Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

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Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:40 pm

Had a look inside a friend's Eton last night- recently purchased 4 year old. An upgrade from a Toyota Hiace. They lacked living space, a shower and a flush loo. Nice van but in reality I didn't see much of an improvement with the Eton over my 17 year old Symphony regards living space or facilities. Quite surprised actually. Ok more modern, bigger shower, over cab bed, more storage space ,but still have to make up the beds. Not really sure I could justify spending an extra £20,000 on a newer coachbuilt. Really nice van but....... Perhaps if I had a spare £30,000 might think differently !! Just asking those who have upgraded to a coachbuilt, are they worth the extra dosh ?
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Dutto on Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:00 pm

Minniesmum wrote:..... Perhaps if I had a spare £30,000 might think differently !!

Cath,

Our main constraint was what we could get on to our drive plus the need for a separate toilet and flexible sleeping arrangements. The Duetto fitted the bill perfectly so all other models tended to fade into the background and we haven't even looked at other makes or models.
up!
With regard to the "spare £30,000" never forgot the harassed housewife who wanted more money and her husband suggested that she went down to the local docks to sell herself.
dont_mentionIt
The lady stormed out of the house in a huff and didn't return until past midnight; at which time she threw £40.50p on to the table and said triumphantly "There you are. I did what you said."
think_smiley_46
The husband was shocked but, being pragmatic, asked "who gave you the 50p?" to which she relied "They all did!"
tap_fingers
Best regards,
drinksallround
Ian

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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:41 pm

Very funny Ian winks Ill have to admit, I put off upgrading from my Doblo ( aside from available cash ) because I live in a relatively rough area and no drive. Any motorhome would have to be parked on a public roadoutside the house. However to a prospective thief, I'd hazard a guess that a 17 year old panel van would be less attractive than a newer coachbuilt. up!
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by brodco on Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:36 pm

Hi Minniesmum
Minniesmum wrote: Just asking those who have upgraded to a coachbuilt, are they worth the extra dosh ?
I’m not actually qualified to comment on you post since I’ve never “upgraded” to a coachbuilt! But I don’t think I agree that “upgrading” or “the extra dosh” is the right way of looking at it. Year for year you can get a couchbuilt or van conversion for comparable prices.

I think it’s a case of horses for courses. Depending on how the van will be used, for some people a couchbuilt is right and for others a van conversion is better. Not being “flushed with funds” I spent a long time deciding what type of van I wanted.

I (and SHMBO) are into walking , bird watching and such like so a major factor for me was size. I picked the Duetto because it's large enough to have the essentials (loo , shower , heating etc) but small enough to fit down most of the tiny single track roads that we need navigate to get to where we want to be.

I’d love to have the extra space available in a couchbuilt bit I think it would be impractical considering how I use my van.
Brod


Last edited by brodco on Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:50 pm

Thanks for your input up! I was comparing the space and facilities on offer between 2 "types" of AS motorhomes. I guess that external dimensions and manoeuverability can be a deciding factor.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by -mojo- on Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:52 pm

I too have never "upgraded", but I tend to look in the smaller coachbuilts whenever I go to a dealers. Possibly because I came to camper vans from tent camping, a coachbuilt doesn't feel (to me) like you're camping.

In fact I'm just in the process of "downgrading" from a high-top van conversion, with all of the main facilities other than a shower and oven, to a simpler van with raising roof and fewer facilities (e.g. no hot water, and a portable rather than a built-in toilet). It's not due to cost - I prefer it that way.

And as Brodco says, the price difference is not as big as some people think. If you look at the prices on the AS website, there are only a few £k's difference between the van conversions and coachbuilts built on the same make of base vehicle.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:11 pm

I've come from cycle-camping so believe me used to "roughing it ". Having tried the pop top Doblo for 2 years was ready for comfort for winter camping. My upgrade to a 17 year old panel van is as far as I need to go. The shower and toilet facility are nice to have. Anything more than what I have now is kind of silly and greedy.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by deckie on Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi Minniesmum wave

As already stated, very much a case of 'Horses for courses' and what you are doing at the time ......

In well over 40 yrs 'vanning' we have had everything from my home converted Ford Thames Van (bit tight with two of us and three Kids smile! ) to large American RV's.

Our present Clubman GL (small monocoque) suits the two of us down to the ground.

