This is the first ever image we saw of our new home. We found the Renault Master Ambulance on Gumtree from a guy who had a lot of old and broken ambulances. We were really lucky that ours was only 8 years old when we purchased it on Halloween 2016.
There are many great things about buying ambulances for a campervan conversion, or even as a minibus, but here’s 5 that come to mind:
- They are really well looked after. Even though our vehicle was used as a disabled transport vehicle rather than an emergency ambulance, they still have to go through a lot of checks to make sure they are safe and up for the job. Therefore you are most likely going to get a vehicle which has been regularly repaired and has passed all its MOT’s. Just make sure that it isn’t being sold on due to a fault. In our case it was just a bit old (2008) as they tend to get new ones every 5-10 years.
- They have a track system for seating. What this means is that there are metal runners/tracks down the floor of the ambulance, behind the cab. Therefore you can quite easily release and relock the chairs into whatever position you choose, even backwards. This is the case for our vehicle (Renault Master) but may not be the case for all ambulances. This was great for us as we wanted to have seating in the rear for our dining table and extra passengers, and it gave us a variety of options for our layout design.
- You can easily stand up inside. Well, we can! I’m 5’5″ and You is around 5’10” and there’s still some room up there. This is great if you want a campervan for more than just the odd weekend. We have been planning a big trip and I know that I appreciate the height when cooking and changing, and wouldn’t want it any other way.
- The wheel base is just the right length. It takes a bit of getting used to if you have never driven a van before, but only really an issue when parking or reversing. The rest of the time you don’t notice the size so much, and it’s not overly wide. Although saying that we did manage to get the bed in widthways, it works out around 5’8″ which is perfect for me and just a bit short for You. We contemplated a shower room, and if you are thinking the same there is definitely enough space, but I will go into detail in another post why we decided not to do that and use the space in other ways.
- There are lots of windows! This firstly comes in handy as to officially change your vehicle into a Motor Home with the DVLA you need a window in the rear, and I’ve heard putting one in can be a bit of a pain. Secondly, the very rear windows open slightly at the top which helps with ventilation, an important part of owning a campervan. They’re really small so can be left open on hot days with little risk. Thirdly, it’s really nice to look out the window when travelling, whilst eating your breakfast and remembering where you are, rather than being shut in a little box. It makes it more homely, spacious and feel more like a camper than a van.
There are lots of other reasons why we chose this exact vehicle for our new home, which I will go into in other posts, but for now I hope this helps anyone who is considering buying an ambulance. Plus…It’s pretty cool to live in an ambulance right?