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considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - safarivan - 03-14-2018

hey everybody,

I hope this is not unacceptable post here, Im new to the forum but not to the mobile lifestyle so if this post is inappropriate here, please forgive me and move or delete.


I have a very nice but low rent shop, an extensive professional background in automotive racing, service, customizing, etc. and have been mostly restoring classics on the side but also some RVs and vans here and there and I enjoy doing this. Im very skilled at it to FWIW

so I wonder if there is enough interest out there, since there are many things that require tools and skills most folks may not have available to them, for guys like me to fit in on the private side of it instead of commercial?

nothing against restoring classics but BTDT for a long time and honestly, I like Vans, RVs, etc. more now and see them becoming more popular as a lifestyle.

I am also thinking towards the future with this so that if I can make it work out well enough, I could find a shop with plenty of extra space for 'storing' boondocked vehicles for short amounts of time and maybe start up other locations to move the storage containers around a bit.

perhaps get more people involved to do the same and form up a private network for 'storing vehicles'?

some pretty big ideas that Im just wanting to kick around here. I hope its OK? Im not open to the public nor plan to be and not asking for business just to be clear.

anyway, sorry if I have mis posted and thanks if not and look forward to hopefully some discussion about this.

a private co-op? thanks


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - eDJ_ - 03-14-2018

Back in the day (1960's - 1970's) Vans were tricked out to be flashy party mobiles that few people really considered living in full time.  I think most of the owners were still living with Mom & Dad and used these to
take some friends to Rock Concerts.  There were Van Magazines all over the news stands then but it ended
when the Van owner got married and started having kids.  Thus the end of a "fad".

Still it left it's mark on many of us yet today.  What I remember most in those magazines were the Ad's
encouraging the entrepreneurs to set up shop and build out the Vans for the Kids who had neither the
tools or ability to build for himself what he would drool over in the Van Magazines.   There were plan sets
for around $25 each that covered the Ford's, Chevy's, and Dodge's of he day where you received a paper tube with paper templates you could use to cut wood paneling for the walls, ceiling, and floor.   Those with some tools and skills could build out a fairly reasonable Van.

Ad's like this:

[Image: 113_1974.jpg]


[Image: c90538a44033bcc8f1ad64961f66ab32.jpg]

You may find some of these old magazines and look thru them and see some of these Ad's and get some
ideas that you could offer and possibly find some business.  You may also find an upholstery shop to partner with where they could cover any structural components you would build out.   I would strongly advise keeping building and fabrication/welding processes isolated from upholstery processes. 

You may also look at my Van Conversion website below (top link)  to see how I did my basic outfitting with a
plywood floor with carpeting on it,  a makeshift bed,  simple cabinet kitchenette,  and the like.  I was using my Van in the warmer months for camping and travel.   With a couple of good Coleman catalytic heaters I could survive a cold night if I had to....due to break downs.  Next morning I could make it to a parts store and do the repairs and then continue on.


considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - John61CT - 03-14-2018

Rather than flashy aesthetics, I think a focus on good-value practical work would fill a stronger need these days

Taking a bare cargo van or trailer, different choices of layout, bed platform, kitchens removable chuck boxes, compact toilets and washup/shower rigs

Under-chassis storage, roof racks, cargo hitches.

Solar and other DC electrics a huge area needing help.

Heating, plumbing, hydronics, propane. . .


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - safarivan - 03-14-2018

(03-14-2018, 04:59 PM)eDJ_ Wrote:  Back in the day (1960's - 1970's) Vans were...

yes! this is my Dad when I was growing up! I even bumped an old custom vans thread earlier. I also remember my Dad getting so high on contact cement when he was carpeting one of them inside during winter he could hardly stand up when he got out HAhaha!


I literally grew up with in the '70s van scene and 'The Godfather' of God Fathers Vans was my Dads buddy (anyone remember the machine gun logo spare tire covers?

good stuff!


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - safarivan - 03-14-2018

(03-14-2018, 05:05 PM)John61CT Wrote:  Rather than flashy aesthetics, I think a focus on good-value practical work would fill a stronger need these days

Taking a bare cargo van or trailer, different choices of layout, bed platform, kitchens removable chuck boxes, compact toilets and washup/shower rigs

Under-chassis storage, roof racks, cargo hitches.

Solar and other DC electrics a huge area needing help.

