John and Heather Matchett have worked at Whale for 6 and 3 years respectively. They both share a love for motorbike road racing and regularly travel to events such as the Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT for holidays. Working at Whale introduced them to the world of motorhoming and in 2016 they decided to purchase a second-hand Elddis Autoquest 320 camper to take on their travels. Manufactured in 1993, the motorhome was the perfect renovation project for the couple who wanted the challenge of updating a vintage van with current products and materials.
John talks us through the renovation process.
Step 1: Tackling the Interior
“The first step was to gut the inside. We began by cutting out any damp and resealing the exterior walls.”
Step 2: Braving the Bathroom
“We prepared ourselves for what we might find in the bathroom thinking it would be the dampest part of the van. Surprisingly it was the driest part and didn’t take much work at all! We simply resealed the walls and installed the furnishings.
To heat the water in the van, we installed the Whale Underfloor Expanse 8L Water Heater. We also fitted the Whale 4kW Underfloor Space Heater under the vehicle to heat the van in the colder months. Both heaters are controlled by the Whale iVan Control Panel and both free up a considerable amount of precious space inside the van.”
Step 3: Refitting the Kitchen
“When we got the van, the kitchen was a bit of a disaster. All the work tops needed to be replaced and both the fridge and oven were removed for reconditioning. The old work tops were also removed and replaced with new handmade solid wood tops. A gas cooker was installed as well as a sunken stainless sink under newly fitted LED downlights.”
Step 4: Kitting it Out
“The original interior was in good condition but needed updating. The faded peach curtains were the first to go!’
“Once the new wall was reinstated and lined, the van was ready for furniture and an onboard tank. The van already had a Whale Smartflo pump installed which still worked perfectly. We just added the external Whale Water In Socket and use it with the Whale Watermaster Easi-Push Plug with submersible pump for when the onboard tank supply runs out.
We lined the walls with acoustic fabric which made the van feel really cosy, including the over cab bed bunk area.”
“Heather is really talented when it comes to upholstery and so took to the sewing machine to revamp the cushion fabric.
“With newly upholstered seating and curtains, we laid new carpet and added backlit LED lighting as well as LED sealing downlights.”
Speaking on the success of the project, Heather said, “When we go away to watch the road racing, there are no facilities, so you have to be prepared. This is because most racing paddocks are set up in a farmer’s field, so even running water is a luxury! Being able to travel over in our motorhome, carry water on board, heat the water and living space with gas fuel and have all these products running on 12 volts is excellent.”
“We still have a long way to go as we hope to install an external gas BBQ point, rear motorcycle rack and audio speakers to name a few, but we’ve had some memorable trips already in the van. Last winter, we visited a local campsite and even with the outside temperature being -3°C, our Whale Space Heater worked a treat! We’re hoping our next cold weather adventure will be a trip to the Nordic countries - just as well we have a good heater!”
Please note: All Whale space and water heating products must be fitted by a qualified gas engineer.
If you are interested in van conversions and the products related to this, contact our distributor, Propex Heating and Leisure Ltd on +44(0) 333 0110 488 or visit their website at www.propexheatsource.co.uk.