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The $6000 Custom Camper Van

For 6000 bucks, Adam Nawrot transformed an old NYPD surveillance van into his mobile home and photo studio. Adam was kind enough to share the pics of his process, demonstrating how to turn a 1997 Ford E-350 into the kind of custom camper van dreams are made of.

Build cost? $6000 for the van, construction, electrical and solar gear, plus another $1800 in engine work.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

$6000 Custom Camper Van

On October 28th 2015, I bought an old surveillance van that once belonged to the New York City Police Department. It was a beat up 1997 Ford E-350 that was being used to store scrap metal. Although its law enforcement decals had long been removed, you could still read “Detective Bureau” and “NYPD” where the paint had unevenly faded beneath the lettering. I milked the month of November for every single spare moment I could and poured it into the renovation and construction of the van. Thankfully my ever supportive childhood neighbors were used to my antics at this point and never so much as complained as I worked on the van in the shared driveway of my parent’s townhouse; cutting wood and drilling holes late into the night.

By December my new home was ready.

I spent about a month and a half shopping around on Craigslist for used vans before I pulled the trigger. For me, bigger was better and I couldn’t be happier with what I ended up with. It only gets ~10 miles to the gallon but it’s got a ton of room for activities!

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

Adam’s van includes custom built cabinets and storage areas, laminate hardwood flooring and decorative plywood paneling.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

A full mattress fits, with enough room to stretch out, and storage space for oversized items like skis, kayak paddles and a guitar.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

20″ and 30″ deep drawers provide storage for camera gear and climbing supplies.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

A full length 78″x28″ desk allows Adam to work as a photographer and filmmaker, and built in lighting includes top mounted LED strips, two desk spotlights and desk under-lighting.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

Solar power includes 2 100 watt solar panels, a solar charge regulator, a 1000 watt 115 volt AC power inverter, 115 volt DC battery charger, fuse box and voltage sensitive relay linked to the engine.

Custom Camper Van - Image Credit: Adam Nawrot

Adam’s van includes fully insulated walls and flooring, a two-burner camp stove, water tank and roof-mounted kayak racks.

Full steps and pictures from Adam’s customer camper van build are available in his full imgur album, and images from Adam’s adventures in the great outdoors can be seen on his website.



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