Brian

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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by mikethebike on Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:55 pm

Well i have had both. i went for the coachbuilt for the extra room in winter. It wasnt any cheaper than a Symphony at the time.!
Different quality it was a Swift 590 RS.!
The Symphony fits our budget and for our summer use we are outside a lot.
Not found any warm enough places in motoring distance from the UK in winter.
regards
mike hugegrins
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Dutto on Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:28 am

deckie wrote:...... my home converted Ford Thames Van ........

Brian

Back when I was about 20 years old I had a Ford Thames van with a mattress in the back and my mate had a bright red TVR. wave

We used to go to dances together "on the pull". I had more fun and he had scraped knees and a bad back! allthumbz

I could have sold that mattress for scientific research and it only took another 49 years to get a van with a bed in it; but by then I had a bad back! tap_fingers

Best regards,
drinksallround
Ian


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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:25 am

Dutto wrote:
deckie wrote:...... my home converted Ford Thames Van ........

Brian

Back when I was about 20 years old I had a Ford Thames van with a mattress in the back and my mate had a bright red TVR. wave

We used to go to dances together "on the pull". I had more fun and he had scraped knees and a bad back! allthumbz

I could have sold that mattress for scientific research and it only took another 49 years to get a van with a bed in it; but by then I had a bad back! tap_fingers

Best regards,
drinksallround
Ian

winks nice one Ian Lol. I love the look of the Clubman and Amethyst. The extra space that the over cab bed area in the coachbuilts would be so useful for my watersports gear. However just now where I'm living the Symphony fits in and everything else about it is perfect.


Last edited by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sp)
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Re: Van conversion vs. coachbuilt ?

Post by Guest on Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:00 am

Hi,

We are quite satisfied with the Symphony, it suits our needs and fits both our driveway and our pockets so to speak. We have looked at Clubman / Amethyst vans and would maybe upgrade (?) to a slightly larger 'van of that size but not 100% sure we are happy with the layout, preferring the large side sliding door.

Friends of ours have a larger M/H (not an AS) and although well appointed internally, they complain bitterly about the manouverability of it, and its certainly a long way off being an RV -more the size of a Ravenna.

So, horses for courses.

Mike D
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Van coverson V coachbuilt

Post by murph on Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:36 am

Its Horses for courses, we had a van conversion (another make) and decided buying it was the worst decision we ever made, not enough space within the length we wanted, but those on the forum who have them seem to love them. Some people manage without a loo or even a porta potti, we wouldnt even consider such a van.

Brian2

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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:17 pm

1b449 wrote:Hi,

We are quite satisfied with the Symphony, it suits our needs and fits both our driveway and our pockets so to speak. We have looked at Clubman / Amethyst vans and would maybe upgrade (?) to a slightly larger 'van of that size but not 100% sure we are happy with the layout, preferring the large side sliding door.

Friends of ours have a larger M/H (not an AS) and although well appointed internally, they complain bitterly about the manouverability of it, and its certainly a long way off being an RV -more the size of a Ravenna.

So, horses for courses.

Mike D
totally echo your sentiments up! my previous van was a Doblo. Loved the rear doors and the sliding side door so when I saw the Boxer it was identical in that respect but much larger. I tried to get into my friends coachbuilt via the very narrow caravan style side door and found it annoyingly so. And most coachbuilts don't have the rear habitation door which I like to crack open when I'm cooking up!


Last edited by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sp)
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by CC on Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:03 pm

Hi MinniesMum

We upgraded from a Trident van conversion to our Nuevo coachbuilt and would never go back (unless our circumstances changed). So much more room for us, better sleeping arrangement, loads more storage, toilet / bathroom that's easily accessible during the night and permanent kitchen area. Don't really find it that much more difficult to get about in compared to the Trident either. It's whatever works best for you that counts.... all Auto-Sleepers are super vehicles regardless of the model, so many models I really like that I could choose many to be honest.... they all serve the same purpose to allow freedom and give pleasure... Enjoy gimmefive

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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:16 pm

