Joined: January 09, 2007
Location: Falls Church, Virginia, USA
|Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:08 pm Post subject: Space Roof - http://www.spaceroofs.co.uk
|After a year with my Space Roof and as a very happy customer I thought I'd post a review here (as I haven't seen any others in the vendor section). Space Roof is based in the UK and makes elevating pop-tops for split, bay and vanagon-style buses/vans. I bought one for my bay-window, tin-top Westy camper as my family of 4 was finding it difficult to camp inside the van without a bed up top (and without a separate tent on the side or rear of the van).
I contacted Space Roofs which started a very pleasant and supported interaction with Pete O'Connor and Sam Money over the following weeks. They were very forthcoming with information and helped me through the freight process (as I'd never imported anything my sea before).
The kit is very well made. I ordered the Westfalia-style roof and the fiberglass shell was extremely well made. The kit is well thought out and comes with an instruction manual, which Pete and Sam shared ahead of time to see if I could handle the job.
I liked that there were options available, particularly for the tent (available in different colors as well as with/without screened windows).
The kit is not for the faint of heart...I'm in the US so there were no installers available, so it was just me doing the work in my driveway. I really wanted the interior to look good, so the install from start to finish took me two weekends and the bulk of the weekday evenings in between (start to finish). According to the instructions the roof's supporting framework (surrounding the opening you cut in the roof) is supposed to be riveted/screwed in, but having my own MIG I chose to fully seam weld the entire circumference, as well as tie it into the front and rear roof supports as well as the remaining section of the middle support. I then substituted the aluminum middle brace supplied in the kit for one I made from square-tube steel, which I also welded in.
I chose the spongy white vinyl for my roof ceiling and ordered more of it for finishing the exposed interior, which worked out really well. I also used some hinges to enable the front bed board to flip up, when needed.
The stock bed cushion covers are just slightly larger than the bed boards, but work very well (and enabled me to match the existing blue/green plaid in my camper). I also swapped the tin-top's curved-top headbanger for a flat-top one from a '75 pop top.
If I were to do it again, I'd know to...
- investigate using the late bay Westy pop top latch (instead of the tie down straps) and Westy bed board hinges
- use a right angle drill attachment from the start for affixing the tent hold-down strips with the self-tapping screws
All-in cost was about $4-5K at the time, if I remember correctly, with the various shipping fees. Just with saving on hotels, though, I've worked off about 1/3 - 1/2 of that just in the past year.
All of that said, BIG THANKS to Pete and Sam at Space Roofs for their awesome support and excellent craftsmanship, and for even considering shipping this beyond the UK. My entire family just completed a 1,665-mile trip in the camper, sleeping in it most nights, and it was a trip to remember!
Necessary caveat: Please don't bother chiming in if you're going to lecture on how much value I took out of my camper by cutting the hole. Every Riviera out there has the same issue and does not benefit from the welded in framework I added to mine. Also, the vehicle didn't have the sleeping capacity I needed, so I had few options that didn't require a side tent.
'75 Campmobile (former tin-top now with a SpaceRoof)
'52 BMW R67/2
'67 BMW R60/2
'55 Puch SGS250