Choosing the right bus!

Hi, welcome to our first blog post.

We are Amy & David, a young couple with a passion for travel and building.14570474_10207523258183493_5956886072803577776_n

After too many years of working for other people we decided that we want to set up our own business. We searched all over the world for interesting opportunities but found that property and business ownership laws in most of the places we wanted to explore were making it extremely difficult for foreign investors to set up companies.

So after living and working in Dubai and then Antigua for several years we decided to pack up, move back to the UK and make a Bus Conversion Camper Van with the aim of traveling across Europe in search of the perfect location for our guest house, eco resort, farm or restaurant to start.  So we said goodbye to the Caribbean and headed back to start the next chapter of our lives.

First thing first, we needed to find the perfect bus for our conversion. We also explored the options of vans.  Mercedes Sprinters are a very popular choice but we decided they were too small for what we wanted to achieve, especially in width dimensions.  We also looked at Lutons, which have a great space if you put a mezzanine level in, but they are a bit old fashion and lacked the windows and airiness we wanted to accomplish.

Finally we decided on an ex-council high-ceiling mini bus.  The one we really liked was a 2006 Renault Mascott which we could get for GBP 4000 all-in.   We liked the look of the vehicle so we decided to book our train tickets down from Whitby to Bracknell to go pick it up.

David’s mum suggested getting an AA inspection done, so we went ahead and arranged one. The AA inspections are a good idea for anyone looking to buy a bus.  They are very comprehensive but bear in mind they cost GBP 200 each time you want to get a bus inspected!

Unfortunately the inspection came back with a fault in the rear differential.   This would have been thousands of pounds to fix so we decided not to take the vehicle. This meant we lost the GBP 200 on the inspection and also wasted 120 pounds on the non-return train tickets to Bracknell!

So we were back to the drawing board, frantically searching for new vans in that area we could pick up while we were down South. We came across a couple of “Wheeler Dealers” that were very eager to sell their vehicles to us, but when we looked closer we found that some vans had not had MOTs for over 3 years, and some people did not want to agree to AA inspections by saying “don’t need none of that I am a sound bloke me, don’t need mechanic, I basically am a mechanic !”

We decided to bite the bullet and go down anyway as my brother lives down there and it was his birthday weekend.   There were also two other vehicles near that area we liked the look of. One was a huge Fiat Ducato but as it was made in 2003, we decided at 14 years old we couldn’t risk it, although it was reasonably priced at GBP 3000. The next was a Mercedes 314 bus, but again it was very old (2004), however our curiosity got the better of us and we decided to go and view it.

It was an hour’s drive away and my brother agreed to take us there. When we got to the area on the outskirts of London we came to a large ‘permanent caravan site’ where the van was parked. We carried on driving straight past it, knowing  that it wouldn’t be the most reliable place to purchase a vehicle from! We had a laugh about it after but were all annoyed that we had wasted such a lovely day driving around for hours.

We decided to head to the train station to view another bus in Derby, which was a 2009 VW Transporter model for GBP 6500. This was really straining our budget and meant we would have a lot less money to spend on the conversion itself. The owner however told us to come back in a few days after he puts a new MOT on it. So we headed back to Whitby very weary from sleeping on the floor for days and with bad hang overs from a 2 day birthday bash at my brothers.

After a couple more days research we kept coming back to a 2005 Fiat Ducato Mini bus we liked the look of.   It was advertised at GBP 8000 but after some very determined negotiations by David we managed to get the price down to GBP 6500. We decided to book the train to Derby and check it out.

We arrived to see the bus and it looked to be in good condition generally.  As we really liked the space inside and the look of the bus we decided to go for it, so we went inside to exchange the paper work.

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