Bentham teen mechanic transforms camper van

15-year-old Billy Walden with his camper van he restored himself
15-year-old Billy Walden with his camper van he restored himself

Teenager Billy Walden has combined his love of carpentry and car mechanics to completely transform an old camper van by himself – all before he can legally drive it.

Billy completed the renovation work on the van just days before reaching his 16th birthday.

The van shortly after purchase.

The van shortly after purchase.

Billy, who lives in Bentham, has attended Lancaster & Morecambe College since he was 14, when he began a multi-skills and construction course.

He is about to begin his level 2 course in carpentry.

“I started being interested in carpentry when I was about 10 but from 13 onwards I got the opportunity to do it more,” he said. “Doing this combines my interests in carpentry and mechanics.

The family bought the Volkswagen LT35 camper van from eBay in March for about £1,500. The 1989 model had done just 69,000 miles.

Billy working on the van.

Billy working on the van.

The vehicle, which has a top speed of around 55mph, had previously been used for transporting horses and needed to be completely stripped down before the respraying, bodywork and interior and engine renovation could begin.

And just four months after starting work on the vehicle, Billy was applying the finishing touches.

“I wanted to make the vehicle different from others so that it was unique,” he said.

This included adding artwork and homemade items to the interior, as well as a fully operational wood oven which he bought from Bulgaria.

Inside the van during renovation.

Inside the van during renovation.

Other personal touches include a stained glass window .

In addition to the refurbishment, all of the engine renovation and rewiring has been carried out by Billy.

His mum Jane said: “It’s so unique, I think he has done so well with it.

“The college has been really supportive of him too.”

The van during renovation.

The van during renovation.

Billy, who is also a keen rally driver and belongs to Morecambe Car Club and Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club, now helps out at Lune Valley Motors once a week to hone his mechanic skills.

Billy has now started work on renovating a Morris Minor and hopes his hobby will turn into a career.

“I’m looking at doing a bus next,” he said.

The finished camper van.

The finished camper van.