Panel Van Conversion to Motor Caravan.

Owner and converter - Paul Fenech (aka Frenchy)


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Photos 1 to 14 are those I submitted to DVLA requesting a change in vehicle classification from Panel Van to Motor Caravan. Vehicle is now classed as a Motor Caravan on the V5.




Front offside of Van showing number plate, opening side window, ventilation grills for fridge and gas, on-board water tank locking cap and TV Aerial cable inlet.




Rear nearside of Van showing number plate and, ladder and finished offside rear door.   





Nearside sliding door view showing opening side window and two step access to interior.





View to the interior from outside sliding door showing drawer cabinet and kitchen area.





Interior view showing seating arrangement (two single beds or one double bed) and wardrobe on right. Wardrobe unit is split into three separate sections each with its own access door. Top part houses the Microwave, centre part is for clothes etc. and bottom part houses the Porta-Potti.




Interior view showing Microwave installed in  its housing within the wardrobe unit. Beside the Microwave is  a fixed double 240v socket.





Interior view showing sink/two burner cooker and pedestal table base affixed to floor.






Interior view of kitchen area showing sink/cooker unit over the two way fridge (12v and 240v), Unit directly under sink/cooker unit holds Gas Bottle and Electric Distribution Unit. Nearside unit is for pots and pans etc.





Interior view from back doors showing two separate fixed seating arrangements with storage underneath. These can be made up into a double bed.





Offside internal view of seating base unit showing storage space, power socket and built in audio speakers.






Internal view from back doors showing pedestal table in place.





Internal view from front showing pedestal table in place.






View from underneath van showing 70ltr fixed water tank and waste water outlet pipe.




Internal view of under-sink kitchen base unit showing secured Gas bottle and piping and electric consumer unit.


This is my first ever Campervan build project, which I took on in the belief that I ought to be able to put together something half decent for little money on top of what it cost me to buy the Van. Once started however, I soon realised that it was going to be a much bigger task than I first imagined. Still, I had no option but to persevere and see the project through. As for when I started with my knife making hobby, it was a case trial and error and learning as I went along. Putting the main framework together didn't take too long as I worked to a plan and designs I had researched and thought out for quite some time beforehand.


I knew what I wanted to achieve, but I needed to get it all together as economically as possible. What seemed to take ages and at times frustrated me, was the fiddly finishing touches. My main concerns were the 12v and 240v systems as I've always been scared of electrics as if I got it wrong I imagined the van would go up in smoke. I had a friend of a friend who was willing to do the work for me. Unfortunately due to a health issue I had to put the build project on hold for a while. When I got going again I decided to have a go at installing the electrics myself and managed to have it all done and tested over a few days, which pleased me no end.   


It took me four months to get the van to a good enough standard that it could be used. While I'm well chuffed with the result, I realise that over time I'll be making further improvements. The Van as completed to date is totally habitable and usable. However, I'm sure that with usage I'll come across things to add and/or improve upon.


The original criteria for the Campervan was that it should sleep two people in comfort, have the essential creature comforts such as a lots of storage space, Portaloo, gas hob, sink, onboard water tank and running water, microwave, fridge, TV/DVD player and stereo system. It also had to have storage space for my fishing gear and small outboard and also able to slide in an 3.3 meters inflatable dinghy fully inflated on its side through the back doors. The addition of a drive away Awning is to serve as extra space and storage for the Dinghy. Only usage and time will tell if I've got it right in relation to my needed and expectations. As it stands, I'm more than happy with the van...   



Following photos show some of the build stages.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 7

Stage 9

Stage 10

Stage 12

Stage 13

Stage 14

Stage 15

Stage 18

Stage 21


Stage 23


Decided to add a small window to one of the rear doors to allow more natural light in. Also added alu plates at bottom of doors and tidied the bumpers.


Although not shown, the Van has now been re-sprayed to a dark blue Mercedes colour (dunkel-blua)and it Looks much nicer overall, especially as I also added some - more subtle - gold coloured custom graphics. On the inside, I fitted some very nice cabinet fronts that I sourced from a friend's Caravan.