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Summer’s coming! With this in mind, we’ve given you two project ideas with the sunshine very much in mind this issue, kicking off with the natty ‘Nimbus’ Mk4 Escort van!

mk4 escort van

Taking both the Nimbus and Dormobile versions of the Mk1 van as our inspiration, we gone through the roof — literally — to create an extendable high-top, taking a glass fibre mould of the roof and extending it a bit. Any decent trimmer should be able to create the extendable mechanism, or you could even adapt an existing camper conversion. Swing round to the rear, and you’ll see we’ve fitted a one-piece fibreglass rear door, though in Dormobile style, hinged at the bottom to create more legroom. Of course, this prevents the van being accessed from the rear, but what price camping convenience, eh? Once the body mods are complete, we’re treating the mightily Mk4 to a full respray in Vista Orange with a Diamond White roof, and added some two-tone side stripes to complete the look.

The existing Series 2 alloys have been sold on, and replaced by a set of 14 inch steels covered with Fiesta Fusion hubcaps (part number 1224710, fact fans), painted cream with orange and brown accents, naturally. On the inside, you’ll need to put your Dad’s DIY woodworking tips to the test, with a fold-down bench-style bed, various cupboards and plenty of orange tweed coverings. No scattered cushions, though — that’s pushing things a little too far.

While the Escort Van still keeps a roof over your head, come rain or shine, our take on this Anglia is definitely a fair-weather ride only. Already sidelined thanks to the dreaded Q-plate, we’ve got this project back on the road and ready for the sun by cutting the roof off — perfect for some seaside cruising. The windscreen surround has been cut down to match, along with the ’screen glass and quarterlights. A tricky job, admittedly, but one well within the realms of someone confident with bodywork. The rear seats have gone too — we’ve used some of the roof section to panel over the rear area — Thunderbird-style — and made a feature of the (now extended) boot hinges.

Once the doors have been dehandled, and the rear valence notched to accept a second — dummy — tailpipe, we’ve then prepped and painted the whole shell in coasts of Silver Fox, followed by some nifty pin striping on the front panel and bootlid, and refitting the chrome side strips, bumpers and front grille. The standard steels have been painted Ninja Green, and fitted up with a set of whitewalls, while the interior has been retrimmed to match, and we’ve even painted the dash to match, too. All’s that left is to drop a standard 1500 Pre-Crossflow under the hood lower it — a lot — and hit the highway. Don’t forget the suncream!

Words Simon Woolley

Illustrations Simon Coulson

Click here for more of Simon C’s project ideas

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