Heating, plumbing, hydronics, propane. . .

this is what Im getting at here... transitioning out of the resto area into this one. its just more real life and I see lots of creative opportunities for more than just money.

money would not be my main priority. there is something special happening in this mobile living scene I would like to be a part of that and hopefully help make it better.


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - eDJ_ - 03-14-2018

Had to laugh about your Dad and the contact cement.   My Dad and I were working with some solvents in his first Van.  We were in the Garage during the winter with a space heater in use.  I noticed the "wiener dog" walking about  "Buzzed".  I nudged Dad and he quickly realized the vapors were settling and she was much lower to the ground than we were. 

So I hopped out of the van and opened the door to let her and the vapors out.   The dog wasn't a happy camper and neither was Mom when she noticed the dog's condition.   But all was well in the world by the next
morning.


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - Almost There - 03-14-2018

(03-14-2018, 04:59 PM)eDJ_ Wrote:  Back in the day (1960's - 1970's) Vans were tricked out to be flashy party mobiles that few people really considered living in full time.  I think most of the owners were still living with Mom & Dad and used these to
take some friends to Rock Concerts.  There were Van Magazines all over the news stands then but it ended
when the Van owner got married and started having kids.  Thus the end of a "fad".

Hey, it didn't die back in the 70's - heck it was barely getting started. The kids that we started having back then now form about half of the attendees at van events still being held all over North America. And their kids are getting in to it as well now (and bringing their kids to events)... Big Grin

And no, most of us didn't live with Mom and Dad, actually most of us were self supporting and living as adults. Tongue

The fad still exists today although not in the numbers it did back in the late 80's when attendance at the National Van Meets topped out at over 4,000 vans in attendance. Today attendance is still running between 500 and a 1,000 vans depending on where the event is held (it moves every year). Smaller local van events still pull a couple of hundred vans.

SafariVan - there is still a need, albeit much smaller, for those that can do customization work, both for the 'vanner' market and for the nomads. The problem is probably location. Much of the vanner market still seems to be on the east coast and the majority of the nomad market is probably on the west coast. Needs and wants are much different...show versus practical living space so doing both might be a bit difficult but necessary to provide a decent income.


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - MrNoodly - 03-14-2018

I have a friend who made surprisingly good profits buying and flipping sad looking old "canned ham" style travel trailers. Most of the work was just cleaning out the junk and dirt, patching, painting and new tires.


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - eDJ_ - 03-15-2018

Almost There wrote:


Quote:Hey, it didn't die back in the 70's - heck it was barely getting started. The kids that we started having back then now form about half of the attendees at van events still being held all over North America. And their kids are getting in to it as well now (and bringing their kids to events)... [Image: biggrin.gif]

I'd love to see it again around where I live.   Most of the kids here just want those jacked up "Monster Pick Up's" with a couple flags hanging out of the  bed.   Their girl friends almost need small step ladders just to get in.   But that's trends.

When I was coming back from Paducah,  a month ago I pulled into a Denny's located in a Flyin J truck stop.  The woman who waited on me didn't seem like she was even from the region and when I asked she explained she was from Baltimore.   As we spoke she mentioned that she and her husband traveled on their Harley's but she had noticed me pull up in my Ford Hi Top and went on to tell me that she missed the "Van's" of yester years.

I explained that I hadn't finished mine out all the way yet but it still wouldn't be too finished so I could use it for cargo if I wanted or put it back together for camping/traveling.   She indicated that she would sell her Harley if she thought she could get enough money out of it to buy a high top and just travel some.  I told her about "Cheap RV Living" and what it's about here.  She may show up here yet. 

[Image: 1414566.jpg]

[Image: hqdefault.jpg]

Shoulda put a step ladder in her purse.

[Image: alh-girl-cant-get-in-ford-f-series-pick-up-truk.jpg]


yeah.


RE: considering a private business venture outfitting, Vans, RVs, and trailers.. - Headache - 03-15-2018

Man I hate those bro dozers! I'd need a 10 foot ladder!

Those ads for fitting out vans bring back some memories! Remember that movie Corvette Summer? There was a van in there that I was over the moon for!

The machine gun tire covers, I do remember seeing them but didn't pay much attention. I was into trucks at the time but after restoring a few old Impalas, a 64 Fleetside long bed Chevy and a few other orphans when I was younger I'll bet we could talk some shop.