Built in 1978 and only covered 16000 KM
We received the vehicle in almost its original state, somebody in the past had been using it as a festival vehicle. The main modification was a sizable sound system. We decided, in order to make the proportions work, the best way forward was to strip the vehicle to almost a bare shell. We removed all the internal walls and furniture, wiring and non-operational heating system.
The internal cladding was made of perforated aluminum sheet, it was decided that this original feature was worth keeping, but additional sheeting was required to repair damaged and missing areas. After much searching and many discarded sample pieces, we found a company whose perforation jig was almost identical to the original. As this was a major design feature of the original vehicle, we decided to expand the usage of the material to also incorporate lighting and trunking. We designed a box section to run the length of the inside of both walls. We supplied a design to the company with the correct perforation tool, this design was produced on flat sheet, and it was formed into a box section by our friendly engineering company. This box section allowed us to install hidden mood lighting, this light was released through the perforations in the box section. This trunking also allowed us to run the majority of the wiring loom, on the front face we were able to install plugs, switches and spotlights.
The next stage was to install water tanks, waste tanks and gas tanks under the vehicle. The water and waste tanks were supplied by CAK tanks, we installed a large water tank at the rear of the vehicle, so the customer did not have to worry if they were wild camping for a period of time. The gas tank supplied by Gasit was the circular type with an electric shut off valve, the installed gas level indicator will be displayed on the Victron GX touch panel. We wanted to try and leave the exterior of the vehicle unchanged, this was going to prove difficult as there were many utility points that needed to be included in the build. For the gas filler point we managed to re-purpose one of the original 240v exterior sockets, we removed the electrical workings and installed a car derived fill point, when the original lid was fitted, this also protected the fill point from weather and dust. The water filler was installed inside the original external locker.
We needed to install a cassette toilet at the rear of the van, the cassette for this toilet needed to exit through the side of the vehicle, so we needed to find a door that was in keeping with the original vehicle, for this door we turned to Landrover modifications. One of the options offered by the aftermarket for Landrover modifications is a stainless steel box and door designed to be installed in front of the rear wheels to offer additional storage. We modified this box to act as a cassette door, we were very pleased with the result.
The next part to install was the heating system. Due to its versatility and almost silent running an Alde heating system was chosen. This system operates using a glycol loop for central heating and an integral water heater. One drawback of this system is the size of the water tank for hot water, at 10 litres this will allow a 5 minute shower and then need to be reheated. As the shower was located outside the van, the customer was keen to be able to have a longer shower. The Alde system can be modified to allow constant hot water, Alde make a product called Alde Flow, but for reasons known only to them, they do not allow their dealer network to install this system, it needs to be installed by them. This was not possible, so we made our own. The idea of this system is it passes the cold water through a heat exchanger with the hot glycol fluid on the other side, this instantaneously heats the water, so you can have as much hot water as your main water tank can supply. One small issue with this system is you need use the Alde glycol loop, so if the heating is not turned on, then the instantaneous hot water would not work. To overcome this we installed 2 electric valves, if set in one position they allowed a long winter loop including all the radiators, and if set in the other position it would form a shorted loop leaving out all the radiators.
It is also possible to heat the habitation area while driving from the engine coolant, this means that your whole vehicle is heated while driving, keeping the back of your neck warm in colder conditions. It also means your habitation area is nice and warm when you reach your destination.
We were trying to not put any plastic fittings on the exterior of the van, the standard Alde flue goes through the side wall of the van, this is not what we wanted. Alde also offer a roof flue, on the rear of the van there was an elevating sign that could be raised by 30 ft using compressed air. When this was removed it left a circular collar protruding from the roof, this was an ideal place for the flue but the diameter of the hole was too big, in a moment of genius I thought to purchase an aluminium saucepan. It worked a treat as you can see below.
The electrical system design was next, as usual we produced a full colour coded wiring loom, this turned out to be a fairly big drawing as I needed to take into account all the additional switching for the instantaneous water system. The control system was our own distribution box connected to a full Victron power management system. There was not going to be a need to run large AC appliances while off grid so an Victron 500VA multi was installed, a single 400w solar panel was installed on the roof connected to the battery using a Victron MPPT Smart solar controller. To give the customer plenty of time off grid, we installed a 200AH Victron Smart Lithium battery, all the systems were integrated using a Victron Cerbo and GX touch display. We were able to run the central heating switches through the Cerbo so these could be activated on the GX touch, we also had the levels of the water, waste and gas displayed on the GX touch.
The furniture was built using high grade birch plywood, every panel was designed to have shadow gaps to offer a clean minimalistic look, all the doors were ‘push to open’ and all had soft close. The kitchen was built using a custom-made stainless-steel work top, a Dometic oven and Dometic compressor fridge were installed. The Dometic compressor fridge has a unique feature where the door can be opened from each side, this feature allowed us to install the fridge facing the front of the van, making it easy to access the fridge from the kitchen area, but also easy to access your next beer if you are sitting outside.
This was a very challenging conversion, but we are very happy with the results.