All About Conversion Vans
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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Only A Few Van Companies Left

The van conversion industry has shrunk to only a few companies. Fords & G.M.'s are still being produced. Dodge is no longer offering a full size van. The most recent news regarding the van business is that Accubuilt, the parent company of Tuscany Vans, is selling part of its operation to private owners. Tuscany is regarded as one of the best quality conversions in the industry and will still be in operation. Dealerships who stock conversion vans are almost nil. The best source is to shop online and buy direct. The economic down turn has affected the quantity of raw chassis being produced. A Savvy consumer can find availability on the Internet. Full size vans still offer more room and comfort than any other vehicle on the road.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Pick up Trucks have had up fits applied to them for many years. Running boards, paint schemes, special wheels etc were commonly done. Conversions on trucks are evolving with more hi-tech applications. High performance additions and even hi-tech over sized breaking systems are just some of the latest and greatest upgrades one will see. There are also new appearance enhancements that make the conversions more pleasing to the eye. A conversion company can take a well done "off the shelf" pickup and customize it in ways that were never offered before. This transformation, just like conversion vans, can be accomplished on the Internet with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Some people believe that conversion vans are no longer being produced. The real truth is that they are available however, harder to find. If you've had a conversion van in the past and appreciate their amenities as well as the extra room they offer, fret not. You only need to look to the Internet to acquire good information. The dealerships influence over inflated pricing of conversion vans has diminished since their days of stocking large quantities. Although chassis cost has gone up,over all, Internet pricing is by far and away your best bet.
With just a click of the mouse one can see wholesale prices as well as factory direct information. It will take approximately 3-5 weeks to custom build exactly to your specifications with the added advantage of getting only what you want. You can pick hi-top or low top, cloth seats or leather seats, high trim level or low as well as various electronic packages. The great thing about this unique buying process is that you can get factory direct pricing. Let your fingers do the shopping.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tuscany Automotive to produce Chevrolets and GMC's

Tuscany Automotive, the number one quality Ford Manufacturer, will now be producing Chevrolets and G.M.C.'s. Tuscany, which is owned by Accubuilt, will be in a great position to offer GM customers the same high quality conversions that earned them every top quality award that Ford ever offered. GM vans have additional driver's side doors and come with a lot of amenities including factory glass, heated exterior mirrors, dual power front seats and trailer tow mode to name just a few. GM conversion vans and conversion trucks will make Tuscany's line up tremendous. Look for their full size and extended vans, along with SUV's, to be in production soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why are conversions only done on particular vans.

The reason conversion vans are primarily built on Chevys, GMC's, Fords and Sprinters is that the manufacturers of these companies produce "raw" chassis, like a cargo van, for our industry. These companies also allow "approved" 2nd stage manufacturers to build on their platforms. Most other vans are not set up for this system. It would be great if such companies as Toyota, Mitsubishi and other European manufacturers would get involved in the conversion van industry. There are a lot of issues to consider for this to take place and volume is one of the main ones. I belive more oiginal equipment manufactureres would enhance our industries market position.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Diversity with Conversion Vans

Some of the conversion van companies are developing new and inovative products. For instance: Majestic Vans is presently prototyping some travel trailers which will be introduced to the public soon. Midwest Automotive Design, a Sprinter manufacturer, is doing specialty applications such as mobile laboratories, dog grooming vans and mobile offices. They are even offering an RV type Weekender package. This new trend is a reflection of our ever changing mobile society and the new types of jobs that are created for convenience to the consumer. A spacious van platform is ideally suited for diverse applications and flexibility in design. Custom layouts to suit ones needs are becoming more popular in this industy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Evolution of the Conversion Van Industry

