Help me buy my first Camper/Motorhome please? (Eeeeek!) (1 Viewer)

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David60

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Thanks again to all who recently welcomed me on the Introduction section of the Forum.

As I said there, I live in the northern Scottish Higlands (above Inverness) and I am a photographer looking to buy my first campervan/motorhome to enhance my photography and to travel Scotland (primarily). Sometimes on my own and sometime with my partner and my Labrador. Whilst I have considerable marine building/living experience I have zero motorhome/campervan experience. I hope there’s a considerable difference! I also look forward to learning from fellow members who might be generous enough to share hard won experience.

Please forgive any obvious signs of complete ignorance; I claim no knowledge and I’m aware that reading and internet research can have their faults (That’s why I joined here of course; to broaden my mind!)

My thoughts started with a second-hand van that I could throw a mattress in the back of. Such thoughts were primarily driven by my desire to wake up in distant places for the dawn light (I am a very keen and avid photographer), and by the restraints of budget. I also thought that such a vehicle would have dual purpose as I am refitting/building my old wee house too.

However, I’m lucky that my budget has free’d up considerably albeit I don’t know If it matches my dreams! I’m sure I will eb quickly grounded by those here if not . Here’s some thinking which is not in order of priority or importance….

· I’ve ruled out the typical pop-up campervan due to a) the pop-up (rarely seen one without a tear or damage) and b) lack of loo/shower and c) lack of storage. Am I wrong to have done so? Am I missing something?
· I think I’m in the market for a Class B motorhome; a campervan with loo and shower. I will most likely wish to own this vehicle for up to ten years. I’d like to buy in quarter 1 2019. I will use (providing it is safe to do so), it all year round at weekends.

· I work from home and the vehicle will be kept in my drive (off the road) and will sit unused for at least 5 days at a time throughout the worst of a Highland winter (temps can go -5<-10).
· Most I’ve looked at have been based on the Fiat Ducato chassis with a 230 engine variant. Due to the topography locally, I’d favour a 250 or higher upgrade if it was within budget. Clearly it is a very popular chassis/engine base however I’d be interested in the realities of experienced pros and cons.
· I’d like to buy new (if I can within my budget) or at worst second-hand with no more than 10000 miles.
· Or, I buy a van and employ a conversion company (if so, who?), or do I buy a ready-made reputable brand. Is this a wise consideration for my needs and lack of experience?
· I quite like a large double in the back but I’m less fond of two rear bench seats.
· I need to be able to carry 2 bicycles and add a ladder and roof box at a later stage.

I’ve (probably very naïvely), drawn up a list of must have’s and nice to have’s….

Must haves:

· A large double berth at least 6’3” long (188cm Min)
· Ability to be used in comfort in a Highland winter (off grid)
· Large enough for a couple & labrador (inc a big 6’2” chap who like his space!)
· Decent “garage” or under-berth space (to take such as Honda EU 20i, Mains hook up cable, three Peli cases, Levelling ramps, Snow/Mud Mats etc).
· Stand up head room (for the same 6’2” lump mentioned above).
· Reversing camera
· Fly screens on sliding door and main windows/skylights
· Spare wheel
· Lockable water filler
· New or less than 10,000 miles with warranty
· No wider than a panel van
· Ability to take a ladder, roof box and solar panel/s


It’d be nice:

· “Gaslow” system with external LPG filler and auto switch between tanks
· Loo and shower!
· Automatic
· 4-wheel drive
· 4 berths
· Not longer than 6m
· Built in Pleated Binds on Windscreen and side windows
· Any colour other than white!
· Campervan appropriate SatNav
· TV, aerial etc
· “Local” seller who can service/maintain vehicle
· Awning
· Bullbar
· Seat covers for (at least) the driver and passenger seats – I’ll be hopping in and out in all weathers.

I am keen to get a good understanding of running and maintenance costs. I imagine I will do c. 10-15000 (absolute max) miles per annum.

