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The Van is no longer on the road - this page remains as a record of a challenging and successful engineering project

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When still sound in the body, this 1985 CF had a repaint in a quality 2-pack. Now starting to fade again (reds fade badly compared to other colours) the metal-moth is starting to show and I may have to do some serious work to it again soon.
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The interior has Rover SD1 front seats and a rear coach seat. The passenger front seat swivels (fitted with our own base design) and a table fits in to seat 4 - one has to sit sideways on the driver's seat.
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The brakes are the standard drums all round but with regular maintenance they're fairly good at throwing the anchor out. I haven't explored the van's top speed yet - after all, its a CF and they drive horribly above 90 !
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In the back are a sink/cooker unit, cobbled together from plywood, and a bunk/seat that folds to increase the storage area. Pictured here at Silverstone with David's Supersports Clubmans car (which had less HP than the towing vehicle!)

How it all happened, and why !

 

This page was first put together in 2001. It is now December 2005, and, sadly, the van no longer lives. One of the subsequent owners fitted the engine to a P100 and was very pleased with its performance. The engine died at Santa Pod in 2005, doing a respectable 1/4 mile with nitrous assistance! The story of the van is worth telling and so, it follows....

In 1992 the trusty Mk2 Transit died and I aquired a Bedford CF2 350P. 2 litre petrol engined and so slow that towing David's Supersports car was a nightmare. I fitted out the interior to make a functional day-van which also sleeps 3 ( 4, if you're really good friends !). This had a few advantages :-

  1. The van now only needed a Class 4 MOT test.

  2. Our day & night-time accomodation was available easily ( & cheaply ).

However, we returned from Mallory Park one weekend and managed 40mph flat out in third gear on one of those drags on the M1. Not only that, you had to shout above the engine noise.

It had been suggested that I should fit a Rover V8 engine to complement the interior and the new paintwork (not actually planned to match the Classic Clubmans logo, but a really good match anyway). Many said it couldn't be done, but in 1993 I started the task just before Christmas and estimated that it would take a fortnight of graft. About 12 weeks later the van finally rolled again - except that "rolled" doesn't quite describe the effect of the 200ish bhp and even more torque from the slightly modified P6 engine.

I did a lot of work to make the engine installation as neat and practical as possible. The final conversion was virtually invisible, the only sign inside the van being a slight step on the passenger side of the original engine cover where it had to fit over the left-hand rocker cover. The V8 had to be offset to the left, just as the original 4 cylinder engine had been. It was possible to remove both cylinder heads with the engine in place as well.

The hard work was all worthwhile .... we had bags of towing power, much less noise and slightly better fuel consumption - still on unleaded fuel! Also, there was a tremendous fun-factor as I could win a "traffic-light Grand Prix" against an average family saloon, even when towing. Also, generally sticking to the towing limit of 60mph on motorways, we would approach an incline to have a following artic pull-out to overtake and then have to pull back in as we continued uphill without slowing down. Or even, if I'm honest, adding to the fun by accelerating slightly.

Within 2 years the original engine developed a serious misfire and I found that it had broken some piston rings. A replacement engine was aquired and fully rebuilt by me. A recent Dynomet test revealed 145 bhp & 160 lb ft torque, slightly inaccurate since the man doing the testing got his figures all wrong, underestimating the van's weight by 25% and forgetting a few other things too !!

Again, we estimate 200 bhp and stacks of torque - enough to pull the side off a house!

Steve Nicholas

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