As a regular visitor to Cornwall over the last 10 years, Steve Field used to get Transporter envy every time he went! Until he bought his own…
Where it all began
Cornwall is home to the largest population of VW Campers – there are many stunning examples. Each one with an owner’s personal touch applied to it.
So, after a few years of justifying how I could include one into my lifestyle. The day finally came for me to order one.
In June 2018 I began scouring the internet for what would be my donor vehicle. Something I had done almost every time I had returned from another Cornish getaway with the family.
A big ask
But this time it was not about to fade away. I was committed to selling my Nissan Navara NP300 to make way for a LWB single sliding door VW T6 Kombi, in indium grey, with a tailgate. Did I forget to mention that it also had to be a 150bhp DSG 7speed model?
Oh and with only very low miles for long road trips with the family down the line. So, as you can imagine. I had set a tricky task and not a single match came up after two months of searching.
That’s when I made the decision to order a brand new one to the exact specification I was looking for.
Fast forward to delivery day…
September 1st 2018, the day my Transporter was ready to collect. And a day that also marked the start of what I now call ‘Project 6’.
The day I collected the van was not only one of the most exciting days ever. Due to finally taking ownership of a VW Transporter. But it was also the day I began to create content and upload videos to my YouTube Channel.
This was another hobby that I was inspired to pursue around my passion for creating cinematic videos. So, on the 1st of September, my son and I took our final journey in the Navara. Heading over to VW Listers Van Centre to collect the new T6 van.
With pure excitement, the day was a complete blur. All I know is I did not stop smiling the entire day and it was such a great feeling. I could finally begin to design and modify the van into what it has become today.
One week old and the modifications began…
Literally the following weekend after taking delivery I began the first modification. Installing the 50mm Eibach Pro lowering springs.
A selection of parts had already been ordered before I had even collected the vehicle and the springs were one of them.
The mentality was that changing out the springs early before the van picked up debris would make for a cleaner easier job. So with that, I set up my cameras and got stuck into lowering the van.
Sense of satisfaction
With any visual or performance modification we all get a sense of satisfaction when the job is completed. Whether it’s been done in a workshop or carried out by ourselves.
From this day onwards my passion for carrying out the mods and creating my videos along the way just grew to another level.
By documenting my videos in a similar way to other successful automotive YouTuber’s and then adding my own cinematic spin. The channel gathered traction and built an audience for other likeminded VW enthusiasts.
With some winter months ahead I kept my foot off the gas and ordered more parts. Such as the side running bars, Sportline bumpers and spoilers. Along with a selection of interior parts to work in the warm.
I wanted to prepare the van to an extent that it would provide me the basics for taking the family camping by the time April 2019 came around.
There were several reasons that I justified running a LWB version. One of those was to take my family (wife and 3 sons) on regular (and sometimes short notice) camping trips.
Once I had installed the basics for camping, such as the 12V fridge and a flip down TV for the kids the exterior modifying resumed.
I modelled the exterior to my personal taste. But I designed the interior that came later to suit our camping and family requirements.
It was beneficial not rushing into this because following several camping trips, our initial thoughts of how to design the interior changed.
I was initially going to convert the 5-seater factory Kombi into a 6 seater Caravelle. But we took the approach that it was great to have the load space available instead of having to tow the gear behind.
Designed for all jobs
So, I came up with the idea of splitting the van into front & rear. The front would be spacious and comfortable for long distance travel to include swivel captain seats and a 15” flip down TV for the rear seats.
Then behind the belted row I created an L-shape sofa with built in storage that would also house the 12V fridge. This also allowed room for a fold away table so that we could all fit around the table if the weather turned ugly.
On the opposite side I designed and built what became known as “The dream cupboard”. It was a tall floor to ceiling unit that provided a housing for a 24” flatscreen, plus an integrated 240V coffee machine complete with milk frother and finished off with some feature LED lighting.
With the van a little past its first birthday I began to realise that my quest to gain the perfect look for me on the exterior was going to need a little more investment.
The mods continue
By this time I had already purchased a set of Vossen 20” wheels for the summer and a set of Cades 20” wheels with dedicated winter tyres for the winter. As well as Transporter HQ Headlights Glazing for the 3rd row with privacy glass throughout, and more.
But I needed to revise the suspension so that I could have the van sit at the ride height I wanted (about an inch lower). However, with some of the bodywork already being close to the ground this would be an issue making the van unpractical for certain campsites and less comfortable for long journeys.
Time for AIR
With that I opted to have the Air Ride ABP system installed to give me the stance I wanted and retain the comfort and practicality.
By now the van was really ticking all of my boxes, I have personalised it. It’s driving great, its performing in the camping department not to mention my YouTube channel had been growing with all the juicy videos I had been producing along the way. So the next thing I wanted to look at was some performance software.
Time for MORE POWER
With the extra weight added to the T6 van the 150BHP just needed a little boost to restore some power levels without compromising reliability.
One of the most recent modifications to date has been installing Revo’s Stage 1 ECU performance software. I had the privilege of having this carried out by Paul Wallace (a fellow Transporter owner and enthusiast) at Revo’s HQ in Daventry.
With all of the content and the following I had gained from my YouTube channel I was able to go along and film a behind the scenes video of the installation whilst they carried the process out too.
You can check out my video on it here.
What a transformation
It really has transformed the drivability of my van, way beyond what I expected. Not only is it now eye catching for the obvious exterior mods, but it also delivers the performance to match.
And it’ll now cope much better once it’s fully laden with the family and our weekend camping kit.
I’m delighted with the way everything has turned out with ‘Project 6’ so far and the reliability it has given me.
Now we are just around the corner from the van’s second birthday so I am really excited to see where I can take things next. Watch this space!
Images and video by: Alex Bones