As a lifelong friend of Heritage Directors Paul and Barney, it should come as no surprise that Ed Tomlinson has also got an interest in Volkswagens. His most recent project is this Citrus themed T5 Camper, he’s nicknamed ‘Clockwork Orange’. We caught up with Ed and son Elijah, for a chat and a closer look.
One careful owner…
The previous custodians of Ed’s T5 Van were, in fact, the RAC, which explains the bright orange. “I didn’t set out to buy an Orange bus,” Ed tells us “but I wanted the 140bhp engine and factory air conditioning and it turns out the RAC order the exact same spec for their mobile mechanics to use.”
You’d trust it’s been looked after, wouldn’t you? And you know what? I quite like the colour – you’re not gonna lose it at the campsite!
Pedalling a plan
As a keen cyclist and Triathlete too, Ed’s intention was to create a camper van that could not only take him and the family away on holidays but also act as a base for road cycling trips and even the odd ‘Iron Man’ here and there. As an added benefit it has turned into a bit of a business venture, but we’ll come to that later.
With his newly acquired T5 panel van parked on the driveway, Ed got on the phone to a friend who does conversion work and booked it in for a makeover. With his wife Claire finalising the exact specification the interior features hanging space for clothes, a lockable safe for valuables and copious cubby holes for storage whilst travelling. It’s no surprise that a Rock and Roll bed takes care of sleeping, and a fridge, sink and cooker are all installed into the luxury LED-lit cabinets along the right side of the bus. The seat covers nicely complement the paintwork outside, without feeling like you are travelling in the Outspan car!
To help further distance the bus from its Roadside Recovery roots, Ed ordered up a quintet of SSP windows from Heritage Parts Centre (us!) These would not only offer rear passengers a view out but provide those staying inside some welcome fresh air, thanks to the opening middle sections. Completing the set, Ed’s tailgate having previously just been metal, was treated to a pane too.
Raising the roof
Given his brief to create a practical getaway van, a pop-top was a pretty obvious choice. This one is by Skyline Roofs and provides the necessary height for changing and cooking and of course, creates additional sleeping room too. Sunken spot lights operate from the base of the upstairs bunk and offer additional illumination, perfect for reading in bed, or searching for something after dark!
Sadly the previous owners didn’t consider Sportline Bumpers a necessity, so Ed has sourced a set of lower spoilers and body-coloured the original bumpers to suit. “When I do the next one I’ll just buy new smooth T5 bumpers, these were a real pain to get like this having originally been grey and textured!”
The next one?!
Yes, Ed has plans to convert a second T5 as this one is proving so popular he’s not getting to use it as much as he wanted too. We joke about doing a yellow one next, continuing the citrus fruit theme – and of course giving a nod to ‘the other’ motoring organisation, when who should drive past?!! “I’ve got room to park 2 buses on my drive – after that, I’d have to rent somewhere to store them, and I’d rather not do that” Ed tells me.
Hire state of consciousness
From the outset, Ed was encouraged by a friend who loans out his T5 to families wanting the campervan experience without the tie or expense of owning and maintaining their own, to do the same with his.
It’s fair to say his Campervan rental company ‘Juiced Campers’ has had a smoothie start, already providing the perfect getaway base for dog walkers, cyclists, festival-goers and families. And this Tango T5 was setting off for a month-long road trip the day after our shoot, taking the lucky occupants all around Europe.
(The pun, for those who clocked it, is a nod to Ed’s DJ past, having spun tunes at many Bug Jam events over the years, and chartered Boat Parties on the Thames with our very own CEO – Barney Dines!)
A big thanks to Ed and Elijah for joining us, and sharing their story with us. If you’d like to get away in ‘Clockwork Orange’ lookup Juiced Campers here. Got a VW or Porsche related story or project to share? Please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.