The UK is home to an estimated 32 million cars, which equates to roughly one vehicle for every two people. For many, cars are not only a necessity but also something to aspire to; how many people don’t dream of purchasing a flash sports model or a vintage classic? Vans, on the other hand, tend not to be the objects of people’s desire – rather, they are viewed in more practical terms. Thousands of businesses up and down the country rely heavily on vans on a daily basis, whilst a van hire tends to be the preferred option for moving house or clearing out furniture.
Here at Europcar, however, we’re always looking to spread our love and admiration for the trusted van. Sure, it’s reliable and practical, but it’s also a terrifically versatile vehicle that can be transformed into just about anything. So without further ado, we present our little guide to some of our favourite van transformations out there…
Now before we get on to the real fancy stuff, we can’t help but doff our caps at some of the best loved converted vans of yesteryear. High on the list is of course the humble ice cream van; synonymous with the British seaside and summertime in general. They’ve been serving us heavenly ’99s’ for decades and their familiar jingles still prompt kids and adults alike to bolt out their front doors in search of an ice-cold treat.
Other classics include both hot dog and fish and chip vans, which often make for a particularly welcome sight in the early hours of the morning or when you simply have an insatiable craving for some greasy comfort food.
Not all of our most loved vans are food related, however. Before the days of RVs, there was a slightly more basic yet delightfully innovative ‘House Car’. Check out a 1925 edition in this video.
Cabin on wheels
Hiring a cottage is many people’s idea of the ultimate retreat, particularly if you’re in need of some much needed peace and quiet. But before you pick up a car hire and head off for a week of relaxation, consider the alternative option presented by the creative minds over at Rustic Campers.
Their specialist skill? Converting campervans into mobile wooden cabins, all carried out to a range of personal specifications. Equipped with bunk beds, kitchens, dining areas and showers, the results are nothing short of incredible. There’s even a cosy little kitchen window, enabling you to enjoy the views on offer from your chosen location – be it deep in the forest, by the seaside or in your own driveway. Check them out for yourself here.
Leave nothing to waste
Not content with just a portable cabin? Then perhaps this converted bin lorry is more to your liking. Its owner decided to bring its waste-collecting days to an end and instead transform it into a swanky mobile apartment. Hardwood floors, modern kitchen units, ample storage and a large u-shaped couch bare the hallmarks of this impressive bachelor pad. There’s even a storage rack on the rear exterior of the van which can hold a fully sized motorbike.
Now we’re the first to admit that getting hold of a bin lorry, let alone converting one into an apartment, may be easier said than done. So if you’re simply looking for a van to help you transport a few heavy items, then booking a van hire is the perfect solution. It may not provide you with a mobile home, but there’s plenty space for camping equipment, skis, mountain bikes or anything else you may need for a cracking outdoor adventure.
Height of luxury
California based Lexani Motorcars specialise in luxury customised vehicles, and they love nothing more than transforming vans into five star creations. Look no further than this converted Mercedes van for evidence.
We’re not quite sure what price it commands, but the lucky owner would certainly not be left wanting whilst on the road. The interior is reminiscent of that of a luxury yacht, with white leather seats, drinks cabinets, LCD screens, a well-equipped kitchen and a marble-floored bathroom. And yes, thanks to a state-of-the-art espresso machine, it makes your coffee as well…
Famous movie vans
Last but not least, there’s the vans we all know and love from the big screen. Okay, some of them may been designed with the aid of a sprinkling of Hollywood movie magic (aka special effects), but they’re impressive none the less.
Who can forget the classic Mutt Cutts van from the Dumb and Dumber movies, for instance? The furry set of wheels was designed to look like a dog, and best of all, the van itself was actually real. Don’t believe us? Check out this video of Lloyd and Harry pulling up to the premier of the most recent movie.
If you’re a child of the 80s, chances are you grew up idolising Hannibal, Murdock, Faceman and B.A. Baracus – aka ‘The A-Team’. When they weren’t busy carrying out their crime busting plans to perfection, they could often be seen cruising around in their iconic black and grey van. And if you still harbour dreams of getting behind the wheels of the legendary vehicle, then you might just be in luck. Thanks to some A-Team aficionados, you can actually hire an exact replica of the A-Team van right here in the UK.
You can also check out a few more famous movie vans right here.