In many cases, building your own camper van tailored to your preferences and needs is a better solution than going for an off-the-shelf product from a big company. If you are on a tight budget, you can save tons of money by installing just the features you are going to use without having to pay extra money for unwanted equipment. And when you know what you are doing, the results could be awesome.
Take for example this 1998 Volkswagen Transporter which started its life as a standard cargo bus somewhere in Germany but is now living its second life as a homemade camper van in Bulgaria. The owner wanted to build something that’s smart and easy to maintain without breaking the bank, and we love the result. The whole build took him about seven months from A to Z including full vehicle respray, interior modifications, and engine maintenance.
Gallery: 1998 VW Transporter camper
The living area of the Transporter is now thoroughly insulated and has a diesel heater and a ventilation system. A 25-liter tank provides fresh water for the small sink and there’s another 25-liter gray water tank. There’s also a 12-volt fridge and a compact gas stove. The camper sleeps two grown-ups on a foldable double bed which also hides a storage compartment underneath. The fact that there are no windows may sound a little weird to some of you but it helps keep the temperature inside low.
As for the bus itself, it’s powered by a 2.4-liter diesel engine with 78 horsepower (58 kilowatts). That’s surely not the most dynamic way to get from point A to point B but it’s a very reliable and easy to maintain five-cylinder unit. The best part is that the entire project cost less than $4,500 including the cost of the donor bus, its full repaint, and the engine maintenance. Talk about creativity, workmanship, and proper planning.