After approximately two months of searching, an ad popped up on Gumtree for a 2001 Renault Kangoo with 5 doors and with windows. The van only had 70k miles so I assumed it was mainly used by a private. It looked quite good from the pictures so I’ve decided to arrange a view the morning after.
So, I’ve been doing lots of research on which kind of van is considered to be “the best” for a conversion.
Unfortunately, this question cannot only have one answer as it depends massively on what you want from your van! There are hundreds of van models, each of which has pros and cons.
As I had no experience what’s over with cars or vans (I’ve never bought a car) I found it very challenging to navigate through the choice of vans available.
I realized that finding out which van models where commonly used for conversions, was for one side VERY exciting (ever seen Mike’s amazing conversion ? ) but on the other part was VERY overwhelming.
I often find it very hard to commit to something when there is a lot of choice, as I question my choice over and over again (is this really the best? What about the other one? What if you find something better later on?), so i thought that instead of loosing h in the internet checking for “best van conversions” “best van of 2015”, I would concentrate on what exactly the I wanted from my van.
There were some points that came straight to my mind when thinking of the ideal van. Those were:
- Cheap. My budget was very tight and I could only afford a van cheaper than £800;
- Small. For as cool as School buses, Transit and Sprinter conversion look, I wanted something that was easily drivable and easy to park. Also, the bigger the van, the more material you need (insulation, flooring, carpeting, electrical cables) = the more expensive the conversion will be;
- Colourful. I would love to have a yellow van (Little Miss Sunshine? The lady in the van? Yellow is the BEST colour ever!), but really anything other than white would work.
After speaking with people with more experience than me with cars I wrote down another couple of points:
- <100.000 miles. Although low mileage does not mean automatically that the van is in good condition/won’t be problematic, It can serve as an indication of how much life it still has left in it;
- Privately owned. Company vans, especially if used for building purposes, are known for being “mistreated” and for being overloaded which can be ruff on the suspension.
- at least one window (it the back that is). DVLA states that a motor caravan must have at least one side window. As it can be very expensive to get one fitted, i thought it would be best to buy a van with an existing one,
- From 2000 onwards. To know that the van wasn’t as old as me reassures me 🙂
After weeks and weeks of research, reading and thinking I decided I would attempt a “microvan” conversion instead of a normal sized van one..
I’d seen some really cool conversion done with Citroen Berlingos, Vauxall partner, Renault Kangoo and Subaro Sumber and the slightly more spacious Peugeout vans (this is a spanish forum with loads of pics of DIY microvans).
It’s so amazing how people can be so inventive and get this much fitted in such a small space!
I started hunting on Gumtree for the above listed models (I didn’t consider buying my van over Ebay just because I wanted to go and see the van before committing to buy it) There were LOADS of Partners on gumtree but they all seem to have more then 150k miles on them. I checked the site +5 times daily and waited patiently for the perfect van…
I knew sooner or later it would appear!
-A ridiculous amount of coffee has been sacrificed to write this blog post so if you are feeling particularly generous, you can buy me one HERE –