Big V was created by good friends Karl "Big V" Venghaus and Mike Post at the bottom of Mike’s garden.
Karl has always loved motor vehicles of any kind. As a kid, he loved nothing more than spending days scavenging for parts in scrapyards and breaking things to see how they worked. He’d take engines apart just to put them back together again.
All he wanted to do was work in a garage, so at 15 he pestered his local garage daily until they gave in and gave him a job as an apprentice.
By 2012 he’d spent over 20 years in the accident repair trade, becoming one of the most skilled and experienced engineers around. He could build and repair anything from a BMX bike to a Italian supercar. He even rebuilt a one of the first production Morgan Aero Supersport (and if you don't know what one of those is, it's a very rare classic car!)
Karl was also facing one of those mid-life dilemmas. He was really into customised Japanese cars, having spent time working with the Honda race team, and had built a totally custom Honda Prelude. With young children, this scene and his highly impractical car was rapidly becoming unpopular with the family, though, so they had to go.
As he waved goodbye to his labour of love he decided this was a great time to get a new family-friendly project vehicle.
Maybe it was fate, maybe it was too much beer, but somehow he found an air-cooled Volkswagen T25 campervan that was badly in need of serious love. It turned out to be a rare Westfalia model.
Fast-forward three years, a lot of Googling, hundreds of hours of blood, sweat, tears and more beer, Karl had finished his first-ever campervan restoration (as much as any restoration is ever truly finished!).
The end result was stunning, and it cemented his growing love of VW T25's.
Mike & Karl met by chance at a martial arts club. Karl had been doing Tae Kwon Do for years and the whole family had just signed up to do classes together. At around that time Mike's family followed almost exactly the same path.
“Karl and I naturally drifted together in class and were soon bonding over knocking seven bells out of each other (although no matter what he says, I always won our sparring!). We met up for a beer and introduced our families only to discover that our wives went to school together for years. Both families have been firm friends ever since”.
Despite having a beautiful vintage campervan and an excellent new friend, Karl wanted a new challenge that would put his talents to better use. Mike was at a similar point in his software career and loved the idea of creating something amazing together.
"I had a garage at the end of my garden which Big V decided was perfect for converting vans for sale as a hobby".
They both came from backgrounds where regulations, safety, and quality assurance were critical. As they delved more into the world of van conversions they were shocked to find the industry was largely unregulated. Standards that applied to car or caravan safety just didn't seem to exist for conversions.
They knew if they could combine Karl’s unique skills learned from years in the motor trade and his passion for camper vans with Mike’s flair for creating businesses that challenge industry norms and raise standards, they could make a difference to the whole van community.
"And that was the lightbulb moment. We could never feel confident taking our families on holiday in any of the ready made campervans we'd seen. And if we felt this way, we knew other people would too. Right then we decided to build our own, and Big V Kampers & Kustoms was born".
They researched and sourced pop top roof systems, kitchens, bed seats, appliances, gas and electrical kits. After months of working with suppliers and manufacturers to understand their products and installation processes they were were able to work out how to integrate them into their own camper van builds in a way that gave a lasting high quality finish and put safety first.
That was the catalyst for a mission to convert vans so as many families, adventurers and overlanders could enjoy van life their way. Each project is different, and they constantly evolve their materials, products and approaches in their quest to create the ultimate converted van.
“We’re beyond proud that we’ve created a conversion business that uses an Approved Bodyshop approach, mixing safety with innovative design. Our camper vans are cool and fun but also safe and durable".
It's clear that no-one loves vans as much as Big V. And no-one builds vans the same way. Everyone who works at Big V are highly skilled enthusiasts who think outside the box and love the camper van community. The same enthusiasm and attention to detail greets you whether you come in for some advice on your self-build project, to get a roof fitted or have a full conversion. They love sharing your journey.
"For us the journey matters as much as the destination. And we’re enjoying the ride”.
If you want a Big V Build to help you bring your van life dreams alive, get in touch with Big V today.
Email: email@example.com or call on 01793 84 74 74.