Throughout the 1980's and early 1990's there were over 100 conversion van companies in existence. Today there are fewer than 20 companies remaining. The good news is that quality has dramatically improved over the past few years. The fit and finish, quality of components and warranties are much better than years gone by. Some of the smaller more handcrafted companies are, in my opinion, producing the highest quality product. Among the conversion companies for GM are Majestic Vans and Debut Automotive out of Michigan and A&J Vans out of Wisconsin. For Fords the number one manufacturer is Tuscany Automotive. Another Ford only company is Monogram Kustom, both from Indiana. A&J Vans also converts on Ford chassis. On Dodge Sprinter conversions, the best is Midwest Automotive Design which are built exclusively on the Mercedes based chassis. This company bay builds every order according to the buyers needs. Some of their finished products are high end conversion vans, limos, mobile offices and a Weekender package which is part passenger van and part R.V.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Weekender

Midwest Automotive Design announces The Weekender. This company primarily builds Limos and Conversion Passenger Vans on a Sprinter chassis. This new offering will be part passenger van and part R.V. Known for their extraordinary quality, Midwest Automotive Designs Weekender package is spectacular. Built on a 2007 Mercedes Sprinter chassis it is roomy and very well designed. Some of the offerings are an enclosed toilet, microwave, refrigerator and sink. This unit even has a dinette which converts to a bed as well as four captain chairs and array of other options. Each one of these are bay built directly to the customer's desires. Those who do not want the cramped space of a Class B motorhome will be pleased with this well done compromise.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tuscany Automotive Buys L.A. West

Tuscany Automotive, an Accubuilt Company, has purchased certain assets of L.A. West, in Lagrange, IN. This acquisition will combine the two names and some models of their conversion vans and conversion trucks on Ford chassis only. The Tuscany brand vans, trucks and specialty vehicles will be enhanced with engineering and technical capabilities along with adding some new product lines.
The conversion van market has been slowed recently by chassis inventory issues and manufacturing cut backs along with market changes relating to SUV's. The spring market should change all that and Tuscany will be in an excellent position to serve consumer needs well.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A&J Vans

A&J Vans from Valders, WI, is a long standing builder of high quality conversion products. After touring their facilities you can get a sense of dedication that the employees have while building handcraft vans, pick ups and SUV's. Long known as a regional supplier to the industry, A&J is becoming more nationally recognized. They do a lot of mobility applications and pickups but are best known for beautiful mid to high end custom vans designed to fit your unique life style and needs. Unlike many other upfitters, A&J stock a good supply of All Wheel Drive vans and can produce special orders in approximately three weeks. This company has a solid reputation that is destine to grow.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Conversion Van Quality

Conversion van quality is much better than years gone by. The quality of the components and construction style has dramatically improved over the last couple decades. There used to be some large manufacturers that massed produced vans with at least, questionable processes. For instance, years ago some of the companies "hot wired" the electrical systems. This meant that you would find a hot wire in the original wiring harness which would run your electronics and then ground them. This system proved to be faulty at best. Now days the chassis has an integrated wire harness system with multiple circuits which has proven to be a trouble free application. The construction of the seating has also improved particularly regarding the steel frames and the foam packs that are now used. Insulation in the side walls and ceiling are now standard in most conversion companies. This results in a quieter sound from road noise. Van conversion are by far the roomiest and most comfortable way to travel. Considering the much improved quality it might be one of the auto industries best values for today's road warriors. If you're into movies, satellite radio, computer console gaming or whatever, I suggest you look into the latest and greatest in the conversion van industry. You can even get a 22-inch TV /DVD player with a surround-sound audio system.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Majestic Vans

Majestic Vans, located in Saginaw, Michigan, has long been an innovator in the van conversion industry. They have evolved into a leader of some of the industries highest quality vans. Majestic produce hand crafted vans as opposed to the production line variety. Their fit and finish as well as overall construction style is noticeably better than other conversion companies. Majestic even manufactures their own wood parts from raw walnut.
If you are looking for the highest quality Chevy or GMC vans, Majestic is worth considering.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


