Choosing the right classic van

Hey guys!
Me and my boyfriend are currently on the search for our first home on wheels. Despite the fact we’ve been researching different types of vehicles for nearly a year now, we’re still a bit lost!
As my boyfriend is new to (but very interested in) mechanics, we are more attracted to older vehicles with very little electrics. Although we are not limited to a certain mark, Iveco and Mercedes are in the top of our search for their reputation. We are also more interested in a Luton or box van, for it’s form and space. The only thing is we seem to be finding a trend that older vehicles (let’s say anything before 2000) seem to have a much weaker horsepower. We don’t know what the finished weight of our house/van will be, but as an estimate there will be a double bed, shower and toilet, kitchen with an oven and hob, small woodburning stove, fresh water and grey water tank, electrics, solar panels, batteries, as well as the furniture which will be lightweight.
I really hope that our vision for an older van can be made real, but I want to make sure we do it intelligently. And so I was wondering if anyone with more knowledge in older vans could maybe direct us to the series and models that could be suitable for our project?
Thank you so much for your responses :slight_smile:


Greetings & Welcome!

I think good transmissions & differentials (the gearing) can more than make up for a smaller engine.

Many smaller engines are happiest at higher RPM’s than the larger engines too…

Keep us informed so we can follow your progress.


"Be the reason someone smiles today!" ~ Van_Dweller

I’d buy a 2nd generation VW Westfalia Camper and replace the engine with a Subaru 4 cylinder for greater power. A local family did this by buying a van with a busted engine and in need of a paint job. They had to fit three small radiators for cooling, obtained from motorcycles, and told me the total cost was just under $10,000 C.

With the camper part of the project already done, this would make a lot of sense to me.