Camper vans: UK’s ‘Coolest Campers’ discuss van conversion
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Caravanning has never been more popular and Jimmy Doherty’s new show travels all over the country to meet the Britons turning old vehicles into their dream home on wheels. During the process, Jimmy also took up the challenge of converting an old army fire engine into a family caravan. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Jimmy said: “It’s amazing the vehicles that people are choosing to renovate and do up.”
On the eight-part series, Jimmy works on his own build with friend and engineer/ builder Jimmy de Ville.
Jimmy said: “Basically, I got my very own vehicle that I’ve done up as a campervan.
“On top of that, I follow eight other people’s journey, who do the same sort of thing, as well as being taken on these joy rides by Jimmy the builder to get inspiration on vehicles that people have already created, which has been amazing.”
On his journey, Jimmy discovered the world of caravanning.
He said: “It’s been really interesting because I thought campervans were just those big white boxes on wheels that you saw all parked up in lines in a field. It’s not. It’s a whole revolution of people going on adventures.”
READ MORE: Million Pound Motorhomes: Inside 2.5million dollar ‘condo on wheels’
Some of the vehicles the two friends got to see were “incredible”, Jimmy said.
He explained: “Some of the vehicles we went to see to get inspiration from are old army trucks that have been converted, Unimog, great big 4×4 utility vehicles.
“One of the sweetest one was a normal campervan at the front, but at the back, it almost looked like the kind of house that Gandalf lived in. It was like a fairytale type arrangement, it was incredible.”
They also got a chance to try out these amazing vehicles for themselves, which was “a pleasure”.
The show, however, isn’t just about going around the country to see some amazing conversion, and Jimmy had to do some work on his own truck.
Jimmy said: “We [with friend Jimmy the builder] got our heads together and it was difficult, because I’m not a total petrolhead.
“I do like cars but I’m not a mechanic, whether Jimmy the builder is an engineer and a mechanic, he knows it all.
“So I said ‘I want a truck with a face’ and what I mean by that is I want it to look nice, it’s got to have character.
“We went down all these scrapyards and talked about fire engines, and buses and the modern fire engines are a bit boring, but we found this old army fire engine, and it was actually yellow.
“Originally it was from Northern Ireland and I looked at it and it had two eyes and a nose and I went ‘it actually’s got a face’.”
Besides finding a “vehicle with a face”, Jimmy had to do it up.
“With the vehicle that I chose, we actually had to create the space inside. It had a water tank, it had a pump, it had all these kind of stuff that we had to take out and then we had to go over the problem of ‘what do we do’.”
This is where the show comes in, “each episode deals with a problem of the construction, as well as visiting someone’s build and having a little weekend trip away in a fancy vehicle”.
Jimmy also added another problem to the build by wanting his bike, his “pride and joy”, to be able to fit in.
He said: “I’ve got a motorbike as well, a Triumph Scrambler, my pride and joy, that I drive around to get a pint of milk. And I wanted that on the back of it. Because the idea is, it’s such a big thing, you want a smaller vehicle you can drive around [once you’re somewhere].
“But my bike is too heavy, so we had to come up with a solution for that.”
Now that the truck’s all done up, Jimmy has another set of problems.
He said: “You know what, [my campervan] it’s massive right, and I’ve got to get used to driving it because it’s got a double clutch so when you change gear, you’ve got to put the clutch in, you take it out of gear, you clutch up and then you put it back in again to put it back in gear.
“And it’s just a big old army fire truck and it’s quite stressful. I got to get used to that on top of all my kids being in the back going ‘are we there yet?’”
The new series Jimmy Doherty’s Dream Builds on Wheels premieres at 9pm tonight on Quest and will be available to stream on discovery+.
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