Having made the decision to get a motorhome , lots of planning was required. We spoke to friends with 'vans & bought up every magazine we could. We looked on the net, joined the CC and Motorhome Fun. We got loads of good advice and so we set about looking at vans.
Luckily (?) we live near Brownhills in Newark so we drove over and walked thru dozens & dozens of 'vans. We took our daughter for a neutral, dispassionate & moderating view. We also visited Lowdhams & several other small dealerships in the area. Finally, after several weeks of determined searching, we drew up a shortlist of must-haves.
A rear fixed bed & a large garage were vital. All of those shoes to be stored!!!:Wink: 2/4 berth would be ample. Since we were going full time, good, strong leisure batteries were a must & a reasonable kitchen & shower room. We soon realised that a non-smokers van was necessary due to lingering smells. Also, was it necessary to buy new? Not so, we discovered as we realised that pre-used vehicles normally had all the problems ironed out & were about 50% cheaper.
Our budget was around £25-£30K so that was limiting to an extent. Then we found a wag we liked, quite by accident. A small dealership in Southwell had a lovely RIMOR. Merc engine & automatic - which was a must for me.
We arranged a test drive for the following Sunday and full of excitement with finance sorted we turned up to find we'd been gazumped.:Sad: No explanation - no phonecall to give us an option - nothing. In hindsight probably a good job, as their aftersales would have probably been as disappointing.
Anyway, we kept looking & we saw a wag on eBay. It was in Hull & after some arranging we drove over one Saturday morning. The wag itself was not any good & overpriced & not as described. However, as luck would have it the dealer gave us a couple of mags which we hadn't seen before, and on the drive back Mrs E spotted a company in Newark - SMC. They had a Dakota for sale at the right price. This was handy as we had been looking seriously at a similar model from a private sale in MMM.
So we drooped into SMC to find that they were at the Newark show. So we waited til the Sunday and with moderating daughter in trail set off.
We found SMC and what a refreshingly nice bunch of chaps they were. No pressure sales & after a short time looking over the 'van, we struck a deal which suited us both.
The 02 plate Dakota had everything we wanted except it was a manual gearbox. We arranged for solar panels to be fitted, plus a TV, Microwave and a few other goodies. We paid a holding deposit & went for a test drive. Excellent vehicle with real power in the Merc 130 BHP 313CDi engine.
We finalised the deal and arranged pick-up for 14 April.
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