Man Made
VW CAMPER & BUS|April 2019

When Darren Shorter of Vantastic wanted a demo Bus to show off his interiors skills he hit the nail on the head with this RHD '71

Handcrafted. It’s a term that gets bandied about a great deal in our robot-driven, AI destined society, but it’s rare to find it in its purest form, by which we mean, the traditional non-mass production of something entirely by hand and without the aid of modern machinery. Okay, so there’s a table saw here and an edge bander there, but where do we draw the line these days? In 2019, light machinery that still requires 90% human input should be fully acceptable in the world of handcraftery.

Man and boy

Darren Shorter, is the man behind Vantastic Campers in Hildenborough, near Tonbridge, Kent and is the kind of bloke most dream of finding to build them a camping interior; and yes, it is all handcrafted. He’s been Volkswagen to the core since kicking about in his dad’s Split Screen Bus as a kid and now spends his days helping others create their own family memories, just like his.

Darren started Vantastic just over ten years ago, but we’ll get into that a little more later when we take you for a quick scoot round the workshop. For now, we’re concentrating on his demo Bus, which as you can see, is in the form of this 1971 UK original RHD Bay.

Darren bought it from his friend, Simon Gibb, who‘d owned it for 15 years. He says: “Simon is a mechanic and spent a lot of time on that side of things. The paint job he’d had done was the kind that looks like you could jump right in to it.” Other things got in the way of Simon’s plans and the ’71 spent four years outside his workshop before Darren snapped it up following a quick viewing on the ramps.

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