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1988 Ford Econoline Transformed into Epic Surfer Van


Liam is a 21-year-old photographer and surfer (@liamconradphoto) living in Santa Barbara, California. He bought this 1988 Ford Econoline that was a handicap transport vehicle, and transformed it into an awesome camper van to make surfing that much easier!

Now he can camp out at the beach and get the early morning waves! His van includes an outdoor shower, sink, 12 v fridge and a large bed with garage storage underneath.

He did a video tour of his van build-out, which you can watch at the end of the post! Enjoy.

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From Handicap Transport Van to Surfer Campervan

Originally brown, Liam painted it this awesome blue color.

He has outdoor shower hook ups and all his surf gear.

Liam is 6’6″ and *just* fits standing in his van.

Here’s his compact kitchen area. He cooks on a Coleman stove outside.

His 12v refrigerator cooler for snacks and beer.

He rigged up this great surfboard storage.

VIDEO: 21 Year Old Surfer & Photographer Builds AMAZING VAN CONVERSION

Highlights:

  • 56k original miles from ‘88.
  • Vans in excellent condition.
  • 6’7 standing height inside
  • Beast on the highway – V8 has no trouble with steeper grades at highway speed
  • I bought it in November as a brown handicap van – stripped it to the sheet metal – and custom built everything by hand in my garage.
  • Van is extremely functional.
  • Equipped with:
  • 20 gal under chassis water tank
  • Sink
  • Outdoor shower (from full to empty shower can run for about 15-20 minutes on constant high pressure)
  • Auxiliary battery system
  • Charged by solar and battery isolated
  • 1000 watt inverter
  • 12v fridge
  • New sound system
  • Pioneer stereo
  • Kicker speakers (speakers in front, middle, and facing out back of van when doors open – all wired with switches.
  • Bed setup is two opposing benches with storage underneath (huge bed sleeps 2 easy – between cal king and queen) mattress topper and 3 inch folding foam underneath for either bed or bench setup.
  • 5ft large dinner table pops up in pick nick table style format
  • Interior surf rack (holds up to 3 board in the roof – and two short boards beside bed) optimized for board safety while camping
  • Hardwood flooring
  • New leather swivel seats (both)
  • Power windows and locks
  • New paint job (in March)
  • New fiberglass reinforced roof installed (through fiberine co. in Long Beach)
  • Recently installed spare tire carrier – and ladder to access roof (surf check)
  • Countless hours and nights pouring a lot of elbow grease into this thing.
  • Runs like a dream.

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Our big thanks to Liam for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
Natalie C. McKee

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Avatar jerry dycus
    August 21, 2020, 7:49 am

    Since he isn’t really using the extra height, what is the point? The only real need for standing up is putting your pants on, cooking and showering and those are optional..
    Just hurts mileage from bad to worse.

  • Avatar Jade Williamson
    August 21, 2020, 9:22 am

    If the weather is too bad outside he can still stand up and stretch while in his van. I think having the extra headroom would be very useful in a comfort sense 🙂

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 21, 2020, 12:51 pm

      Yes I agree!

  • Avatar Lantz
    August 22, 2020, 10:38 am

    And he can do chin-ups.

  • Avatar Lantz
    August 22, 2020, 10:45 am

    The moment I saw the interior I had deja vu. In the late 70s I built a 69 Chevy (factory no window) van that looked like this interior, cedar and all. Living in So Cal during the time I spent many a night at beaches. In 80 I packed it full, put my 2 golden retrievers in a small cubby amongst everything and headed to WA state on a whim. I still live here. Many fun memories.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      August 23, 2020, 12:50 pm

      Wow that’s so cool Lantz!

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