Thursday, 17 September 2009

MOT this morning

The 46 was booked for an MOT this morning. I took it to a class 7 site as I assumed it would be over 3500kg, but to my surprise it was already on the DVLA system as 3500kg and therefore a class 4. That saves having to plate it lower. The main reason to get a a lower GVW is newer qualified drivers can drive it without having to do an additional test. My and my wife would have been OK as we have been driving for years. I will post more on the weigh issues when I know them as there are a few other benefits to having a lower GVW.

IT FAILED :-( oh well no surprise there considering how woolly the steering was. 2 x ball joints, anti-roll bar bushes, and a couple of things like wipers and lights. On the whole not too bad.

I contacted the previous owners,
Avon NHS ambulance service, who very kindly emaild me an Excel sheet of all the maintenance the 46 has had during their 2 year ownership. The person I spoke to even remembered the 46 and said it had been mothballed quite a while before it was decomissioned and this was why it had no MOT.

Once back from the MOT I had a spot of lunch before setting to stripping out the rear.

All the blues and twos had been removed as well as most of the "ambulance stuff" so it was mainly the "furniture" that needed removing.

The build quality is excellent, and they take some stripping. This is what it looked like at the start.

Three hours later............

Its surprising how big it is inside. The best bit was the discovery of an additional A/C unit in the over cab area to provide A/C in the rear. Result!

Tomorrow the electrics. There are masses of them, no seriously, look......

This is just one of the panels, there's another 2 smaller ones under each seat and a another behind the passenger seat.

Train Trip Wednesday 16th

Having pre-ordered my train ticket on-line I set off to South Wales. Six and a half hours later 3 trains the Underground and 1 taxi I arrived at the auction site.

I have to say that train travel is pretty good in my opinion. I have had 3 long trips to get various vehicles in the last couple of years. In each case they have been on time and reasonably priced if you get them in advance on-line.

The train from Paddington was going along at 125mph. I know this because as you will become aware I like my gadgets like my phone that has GPS software to record journeys and their details. These can then be uploaded to a site like EveryTrail

So with all paperwork in hand I set off for the 259 mile drive home. M4 all OK, M25 normal nightmare but little realistic alternative.

Anyway 6 hours later I was home on about £40 of diesel. The 46 (not yet named it) went well reaching and maintaining 70mph with ease. Steering was a little woolly otherwise a nice drive.

Ambulance Hunt

The first stop of course was ebay. I had done my research and decided I wanted either a 412 Sprinter or a LT46 VW. Apparently these are supposed to go on forever (lets hope so) but are a bit dearer as a result.

I arranged to view and test drive a couple with ebayers, but in discussion with both they revealed their reserve and in both cases I felt these were unrealistic which was indeed born out by one not selling, and the other having a very strange set of late bids that weren't snipes. The latter I wouldn't be surprised to be re-listed.

Then I came across an auction company with an LT46 with low mileage, well low for an ambulance 140,000 miles, but of course these are maintained regardless of expense.

I arranged to bid on the phone, something I'd never done before and was a little exciting I have to admit.

On the fall of the hammer I became the owner of..........

Now I need a train ticket.

Where It All Began

In August 2009 we went France again for our summer holiday, to the beautiful Lot region. While there we notice this year the amount of motorhomes around and we mused the idea that it might be nice to have one.

When we got back and caught up with friends we had missed during the summer while every on was off doing their thing. Several of them went to a music festival, one of them in his motorhome. There it is again "motorhome". Things seem to creep up on you sometimes in life. We also have a narrowboat and many other owners also have a "motorhome".
So I started looking around, Auto Trader, E&M, Ebay, dealer site even sites abroad and became very quickly aware that anything in my price bracket was going to be very old and end of life. We once had a caravan, but didn't want to go back to one of them again. I had to think of options. During a Google session I found a web site and forum. The Self Build Motor Caravanners Club. This struck a chord as my previous business was the manufacture of trailers. I did this for 20 years before selling it and going into semi retirement. Much of what we built entailed custom fit outs.

Afetr a week or so I decided a retired Ambulance would fit the bill, especially when I saw this conversion by a self builder.



So the hunt began.