Pure Pleasure

On the Road

Power in freedom

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s, Pinterest, Wheelsage, Flickr

Never before like in the past few months have we appreciated just how important our freedom is. Freedom to move, to do the things we love, to come into contact with nature, whether your place of choice is the lakes, the sea or the woods, or simply the possibility to discover places of art and history with the joy of independence. What better way to express your state of mind and convey a joyful and positive message, than an old van transformed into a small motorhome?

If once it was the Beat Generation and then the Hippie movement that sought to free themselves from the constraints of outdated conventions, today that same feeling of finding pleasure in simple, more natural things and getting closer to a world we have recently discovered is in urgent need of care and attention, is growing in strength.

The Bedford CA was one of the most popular British vehicles to be converted into a campervan. This example was the first made by Dormobile and it sold at RM Sotheby’s from the Elkhart Collection auction for $36,400. The engine is a 1,500cc Vauxhall 4-cylinder

So, get ready to buy an old camper van and rediscover yourself. The world of vans, and even cars like Land Rover, is a never-ending one. In reality, the transformations were made by specialized outfits such as the German Westfalia or the British Dormobile companies, but also by craftsmen without a brand but with all the necessary imagination to complete the task. 

An alternative to Bedford in Great Britain was the Ford Thames 400E. This was also transformed by Dormobile. You can find both gasoline (1,700cc) and diesel (1,600cc) models

And what does the market have to say about this? Are there any available or not? Sometimes one pops up at the auctions and they are usually snapped up by traders. But often, with a little curiosity, you can find that a chicken coop or a rabbit hutch is nothing more than a vehicle that many years ago was a happy camper van. With very little money, the farmer, if he is not too smart, can be tempted into giving it up. Then there’s the magnificent restoration adventure.

Let’s stop here and start with the most “dated” models, some famous others less so. The feeling of freedom comes to the fore the very moment you start to think you own one. From that moment onwards, each day is more beautiful than the last.

The epitome of small mobile homes is without question the Volkswagen T1 which was presented in 1949 and had a long life and a seemingly endless number of versions. In the beginning, it was powered by the typical 1,131cc VW 4-cylinder air-cooled boxer engine and gradually developed in parallel with the evolutions of the VW Beetle
Russia’s UAZ 452 “Bukhanka” with its four-wheel drive and 2,445cc inline four-cylinder engine knows no obstacles
The many different versions of the Estafette provided an equally large number of interpretations for leisure use. It’s modest 845cc engine was increased to 1,108cc in 1962
The Ford Transit, which replaced the Thames 400E in 1965, is another great classic of vehicles turned into campervans. Engines were both petrol or diesel powered
This Vauxhall-engined Bedford CA complete with porthole completes the sea-inspired profile line
Many uses of the Alfa Romeo F12, a vehicle that was very easy to adapt to a leisure vehicle with the beautiful 1,300cc engine inherited from the first Giulia series
If the Volkswagen is the best known, certainly the Citroen Type H with its distinctive corrugated bodywork is by far the most original as well as being very livable. It was produced with several engines: 1,647cc and 1,911cc petrol and 1,816cc and 1,948cc diesel variants