After hiring campervans and motorhome for a few years, we took the decision in Autumn 2018 to buy our own. Following months of research, we narrowed it down to a handful of converters, of which Newwave was one. A stock VW California was dismissed as it only comes in SWB form and has the sliding door on the continental side. Therefore the base vehicle had to be a LWB Kombi with a single sliding door on the LHS. The conversion had to have a sliding rear seat to provide the versatility to change the living space and load area according to our daily needs. As we have 2 daughters under 10 and given the costs involved, our camper had to double as the family vehicle.
Newwave made our shortlist due to excellent reviews and the fact that their Verso conversion offers a sliding seat/bed system. Despite not yet having a van, in November 2018, I rang and spoke to Linzi at Newwave to enquire about build slots. July 2019 was the answer. If their order books were that full, then it was decision made!
Right from the start, Newwave could not have been more helpful. They recommended a dealer for us to source van from and were very patient whenever we rang with the myriad of questions that arise from trying to spec your own vehicle. Mike has an honest, no-nonsense approach and a clear passion for the work he undertakes. When we went to Newwave to finalise the specification, both he and Linzi were invaluable, as we had a vision of what we wanted but didn’t know how to get there. Our camper had to have a bespoke feel with leather seats and colour inserts. We wanted to maximise storage for family camping trips and give ourselves the option to go off grid, so the underslung lpg tank, water storage, diesel heater and solar panel were a must, as were upgraded speakers in the rear to keep our daughters entertained. We tend to cook quite a lot in the van when camping, so a double gas burner and fridge were also essential. We also really wanted an oven to give us the option to leave a meal on low heat whilst away from the van for the day, knowing we can return to a hot meal ready to eat. Mike explained that this had never been done before in the Verso conversion and that it could be quite a challenge. Fortunately he was quickly persuaded that it would be done (thanks Linzi!).
The results speak for themselves. We now have, a unique, one-off LWB Verso conversion that can be used for the school run, commuting to work or a weeks’ off grid camping in Scotland. “Bamboo”, as named by our girls, has been built with a meticulous attention to detail that incorporates all the features from our wish list. We have already had several camping trips away in some fairly low temperatures and the Webasto heater and Reimo bed upgrade have proved invaluable. Bamboo is now very much part of the family and we can’t wait for warmer weather to come so we can continue making family memories.
Newwave are not the cheapest, nor do they have off the shelf stock or even demonstrators for you to look at. Every build is different. What you are purchasing, is a unique, bespoke, personalised, custom built vehicle. I can only repeat what I said to Mike when we saw Bamboo on collection; “You’ve absolutely nailed it”.
Thank to Mike, Linzi and all the team at Newwave for turning a crazy dream into a reality.