Back in the 70s and 80s, the status vehicle of choice was a Mercedes sedan, and quite often a diesel at that. And they were wickedly expensive, considerably more so than now. Well times have changed, and now there’s a new Mercedes diesel status-mobile, at least out here: the Sprinter 4×4 conversion van. Here’s a used 2016 that someone in outdoorsy-chic Bend, OR. (which probably has the highest concentration of these in the world) is selling, and asking a mere $110k. What a deal! A comparable new 2018 Sprinter costs about $55k. So how much did they spend on that conversion? If I needed a new business, that’s what I would go into.
I was assuming this was a genuine camper conversion, the kind a couple could spend some extended time on on the road. But it’s not; it’s a passenger van with a little miniature “galley” cabinet added.
It’s got a sink and fridge, but no cooking appliance. That’s ok; the fridge is stuffed full of energy bars and drinks. Who cooks anyway anymore?
There’s an almost identical Sprinter a few blocks from my house like this (above), and a few others in my general neighborhood, driven by upscale (“cannabis-millionaire”) mommies driving their kids around town in Eugene. It’s the ultimate vehicle for pulling up to the Waldorf School or Oak Hill Academy. Yes, vans are hot, and this is the hottest kind.
Will it ever get used for camping? Who knows.
Here’s the details from the ad (note the “100% recyclable aluminum paneling”). We love the planet…
Interior Conversion Features
o Insulation and Soundproofing
o 100% recyclable aluminum paneling (walls and ceiling), finished with custom powder coat
o Custom hand built galley:
Large Dometic fold-flat sink with on-demand water pump
4.3 cu/ft Novakool refrigerator
100% recyclable custom countertop cook/prep surface
o Custom overhead cabinet storage,
o 10 gallons water storage
o 5 gallons grey water storage
o 200amp hours of Lithionics lithium (LiFePO4) batteries
o Zamp Solar 30amp charge controller
o 1000watt Magnum charger/inverter with 120v plug for charging
o 4-USB 3.1amp charging ports
o 2 zone machined aluminum LED lighting, with dimmer switches
o Under cabinet/bed LED strip lighting
o 3-panel removable bed with custom powder coating
o Driver and passenger seat swivels
o 3 passenger Sprinter factory bench seat
o Espar D2 Diesel Heater – tapped into vehicle fuel tank
o COREtec waterproof vinyl flooring
Exterior Conversion Features
o Thule roof rails, and bars
o Rhino Rack cargo basket
o 240watts of Zamp Solar panels (3 x 80w)
o Driver and passenger side t-vent windows
o 10 speed Maxxair fan, with remote
o Aluminess light bar/grill guard
o 32″ curved LED light bar
o Aluminess driver side ladder
o Wheel and tire upgrade to BFG KO2!
Does that sound like it’s worth some $65k in goodies (assuming the 2016 van is worth some $45k). No. A fraction, at best.
Well, there you have it. A used $110k diesel van.
Meanwhile, closer to home, I finally the plunge (literally) and cut holes in my van for the windows (here the inner wood frame is being glued to the steel body). It feels really good to get going at last, although I still have to finish up another project. But I’ve started ordering a few things, one of which will be a…pleasant surprise, especially for Stephanie. A cheap luxury; stay tuned.
Speaking of cheap, my budget for parts and materials is one-tenth or less of that $65k I’m assuming for the Sprinter conversion. But then I’m not using 100% recyclable aluminum paneling; just 100% recyclable wood. 🙂
The windows made a big difference, in opening up the feeling on the inside, and making the van look less like a plumber’s van on the outside. A vision of possibilities.
And the one on this side has opened up a huge blind spot, visibility-wise. I keep thinking my side door is open!