DIY enthusiasts from across the country have been battling it out to turn unloved vans into amazing spaces in order to win glory and a £10,000 cash prize.
Contestants have transformed ambulances into pubs and vans into offices using nothing but their intuition all to impress judge George Clarke who’s TV program Amazing Spaces celebrates the DIY spirit.
Whilst other DIY competitions like Shed of the Year are already enshrined as cultural red letter days in the calendar, this is the inaugural eBay Van Conversion of the Year awards.
Now after months of hard graft, seven individual winners have been whittled down from hundreds of entries with the ultimate winner due to be announced next week.
These are the runners and riders.
This van conversion won the award for ‘most stylish design’ and is up for the big prize too
Kareem, (right) a freelance Architectural Designer and Carpenter and his partner, Lucy (left) converted a Mercedes Lwb Sprinter to create a clean and healthy internal space
The design intent for the van was to be able to spend long periods of time in her without compromising on comfort
The pair claim they spent ‘thousands of hours’ working on their design
Most Stylish Design
Kareem Cheng and Lucy Ennis – Mercedes Lwb Sprinter
Kareem, a freelance Architectural Designer and Carpenter and his partner, Lucy, converted a Mercedes Lwb Sprinter to create a clean and healthy internal space.
All the carefully selected materials and finishes were specifically chosen for their low VOC content, meaning no off-gassing or poor internal air quality issues from anything installed.
The design intent for the van was to be able to spend long periods of time in her without compromising on comfort.
Describing his build, Kareem said: ‘We put thousands of hours of build time, research and head-scratching into building Vega and are very proud of what we have achieved.
‘Every timber element in this vehicle was designed, handcrafted and bespoke to fit perfectly.
‘There are a myriad of design elements to explore, such as the single-walled units and rattan panelled doors, all which reduce the overall weight considerably. The end result is a unique and stylish van that turns heads wherever she goes.
‘We managed to get so many of our parts from eBay, from simple things such as electrical cables through to some of the biggest items in the van like the 12v fridge.’
Daniel Parker’s effort cooped hik the title of best professional conversion
The professional vehicle converter who modified his customer’s Defender 110 ex-British Red Cross Ambulance into a luxury mobile home/office on wheels
He now hopes to be able to ‘travel the world in comfort from inside his rolling tank
Best Professional Conversion
Daniel Parker (DUB Buses) – Defender 110 ex-British Red Cross Ambulance
Daniel is a professional vehicle converter who modified his customer’s Defender 110 ex-British Red Cross Ambulance into a luxury mobile home/office on wheels.
The van, owned by RIG Automotive, was recently on display on the company’s stand at Goodwood Revival where passers-by were shocked with the level of finish on both interior and exterior.
Daniel now hopes to be able to ‘travel the world in comfort.
He said: ‘Being a full 4×4, the capability of these vehicles are renowned for being able to travel the world, so why not do that in style and comfort?
‘As you can see the whole interior was replaced using ultra-modern finishes and up to date technology, which allow the owners full off-grid capability.’
Paul Daniels won the best business entry with the amBEERlance, a converted ambulance which is now a fully functioning bar
Due to previously being used as ambulance, the van had plenty of space
Paul now uses the ambulance to drive to customers houses – bringing the pub to them
Paul’s wife, Clare, applied to the awards on Paul’s behalf as she felt he deserved recognition for his work during COVID
Best Business Entry
Paul White – the amBEERlance (Peugeot Boxer)
Paul’s wife, Clare, applied to the awards on Paul’s behalf as she felt he deserved recognition for his work during COVID. When their business, The Dog House bar, had to close during restrictions, the pair were left questioning their future.
Paul decided to diversify. If regulars couldn’t come to the bar, the bar would come to them.
Enter, the amBEERlance, a converted ambulance which is now a fully functioning bar. Due to previously being used as ambulance, the van had plenty of space.
Paul said: ‘One thing you couldn’t get in lockdown was freshly pulled pints, so this allowed us to visit our regulars, while spreading a bit of joy, pulling freshly pulled pints outside your house.
‘It also allowed us to pay our staff in full whilst the bar was closed and they were furloughed. It was so lovely to see neighbours buying each other pints to say ‘thank you’ as they were high risk so unable to go the shops.
