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It’s summer holiday time! Make sure you’re fully prepped for your adventure with a Mk1 Escort van tent conversion, or off-road Sierra courtesy of Simon Coulson…

We love a good roadtrip, especially when there’s a classic Ford involved, and even more so when it involves covering huge distances and taking in countries far and wide. For that though, you really need something more bespoke and so we’ve turned this poorly Mk1 van into something more than up to covering 1000s of miles in a day in all conditions and in relative comfort, too. First though, we need to attack the ropey-looking shell with the welder, as well as replacing the butchered side panels with fresh metal to get this van looking like a van again. Once done, fresh coats of VW Dove Blue (a period shade usually found on split-screen Type 2s) have been applied and then we can get to work on the conversion.

First off, the roof-mounted tent. Popular in the ’60s, you can still buy these today from Land Rover specialists, and so we’ve made up a custom chromed frame to fit the box and the Escort’s roof and cut the supplied ladder down to suit the shorter van. Inside, a pair of fishnet Recaros have been installed up front (retrimmed in easy-clean beige vinyl), while the load area has been converted into a kitchen, with a fold-out table and storage for clothes and food. Under the bonnet there’s a back-to-basics Ford turbo-diesel (cheap to run, cheap to fix) backed up by a trusty Type-9 five-speed, while the suspension has been uprated and a set of 7.5×13 inch RS four-spokes bolted up — because it still has to look the part, right?

Looking for the ultimate go-anywhere classic Ford for those off-road excursions into the unknown? Then may we present to you the Sierrover! Yes, we’ve mated this three-door shell to a Land Rover chassis with spectacular results. Well, we think so, anyway. There’s a fair bit of cutting, fabrication, adaption and engineering involved, but nothing that would stop the average hands-on old Ford fan armed with a pencil, notepad, angle grinder and a head full of ideas.

With a dry build of the chassis and shell completed, we’ve then stripped it all down and repainted the shell in fetching two-tone green (military-spec, naturally) before fitting everything back up and adding some essential extras… With a lift-kit for added ground clearance, huge 12×15 wheels and balloon tyres, a roofrack packed with essentials, bumper bars, and front-mounted LED light bar, our Sierrover is fully-equipped for the ultimate adventure. Let’s off-road!

Words Simon Woolley

Illustrations Simon Coulson

Click here for more of Simon Coulson’s project ideas

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