Films and vans have always made a nice pairing. Think the VW Camper in Little Miss Sunshine, The A Team and their wagon, Dumb and Dumber’s Mutt Cuts van, and even the Mystery Machine in Scooby Doo … yep, there are plenty of famous vans from the movies.
It’s not just the movies either – remember Pimp My Ride? It’s been over a decade now since ex-Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood left British screens when the programme ceased production.
Responsible for some of the most daring, decorative and mechanical designs the world has laid eyes on, the show, which came to life in 2004 in America, took old rust–buckets and turned them into hi-tec wagons.
Car fans tuned in to watch drastic transformations that method actors such as Christian Bale could only be proud of! 24-inch spinners, a champagne cooler, and flip–up mini-televisions were a staple addition to each and every car which rolled out the doors of West Coast Customs.
The show may no longer be on the airwaves, but the world is still littered with body shops willing to spray vehicles any possible colour, and mechanics ready to fit massively oversized Eibach springs.
Unfortunately, and hopefully we’re not ruining too many memories here, many of the cars that featured on the show, weren’t actually deemed roadworthy. That said, with the aptly named ‘staycation’ on the rise throughout the UK, we’ve taken a look at some of the slightly more adventurous campers, who’ve gone above and beyond ‘pimping’ their rides and created a travelling home that stays within the legal boundaries.
The Road Racer
Having spent years on the road, committing to his passion of road racing, Northern Irishman Darren Gilpin, got to the stage where he’d had enough of sleeping in the back of his van. Unlike other motorbike riders who were supported by major sponsors and teams, Darren was self-funded, which meant he didn’t get a race truck, or a double bed. With a few thousand pounds in the bank going into the 2013 season, he bought a dilapidated MAN horse box. Transporting his bikes to and from the race track was the priority, so he built a partition wall in the rear of the truck. In the back he built a full work shop with a tail-lift and ramp that could negotiate four full-size bikes. In the front, he built one double bed on the ground, two-fold singles which fell from the ceiling, a full kitchen, and the piece de resistance … a fully stocked bar, complete with various optics. And, not forgetting to ensure that the camping gas cylinder was full, if the baked beans were going to be eaten warm!
Escaping the hustle and bustle
Often, many of us living in the hustle and bustle of modern life never take the time to sit back and indulge in everything the world offers us — particularly the night sky. In most instances, due to light pollution, we simply cannot do this. Bill and Beck Goddard are here to provide you with that opportunity. The couple, who reside in Herefordshire, have combined their love for textiles and woodwork, developing numerous campervans, and they will do the same for you, if you want to get away from it all and travel around the country. One of their recent stand-out projects is a Mercedes Sprinter which has been completely renovated. Taking a shell, they have fitted various storage spaces, a full-oven, space for four sleepers, and an awning. Pick your spot in the country, kick back, and simply enjoy your surroundings — star gazing the night away.
The van as art!
Quite unlike anything else you will see, the Peugeot Boxer is just one van by Quirky Campers that exists as a simply breathtaking piece of art. The designers have described the 2013 van as ‘having just stepped out of a fairytale’. Complete with a full-sized wood burner, you’ll never have to be concerned about a chilly night. Originally renting out their van ‘Bella’, when they volunteered in Africa, husband and wife team of David and Lindsay have managed to create a collective of ‘staycation’ delights right through the UK, including options available for the Glastonbury Festival.
The few examples above are just a pick of some of the ideas created in the UK, some of which will assist in your ‘staycation’ journey, whether it be designing a campervan for you, or simply renting you one. However, that’s not to say you couldn’t ‘do it yourself’. Take inspiration from travel enthusiasts Katie and Ben who built their dream camper in a week. The couple, despite being on a budget, still managed to add all the necessities required. Katie notes how ‘luxury wasn’t present, but we had everything we needed — it was cute, functional and comfortable’.
The stay-cay can be done today, you just need to decide on which way you are going to sway.