Matt Diaper from Woolston, Southampton, has turned a salvaged VW T4 into the campervan of his dreams. Matt bought the van as salvage from Silverlake Automotive Recycling in Shedfield and rebuilt it using recycled vehicle parts available from the company.
Matt replaced most of the engine parts, including the starter motor and sump to get the T4 running like new, and lowered the suspension and widened the wheels using recycled tyres. An expensive project, one might think, but as a previous employee of Silverlake, Matt knew that buying parts from the automotive recycler was a wise move as he was saving up to 70% on the price of new parts, and he had peace of mind knowing all parts purchased were quality graded and warranty assured.
The luxury interior refurbishment includes a TV, soundbar, mood lighting and 24 12V electricity points; more than ample for charging up multiple devices, including teenagers’ mobile phones and iPads, all while making a cup of tea at the same time! A 200W solar panel on the roof ensures the leisure battery stays topped up & able to cater to every need of a busy family.
Needless to say, Matt’s T4 has generated a lot of interest both locally and nationally. He even received a serious offer to buy it when he stopped on the way home from a camping trip to buy the children a McDonalds! And the VW community has also approached him to run a feature on the van, with the story of its renovation using recycled parts recently featured in a national magazine, VWT. This all from a van that was seven different colours when he first bought it, together with sliding doors that had been cemented closed!
The van is not for sale. Matt recalls the blood, sweat, tears and some testing moments during the project, including getting covered in oil from the sump as he lay beneath the van to empty it! But Matt exclaims that:
“It has all been worth it. We enjoy beach days and staycations in the New Forest, Chichester and Hayling Island throughout the year in our van, we couldn’t be without it.”
Asked if he would do it all again Matt said:
“Absolutely! I had complete confidence in the recycled parts from Silverlake – I know they’re a professional company. The cost savings meant I could design a vehicle around my family and make it unique to me. I love Hot Rods and so for me, the look of my T4 is the next best thing. I see cars like adult Meccano. I’ve proved you can create something very special without spending thousands of pounds, providing you trust your supplier. Silverlake is certified to the UK industry standard for their recycled parts, and they supply to insurance companies, fleet operators, body shops and repairers. We’re lucky to have them locally based and they deliver nationally too. I’d say to anyone thinking about it – have a go. And the great thing is that not only will you be saving a lot of money using recycled parts, you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment.”