It has been almost a decade since Volkswagen offered a new camper van, a segment of the industry it used to soar in. However, a UK company offers a unique camper van conversion for the European-sold VW Transporter T5. At the push of a button, the VW Transporter California Doubleback van conversion nearly doubles its cabin length.
VW camper vans iconic
Volkswagen has always been an innovator in the camper van arena. The VW bus and its many descendants were the go-to road-trip vehicles for many Europeans and American motorists over the past five decades or so. But the automaker hasn’t sold any camper vans in the U.S. since 2003, when it stopped making the Eurovan. The Transporter T5, however, is a wildly popular van model in Europe.
Expandable rear cabin
While converting a Transporter T5s is nothing new, this Doubleback conversion is unique because of an expandable rear section that gives an extra six-and-a-half feet of cabin length at the push of a button. The Doubleback company claims the extension will nearly double living space in less than 45 seconds. Also, it says the conversion will add only 286 pounds to the T5.
Two beds fold down in the new aft section, while allowing equipment and supplies to be stored neatly underneath. There is also a pop-up tent on top, with beds that sleep two.
Sleeps four, transports two
The Doubleback conversion creates sleeping quarters for four. Unfortunately, the van conversion involves losing the rear seats, leaving only twin “captain” buckets up front for the driver and one passenger. So unless you plan to meet another couple at the final destination, sleeping accommodations for four may be overkill.
Or, according to CarScoop, buyers have the option of replacing the two front “captain seats” with a three-person bench seat at no extra charge.
The Transporter Doubleback conversion packs a load rating of 1,323 pounds when the rear cabin and its legs are extended. Its standard features include a stove, refrigerator/freezer, storage for potable and non-potable water, swivel table, closet and a TV/DVD player combo. It is run by a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine with 138bhp, boasting a modest 30.6 miles per gallon of fuel.
But it is not cheap
But it does not come cheap. In Europe, it retails for £55,000, or about twice what it would cost to by the VW Transporter T5 without the conversion. That’s $87,975 in the U.S., but the price also includes British taxes.