Around 1986 I bought my first campervan. We found it in a field being used as a goat house; it was surpisingly in sound condition after we gave it a major clean up. It was a Commer Autosleeper conversion with a fibreglass lift up roof and folding plywood sides complete with windows giving full interior headroom, a luxury in those bygone days. It came equipped with a sink, fold down gas cooker and allegedly four berths, two seats that formed a double in the main cabin and two single bunks in the roof. I say ‘allegedly’ because this would have been a very tight squeeze that we never put to the test. But the van served us well and we travelled many miles in her travelling around England, Scotland and Wales in pursuit of places to windsurf. Eventually rust prevented economic repair and led to her being scrapped.
Our next camper was a Ford Transit based CI Coachbuilt motorhome bought around 1991. She came complete with an above cab viewing platform, having been previously used by her original owners for spectating at horse racing events. The chap that we bought her from had enjoyed a somewhat Bohemian lifestyle as a live-aboard, and this resulted in a pungent herbal aroma inside that we never really got rid of. However, the van was a real step up from the Commer, having a permanent double bed above the cab, shower/toilet enclosure, decent cooker, sink and even a fridge. Luxuries included a gas heater and hot and cold pressurised water system that I fitted later. We toured extensively around the UK in her, enabling me to pursue my passion for windsurfing at many beautiful locations. We eventually sold the van in an unlikely deal that in part saw us become the owners of numerous empty whiskey casks!
Having been without a van for several years, the bug hit us again in about 2011 when an idea of driving across Europe to Rhodes first developed. We knew we would need something larger and more comfortable than the previous vans, and we spent three years looking before our search brought us to a Bessacarr E760 at a local dealer. The van’s statistics are:
Fiat Ducato 2.8 based Swift Bessacarr E760 with extended Alko chassis, 7.6 m long, 2.31 m wide, 2.75 m tall, Weight 3850 kg, Payload 420 kg. She is officially known as a low-profile motorhome because there is no raised sleeping pod above the cab, and she is perfectly equipped for wild camping off grid in comparative luxury.