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LWB Van conversions.

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After a lot of ifs and buts it looks as if we are going travelling next spring.

Many of you kindly responded to my initial questions on Motorhome versus Caravan and we have decided that Motorhome is our choice.


We are now very interested in the panel van convertions on LWB. The length is manageable and the widths mean we can get down smaller roads.


Apart from our old Wildwind we have always had VW Campers. We love the sliding side door and so we are attracted to these new LWB conversions. We like the look of the layouts with rear lounge/bed.


What make or model to choose is another matter! We have to buy a used van so we are probably limited for choice to start with. However, if anyone can give us pros and cons for these vans we would be grateful for the first hand knowledge and input.



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The maximum length would be 22ft but not less than 19ft


Fiat Ducato base is one option of around 19ft 6 I think.


Our budget is around £26,000 used vehicle.


We want to take electric power assisted cycles with us and we would want to carry them in the van whilst on the move. We do this already in our MWB VW camper at the moment.

So the sliding door is a great asset for this purpose alone.


Rear lounge/bed. Middle section with Loo (shower not vital as we use site facilities). Hob/small oven. Swivel front seats to mountable table is fine. Deisel heating preferred. Hot water. Storage. Good blinds/blackouts.

We want to have an awning/tent room to attach to side.


It all sounds so simple but due to living on a little island, not being able to physically see various options makes it difficult. Are we being realistic in our requirements?


Again, any thoughts welcome.


Indeed, anyone with a good van for sale at the end of this season (Nov/Dec/Jan) may want to contact me.





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There's really no substitute for seeing lots of vehicles in the flesh. A van which looks great on paper (including pics) can "feel wrong" - cramped for instance. Similarly, you can fall in love with one which doesn't actually to tick all your boxes!

Can you book yourselves a few days to come over to the mainland for a tour round some dealers? There are lots of them in southern England BUT we've found (also looking for 2nd-hand high-top) that most dealers only have one or two vans - eveyone seems to be into coachbuilt battle-wagons nowadays!

It may even be better to sail the other way, and have a look around some forecourts in northern France -= certainly cheaper, and probably proportionately more "fourgons" (van convs), although quite a lot seem to be home-builds.



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Hi Hazel. First choice for me would always be a Transit base but due to the narrower body we,ve always gone for Fiats etc. Not only does this give you the option of a transverse bed, but those few extra inches of width really do open up the interior. The Autosleeper Duetto is a conversion we,ve always liked, but compared to the Fiat it feels claustrophobic.

Layout and materials will be down to your own personal choice of course, and though you state "not less than" 19ft don,t discount the standard l.w.b. which are around 18ft 5in and may prove adequate for your needs.

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From what you've described, I suggest you look seriously at an Adria van.  I'd also suggest you nip over to France, where you should be able to get a new one, with the 2.3 litre engine, within your budget.  Cheaper than in UK.  You will also find on offer a greater variety of layouts, including some on the Renault Master, than is imported into UK.

It has nearly all of what you want, but half the transverse rear bed lifts up at right angles, to allow full height storage to be used.  Easy access via rear doors.  You'd presumably have to disembark the electric bikes when you arrive whatever the layout, so the only downside would be some loss of the underbed storage space.  Gas heating is standard, but if you had diesel heating it seems you'd need electric hookups all the time you wanted to run it, due to the much heavier 12V consumption.

Notwithstanding, for me, this would be a better buy, on the new Fiat chassis, than any other panel van conversion I can think of.  Every other van conversion I have seen is either a bit DIY in terms of furnishings (sawn up lumps of ply with non-matched edgings) or grossly overpriced.  Even secondhand, I don't personally think they offer such good value as the Adrias.  I have only crawled over one Adria van conversion, but the quality of the finishes seemed as good as the best from anywhere else, and streets ahead of the cheaper conversions.  Look at http://www.adria-france.com/ for the full range.  Check the bed length on the Renault Master versions, though - the Master is narrower than the Ducato so the bed may be a bit short.  Several dealers in Ille-et-Vilaine (35), handy(ish) for St Malo.

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Can't fully agree with Fred on this.  I don't think the finish is as good, and you do need to measure the beds.  Devon is one of those old school camper manufacturers, who still think the normal domestic 4' 6" double bed can magically be reduced to little more than 4' 0" when camping, apparently without prejudicing comfort!  And that's even true for the £44,000 Mercedes based Devon Sapphire tested in this month's MMM.  One bed, 4' 1" wide!  In their (disturbed) dreams!

If you have the physiques of two garden rakes fine: otherwise, do check carefully!  However, they're definately worth a look, if you can find somewhere with actual stock to crawl over or, presumably, visit the factory.

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