Base vehicle: VW Transporter T5/T6 Price from: £12,900 (conversion only) Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 4.89m Width: 1.90m Height: 2.00m Gross weight: 2,800kg Payload: 400kg
This converter from just north of the Humber has been converting VW Transporters into campervans, surf vans or day vans for over 15 years and has slowly developed its product into what you see here.
The company prides itself on the build quality and simplicity of its designs and, as the proprietors are VW campervan users, they should know what you need – and don’t need – in a conversion.
All 8 Ball’s campervan conversions are designed by the company’s owners, Mike Hearst and Colin Almond, who say that only the highest-quality lightweight materials are used, such as Vöhringer, Decalan or Moorland ply for all the cabinetwork and soft-closing systems for drawers.
Here we are featuring the 8 Ball ² which is available in short (as shown) or long-wheelbase forms, as is the 8 Ball 3 with the wider, three-person rear seat and narrower kitchen. The 8 Ball ² is the company’s most popular camper.
The first stage of any 8 Ball conversion is to fully strip out the base vehicle – all the rear wooden lining panels and Volkswagen grey trim panels, including all doors and headlining, plus the floor and sliding door and rear steps.
The van is then insulated with eco wool and a new floor is fitted to give a solid base onto which the cupboards can be fixed. New tailor-made side panels are designed to maximise heat retention and sound reduction.
8 Ball then fits the elevating roof, choosing Austops scissor-hinged pop-tops for its campers. This roof is selected over its popular German rivals for its lower cost and reduced overall height and Colin says he also finds this pop-top easier to lower. It’s a British-made roof which, for non-metallic shades, can be colour-coded to your van at no extra cost. A roof bed on 12mm birch ply base is included and there’s a five-year guarantee, too.
When it comes to interior trim you can choose the colour scheme, with door cards and headlining finished in a faux suede material. New interior step mouldings are fitted during the conversion, while Van-X curtains that run on tracks top and bottom do an effective job of keeping out the light. Thermal screens are used in the cab.
The usual side kitchen design has a black, granite-effect worktop and cupboard doors with a signature silver edging. Upper lockers over the galley and above the rear seat are included as standard, while the table clips to a rail on the front of the unit.
Also featured are a 50-litre Waeco compressor fridge and Smev two-ring gas hob, as well as a gel leisure battery, mains hook-up and an internal 23-litre water tank (filled from the rear and using otherwise wasted space around the wheelarch). At the back, the 45-degree wardrobe door allows access to your clothes whichever position the bench seat is in.
All of this converter’s campers use a crash-tested RIB rear seat (1.12m wide in the case of the 8 Ball ²). This well-known seat/bed system comes with integral adjustable head restraints, optional Isofix and a sliding base (as opposed to floor rails) and is supplied, as standard, in Volkswagen upholstery. Leather, faux suede or alternative cloth options are available, if you prefer, even down to coloured stitching and embroidery.
A number of conversion options are also available, including roof-mounted solar panels (only 2.5mm thick), an exterior barbecue point, tailored audio equipment, awning rails, a Starlight ceiling, Webasto diesel heating and the Chairpod (with camping chairs that store away on the inside of the tailgate).