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Man travels the UK after transforming ‘absolute mess’ into mini campervan

A MAN has transformed a tiny van from eBay into a luxury campervan during lockdown.

Chris Thompson, of South Wimbledon, set his sights on touring the UK after a year-long search for a van to renovate.

He decided to purchase the miniature vehicle for £1000 – to add on a number of features such as a mini kitchen, TV and a bedroom at night.

“The idea was to go touring instead of abroad and so far, it’s been a success,” said Chris.

“I planned to get the van built for the price of a family holiday like Tenerife or Benidorm.”

Chris spoke to Wimbledon Times during his camping trip

Chris, who is a service manager for a refrigeration engineering company, said he only started to renovate the van around Easter.

So far, he has spent £2700 on the renovation.

“I’ve got a very busy lifestyle, my job is very busy, so I’ve only spent a Saturday here or a Sunday there, sometimes only four hours in the afternoon,” said Chris.

He went onto explain that it was an “absolute mess” when he first went to collect it.

“I picked it up from Ipswich and it broke down three times and I was a bit worried that I brought a bad van,” he said.

Your Local Guardian: Chris still needs to makeover the exterior Chris still needs to makeover the exterior

“I had it checked out and we gave it a good service to get the engine running again.

“It needed a new windscreen, I fitted the back out with a sink with running water, a TV, a speaker and a stereo.”

He added: “The van I brought was a 1995 Escort Mark 6, which is quite sought after. It was modified to take wheelchairs which is how I worked with the space.

“It’s very small, it can go in car parks, you can park it on the street, it’s not too big and it’s quite practical.”

Your Local Guardian: Chris cooking a stir fry Chris cooking a stir fry

This week Chris and his partner Sarah took the campervan for a “grand tour” to the Midlands, Wales and the North of England.

He said that the purpose of the trip was to find “snags” so that he could come back to London to make any necessary modifications.

“It still won’t be completely ready until the new year because there is still so much that I want to do to it,” he said.

“We are going to get the van vinyl wrapped into a beautiful Chameleon colour, so that when you walk past- it will change colour with the sunlight.”

Your Local Guardian: Chris also installed additional lightingChris also installed additional lighting

Chris has offered some tips to readers who would also like to renovate a vehicle.

“Make sure the base vehicle you buy is solid and that it doesn’t need any work doing to it that you can’t handle,” he warned.

“Do as much of the work that you can do yourself to help keep the cost down.

“I reckon by the time I’m finished – we would have spent £3500 in total, that’s the budget.”

Next, Chris plans on doing an “epic trip” to Scotland.



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