After viewing many different types of motor homes several features seemed important to us and fitting that into our circa £15K target budget meant that a cross country search prevailed during October and November. Our criteria/wish list were:
- a place to relax and we favoured the ‘L’ shaped rear lounge configuration
- as close to 6 metres long as possible to help manoeuvrability
- a European brand as is was my assumption that the Brits are better at caravans than motor homes
- a larger engine than the popular 2.0 turbo diesels due to the mountain regions we would be passing through
- lower than 50K miles
- left hand drive was the preference
- over cab bed, preferably of the swan neck shape due to the extra space/head room
- a captains swivel front seat – only because I had one in the Elgrand I think they are cool…..
- and finally any extras such as reversing cameras, air suspension, second leisure batteries that make touring easier.
So how did we do? Well luckily for us we had Wellsbridge Motorhomes near Huntingdon just down the road and they have a vast selection of second hand stock ranging from almost new to 20 years old and frankly we used their openness and advise to help us understand what we wanted and to get our ‘eyes in’. As an observation, their stock does seem of a high quality if you want to pay their prices. It was at Wellsbridge that I fell in love with a LHD Superbrig Rimor on the twin wheel Transit chassis, but at 7.1 metres long it was a bit of a beast. We missed this one as it was sold within a few days and Sharon was on holiday in Turkey at the time so I could not get her opinion. However, this vehicle led us on to the mid diner and small rear lounge format and this led influenced our search. I then found a 2005 Elnagh Marin 650 in the same format in Shrewsbury but this failed an independent damp inspection.
After a few more trips around the country, the search was now focussed on the smaller rear lounge only vans such as the Ace Napoli, Bessacarr, Eddis Autoquests 400s…..and of course the Swift Suntor or Sundance. Even though these are English builds they covered the majority of what we wanted.
A trip to Ropers in Catterick, North Yorkshire saw us purchase a 2006 Swift Suntor 590 RL on a 2.8 turbo diesel Fiat Ducato. It was a little over our budget but we were happy with our purchase and we could not wait to pick it up on the 12th of December.
The summarised specification of the of our van is:
- Swan neck over cab bed, rear lounge and 6.16 metres long
- Fammia bike rake and awning
- air suspension
- roof mounted large solar panel
- rear reversing camera
- a twin tank Gaslow LPG conversion which I had fitted after the purchase
- and don’t forget the all important swivel seat…….