I'd never really considered the prospect of getting a Camper van up until about 3 months ago. I've travelled a lot and seen many places but if I'm honest, not much of the UK. I remember a few childhood holidays where we camped but really I've not camped regularly before. Friends of mine owned a T2 and used to zoom around the country camping here there and everywhere. I loved the old fashioned Camper but I thought at the time " You wouldn't catch me doing this, give me four walls and a hotel bed anytime over this"
I'm sure you'll see the irony in the situation when I tell you that I'm now a proud owner of a 2014 T5 from Vanworx in Portland.
I initially came across a Camper van at a dog show over in Oxted. It was a LWB T5 Celex by Bilbo's. It was the first time I'd seen a modern Camper up close and I was quite impressed. I look after a family member and they have a chronic bad back and that limits them when travelling. I thought at the time that a Camper would be an ideal thing to have and would give a certain freedom, in that we could virtually go anywhere and camp anywhere.
So initially my first port of call was Bilbo's and although their campers were very nice they were a bit plain for my taste. I'd seen other companies offering different upholstery options and a much better variation of colour and design, so I continued to look around. I noted at the time that there were loads of camper converters out there but only half a dozen have what's called "Full European Type Approval" the highest safety standard that the converters can attain.
I looked around and found various converters that had that Type Approval but found Vanworx was the one website I kept on returning to. The cool videos they had on their site showing off their different conversions and the general vibe I got from their website peeked my interest. I was initially looking at getting a new T6 and sent an email to Vanworx which was promptly answered by David (Vanworx Owner). Several phone calls and emails later David arranged to bring a Camper up from their other premises in Shoreham to my house. Most of the main work they do with the conversions takes place at Portland, but they had just finished attending Busfest and had their show campers at Shoreham until they were shuttled down to Portland.
I was still looking at a T6 with their slipper conversion and in order to get an idea of Vanworx workmanship and what the slipper conversion looked like, David brought up a fully kitted out T5 with their slipper conversion. He arrived and immediately I loved it. The conversion was of a very high standard, great colours/interior. It also had loads of little touches and extras that made me think I want this camper!! In fact these options and little additions that you can get on new camper conversions was what attracted me to Vanworx in the first place and made them stand out from the rest. I think the key thing for me was "Choice" and not just here is what we do and that's that.
So, after David left we were really keen to get the camper and slept on it and decided we would go and have another look at it. We had a second look at the camper a couple of days later and put down a deposit and the rest is history.
Vanworx have been a pleasure to deal with and their overall personal touch to customer service has been refreshing. David and his team have been happy to help me after the sale took place with a number of things. When you meet David you get the impression that he really enjoys what he does and to top it off he's a really nice guy.
I've always hated car/van salesmen and there main drive is to get that sale, however with David he turned up, showed off the Camper answered all our questions and not once did he push for a sale. In fact I liked that at the start of our meeting when we were talking T6's, he inquired why I was wanting the most powerful engine with 4motion. He then suggested if four wheel drive wasn't really necessary maybe I should go for the next engine down and save some money. My thinking was if I'm getting a new Camper why not get top spec but It was nice to see from the start he was not just seeing a sale and gunning for it but giving sound advice and giving options. I know this isn't a revelation because there are many good salesmen that do the same, but equally there are bad salesmen that are just thinking about how much they can make.
I tried to keep the idea of a brand new T6 turning up in the new year in my mind but as I said I was really taken by the camper he brought up to us. It was a ex demo model so had all the bells and whistles and yes I bought it and still have a big smile on my face!!
So overall I've got nothing but good things to say about Vanworx. They are a friendly team with a wealth of experience in the conversion business, in fact they offer so much more from retrofits to Revo remaps. I'll be going on my first road trip in my camper at the end of October and will be taking the opportunity to drop in and see their Portland operation and at the same time get some retrofits done as well as a remap.
I like Vanworx style and I love those little touches that make your camper stand out and look different from the rest. Some individuals may want something more toned down, neutral colours and bog standard, or even to do a self build. I however love alloy wheels, mood lighting, and low profile tyres amongst other things and for that reason I chose Vanworx and I don't regret it for a second.
Ironically, I had originally planned to do my research into campers and then attend the Motorhome show in Birmingham to see all the conversion companies and then make a purchase. However it didn't turn out that way, but I still attended the show regardless. It was interesting but when you have a camper already it really is a case of walk round a couple of times and then think what's next
I did however look at all the different converters at the show and I think I still would have gone with Vanworx if the truth be told.
I know there are many people on the forum that have the ability to convert there own van, sadly if I attempted something like that I'd most probably be claiming my pension by the time I had finished . So for those of you that are happy to pay for a conversion, I felt I should write this story/review to just highlight my satisfaction with Vanworx. Now with that said, I hope that this is the start of many adventures in my T5 and I look forward to being a part of the wonderful T4/5 forum community!!!
Anyway, I'll stop waffling as I'm off to polish and clean my new toy for the 3rd time today