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.
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!
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.