been into, admiring the quality of the builds and the attention to detail involved. VWt: What one modification would you do if you were a first time Van owner? JC: The first modification to do when you buy anything, irrelevant of what it is, is bring it way closer to the floor. Everything looks cool when it’s decked. VWt: A little birdie tells us your Van also comes in handy for transporting your Santa Cruz Enduro bike? Do you think the VW thing is more lifestyle than mere vehicle ownership once you get involved? JC: Since our first T4, we have found Vans just make life so much easier, especially with kids. You can sit and chill in one on a day out, get changed in one after a day on the bikes, camp in one during a week’s holiday, or rock up in one on a show field and hold its own. I love the fact it does everything, and cannot think of anything I would want to replace it with. As for the Santa Cruz, the Mrs. treated me to that to be honest. I think she wanted me to treat her to one, but I bought her a coat! VWt: You always come mob handed to shows. Do your young ’uns really like taking part? JC: With two kids that pretty much like the shows and a Mrs. (Tanya) that definitely does, it makes it easy to take them all along. They get to meet people as well as us, so it’s good all round as we’re a dead sociable bunch really. It’s great being part of a family that do stuff together. I don’t think I’d enjoy it very much if I was on my own. t
098_VWt_60_November 17_QandA.indd 98
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