Type of Vehicle

I'm thinking I want a step-van. I'm still open to other options, but the step-van is really the LOOK that I want. Door-to-door, hop in hop out, simple...

ugh so cute!

Step vans have...

  • big doors
  • cab and body are one space, or can be, which means the space dedicated to just driving is as small as I can make it. 
  • sliding doors, great for leaving a door open while working
  • blank slate- maximum customization
  • often aluminum bodies - no rust problems
  • flat walls and windows - easy to cut windows into, plan around, etc. 

As I've scrolled through literally thousands of these step-van listings, I've figured out a few things I want and require:


  • full-width doors, or double-hinged doors
  • 12' cargo area, so ~18' total
  • roof rack
  • a favorable combo of age/mileage/price. 


  • swing-open doors - no rollup
  • short length and tall height, ideally 8' min inside
  • aluminum body. the ages vehicles I'm looking at are either aluminum or rust-ridden. 

The typical step-van I see listed on craigslist, ebay, etc. has some food truck or delivery remnants, an old plain-white paint job, and a really ugly busted up driver's area.  I'm also starting to realize that the roof is going to be a challenge. Most of the vehicles I look at have transparent roofs, which are incredibly loud with any movement or rain. I know I'll be insulating this thing, but I wonder if I'll have to replace the roof material? If I do, I am going to seriously consider lifting the roof like on the very very inspirational Axle Contemporary

who wouldn't want clerestory windows...?

A L T E R N A T I V E L Y . . . I would consider a couple of other types of vehicle if the perfect thing crops up. I'm narrowing my active search to step-vans, since the internet is too broad and deep to not decide on something, somehow. BUT if I come across one of these that really fits the bill, I might still end up with:

  • An RV is still a possibility, especially since so much is already installed, but it would have to be short, not leaky, and not hideous. 
  • A different kind of truck would be okay, if it offered most of the same features I like about step vans and has a unique look to it. 
  • A short bus would fit what I need, especially my craving for windows, but busses usually have so little headspace, even for short little me. It would have to be tall, lend itself to building in the inside, and again - not hideous. 

I have a date with a mechanic to look over this big list of listings that I've made, so maybe she can help me narrow things down a little bit. I probably have about 40 listings that I've saved so far. Most have ended by now, but I'll bring those anyway just in case they can serve as an example. I hope she doesn't think I'm crazy...? eeehg