The Ultimate Self-Build VW T6 Transporter with Jerba Pop Top Roof
Angus Johnston, Cabinetmaker
Jayne Johnston, Pharmacist and Silversmith
After hiring a campervan on a holiday to South Island New Zealand we decided that this type of holiday was perfect for us but the only way we could afford a Campervan of our own was to self build. I met Simon Poole from Jerba through work, we were doing some machine cut panels for him and when he turned up in one of his converted vans I knew that this was the type of van I wanted.
After searching for a couple of months I found a secondhand van for our ﬁrst conversion and contacted Jerba to ask what parts of the conversion they would be able to help us with. Being a cabinetmaker and with Jayne being very craft orientated we were fairly conﬁdent that we would be able to do most of the conversion ourselves but realised that the pop up roof was probably too specialised and because it involves cutting a large hole in the roof of the van which would compromise the vans structural integrity we thought this would be better done by the professionals.
Jerba ﬁtted the roof and helped with some of the main electrics connecting the Batteries and mains electrics so that everything worked seamlessly. We used the ﬁrst van for around ﬁve years all of the time planning and thinking about our next van and what things we would do differently. We sold the ﬁrst van and planned to use the money to help pay for the second van.
While we were van-less we decided to hire a van from Jerba and headed to Cornwall for 2 weeks and that was the point we realised we were ready to start all over again. One month we would buy a fridge the next month it was the sink and cooker then the electrics control unit and so on until we had all the parts to start. I had already started building the furniture from measurements I had from our ﬁrst van and when the opportunity came to purchase a brand new T6 we decided the time was right for us to contact Jerba for their help again. Jerba ﬁtted their new roof, which they had designed especially for their own vans to our van, colour coded the bumpers and wing mirrors and helped with the main wiring loom.
I had been working on a unit at work which had curved corners on it that involves laminating layers of plywood in a vacuum bag press which sucks the air from a bag and mounds around a former and I took this opportunity to incorporate some curves into the furniture for our van which I think gives the appearance of more space.
Jayne had decided on the colour for the furniture and made some tartan curtains that complimented the colour scheme and we were ready to start ﬁtting out the van. The new roof was perfect, easy to use and had much less road noise than my previous off the shelf roof. The slatted bed frame also makes for a more comfortable night. Jerba have an attention to detail that makes them stand out from the rest and when van 3 comes I know who will be doing the roof.