‘I didn’t think it would be as popular as it was but luckily it was and allowed us to pay our staff 100% of their wage so they didn’t have to be out of pocket but most importantly, we were able to continue it after lockdown.’
Cecile Hauderbourg won the award for the best luxury van conversion
The van has been fitted with a wine cooler, fridge freezer, an awning to protect campers from the sun
The lovingly named, ‘Miss Mokum’ was created for a couple who were both avid wine-lovers
The van is a perfect little home away from home with the full amenities you’d expect
Best Luxury Camper
Cecile Hauderbourg (Vanpuravida) – Miss Mokum (Ducato L3H3)
The lovingly named, ‘Miss Mokum’ was created for a couple who were both avid wine-lovers.
The van has been fitted with a wine cooler, fridge freezer, an awning to protect them from the sun, as they like to travel to Spain, and some impressive tech including an electric lift-up bed.
Commenting on her boozy design, Cecile said: ‘This van is so personal to the owners, who love to travel to Spain and enjoy fine wine, so we made sure to reflect this.
‘The van has been wrapped in studio green, tyres have been upgraded, the dining area converts into a large double bedroom for their friends.
‘We’ve even added a video screen for the video projector which is also connected to an incredible sound system.’
Michael Clark’s enormous conversion job on this land cruiser led him to win best engineering innovation
Michael painstakingly converted the truck into a compact, yet fully equipped, off-road campervan ready for any off-road adventure
Best Engineering Innovation
Michael Clark – Toyota Landcruiser Amazon
Michael, who works in motor part sales, has taken an 80 series Toyota Landcruiser, one of the most reliable and capable 4×4 vehicles in the world, and converted it into a compact, yet fully equipped, off-road campervan ready for any offroad adventure in UK, Europe, Africa or Asia.
Both the base vehicle (truck) and most the interior fit-out parts were purchased from eBay – right down to the fog lamps.
The petrolhead said: ‘This was not a project for the faint-hearted. The rear section has been cut off, and a custom insulated rear cabin with electric elevating roof installed in its place.
‘Unbelievable for its size, it has two double beds, toilet, shower, heating, hot water, solar panels and 150L fresh water – you can happily drive into the wilderness for weeks.
‘This truck is a one off. It has taken a lot of effort and ingenuity.’
Richard Eastcott’s Renault Kangoo conversion won the award for thriftiest conversion
Richard maximised space with a pull-out drawer for small items and a bespoke rack to hold silicone, hand saws and miscellaneous items
Richard Eastcott – Renault Kangoo
Richard converted his Renault Kangoo into the perfect van for his job as a carpenter.
He maximised space with a pull-out drawer for small items and a bespoke rack to hold silicone, hand saws and miscellaneous items.
The free load space holds a custom mitre saw stand and other toolboxes which can be easily removed to free up room.
Explaining his design, he said: ‘Working as a self-employed carpenter I needed a van to carry my work tools.
‘I didn’t want a large transit size van as they can be tricky to park so needed to maximise every bit of storage in a small van to carry everything.
‘I tried to be as economical as possible as it was all about creating the most useful van and storage space for the smallest budget.
‘It’s so handy being able to get to things I need really easily and having everything tidied away in its own dedicated space.’
Hannah Felce won the best beginner build for her conversion of an XLWB Volkswagen Crafter Industry into a mobile home
Hannah and her partner converted their VW Crafter to travel in whilst they saved to buy a house
Best Beginner Build
Hannah Felce – XLWB Volkswagen Crafter Industry
Hannah and her partner converted their VW Crafter to travel in whilst they saved to buy a house.
Unfortunately, COVID meant they were back living with their parents. It took them two years to convert the van and during this time, Hannah fell pregnant!
Although the conversion plans were put on hold, they still planned to adapt the van for their daughter who now absolutely loves taking trips in it.
Hannah explained: ‘We’d never carried out a van conversion before, or anything like this, so the entire process was new but exciting.
‘We did have our fair share of set backs, but we wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m so proud of what we’ve created for our daughter.
‘My favourite feature has to be the shower, I’m incredibly proud of how it looks, you’d never think it was inside a van.’
The winner of eBay’s Van Conversion of the Year Award will be exclusively revealed on the Mail Online on 11th November.