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Built Tough

493
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Story and image by Hylton Glass

We had been looking for a small van or trailer for trips and off-roading, but nothing seemed to match our requirements. Trailers would have to have tents – a no-no. We felt that the other off-road vans were too big (and expensive) and had more than we needed; also, they had pop-tops which we didn’t like. I prefer taking only what’s necessary − travelling light. In the end, my lady said, ‘Why don’t you make what you want?’ Sketches and measurements followed, drawn out on the workshop floor; and we decided that, if I stuck to those dimensions, the van would turn out okay.

The chassis was made and hot-dip galvanised. I wanted Landy rims, so had to get a 4-ton braked axle to accommodate the Landy rim’s PCD as the standard braked axle drum was too small. I fitted gas shocks to the axle, and levelling jacks on the corners. Then the moulding began. This was not easy; what goes into the mould comes out in the final product.

This meant lots of water paper and polish, over and over again. Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off… I used the moulded pieces to form the rear and front ends. I wanted flat sides, so that if I decided to build sliders in the sides, it wouldn’t be difficult. The unit has a nose cone, and above it, on the inside of the van, it has a stowage area for bedding, towels, etc. The rear of the van has four compartments for kitchen/cooking stuff.

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