Well overdue this post, I am aware but better late than never?!
When I first hatched the idea to road trip down through France and Spain I was originally going to do it in my 2002 Ford Fiesta and wild camp where possible and stay on campsites where wild camping was not possible. Whilst researching dog friendly beaches it became clear that near a lot of beaches in Spain there are car parking areas where overnight stops are allowed or at least tolerated if only for a night or two.
I weighed up the pros and cons of buying a bigger vehicle I could sleep in and justified the expense by not having to pay for regular campsites during this trip and also when this trip would be over I would still have a van I could sleep in for upcoming adventures or use everyday if I had to return to the humdrum world I was desperate to leave behind.
Once justification had been made I already knew the perfect vehicle... a Citroen Berlingo Multispace!! Mainly due to the flexibility of the seating and high roof etc. I also figured that at least parts would be cheap, readily available and there should be plenty of places that would know how to fix it.
Most of the cars I thought would be up to the job were around the £1500 mark, which I felt I would be over budget but I would pay that amount if it meant I got something that had had major jobs done like cam-belt and clutch since, this price point, I'd be considering upwards of 120000 miles.
During an eBay sesh I found the Peugeot equivalent of the Citroen not too far from Exeter that had 136000 miles on it's clock and, crucially, both cam belt and clutch had been done within the last couple of years. The current owner had been using it for his gardening business so had kept on top of the maintenance and servicing. He even had any advisories done at MOT time each year. After a few offers and counter offers I ended up paying £1000, so I felt like I had gotten a great deal!
Anyway, enough of the background and more of the actual build... I got my inspiration from a company in North Wales that sells a kit which basically fits into the boot of one of these cars and unfolds over the folded rear seats into a bed and I felt at £400 I could probably build something similar for less dollar, with some help from a colleague - cheers Woodsy :)
We decided that removal of the back seats altogether would give space for much needed storage, so we whipped 'em out and set about the frame. The total cost of wood was around £100.
Once the frame was in it was easy to see how much storage I would have using plastic under-bed boxes.
Below is the 18mm plywood top that is the actual platform. I found it would be much cheaper to use normal ply and cover with a waterproof lacquer than buy marine ply.
The frame was still a little unstable at this point so we screwed another piece of ply to the bottom of the legs to sure things up and added a bit more stability
I then lacquered the new bits of ply and was pretty much there. Here's a couple of shots of it fully loaded:
That is how it looks in 'driving mode' converting it into 'sleeping mode' takes around 5 minutes and just involves sliding and tilting the front seats as far forward as they go sliding the plywood platform forward - the squarish side bits hinge upwards and then the cutaway piece slots in.
I bought a 4" memory foam mattress topper from eBay for about £50 which is very comfortable and easily folds in half when I am driving and makes a very comfortable rear seat for B!
There are various other shots of the van on insta...
1 week on and I wouldn't have done anything differently, although I do regret forgetting to get a shot of the man-mountain that is Colin Woods to post on here!