Older readers may remember Simon and Lyndsay’s cheesy cry from The Fast Show, but rest assured there’s nothing cheesy about this high-riding T5 4Motion
We love a four-wheel drive. Not a take-the-kids-to-school-and-engage-low-ratio-to-climb-the-kerb type, or an underbody-neon-16-speed-turbo-flamer-nitrous-squillion-horsepower-Fast-and-Furious kind but a proper four-wheel drive in the vein of the old Type 25 Syncro or the ultimate 4WD, as far as we’re concerned, the T5 4Motion. And so does VanWorx, it appears, as they’ve created this awesome off-roader to showcase both their abilities and their philosophy.
This thing will pretty
much go anywhere “
According to top man, Dave Garnsworthy, everyone who works at the renowned conversion specialist is involved in extreme sports in some way, so decided their latest creation would celebrate an approach to life treading a path less travelled. It would also serve as a showcase for a new direction for the company, celebrating the T5’s off-road nature, instead of hiding it under a bushel and create something which, when it comes to modified T5s, has yet to be seen. The result is this monster, and we mean that in the most complementary way possible.
The Van you see here started life as a T5 Kombi with the 4Motion transmission, but the company had bigger plans for it than that. As a dealer for the Delta range of off-road tuning products, the first thing was to ship the Van across to Delta’s workshops in Germany to develop a bespoke suspension package. The idea was simple – create something genuinely useable on a day-to-day basis, that would also make a superb weekend Camper, and handle even the most extreme sports fan’s needs, as well as their masses of kit.
The first step was undoubtedly a difficult one for a company used to slamming a chassis. The brief was to lift the body around 30mm higher than standard to give the T5 4Motion as much ground clearance, and hence off-road ability, as possible. Combined with tall Cooper Discoverer tyres, mounted on Delta rims, the result is plain to see, and as a result this thing will pretty much go anywhere. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was called on to drag tractors out of muddy fields.
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With the chassis’ off-road credentials established, the bodywork followed suit. It was supplied in VW Pure Grey, the same hue as almost every battleship around the world, and to that VanWorx added a Delta front bar, modified to their spec to fit the T5 perfectly. Safety is top of VanWorx’s priority list, as we’ll see in a bit, and this Delta / VanWorx front bar
is designed to fold in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, massively reducing the likelihood of injury.
Dave and the crew also added a range of auxiliary lights from the PIAA range, more usually found on rally cars around the world. Two at the front and four on the roof throw out enough light to confuse pilots on final approach, while a VanWorx retro roofrack was powdercoated in black and fitted, with the lights spaced so a surfboard can easily be accommodated up top.
A VW / Thule tow bar was added next, with a flush-mounted electrical hook-up plug sitting in one of the rear quarter panels. There’s also a VW bike rack for the two-wheel adrenaline fans at the company, while the whole thing was finished off with some contrasting black graphics along the sills.
The overall impression is, according to Dave, “function over form”, but we can’t help thinking it’s accomplished both superbly. It’s utilitarian, cool and, for the time being at least, unique.
2012 T5 4Motion Transporter
WHEELS: 17-inch Delta black rims, Cooper Discoverer ATR all-terrain tyres
SUSPENSION: Delta /VanWorx 30mm body lift, Bilstein dampers
BODY MODS: Colour-coded bumpers, LED front lights, tints, Autobot emblem
EXTERIOR: Standard T5 Kombi, Delta / VanWorx front bar, PIAA auxiliary lighting, VanWorx roof rack, Xenon headlights, 240V hook-up, VW bike rack
CAMPING INTERIOR: VanWorx ‘Chilli Plus’ conversion, full-width RIB rock ’n’ roll bed with integral seat belts, VanWorx fitting frame, side storage unit, rear storage and cool box, kitchen unit with twin Smev burner and integral sealed gas compartment, storage shelves and lockers, swing-out table, LED downlighters and reading lights
Moving inside the T5, another of VanWorx’s philosophies becomes clear. Every Van the company produces is based on one of six basic layouts, with a host of individual touches to make each one slightly different. This example is based around the ‘Chilli Plus’ concept, which features a full-width rock ’n’ roll bed, a small, stand alone kitchen unit and an under-bed fridge. However, this is where the individuality comes in. Because this ’5 was destined to be not only a useable daily driver, but capable of supporting any form of outdoor activity, a narrow storage unit was built in the rear on the driver’s side. This meant that the RIB rock ’n’ roll bed was slightly narrower than full width and, although it still allows three people to sit in comfort, the Waeco fridge, which normally fits under the seat base, had to go, replaced with a 12V cool box in the rear. The bed will still happily sleep two adults, and this can be increased to four by adding an optional Reimo pop-top.
The RIB bed itself is fitted to the floor using VanWorx’s own frame, which is where we get to talk about safety, Dave’s favourite subject. “We are simply not prepared to compromise in this area and are currently in the process of gaining UK type approval for the conversion, working in conjunction with Volkswagen.”
At the rear of the Van, the usual perch seat base lifts up to reveal several storage areas, including one for the cool box and another for Dave’s circuit racing kit – overalls, helmet and so on. There is also a huge range of bespoke areas available, for bike track pumps and so on.
Behind the driver’s seat is a narrow kitchen unit, designed so occupants can still walk through from the cab to the rear. You might think that this is removable but it’s not, again for safety reasons. The gas locker, feeding the twin-burner SMEV unit, is air tight and vents to the outside world through the floor, having been designed this way to ensure every vehicle achieves its own gas safety certificate. For future conversions, the twin-burner unit could easily be replaced by a single burner / sink unit.
Behind the front passenger seat, which has been mounted on a swivel base with integral safe, is a swing-out table. This is located so it can be used to eat or work on from the passenger seat or swung out of the side door and into the awning. An Eberspächer diesel heater also makes sure the Van is warm and cosy, whatever the weather.
VanWorx installed a set of white LED lights in the Alcantara-panelled roof, which also offer a blue mood lighting effect, as well as several reading lights mounted to the roof locker.
Up front, the original stereo was, naturally, junked in favour of a Kenwood double-DIN unit, with full European sat nav, DVD player, DAB radio, Bluetooth and iPod / iPhone connectivity. This drives Focal component speakers in the factory door locations and a matching set of co-axial speakers in the front of the roof locker.
Having built such a purposeful and functional off-roader, Dave decided the T5 needed a bite to match its bark, so the twin turbo diesel engine was treated to a Forge intercooler and oil cooler, Revo re-map and a Delta exhaust system, bringing the power up to 220bhp. The torque figures are unknown but Dave describes it as “an absolute beast”, and says it pulls his VW Cup race car, complete with spares, on the trailer, totalling 2.6 tonnes, as if it wasn’t there.
The end result is, frankly, awesome. We love the fact this T5 4Motion has been built with a clear purpose in mind, and it celebrates not only that purpose but also its success in realising it. It’s comfortable, practical and, according to Dave, unstoppable. It’s no show Van this, but one that’s been built to go anywhere and do anything, and it does exactly that, regularly.
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