MONOGRAM KUSTOM formerly affiliated with MIDWEST VANS is now owned by UTILITY BODY WERKS of Elkhart, Indiana. Monogram Kustom is Utility Body Werks personal use conversion van division, primarily built on a Ford chassis. Utility Body Werks is a builder of hauler body pick ups and other specialty vehicles commonly done on a heavy duty chassis. The company is presently working on some new and innovative products. This is a company that has a strong reputation for quality.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Super Sized Pick Up

Sport Utility Vehicles or Pick Up Trucks are going to the extreme. Extreme if what you want is to be the envy of all your friends, that is. An example would be this unique super sized pick up from Utility Body Works. The bed of this truck is so high off the ground it requires a special hydraulic system to lower the bed to the ground so that you can load it. The crew cab interior also is a very elaborate design with two TV 's, GPS and high line seating. Although one may question the utilitarian value of such a rig it will surely turn a few heads and get your friends and neighbors talking.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Van Company Merger

L.A. WEST and CHOO-CHOO CUSTOM VAN CONVERSIONS are now owned by Legend Motors Worldwide. Personel use luxury vans are still offered by this new entity with possibly one of the nicest and all inclusive conversions that this industry has to offer. A website that handles these two companies is Van buyers would be well served to look at these two conversions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


You can take your office on the road. Keep your work materials at your fingertips and stay organized. Invite your customers to step inside your private office. Mobile Offices are specialty vehicles that are becoming more popular. With limited configurations these can be a viable choice for those that need to take their business on the road. The normal application is a high top extended conversion van with a desk, chairs and all the electronics needed to run an efficient office. The Mobile Office is also available on a standard roof model, One can choose from a Ford E-150, E-250 and E-350 standard length or extended length vans.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

9 Passenger Vans

9 PASSENGER extended conversion vans are becoming more popular. The Chevy 155" wheel base chassis gives the ability to have 4 rows of seats. The vans can be a low top making it garagable at a 7 foot height or you can opt for a hi-top with a big screen TV. Ford offers its version called a Super Van. Chevy and GMC call theirs an extended van. There is even a version of the Sprinter that does a luxury conversion to a 9 passenger van. Conversion vans are the roomiest way to travel with a big group. People are finding vans more comfortable with many amenities for over the road travel. Previous SUV owners are switching to conversion vans for more comfort and space

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The best way to buy a conversion van may not be out of a show room floor. Too often typical dealers stock high line, over priced vans that may or may not have the features you are looking for. The result of purchasing this way means you pay too much and not receive the best value for your needs. Dealers tend to mark up the wholesale cost of the conversion and the chassis, sometimes as much as $12000 or more depending on the market. Typical sales people at the dealer level tend not to be very knowledgeable about all the features on a conversion. They are there for a quick sale at the highest gross profit. Consumers need to shop more for information directly from the conversion manufacturers. The Internet is an excellent source of information directly from the manufacturers and not the dealerships. Be patient and do your research.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Work Vans

Typically work vans are raw cargo vans with various amenities added such as shelving, tool racks, partitions and benches. There are quite a few upfitters doing these kind of applications on panel vans including the Sprinter. You may see the rear door opening raised to allow the driver much easier access to all areas of the van. Some van builders create hybrid combination vans that have very comfortable and elaborate seating in the front with a work area in the back. These units could become an interesting trend for home based businesses or commercial use.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hauler Conversion Trucks

Some conversion manufacturers and specialty vehicle upfitters produce "Hauler" bodies on heavy duty chassis such as Ford's F-450. The hauler bodies are designed for 5th wheel trailer and horse trailer applications. It is usually an aluminum bed with side storage, diamond plate flooring and fiberglass running boards. There are an array of upgrades that would make the truck an elaborate high line heavy duty pick up. For the more serious, near full-time tow vehicle or when your trailer requires additional clearance, haulers are the ideal solution with customized bodies that provide ample storage compartments while projecting a neat, clean appearance. The all-aluminum bed provides a light, rust-free body specially designed to maximize your towing capacity. These vehicles tend to be popular in certain regions of the country and are often found on ranches, farms and RV resorts. This can be the ultimate vehicle for hauling your large trailer in the utmost comfort and style.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Conversion Trucks