I’m hoping to get to the Scottish Caravan and Camping show at the beginning of February (work dependent). Should I prepare to make a cash offer at the show? Are such shows an unmissable opportunity for a deal?

If it can be arranged (both in respect of my time and local availability, I would like to rent a similar vehicle for a few days prior to purchase commitment.

Have I missed something obvious? Is there a vehicle variant that fits my needs, a method of entry to the market or a fundamental aspect to consider that has entirely escaped me? What must I avoid at all costs? Which brands offer the best mix of build quality v value? In due course, I’d welcome recommendations and advice as to what I should think about in respect of Insurance, Breakdown Cover, Use of vehicle covers and any Off-Grid tips.

Phew!!! Thank you if you’ve read this far! So may questions and I’m sure many of them very naïve. Please forgive that and the length of this posting. I hope that it at least demonstrates my sincerity and my reason for joining the illustrious company of MotorhomeFun

Best to all for a very Happy Hogmanay. I hope I’m joining you on the road in 2019

Thank you so much. Folk like you mean the world to folk like me.
David
 
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David60

David60

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I probably should have said......

Budget Max £45k ...ceiling of £50k if it includes a lot of the "Nice to have's"
Of course, I'd prefer to spend a lot less and find a mobile palace.

Hmmm....I feel I'm in for a reality check :whistle::giggle:
 
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David60

David60

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Thanks Mitzimad
Agreed; however whilst I see plenty whistling by on the road, they're not so easy to properly inspect. The nearest dealer of any size is c 3.5 hours away (in Perth, where there are two)! I'm hoping to hone my wild wishes a little by garnering advice and thereby narrow the field so I can better use the expense and time of travel to view. Whilst this is a beautiful place to live (and use a camper), it has its disadvantages as a consumer. :)
Best
D
 
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David60

David60

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Hi Mattyjwr
Thanks for your welcome. 'Really appreciate your acknowledgement. Please see second post of this string...
Best
D
 
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MattR

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Hi Mattyjwr
Thanks for your welcome. 'Really appreciate your acknowledgement. Please see second post of this string...
Best
D

Apologies; wine goggles got in the way.

I would compromise on things such as mileage; 10k is hardly run in. As for the rest, I'd look at motorhomes / campervans such as the Wildax Solaris but it might depend on what sleeping configuration you require.
 
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Blue Knight

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Hi David,

I've just read your list and I reckon a Globecar Panel Van Conversion (PVC) is probably right up your street, particularly a Globecar Campscout Revolution. The only downsize is that it's 6.36m in length and not 6m as you wished for in your original spec.

Your nearest Globecar dealer is:

Highland Campers Ltd t/a Highland Campervans Kerrowaird Farm Steading, Dalcross, Inverness IV2 7JQScotland T: +44 (0)1667 493976 E: info@highlandcampervans.com

Best of luck, and a big welcome,:xThumb:

Andrew
 
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David60

David60

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A very acceptable excuse; particularly given the hour and the season :xgrin:
I'm very conscious of size as I know the Highlands well meaning I know all the wee out-of-the way places and also know how small some of the roads are!
Aye, I have been strict on mileage. I'd like to keep to that if, of course, I can do so within budget. In terms of layout, I like a double berth in the rear of the van with table/seating up front. That said, the Auto-trail V-line 610 Sport arrangement (rear U-shaped seating) looks great vut I fear that may compromise needed "garage" space.
'Very mcuh appreciate your comments. All such input means thinking and refining at my end. Thank you! :)

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David60

David60

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To: Blue Night

Wow Andrew! You're incredibly helpful.
As it happens I was looking at a Globecar Scout R today and liked a lot of that I saw. Yes, I've heard of Highland Campervans and will visit them when they open after the holidays. I may arrange a rental from them to further my knowledge of reality too! Certainly, if I can afford them, Globecar have many of the elements I "think" I need :xsmile:
Thanks again Andrew ..fabulous help.
 
