Incredible Vintage Ford Camper Van Proves Van Life Ain’t Nothing New

The Ford Transit Connect camper van is a perfect example of why the old adage of “van life ain’t nothing new” still rings true.

The vans to live in is a vintage Ford camper van that has been restored with the help of an extensive amount of research.

Even as the globe starts to open up again, the fixation with RVs seems to be growing. Many individuals are still attempting to grab a camper van and bug out of town as we begin to get glimpses of a post-COVID future. Despite the fact that camper vans exploded during COVID lockdowns, the desire for the openness and freedom of van life is not new. Of course, you’ve heard of the VW hippy van, but have you heard of the amazing vintage Ford camper van, the Thames 400E Dormobile? 

Ford Thames 400E Dormobile campervan | Car & Classic

This old Ford camper van is insanely cool. 

 For everyone who desired the carefree lifestyle that camper vans provide, the Thames 400E became an immediate favorite. Because it was a body-on-frame van rather than the more usual unibody chassis, the Thames was a popular vehicle for modifications. 

This body-on-frame concept, according to Silodrome, provided for a lot more modification possibilities for various body types, which prompted Dormobile, a camper van manufacturer, to take a go at it. 

What exactly is Dormobile? 

Ford Thames interior pop top hammocks

Pop top hammocks | Cars & Classics

Dormobile, according to Silodrome, has a far longer history than camper vans. It even predates the automobile by more than a century. Martin Walter, a business that manufactured horse gear including harnesses and bridles, founded Dormobile in 1773. For early vehicle builders, harnesses became carriages, and carriages became coachbuilding. 

Dormobile produced its first camper van in 1952, after many twists and turns. It was dubbed the “bedroom on wheels” by the public, who adored it. They dominated the English camper scene by the early 1960s. Dormobile was outfitting Land Rover campers, VW campers, and, of course, the Thames 400E, a vintage Ford camper van conversion. 

The Dormobile Thames 400E is worth a look.

Ford Thames 400E parked on an empty street

Ford Thames 400E | Cars & Classics

The vintage Ford camper shown on Silodrome was constructed in 1965 from a new Ford van. Dormobile refitted it and sold it as a completely converted pop-top camper van to a guy in Dublin, Ireland. 

From the original owner to the present owner, this vintage Ford camper van only changed hands once. The Thames 400E had a complete overhaul as well. The original paint was scraped down to bare metal to allow for appropriate sheet metal work and fabrication. 

The original engine was replaced with a more powerful replacement, a high-compression 1,703cc unit rebuilt by Phoenix Rebore, along with the body repair. Now that the repairs have been completed, the Thames 400E is ready to rock summer vacation once again. 

The inside is still set up in the same way it was when it was first built. The cabin has seats for four people that may be converted into two beds. The roof also has two cots/hammocks that may be used when the top is completely opened. A small kitchenette and kitchen storage cabinets are located at the back of the vintage Ford camper van. It even has a running water sink. 

You might own this classic Ford camper van.

After only two owners, this vintage Ford camper van is ready to find its third adventure-seeking owner. It is currently on the auction block in the UK at Car & Classic. The current bid is £6,600, but the reserve is not met. There is only a little more than a day left on the auction. 

This quirky classic demonstrates that van life is nothing new and isn’t going away anytime soon. 

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