Back in the 1950’s, families who wanted to get away from it all would pack up their RV and take a road trip. They’d find a good campsite and enjoy the great outdoors. These recreational vehicles were a popular way to take the family on vacations. But the days of the boring old RV are over and instead, people are finding other awesome ways to travel the U.S.
Take Reddit’s ZachBoth for example. He renovated his dirty, old van and the result is amazing. Take a look at how incredible his new van is now and try not to be inspired to do the same thing to your vehicle! You won’t believe it!
12. A Dream Is A Wish
Zach took to Reddit to share the progress of this incredible transformation from the very beginning to the end and the first part of every successfully completed project is a dream. Zach certainly had a big dream, though he stuck with it until the end and we are so thankful he did!
11. One Man’s Junk…
The first step in the plan was to find a vehicle. Zach bought this old 2003 Chevy Express van from Craigslist from an electrician. It had over 200 thousand miles on it, but Zach knew that this baby had a lot more left to give and got right to work. Just wait to see how he slowly converts the van into something unbelievable.
10. Elbow Grease
Zach peeled away the floor of the van to find lots of rust and grime that needed to go. So he vacuumed what he could reach and cleaned what he could, then he got to work with an angle grinder to get rid of the rust and then used some white spray paint to seal it up.
9. Zoom To The Moon
After sealing up the inside, the next step was to cover the whole thing with insulation. He had to use templates he made to make sure the pieces were cut to the right size and then glue them on with spray adhesive. Here’s a photo of what Zach refers to as the van’s “spaceship” phase. This phase wasn’t the only one the van went through. Just wait until you see the “plywood” phase!
8. So Long Spaceship
Though the spaceship phase was pretty cool, it wasn’t meant to last forever. Zach created a template for the roof, cut the plywood with a skill saw, stained it, and then attached it to the ceiling. He also used a template to make a floor for the van as well.
7. Let The Light Shine
This guy sure can gut a van, use a skill saw, measure, cut, and install insulation, not to mention all the little details in between. He did, however, have to call in the big guns to cut a whole in the roof and unsurprisingly, those guns were his dad’s! Here’s Zach father doing the roof cutting. Also, what could he want a hole in the roof for, right? Just wait and see!
6. Treasure Hunting
After the roof was cut, Zach was ready to take on another project. He’s evidently pretty good at being creative and transforming someone else’s junk into new, amazing treasures. Here’s the van with a load of lath that looks like it was left on the side of the road. What do you suppose he will do with all that?
5. Decorative Ceiling
Zach cleaned up the old plaster lath that was given to him for free from a local church. He sanded it, stained it, and installed it on the ceiling. To get the spacing straight and even he used a template he also made and marked on the plywood. He used a pin nailer to attach it.
4. Starting To Come Together
After several more steps including installing a ceiling fan (that’s what that hole was for!), Zach started attaching the plywood walls he cut. For these, he also used a template and had many small gaps to fill in with smaller pieces and Bondo. He even had to soak some pieces in water to make them more flexible before attaching. He is a photo of the structure he built for a bed.
3. Project Complete
And here it is! The bed fits snugly in the back of his van, complete with a removable table, chalkboard walls, and blackout curtains to make it even cozier. He doesn’t just have a bed back there, though. Zach also made a kitchenette with a two-burner stove, fridge, and lights attached to a dimmer switch. He also installed solar panels. For real.
2. Sleeping On The Beach
Here is a photo of Zach’s new life on the open road. The van opens up to the world outside and his bed is right there, beside the ocean. The view is stunning, with the mountains behind him and the water almost within arms reach. What a place to wake up to, eh?
Though it took longer than expected, this once rusty, old van was given new life and a chance to see the world, thanks to the creative and dedicated ZachBoth of Reddit. Here is a photo of the natural beauty in which the van, also known by Zach as “Rocket the Van,” is surrounded.
Each step of this project was carried out with patience and careful attention to detail and it definitely paid off. Now Zach has a groovy van that is set up to take him anywhere his heart desires and it looks like he’s taking full advantage of it.
Are you feeling inspired (or maybe a little jealous)? Head over to Zach’s post on Reddit to look at more than sixty photos of his process. We’d love to hear what you think about “Rocket the Van,” too! Leave us a comment telling us the first place you’d visit in a sweet converted van like this one.