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Blue Knight

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That said, the Auto-trail V-line 610 Sport arrangement (rear U-shaped seating) looks great...../QUOTE]
.

We'll put that comment down to you not knowing much about motorhomes. :xgrin:

If you buy an Autotrail then be sure to buy lots of strong waterproof guerilla tape to hold the bits together when they drop off
 
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You may be hours away from any dealers,but all the research in the world,won’t be any use without seeing,touching,driving and inspecting the van,in the flesh. Maybe take a few days off to go see?
 
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David60

David60

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Hi Podney
Thanks for joining the thread. For sure, all you say makes sense to me. Perhaps I didn't phrase my earlier reply well ...I will most certainly make the investment of travel and time; 'tis the only way. However, to make best use of that time (ia ma very restricted due to work needs), I'd like to focus my search (i.e. rule out the no, no's and shorten the list with the help of members such as yourself which have experience).
I think I mentioned that I also plan to go the Scottish national show in February.
Thanks so much for your input.
Best
David
 
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Blue Knight

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To: Blue Night

Wow Andrew! You're incredibly helpful.
As it happens I was looking at a Globecar Scout R today and liked a lot of that I saw. Yes, I've heard of Highland Campervans and will visit them when they open after the holidays. I may arrange a rental from them to further my knowledge of reality too! Certainly, if I can afford them, Globecar have many of the elements I "think" I need :xsmile:
Thanks again Andrew ..fabulous help.

If you manage to find a new 2018 model then you'll make a killing David.

The dealers want rid of their 2018 stock asap as they now need to repay the bank loans which they took out 12-months ago to purchase them in the first instance.

I've just looked at the SMC Motorhome dealer in Newark for the Scout R and I think you'll be able to get a new one for about £44-46,500 OTR after you submit a cheeky offer.

That said, you should know that SMC is the UK Globecar main distributor and supplies the other dealerships such as Highland Campers.

All the best,

Andrew

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David60

David60

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Andrew ...you're a star! Thank you Sir.
 
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MattR

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A very acceptable excuse; particularly given the hour and the season :xgrin:
I'm very conscious of size as I know the Highlands well meaning I know all the wee out-of-the way places and also know how small some of the roads are!
Aye, I have been strict on mileage. I'd like to keep to that if, of course, I can do so within budget. In terms of layout, I like a double berth in the rear of the van with table/seating up front. That said, the Auto-trail V-line 610 Sport arrangement (rear U-shaped seating) looks great vut I fear that may compromise needed "garage" space.
'Very mcuh appreciate your comments. All such input means thinking and refining at my end. Thank you! :)

I don't know the Highlands so well but you possibly have some wiggle room with size - our van is just under 6m and we've not had size issues in the Highlands, Skye and Mull.

As for mileage, entirely your choice but you would get more for your £ with a few more miles on the vehicle.
 
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Blue Knight

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Andrew ...you're a star! Thank you Sir.

We've just moved (5-weeks ago) from a coachbuilt van to a PVC and it has been the best decision ever.

We spent months of research looking at the different makes and manufacturers but in the end it all boiled down to the fabulous information that we gained from the members of this forum.

The dealers haven't got a clue what kit they are selling so ignore their waffle and go with your research. Also, make a note of things like payload, load space and license requirements and you won't go far wrong.

What is really impressive in your case is that you have a comprehensive list of requirements which will help you discount the majority of the choices on the market from the outset of any inspection.

Personally speaking I found the motorhome shows to be very confusing but like @Podney mentioned above a good hands-on inspection is what you need.

Great to have you on the forum.:xThumb:

All the best,

Andrew
 
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two

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Welcome.

I’d advise buying second-hand, rather than new, to avoid the depreciation hit. I don’t think you’re likely to get it right first time, so expect to be selling again later. New vans are best purchased when you really know what’s going to suit you. The special extras don’t add much value, so are a big loss if you find that you don’t need them later and, on a second-hand van, they come really cheap.