CruizingComet wrote:Hi MinniesMum

We upgraded from a Trident van conversion to our Nuevo coachbuilt and would never go back (unless our circumstances changed). So much more room for us, better sleeping arrangement, loads more storage, toilet / bathroom that's easily accessible during the night and permanent kitchen area. Don't really find it that much more difficult to get about in compared to the Trident either. It's whatever works best for you that counts.... all Auto-Sleepers are super vehicles regardless of the model, so many models I really like that I could choose many to be honest.... they all serve the same purpose to allow freedom and give pleasure... Enjoy gimmefive

CC
agree on the AS's up! had looked at a Trident before deciding on the Symphony and wasn't impressed with various aspects. ( Esp the bed layout ). Can understand why upgrading to the Nuevo was a big improvement smile! it's funny as I read your description of the Nuevo, was thinking " sounds like my Symphony ! ( Minus the extra storage space ) up!
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Johno on Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:12 pm

I upgraded from a 2CV and tent to a VeeDub Devon Sundowner poptop campervan in the late seventies that had a great "rock n roll" bed setup, which was ready for use in about 30 seconds. smile!
I then mistakenly swapped the VW for an Holdsworth conversion on a Renault Trafic prompted by the toilet/shower as I used to wild camp a lot those days but the bed was troublesome to make up and not very comfy so after a couple of years I thought I'd give caravanning a go and ever since I've alternated between motorhomes and caravans much to my bank managers dismay and the dealers glee. shrugg
I think the caravanning gave me the feel for coachbuilt motorhomes leading through a succession of motorhomes to my present AS Eton. content
The benefits of coachbuilt over panel van are fairly limited these days as panel conversions have come on in leaps and bounds since since the days of my old VeeDubb Devon, I think the beds in coachbuilts are often more comfortable and insulation possibly better and there is more room and storage which in my case as a solo motorhomer is a bit of overkill rolleyes
So all I'm waiting for is AS to produce a Transit panelvan conversion with a "rock n roll" bed and I may be tempted to say goodbye to the Eton,but I feel I may have a long wait rolleyes

Cheers John up!
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:32 pm

Johno wrote:I upgraded from a 2CV and tent to a VeeDub Devon Sundowner poptop campervan in the late seventies that had a great "rock n roll" bed setup, which was ready for use in about 30 seconds. smile!
I then mistakenly swapped the VW for an Holdsworth conversion on a Renault Trafic prompted by the toilet/shower as I used to wild camp a lot those days but the bed was troublesome to make up and not very comfy so after a couple of years I thought I'd give caravanning a go and ever since I've alternated between motorhomes and caravans much to my bank managers dismay and the dealers glee. shrugg
I think the caravanning gave me the feel for coachbuilt motorhomes leading through a succession of motorhomes to my present AS Eton. content
The benefits of coachbuilt over panel van are fairly limited these days as panel conversions have come on in leaps and bounds since since the days of my old VeeDubb Devon, I think the beds in coachbuilts are often more comfortable and insulation possibly better and there is more room and storage which in my case as a solo motorhomer is a bit of overkill rolleyes
So all I'm waiting for is AS to produce a Transit panelvan conversion with a "rock n roll" bed and I may be tempted to say goodbye to the Eton,but I feel I may have a long wait rolleyes

Cheers John up!
yes as a solo motorhomer as well, I have plenty of storage space in the Boxer. The more you have the more gear you pile in......the bed/s in the Symphony make up in a few seconds and the choice to sleep across the van as well. My friends also have the Eton, very similar in layout to my Symphony.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by -mojo- on Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:52 pm

Johno wrote:
So all I'm waiting for is AS to produce a Transit panelvan conversion with a "rock n roll" bed and I may be tempted to say goodbye to the Eton,but I feel I may have a long wait

Agreed - I think AS are going in the opposite direction, dropping the smaller panel van conversions. I also can't ~recall~ anyone making the rock n roll bed layout in a Transit, but I may have missed some.

My next van will have the rock n roll bed, but I know I'm really going to miss the overcab locker in the present van, as it's the perfect place to chuck the climbing gear (which takes up way too much space considering I typically only use it one or two days during a 2 week trip!)
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by petern on Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:22 pm

We have an 18-year old Rapport/Trafic which has just come back from 2500 mile trip round Germany at almost 30 miles to the gallon (petrol engine) and frankly has more worktop space in the kitchen area and more storage space and flexibility than many larger and expensive modern vans. OK, there are only the 2 of us so we can use the overcab area for extra storage, and there is of course no shower. Still, there is a toilet. Finally, it is small and manoeuvrable enough to get us up back roads and even along a dedicated tram track in Wurzburg when driver and navigator (of van, not the tram) had a slight difference of opinion!

