Retired fire engine being given a new lease of life in the United States... as a campervan
A SURPLUS emergency response vehicle which has logged thousands of miles attending fires and crashes across North Wales is being shipped out to Canada for a quiet retirement – as a campervan.
The 1995 plate Mercedes 1120 Incident Response Vehicle, previously owned by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, was bought at an auction in Merthyr and is now being shipped across the Atlantic for new owner Ryan Evans from Oregon – who is planning to convert it into a family motorhome.
Ryan, a mechanical engineer, said: “We just pulled the trigger on the MB 1120 4x4 Incident Response Vehicle with the intention to turn it into a motorhome for an adventuring family.
“We have named it Lowly the Lorry after children’s book character Lowly the Worm.”
Lowly the Lorry is being shipped to Halifax in Nova Scotia by international shipping specialists Autoshippers.
And Ryan can’t wait for it to arrive.
He explained: “I hope to write a blog to record the upcoming madness for the benefit of those who are curious at just how many problems a scheme like this can produce.
“For one thing the truck was made in 1995, so we weren’t allowed to import it into the United States for another two and a quarter years – hence the diversion to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“Getting the truck modified might be the easiest part of this whole wacky scheme.”
A company based in British Columbia specialises in custom vehicle cabin manufacturing.
He is hoping there is enough headroom to stow drop-down bunks so the cab area can serve as suitable accommodations for the kids and leave more living space in the camper.
“I’ll be the first to admit that it may not ultimately succeed I figure it is worth a try to create some memories.”
Ryan said he had to jump through the hoops of transferring money, obtaining insurance, locating a parking/storage facility and relocating the vehicle from the auction house property to storage – all via email and an eight-hour time difference.
“Luckily, Autoshippers has stacks of experience doing this sort of thing and have helped with hints and suggestions, not to mention getting Lowly over to Canada in the first place.”
Ryan added: “Autoshippers were able to arrange for incountry transport from its storage location to the port of Bristol.
“Originally it was going to get loaded at Southampton but Autoshippers believed Bristol was better suited for this size of truck.
“They wanted to document the proceedings first hand as Lowly is not a typical job for them.”
Adam Limerick from Autoshippers said the surplus fire tender was typical of the offthe-wall projects they had dealt with during the last 20 years.
“We have shipped ice cream vans, former police motorcycles, retro and vintage vehicles all over the World – but Ryan looks determined to trump the lot of them with his campervan plan.
“We’re always on the lookout for any unique shipments that might spark the interest of motor enthusiasts out there as they tend to share their experiences far and wide.”
Autoshippers recently shipped a rare AC Buckland Tourer out to a fan in Houston Texas.
“They also shipped a brace of True Brit ice cream vans to an ex-pat in California and airfreighted a fully restored 1976 Jensen Interceptor in the hold of world’s biggest passenger aircraft to another ex-pat with an eye for vintage cars.
● Ryan Evans from Oregon is planning to convert this North Wales fire engine into a family motorhome