Hi I am looking at purchasing an existing van conversion. It is an old van circa 1980s and it’s a chevy. There are many great things about it in terms of upgrades and generally, it’s in good condition. But I am having a hard time figuring out what the actual value should be to make an offer. Is there a method for valuing an old van conversion? Thanks!
Hi Camille, entering this market van be a bit daunting for sure. Is there an asking price that you want to base your offer on? A couple major factors I would consider: mileage on the van itself, factory or homemade living space, when the conversion was done.
Will you have enough money left after purchasing to repair or replace the myriad of issues that can and most likely will arise in both van, body/chassis, and living space?
Ot would behoove you to have it inspected by not only a mechanic but by somebody with conversion experience.
I sm currently on the other side of your dilemma. I have a van I spent a better part of a year converting and have finished my almost two years of travel and ready to be in one spot for awhile.
Its difficult to put a value on all aspects of a van build that one pours their blood, sweat , and tears into. Based upon all that I am coming up with the depreciated value of the van as it sits without the conversion and then adding the depreciated value of that after. Everything has been used but was installed to last the constant motion that all systems can be subject to.
I will stop here and welcome any questions you might have.
2019 RAM 2500 hightop, full solar, and complete living space. Double bed, sink, shower, toilet, stove/oven, closet. Propane and electric.
Old vehicles, including conversion vans, all are valued on an individual basis. I would say a vehicle qualifies as old if it’s about 15-20 years old, or more. There are book values for them, but they are not very accurate. Nadaguides, Kelley Blue book, for the vehicle. Not really anything on a custom van I am aware of. You need to look at the condition of the vans paint and interior, mechanical condition, how it drives, tire tread, etc. Does the AC and heater work? Is the paint faded or oxidized? Does it burn oil? Does the transmission shift properly or does it shift really hard or slow to change gears. Any hesitation when putting it into reverse or drive? Are there any considerable vibrations or does it pull to one side when you drive it on the highway? A vehicle with considerable need for repair has very little value as mechanical and body work work is expensive. If the paint is good, the motor and transmission are good, ac blows cold and it’s in pretty decent shape. The components mostly work, like heat and air and sink etc. I would guess it’s worth between $5k-$10k. Couldn’t say for sure as I have not seen any pictures of it and have very little details about it’s condition. Best option is to price as many as you can in your price range, look at as many as you can and buy the one you think is the most reliable and has a good price.
Ms. Camille, Having owned several “vintage” RV’s, they can be an affordable entry into the hobby, or they can be a money pit. With the recent explosion in the popularity of van travel/camping, a lot of old units are coming out of the weeds and sheds, where they’ve been decaying for years. Sellers are asking (and getting) stupid money for vehicles that should be salvaged.
Conditions of 30+ year old models range from lovingly used, and maintained, to neglected field/barn finds. On motorized RV’s the engine and drive train are the most expensive systems to repair or replace, with tires, coach electrical, and plumbing a close second. I would recommend having it inspected by a respected mechanic, AND RV service technician (at the seller’s expense). Also request copies of the vehicles service history. Have the seller PROVE that all systems are functional (the heater heats, the frig and AC cool, etc.). DO NOT accept the standard response “it worked the last time we used it”, which could mean 30 years ago, or when it failed.
You WILL have to invest $ on repairs. How much depends on what needs fixing, and your DYI capabilities. Add the cost of all necessary repairs to the agreed upon selling price for a total cost.
Good Luck, and Buyer Beware.