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Where's the best selection??


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Hi Folks,


We (my wife and I) wish to upgrade our tent to a motorhome/ camper. We've being doing a bit of research and have come up with a list of desirable attributes.


We've looked at various magazines, books and websites and have found the huge variety of interior layouts a bit overwhelming. We've also discovered that there can be significant variations in interior layouts in a specific model (presumably due to original purchasers selecting different options?)


We live in NE Scotland and have visited a few of the dealers in the area (within 100 miles) who have a reasonable stock of motor homes but are struggling a bit so......


Can anyone suggest where the best place ie show / area of the UK / city / county to visit where we can, over the course of a few (5-10) days, see lots of different models. Our budget is £15-30k so we're probably looking at a pre-loved model.




Fraser & Mhairi

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The NEC show is coming up in couple of weeks which will have a large selection of vans most of which will be out of your budget and if your already not sure will only add to the confusion IMO, but might give you some ideas.

If you are buying secondhand privately then taking 'potluck' on a layout you think might work for you shouldn't be a problem, either it works and you keep it, or it doesn't and you punt on with (hopefully) little loss.

Another option is to rent one for a week and see if it suits.



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Hi Fraser and Mhairi and welcome to the madhouse!


A show wold be your best bet to see a variety of layouts and a bit of Googling will identify most these for you as will clicking on the 'Shows' link above although that will only show you Warners Group shows. However they do have the most and they are generally well attended and organised and you should be able to camp at all of them, Great British weather permitting. I don't think there are any more for this year except the NEC show in a couple of weeks. I have never been to that one but I think it majors on new vans not used. Others who have been may be able to tell you more.


Are you able to decide what size you want? The bigger the van the better the comfort, well usually but it depends on your idea of comfort and the makers ideas of practicality so it does not always follow, but the downside of size is manoeverability and the space it needs on the road. Conversely some smaller vans are very ingenious in their use of space and within the limitations of size can be very comfortable as well as much easier and relaxing on the road.


Everyone has their own favourites and some will endeavour to convince you that their way is the best way. Take no notice, listen to the opinions but make your own decisions and if you get the chance to hire a van or two for a weekend it is well worth the outlay as if nothing else it can tell you what you don't want and some dealers who do hire will refund part of the hire if you buy a van from them. Mind you with no p/x you should expect a decent discount anyway especially at this time of year.


As a general rule coachbuilts offer the most affordable and most van for your cash, panel van conversions are easier and quieter to drive, and A class offer an integrated cab generally with a huge drop down bed - but it does mean climbing up and down which suits some but not all.


We run a panel van conversion currently and it does the job well, but on balance I think I prefer a coachbuilt. However as we do a lot of long trips the better driveability suits us for now. Circumstances change and so we may change back again one day.


You may or may not be aware of the gearbox and clutch issues that afflicted many vans on the current Ducato/Boxer/Relay chassis. These will be in your price bracket and although most should have been fixed, before parting with any cash do ensure that any such van from the first 07/57 reg to about 09/59 reg both reverse and pull away smoothly uphill without judder. Personally I would rather have one of the last of the old model from about 05 to 56 reg as they are well sorted and well proven mechanically and somewhat less complex electronically. Also the general consensus is that the conversions tend to be better made and more durable than the newer vans.


Hope that helps but as it may well spark more questions than answers - fire away!

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Anyone who has been to the NEC show knows that unless you are looking for a specific model it can be a little over bearing and you will probably need more than one day to consider which would suit you best. Signing an order form knowing that you are going to part with a large amount of money needs serious thought unless there is a good part exchange involved. Depreciation is on a grand scale, not like a family car. One thing to consider, some of us have been through it, new motorhomes, in particular very rarely leave the factory in a fault free condition, leaving you to deal with the supplying dealer to resolve any issues that you might have. Not all issues can be resolved, in some situations the motorhome has to be taken back to the factory to be put right. Even buying second hand isn't always risk free in particular the earlier X250 Fiats with the Juddergate issues so it's in your interest to weigh up all the pro's and con's.

One thing is very important, if possible use a reputable dealer as close to home as you can so that if you do have any issues you won't have to travel to far.

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You must do your homework and research and keep on researching, take a year or more. And when you think you have an answer tell us all on here. There are those who have a wealth of knowledge and have used many makes.


If you go to a show have a look around the parking area, if you see an occupied one you like then knock on the door and ask, they will soon tell you if 'their' model is a good one. Some can be a headache !!


What do you want it for, weekends or months away? Having been a 'tenter' you've been used to tight spaces so a smaller type might be fine.


Do not be persuaded by a salesman he's there to sell. The interior you can judge for yourself, engines and chassis arrangements can differ and need a lot of decisions to be thought through very carefully.

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Hi Fraser & Mhairi,



A show or two would be a good way to see most layouts in the warm and dry; I would imagine.

You won't be buying, so salesmen shouldn't be a problem.

Take your time, make notes, and maybe do that independently. Take photo's and discuss it all afterwards.

I wouldn't take a year over it, maybe aim for nxt spring to start using, so look to buy March or thereabouts. Also you don't want your new pride and joy on your drive, under a foot of snow etc.

Good luck


alan b

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If you don't want to wait until the outside shows start next year, I think you'll find that you can come down the A1 and back up and see quite a few English dealers. Do an internet search on say the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands.


One of the complaints about MMM is the number of adverts. However, this will work in your favour as there are lots of dealers advertising their wares.


I know Tyne Valley Motorhomes near Newcastle, Cleveland Motorhomes at Durham Tees Airport near Darlington, Marquis and CamperNE both at Birtley, Richard Baldwin near Halifax, Brownhills at Newark, Don Amott at Hilton near Derby, Lowdhams at Gunthorpe near Nottingham, David Fuller near Gunthorpe,


These usually have a good stock of vans although less so out of the main season March - October. Check the web sites and consider phoning ahead if there is anything specific you want to look at. I'm not recommending any of these dealers other than as a place to see different models.


Let us know how you get on and what floats your boat!

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We have just bought our first MH - used - from a dealer over 200 miles away. We have recently discovered a very big and expensive fault, which the dealer has agreed to fix but of course that will involve a 400 mile round trip, and probably at least one overnight stay somewhere.


This experience alone has pushed dealership location to the top of our list of requirements for future MH purchases. However, we are quite lucky to have 2 of Scotland's biggest dealers each within c. 30 miles - restricting buying to either of them will inevitably involve compromising over model, layout etc, but one thing we have discovered is that whatever you buy from wherever you buy it will always involve compromise.

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candapack - 2013-09-30 8:27 PM

We have recently discovered a very big and expensive fault, which the dealer has agreed to fix..


Hi Chris,


Sorry to go O/T but do I take it this is your 'Tainted water' problem?

If so how about a quick update on the relevant thread please to let others know what the final outcome is. Perhaps even a good word for the dealer if they deserve one!



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Thank you all very much for the responses!


At the moment our plan is to research, research, research then buy in Spring, do lots of weekends (probably a mix of site & off-site) and a couple 7-10 day trips then spent a few months, maybe even a year in Europe.


We've already realised that it's unlikely our ideal van exists but the more we look the more we notice and learn (often through a salesperson's chatter) so, hopefully, we are gaining clarity on what we want, what compromises exist and which ones are acceptable. Of course maybe we're just getting more and more confused 8-)


Again, many thanks!


F & M

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