Dorothy is a Mark 4 2.2L Euro 4 diesel transit van, with 5 manual gears. She is extremely reliable and has been looked after with love and care by us. She has a full service history, and prior to our ownership she belonged to National Grid from new. Her bodywork is in good condition, and her underside was cleaned and treated last year to stop any dreaded Transit rust problems! All surface rust points have been treated and looked after too. She had 3 new tyres in December 2019.
The DVLA decided that her external appearance was not able to be described as a motor caravan, despite her flowery decals!
She’s good on fuel – when we travel to the Alps to ski (around 1600 miles) it costs us just under £400. I’m afraid I haven’t worked out what the MPG is on that! I use Dorothy as my ‘car’ for my commute to work (14 miles each way) and ferrying kids and spend around £40 per week on fuel. Not bad for a Transit which is used every day. 🙂
A double starter battery bank provides ample power to use the radio on overnight stops without worrying about running down the battery. She has rear parking sensors, but with a wheel on each corner she’s a dream to park up in a car park or on the high street.
She has an MOT until 17th September 2020.
Dorothy is a handcrafted, unique and beautiful campervan, with her furniture made from super-lightweight Poplar ply which is a gorgeous pale gold colour. She was completed in 2019.
As you can probably tell, I love my flowery van and I’m very sad to be moving on from her. However with 3 growing teenagers it is time to move to a slightly larger van so we can enjoy our nomadic holidays for a few more years.
The furniture was made by a local craftsperson who put a lot of effort in to making it perfect. The dresser has a number of cupboards, a pull out stove drawer which fits a single burner standard camp stove, 2 large drawers on easy-glide runners, space for a cool box (we’ve never needed a fridge even in the south of France), and a superb camp kitchen which can be removed if you’re camping with a tent and need the kitchen under the canvas. The camp kitchen has 2 drawers and 4 cubbyholes which will fit all your kitchen kit. All of the dresser doors close with a stylish press button knob.
The table is removable, matches the dresser and bed and has an early 20th century map of the South West embossed on it. The map used to be owned by a man who lived in Plymouth and drove all over the South West on his motorbike in the 1920s. (I had this story from the person I bought the map from and I like it so thought I’d share it!)
I use battery operated fairylights in Dorothy, and these are bright enough to draw, read, play games and cook by, so I’ve never bothered with getting a leisure battery hooked up. (I also think they look prettier than LED van lights and like the light they give.)
I had swivel seats professionally installed last year on both the passenger bench seat and the driver’s seat. The passenger seat has 4 bolts and 2 grenade pins which once removed mean the seat can be swung around to face the living area of the van, and the driver’s seat has a push down lever to turn it. My 13 year olds are able to set the van up by themselves, so they really aren’t difficult to move!
Dorothy has handmade blinds for all of the windows, which are interlined for warmth and blackout lined for comfort. I used to make curtains for a living and Dorothy’s blinds are my own work. She also has Kiravan Climat NT Silver Cab Screens for the cab windows – these are silver foil backed, thickly lined and great for winter camping. I have made silver foil bubble wrap insulation to fit the other windows (these sit under the fabric blinds – again great for winter).
She is fully insulated and vapour screen lined and we have camped in the Alps on our way to our ski holiday in February, and in the UK, Germany, Belgium and southern France on summer holidays over the last few years – she’s been warm when we’ve headed for the snow, and cool when we’ve been seeking sun and sea. She has a Fletner Vent in the roof which is good for ventilation when cooking or when it’s a warm night.
Dorothy has hammered silverplated forks as hooks for hanging towels, coats and bags, and a small handmade coffee table attached to the back barn doors. On the ceiling she has a blackboard section for recording where you’ve been, and a new ‘blank canvas’ for sticking photos, stickers, souvenirs and maps – we used to stick maps of our holidays on to the old ceiling and it’s a great way to remember your trips!
There are some hidey holes under the flooring which can be used for slim items such as awning poles, hiding valuables, or storing the extra silver foil bubble wrap insulation layers. The floor is laid with wipe clean vynyl flooring which is easy to sweep and in winter can have a rug thrown over for extra snuggliness.
She has 3 roofbars with a rear roller bar for easy removal of whatever’s on top! We carry numerous surfboards, a large and capacious roof box, planks of wood, skis …
Lastly, she has a great after-market DAB radio, with CD player, bluetooth and USB connection – listen to your sounds as you set off on your travels in this beautiful lady! If Dorothy is the van for you, I hope you have as much joy from travelling with her as we have done and I hope we see you on the road!
Ford Transit 85 T280 SWB
The handbuilt bench folds out to become a single or double bed, and I use a ‘hammock’ style bed on the front seat for one of the kids. (We have slept 4 in Dorothy comfortably.)
The main bed is 1.85m long, with a single width of 66cm and a double width of 1.27m. It runs down the van rather than across as I am tall and I wanted to be as comfortable as at home. The bed folds out and can be made in to a corner sofa for chilling time. I use an IKEA memory foam matress topper for the bed, and I am happy to leave this with the van or take it with me to my new van. There is loads of storage space in the bench bed, and we keep all our bedding there when we’re not using it.
The front seat bed is 1.65m in length, and the seats have a depth of 40cm, which we extend by using our comfy hammock bed. I’m taking the hammock bed to our new van, but Kiravans sell these beds on their website. The other option is to pop a camp mat on the floor as it is fully insulated and cosy.
(NB. The pictures show the bench seat with a throw over it and cushions – these are not included in the sale.)