Solar Installer and van builder in the Los Angeles area

Hello all!!

I am the proud owner of a self build camper that I made out of a 1973 Ford Club Wagon. With my professional background in engineering and with the help of a couple friends I have started my own business adding solar panels to vans and RV’s for less than you’d expect

I found my passion in retro camper vans and solar panels. If you are in the Los Angeles or Southern California area and you would like my help with you project, send me a message on here or check me out on Instagram @thevan_plan.or my website

I am also always available to answer any questions you might have

Greetings & Welcome!

We’ll look forward to you becoming an active member. This is a great place to share your experiences and to get help when needed.

I’ve had several of those old Club Wagons, all factory campers, one low top, one high top, and one pop top. The only thing I didn’t like about them was the turning radius. I almost forgot about that since I switched to a much tighter turning high topDodge Travco van of the same vintage. It was gutted when I got it, so I restored the original carpet & padding, wall and door panels, and window trim from wrecking yards out of passenger vans.

I didn’t try to restore the original layout, I opted to make it the most comfortable for me, including and old executive style swivel, rocking, reclining desk chair with deep padding. Super comfy, and under $20 at a thrift store. Much off my furniture is used, recycled, or repurposed. My total build cost came in at under $300, but it’s kept me comfortable for over 10 years now.

I wish you well in your endeavors.


"Too cold? You need more heat, not more insulation." ~ Happy Camper

That’s awesome! I’m a huge fan of the retro van but the Club Wagon does have a four lane u-turning radius.

There is a dude in Long beach that buys and sells Old Van’s. I’m gonna hit him up for my next build. I’m definitely up for recommendations


My current favorite is the 70’s & 80’s Dodge vans. I think they drive the best, and are hard to beat in the reliability department. Since they’re pre-computerized, there’s a lot less to go wrong with them too.


"Foggy window fix: glass cleaner w/vinegar." ~ Van_Dweller

I do think that I’m gonna go with a late 70’s Dodge for my next one. And the simplicity of the electrical in the older vans makes them so much easier to troubleshoot and cheaper to work on

My ignition switch went up and it cost me $20 vs $200 for the one in my Jeep!


Exactly! I don’t choose older vehicles because they’re cheaper, I choose them because they’re better built, more reliable, and easier to fix.


"Spend less, do more, and avoid stupid choices." ~ TravelTime

oh absolutely. Another plus is that if you have limited experience working on vehicles but are comfortable getting your hands dirty, a pre-fuel injected vans might be the way to go. Things are going to break on anything. I like being able to start my van with a piece of heavy gauge wire if I have to.

Although, I am slowly having to replace all of my electrical throughout the van. 46 years in Oregon will do that


My van is also from your neck of the woods, but other than wiring problems created by the idiot who gutted it, I’ve never had any problems.


"Smiles are contagious, pass it on!" ~ Van_Dweller