I’d buy a popular model, rather than a special, because you’d get more help from the experience of other owners, whereas you’d be on your own with an ‘odd-ball’. A popular model will have proved itself to be successful and may include factors that you have not yet learned to appreciate.

Research well. The better you know your market, the better you will be able to determine the value of models available.

Be prepared to compromise. Your requirements are challenging. If it doesn’t exist, there may be good reason why…

You will find many models at a show but I consider the special offers to be little more than smoke ‘n mirrors marketing. A deal that can be offered on one day is likely to be available later, so I would not rush. Use a show to survey the market and narrow down the model you feel is the one to search out.
 
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We live in and tour Scotland year round in a Bessacarr E560, suits us and it's 7m in length. Never seen a road we couldn't navigate. Check them out, no garage though.

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Thanks Mitzimad
Agreed; however whilst I see plenty whistling by on the road, they're not so easy to properly inspect. The nearest dealer of any size is c 3.5 hours away (in Perth, where there are two)! I'm hoping to hone my wild wishes a little by garnering advice and thereby narrow the field so I can better use the expense and time of travel to view. Whilst this is a beautiful place to live (and use a camper), it has its disadvantages as a consumer. :)
Best
D

I like you am looking for my first camper at completely the opposite end of the Country to you but have the same problems re lack of dealers. What I have found useful to rule some in or out is looking at different models on Youtube, there are some incredibly good tours round some of them, checking all the features, storage inside and out etc

Good luck with your search
 
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Blue Knight

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What I have found useful to rule some in or out is looking at different models on Youtube, there are some incredibly good tours round some of them, checking all the features, storage inside and out etc

That's a very good idea with regard to YouTube when you are miles away from dealers. We watched a few YouTube tours and found them invaluable albeit some of the commentaries were a bit hit n' miss.

Good idea:xThumb:
 
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Popeye

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Popeye

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I like you am looking for my first camper at completely the opposite end of the Country
Speak with @FIDGET he has a wealth of knowledge and has the experience of having owned far more vans than most plus he lives on the South Island too. He also has a child Bride so he's no fool, well maybe a a bit of one. :wink:
 
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David,
Welcome to the forum. I know little of campervans as I have never owned one although I am watching your thread with interest :xThumb:
Most people have to compromise with their wish list and it is said that van number three is generally the one you should have bought in the first place :xeek:
My own thoughts are that you are trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot (or whatever the EU calls thingys these days) and a small A class with a little more mileage would perhaps suit you better, but what do I know xroll:
Also, if you type for example, @David60 onto your message that notifies that particular person that they were mentioned, makes it easier for you :xThumb:
Sorry to generalise here instead of being more specific, good luck with your search.
Norman.
 
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David60

David60

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@two
Welcome.

I’d advise buying second-hand, rather than new, to avoid the depreciation hit. I don’t think you’re likely to get it right first time, so expect to be selling again later. New vans are best purchased when you really know what’s going to suit you. The special extras don’t add much value, so are a big loss if you find that you don’t need them later and, on a second-hand van, they come really cheap.

I’d buy a popular model, rather than a special, because you’d get more help from the experience of other owners, whereas you’d be on your own with an ‘odd-ball’. A popular model will have proved itself to be successful and may include factors that you have not yet learned to appreciate.

Research well. The better you know your market, the better you will be able to determine the value of models available.

Be prepared to compromise. Your requirements are challenging. If it doesn’t exist, there may be good reason why…

You will find many models at a show but I consider the special offers to be little more than smoke ‘n mirrors marketing. A deal that can be offered on one day is likely to be available later, so I would not rush. Use a show to survey the market and narrow down the model you feel is the one to search out.

Great advice @two Thank you. Yes, as with purchasing anything with variable specifications, compromise has to eb a factor ...but I'd prefer to start with a target :) ...I have no doubt that considerable compromise will be required. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts; they're very much appreciated.
 
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Other Globecar fan here and worth some research
Revolution models meet your needs re height and storage but not many about
 
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