Conversions on trucks and SUV's tend to dress up the standard offering by adding popular or trendy upgrades. An example of this might be running boards, nerf boards, induction hoods, fade paint schemes and large tires and wheels. Years ago conversion companies would add raised roofs on Suburbans with TV systems and audio upgrades. The industry is evolving towards the afore mentioned add ons that are focused mainly on the exterior. One can order interior infinity lighting w/ cherry wood accent as well as ultra suede seats w/ color stitching and inserts to dress up their interior.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Multi passenger vans are becoming more popular. Hotel shuttles, transit buses and tour buses are common applications of the extended van. At one time the seating in a 10,12 or 15 passenger van was very spartan. Most amentities in the shuttles were few. This is all changing with the manufacturers offering higher line trim levels and leather seating with a full array of electronic upgrades. Just a few of these are 20" LCD TV's with DVD players and surround sound, with wireless headphones, to make your commute a pleasant one. Passengers can now ride in total comfort with some van upfitters offering reclining captains chairs with adjustable headrests. A good example of upgraded transit vehicles is the Executrans Van from Tuscany Automotive. Multi passenger vans can also be done on a Sprinter chassis which has a Mercedes engine as well as a few other convesion van upfitters.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


ACCULBUILT INC. buys TUSCANY AUTOMOTIVE in an aggressive effort to diversify. Accubuilt is a specialty vehicle manufacturer that builds limousines, funeral coaches, shuttle buses and mobility vehicles. Tuscany primarily does Ford personal use luxury vans and trucks along with mobility vans. The merger of these two entities offer the public an extraordinary array of high quality transportation products. Tuscany has received the Ford Highest Quality Award every year it's been awarded. Those in the market for a van conversion would be well advised to consider the high quality offerings from this capable new team.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Full size conversion vans are the best application for mobility upfits. The room that the larger vans offer are an ideal arrangement for wheel chair accessibility and lifts etc. There are mobility upfitters in most communities around the country that specialize in handicap and mobility products. Typically vans are completed in two stages. Lowered floors can be done on Ford vans. Chevrolets can not have lowered floors because of their sub structure and frame. Raised side doors are possible on any high top chassis. Transfer seats are possible along with an array of other accessories. The way to get the best pricing for a handicap van is to go directly to the conversion manufacturer first then work with the mobility people.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Since the late 1990's the O.E.M.'s of van chassis such as G.M. and Ford have required higher quality components thus longer warranties. 3 year/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranties are now offered. The style of construction has also been enhanced, making vans much more durable. There is, however, a difference in quality of conversions from upfitter to upfitter. The smaller companies tend to do the higher quality conversion while the vans you'll find sitting on dealer lots tend not to be the best quality. Some companies put more time, money and effort into marketing and not into their product. There are big name van conversion companies that don't even have insulation. Lack of insulation will give you a noisier interior as well as be harder to heat and cool. The van consumer would be well served to do their research, such as on the Internet, before making a purchase.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Take your office on the road. Keep your work materials at your fingertips and stay organized. Invite your customers to step inside your private office. Mobile Offices are specialty vehicles that are becoming more popular. With limited configurations these can be a viable choice for those that need to take their business on the road. The normal application is a high top extended conversion van with a desk, chairs and all the electronics needed to run an efficient office.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


FORD JUST ANNOUNCING 0% FINANCING in an effort to keep the 2006 products moving. These extraordinary incentives will be on for a limited time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Conversion Van Availability

The Conversion Van Industry used to sell 200,000 + units a year throughout the 1990's. Today they sell 20,000-30,000 making it more of a "sellers" market. In the 1990's there were over one hundred upfitters of vans, today a little over 20. Fewer and fewer dealers are stocking vans with the primary reason being their overstocked inventory of overpriced SUV's. Many buyers consequently, go to the Internet, as a reliable source of information, to locate and arrange a purchase. A lot of van buyers are very loyal to conversions for the extra room they offer as well as all the amenities. The companies that remain in business are the better van manufacturers that build higher quality vehicles. The Internet is probably the best way to shop for a conversion van.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Conversion Van Mergers

