Friday 27 April 2012

My Self Built Campervan

I was little sad the other day, well not sad but nostalgic. I'd pulled my old camper van out of one of my fathers sheds to start her up and give the engine a bit of a run.
It was when doing this I realised that now with a baby in tow there was no chance we'd ever be using her anytime soon, and perhaps its the time to sell her to allow another couple the chance to have a bit of an adventure travelling in a camper.

My other love, only 16,000 miles on the clock but time to sell her.
When I bought this camper it wasn't strictly speaking that. In fact it was an ambulance, a St. John ambulance to be exact. At the time of buying the van it had only 8,00 miles on the clock, been stored in a RAF hanger the majority of its life and only been to village fetes. Mint condition didn't do it justice. As soon as I saw it I knew what I was going to do to it.

Kitted out as an ambulance
I gutted it completely giving me a blank canvas to work on, then set about making everything from scratch. It took a lot more planning than you'd think to get everything to fit in and because this type of van isn't your normal camper there was none I could copy!
Building the units from scratch
Adding the Beech trim to the fronts of the units
Units ready for worktop and doors
Sofa/bed - one pull and it becomes a bed. Made with rock and roll hinges.
It took a few months of late evenings but in the end I got there. On the day we were due to leave I put down my screwdriver, started the engine and drove to France. Siren blaring of course but no time to check anything. The van was even fully wired for 12v and for 240v, had a gas hob and sink with a tap, a complete camper.

Parked up in a Campsite in France
The inside (my wife made the covers)
We've travelled a few miles in this old van
The first year we went away in it we drove 4000 miles round Europe in 5 weeks, through 7 countries and 19 campsites. It was after this holiday that I knew for 100% sure that Claire was the woman for me (anyone that can put up with me in a small space for that long deserves a medal) and I asked her to marry me later that year.
In fact this van was even where we spent our wedding night (I'm such a romantic)!
So although I think the time has come to sell her we've certainly had our fun out of it and I much rather someone else took it off on another adventure rather than it spending the next 20 years locked in a shed covered in dust.
And from a woodworking point of view this will always be one of my favourite projects and one I smile of when I think about it.


  1. You really have skills and are good with your hands.
    I’ve been a follower on your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation

    1. Thankyou for your comment. I'll have to pop over to your blog and have a look.

  2. nice job not sure why you think have a baby will stop you using it ? we had a similar one in blue and used it with our two kids first time out when our oldest was 6 weeks old. . We had a little a little awning go for it brilliant holidays which my girls still talk about and the oldest is 25!!

    1. thanks for the comment - Its the amount of stuff we now need with a little girl. Not only that but we'd have to tax and insure it every year making a cheap holiday quite expensive. We're planning to go camping this year with tents instead. We'll miss her but theres only enough storage for two adults!

  3. Really nice. JGR

  4. Are you advertising her somewhere? I'd be interested in the link if you are.




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