Do you love browsing the new and used motorhomes for sale pages, hoping to spot that special, once-in-a-lifetime purchase? Then try to keep your ’van envy in check, as this is both a rare vehicle and a stylish motorhome, but with such a high sale price you might want to keep your wallet firmly locked up.
What you see before you is a beautiful example of a Bedford OB dating from 1950, powered by a modern Iveco 3.0 HDI engine, and with a bespoke interior.
It is a stunning achievement, and is the only one of its kind in the world. This is the product of 3500 hours of hard work by Walter Bell, a coachbuilder, classic vehicle restorer and engineer who bought the bus as a wreck just two years ago.
He replaced the original engine with a modern Iveco 3.0-litre unit, meaning that the bus can reach speeds of up to 90mph; far faster than it would ever have travelled in the 1950s. And yet it would fit right in with a 1950s street scene.
Touring the country, and further afield in Europe, in this motorhome would certainly turn a lot of heads. On site you may find yourself constantly entertaining fellow motorcaravanners who want to see inside. There are five belted travel seats, so you can take plenty of passengers. And if safety is a concern, put your mind at ease with the knowledge that it has a 10-point roll cage and side crash safety bars.
No corners have been cut and no luxury is denied in the spacious, Tardis-like living space. The cabinets are made of American walnut and have been handcrafted, the seats are covered in stylish and timeless deep red leather, and there is a large rooflight above the lounge, meaning it never feels oppressive or cramped.
It has all the gadgets that you could need, too, with an Apple TV/computer handily mounted in the living/kitchen area, plus a Samsung smart TV in the bedroom, and a top-notch Bose sound system.
Not only that, this ’van is fitted with solar panels, two rearview cameras, 240V electrics, a petrol generator and a 120-litre LPG tank. The water tanks are more than sufficient, providing 120 litres for fresh water, as well as an 80-litre waste tank and a 70-litre black water tank.
The one thing that we would recognise from our own motorhomes is the Alde central heating system, a staple of life on the road for many of us and great for keeping cosy, whatever the weather.
Beneath the gleaming bronze and yellow paintwork this Bedford is both powerful and well-equipped. And, at least since being converted, it has covered a mere 24,000 miles.
Before you get any ideas about doing your own version, bear in mind that to re-do the entire conversion and restoration would cost over £200,000. And your guess is as good as ours regarding insurance costs! You might want to take stock of your experience, too – Walter went into this colossal restoration project with over 35 years of restorations under his belt.
Whoever bought this amazing one-off motorhome will have to check that their driving licence permits them to drive it. But they will surely be the envy of many a motorcaravanner, not to mention classic car enthusiasts, too.