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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by matchlessman on Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:45 pm

We recently went the other way, downsizing from a Hymer coachbuilt to our Symbol.

When we first had the Hymer, 8 years ago, there were 4 of us (2 daughters). So the overcab was the 'kids' domain. The amount of storage space was amazing. It had massive overhead lockers and 3 big outdoor underneath lockers which swallowed masses of kit.

Now there will be just the 2 of us most of the time we 'should' fit in the symbol. Its definitely easier to squeeze down narrow streets in medieval cities and parking is more available being 2 foot shorter and a good few inches narrower.

Its also a lot quicker and more economical (not always both at the same time though). Perfect to grab a quick weekend away, or take a 2 week cruise through France.

We're still adjusting to the lack of storage, not being minimalists it is a struggle but we will succeed. I was even bought a smaller Cadac for my birthday.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by kernow jon on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:50 pm

petern wrote:We have an 18-year old Rapport/Trafic which has just come back from 2500 mile trip round Germany at almost 30 miles to the gallon (petrol engine) and frankly has more worktop space in the kitchen area and more storage space and flexibility than many larger and expensive modern vans. OK, there are only the 2 of us so we can use the overcab area for extra storage, and there is of course no shower. Still, there is a toilet. Finally, it is small and manoeuvrable enough to get us up back roads and even along a dedicated tram track in Wurzburg when driver and navigator (of van, not the tram) had a slight difference of opinion!

petern

Glad to read you are getting 30mpg up! - we have just bought a 25 year old RCX / Traffic. So no exciting trips yet.
I started camping with everything on my back at 14 - back-packing across the moors and the Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions - I have owned a few van conversions Transit and Sherpa - trailer tents and small caravans - last caravan an old Coachman VIP 460/2 (still looking for a new owner)
Size can be all important allthumbz - we live in Cornwall (God's Own Country in some people's opinion - including mine), unfortunately the council traffic wardens, renamed Civil Enforcement Officers will issue a ticket if the vehicle does not fit inside the painted lines of a parking space scratch head - the little Traffic based van conversion does this with no problems hugegrins . I do not know what the owners of motorhomes do.
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Bartfarst on Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Minniesmum wrote:........... because I live in a relatively rough area and no drive. Any motorhome would have to be parked on a public roadoutside the house. However to a prospective thief, I'd hazard a guess that a 17 year old panel van would be less attractive than a newer coachbuilt....

I recall staying on a site in the early years where the owner had many caravans in open storage and they regularly attracted the wrong kind of visitors. Talking with the owner it was quite interesting what the thieves were after: TVs? Cameras? Satellite equipment? No, it was bottles of drink, in particular spirits that got stolen. I'm not sure how you make it clear to Joe Scum that there's no booze in your motor, but the more afluent the van, the greater the risk I assume.

Back to main thread topic, I'm a Harmony owner with no desire for anything else. It just ticks all the boxes for us!

Bartfarst
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by Minniesmum on Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:22 pm

Bartfarst wrote:
Minniesmum wrote:........... because I live in a relatively rough area and no drive. Any motorhome would have to be parked on a public roadoutside the house. However to a prospective thief, I'd hazard a guess that a 17 year old panel van would be less attractive than a newer coachbuilt....

I recall staying on a site in the early years where the owner had many caravans in open storage and they regularly attracted the wrong kind of visitors. Talking with the owner it was quite interesting what the thieves were after: TVs? Cameras? Satellite equipment? No, it was bottles of drink, in particular spirits that got stolen. I'm not sure how you make it clear to Joe Scum that there's no booze in your motor, but the more afluent the van, the greater the risk I assume.

Back to main thread topic, I'm a Harmony owner with no desire for anything else. It just ticks all the boxes for us!

Bartfarst
Lol on booze thing. Thieves would be out of luck in my van. Booze never lasts til I get back home winks yes my Symphony ticks all the boxes too up!
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Re: Van conversion vs coachbuilt ?

Post by DuxDeluxe on Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:58 pm

Note to self: remove booze from van in an approved manner.

Second note to self: don't drive after removing booze from van in the approved manner snigger
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