Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Conversion Van: What Does That Mean?

A conversion van is a product of third-party companies outfitting a new full-sized bare cargo van with various luxuries.

They are perfect for families, especially for road trips.

Ask current van owners about their van and they will tell you they "LOVE IT". Many would say it's the best kept secret in the car business. It holds a large family in comfort and they are just cool cars.

First, they're the same length of a suburban with the same engine block and transmission with a ton more interior room. They have infinitely more features than an Escalade, Navigator or Denali and cost less... yet hold their resale better than any of the other three.

Seriously, a conversion van is the way to do cross-country trips. Pull-out full size convertible sofa, sink, gas hob, fridge, storage space, and good sound system are just some of the basic features.

One huge draw for a conversion van is the plush seating, providing the opportunity to lie down or recline on long trips, which really helps when you have family members with arthritis or fibromyalgia, or kids.

Conversion vans came into style during the 1970s and 1980s. Unlike the VW buses the hippies made popular in the 60s, most were used for basic everyday transport.

After the mid-80s, luxurious interiors featuring thickly padded seats, wood trim and luxury lighting began to appear in conversion vans as families and retirees started using them for road trips and camping.

Conversion vans also started including things such as sleeping accommodations, cooking utilities, televisions and other items.

Today, conversion vans can be equipped with almost any electronic device and include infinite luxuries.

Conversion Types

Several different types of vehicles are classified as conversion vans.

Travel Van- These are the standard conversion vans and the only type offered with low tops as well as high tops. A typical travel van will accommodate seven passengers on one rear bench, and four captain's chairs. Often, the rear bench electronically folds flat into a bed. These vans normally have large windows with shades, storage cabinets, and flat screen monitors have eliminated the need for special cabinetry to hold the TV. High-end stereo systems and other electronics are typical, including multiple game systems.

Disability Vans- The van has any or all of the following structural modifications that enable a person in a wheelchair to use the van: raised roof to allow proper clearance through the door, or lowered or dropped floor to allow adequate head clearance. In all cases a platform lift is added to either the rear doors or passenger side doors to enable the person in a wheelchair to enter/exit the van. A lowered floor modification can be done just in the cargo area to save money whereas a full lowered floor is one in which both the cargo area and driver/passenger area are lowered. Standard lowered floor conversions are 6" and 9".

Office Vans- These vans are built such that the back is a small office with a desk and chair bolted to the floor, an electrical outlet, docking stations for your electronics, flat screen monitors and maybe one or two seats in the back for passengers. These are extremely popular for traveling salesmen and TV camera crews.

Motorhomes "Class B" Vans- Sometimes referred to as campervans, Class B vans are built on a full size cargo van and are sometimes lengthened a couple of feet. Lengths range from 17-20 feet. These vans have more features that enable traveling, such as a toilet, fridge, microwave, sink, side sofa, popup canvas top that allows standing up, and stove.

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