Throughout the history of the conversion van industry economic conditions have forced some companies to go out of business. The latest trend seems to be mergers. Recently Quality Conversions, formerly known as Quality Coach, merged with Discovery Vans and Sherry Designs. The result of this and other mergers are good for the industry and more importantly the consumer.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What do vans cost? What should they cost? Conversion vans are manufactured by second stage manufacturers of the original equipment. They are typically produced on Chevrolet Express vans, GMC Savanah vans, Ford Econoline series and Sprinter/Mercedes platforms. The common conversion van starts with a shell such as a cargo van that is manufactured by GM, Ford and Daimiler Chrysler. The most reasonable chassis is the Ford Econoline that is based on the oldest chassis configuration. One of the most poplular is the new Chevy or GMC chassis that has additional driver side doors. The most expensive raw chassis is the Sprinter van which features the durable Mercedes Turbo Diesel engine. GM also offers an all wheel drive version of their chassis. The conversion manufacturer, or upfitter, will produce a wide range of packaging that can be applied to the raw chassis. You may find a basic package that consist of cloth seats, no TV but all the room and space of a full size van in the mid twenty range after rebates. An example of the other extreme would be an elaborate package on a Sprinter chassis. This could have leather seating, two flatscreen TV's, GPS system and all the amentities in the mid sixty range.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Blue Ribbon for Mercedez Sprinter

According to a recent online article, the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter finishes strong above all the rest. You can read the article here. Sprinters are fast becoming a growing trend in the van industry. Their uses range from commercial to personal and can be customized to just about anything.

Monday, August 07, 2006

History of the Conversion Van

The history of the Conversion Van started over 30 years ago. Companies took "cargo vans" and converted them into passenger vehicles. They would take raw vans or shells and then put in windows, seats, insulation, carpeting and electronic amenities etc. The chassis used to be called cargo vans but are now called conversion vans which are build specifically for this industry. The ergonomic of the chassis have been greatly improved over the past 30 years. There is more total cubic area inside a conversion van than any other passenger vehicle. They have removable seats including the rear sofa making it's usage flexible with cargo carrying capabilities. GMC and Chevrolet are now offering driver side doors giving the van an eight door configuration. Conversion vans have been proven to be one of the safest vehicles on the road primarily due to being a high profile vehicle. There have been a great deal of improvement in the electronics that are being used, such as flat screen LCD TV's w/ DVD players, wireless headphones, back up monitors and cameras along with GPS systems. The popularity of vans are still strong, although they are sometimes difficult to find on normal dealer lots. The biggest detriment to the van industry has been the SUV,s. They have been over produced,over advertised and over rated for the last decade. The van is, by far, the better way to travel offering more space and comfort.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sprinter Vans

Passenger Sprinter Vans are still in short supply. There are, however, some manufacturers with availablility. The Sprinter chassis, which is known for durability and economy, are more expensive than GM or Ford chassis. They come with the Mercedes 2.7 L 5 cylinder diesel and are produced in 9 - 14 passenger configurations.

Monday, July 24, 2006


9 PASSENGER extended conversion vans are becoming more popular. The Chevy 155" wheel base chassis gives the ability to have 4 rows of seats. The vans can be a low top making it garagable at a 7 foot height or you can opt for a hi-top with a big screen TV. Ford offers its version called a Super Van. They are the roomiest way to travel with a big group. People are finding vans more comfortable with many amenities for over the road travel. Previous SUV owners are switching to conversion vans for more comfort and space.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Conversion Vans are alive and well. Looking for factory direct pricing go to for your van information source. G.M. just announced enhanced incentives on the 2006 chassis. Ask about the 4.9% financing for 72 months.