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The Ideal Airport Car: A Sportsmobile Sprinter

July, 2014

Betsy and I like to drive or fly to the east side of the Sierra Nevada for climbing and hiking adventures.  We’ve camped, slept in the plane and in hotels.  But last Fall we decided to get an adventure van.  Sure, it will go places on its own, but we also plan to use it as a mobile airport car – for example we’ll use it in the Bishop area for climbing, then fly home and leave it for a week, returning to use it again the next weekend.

At least that is the plan.

This post is a pictorial story of how we got and built the van.  We flew down to San Jose on January 1st and bought an empty cargo van.  We played with it for a few months (added tires, suspension, painted part of it, added graphics, lights, etc.).  Betsy designed a custom interior and then the van went to Sportsmobile West for almost 4 months for the build-out.  On July 3rd we final got our new van.

Here’s the story:

Betsy walking over from airport to buy van.  I don't think many people walk in without a vehicle and buy one.

Betsy walking over from airport to buy van. I don’t think many people walk in without a vehicle and buy one.

Pick your color

Pick your color

Pretending it's a camper van

Pretending it’s a camper van

Belyn adding vinyl graphics we designed to lower panel

Belyn adding custom design vinyl graphics to lower panel

 

It's a rope.  Awww - how cute.

It’s a rope. Awww – how cute.

OK, too cute.  Back down guys.

OK, too cute.

Painting some panels black (too much white)

Painting some panels black (too much white)

On a business trip I stopped by Aluminess to get front bumper rack

On business trip I stopped by Aluminess to get front bumper rack

 

Larger more aggressive tires and powder coated black rims (and heavy duty shocks/suspension)

Larger more aggressive tires and powder coated black rims (and heavy duty shocks/suspension)

Still pretending its a camper van but not yet

Still pretending its a camper van but its not – yet.

Prewire for lights before going into Sportsmobile.

Prewire for lights before going into Sportsmobile.

From Sportsmobile (SMB) factory: Cutting out windows

From Sportsmobile (SMB) factory: Cutting out windows

SMB photo: Paneling and wiring in.

SMB photo: Paneling and wiring in.

Shower stall, cabinets going in.

Shower stall, cabinets going in.

We flew to get delivery of the completed van.  I felt a little bad for the plane, but we'll still do plenty of trips in it!

We flew to get delivery of the completed van. I felt a little bad for the plane, but we’ll still do plenty of trips in it!

Finally, its done. Ande likes it.

Finally, its done. Ande likes it.

Bodie likes the storage under the bed.

Bodie likes the storage under the bed.

First weekend at Sonora Pass to check everything out.

Sportsmobile Sprinter. First weekend at Sonora Pass to check everything out.

Interior.  Designed for windows, not counter space.

Interior. Designed for windows, not counter space.

Front seats swivel, and a table can be set up in "living area".

Front seats swivel, and a table can be set up in “living area”.

This is what it is all about!

Turns it is a magic van too. We no longer have to hike to climbs – it just takes us there.

 

 

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