Probably some of you are wondering if I still have my precious car who brought us so much fun in our trip to Coromandel. Well at the end the car was not bad at all, actually the advise of my mechanic was:

“Don’t sell it, at least you know the small things this car already have. If you buy a new one, it will have other things”

And he was right. But anyway I kept looking for cars, my knowledge on buying cars in New Zealand is now pretty big. I was looking for a van, but I didn’t know much more. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to sell Oilliver to get a proper van to travel around with two people and the surfboards, and Oilliver was not getting the job done; Is okey to sleep inside, but is not a van. So I started looking for vans. I will probably explain in another post how to buy a car in New Zealand, and I learnt it the hard way, not very pleasant.

So I was looking for vans; I wanted to buy a Nissan Serena or a Toyota Estima, small vans but very common here in New Zealand, and most of them come prepared to hit the road. One day I met with a german guy, Julius, he was selling his Nissan Serena for a ridiculous price, 1600$. The guy arrived late and he was exhausted, someone broke into his car and all his belongings were stolen, he was leaving in two days. The poor guy wanted to cry. We sat down drinking a cup of tea, when he was more relaxed we got outside to try the van, from the outside it looked like a bad treated van, but it drove well. Somehow though, I was not feeling confident with that van, even if the price was that low, he really wanted to sell it, He was saying I could get it even cheaper. I told him I would think about it and tell him something the next day. I called him a few hours later saying I was not buying the van; I realized I was buying something I was not sure, and to do so, I already had one. At that moment I decided I would buy a van, and build it from scratch. Julius was disappointed and I told him we could sell the van on his behalf, he was glad to hear that and said thank you. Luckily next day he texted saying he sold it to some guy in the hostel and he was flying out of NZ to Germany just a day later that he had planned, all good.

From that moment I started to look for a van coming from a kiwi family or similar. No backpackers, I wanted to know what happened to the van before I buy it. I looked for one Serena and one Estima Lucida, both around $1500-2000, from families and in good shape, but I didn’t win the auctions. Is really hard to beat the people here, they go crazy in auctions on the last 5 minutes. One advice if you are in an auction in Trade Me, put your beat the 3rd minute before the closing of the auction.

At the same time I put my Oilliver on sale, explaining what was happening with the oil and that one tyre would need to be replaced for the WOF (similar to the ITV in Spain or the TÜV in Germany). I got few people interested and I met them last saturday, my van was sold.


Next day, checking for Estimas in Trade Me, I found a really interesting van, and very close to my place. The van was a 1997 Ford Econovan, very typical for electricians, plumbers, etc. I drove to the place, the guy used it for moving from one house to the other and now didn’t need it anymore, on his prior life she was a painters van. The outside didn’t look perfect but the gears, clutch and engine felt very good. We agreed in one price… And I told him I wanted to get her checked. He was a bit surprised but I told him if the mechanic said OK, I would buy it straight away. And so we did!

Below you can see how it looks now and a first draft of what I want to build inside. I will document everything in this page and write specific posts about the different topics and solutions I come up with.

Van Conversion Page 

FYI: First thing I’ve done is a full inspection, brake calibration and two minor reparation, it has cost me almost 200$ but now I know that the van is running smooth!




Written by oriolSP
Siempre curioso, salí en mayo de 2015 a explorar el mundo, iba a ser un corto viaje y se ha convertido en una forma de vida