“Wilma” is actually a Globecar Globescout R which is a German-built panel van conversion (or PVC) bought to replace our previous VW T5 campervan.
This is not a van we arrived at by chance, nor one that was bought on impulse at a trade show but one that we did some serious research on before parting with the substantial amount of cash required to purchase such a van.
We’ve been planning this purchase for nearly 10 years now and over that time have sat in, lay down in, poked around in and hired various vans to try-before-we-buy (which I would always recommend) Over this time, several features became “must haves” which really narrowed the field down in the end and these were:
- Fixed bed
- 4 travel seats
- Ample storage
- Could actually “live” in it for long periods
- Would fit on the drive
Of all of the above, number 6 was the most important initially. There have been many people, apparently, who go through the whole process of buying a campervan/motorhome only to arrive home and find that their drive isn’t big enough to accommodate their new pride & joy. Thankfully, we had been out with a tape measure on more than one occasion and, despite always managing to convince ourselves that big things will fit into a small space (the 3-piece suite in the living room which partially blocks the door being testament to that) we were sure on this occasion that a 6 metre (20ft) van would definitely fit. In the end, it wasn’t so much of a problem fitting the van on the drive but more getting it on the drive with cars parked on the opposite side of the road making it very tight.
By hiring a couple of different layouts in the past and realistically looking at models in dealers’ showrooms and at trade shows we settled on needing a fixed bed with storage underneath. The benefits of this are twofold: firstly, Annie doesn’t have to make the bed up every night and remove it in the morning and, secondly, under the bed there’s LOADS of storage space for the inevitable amount of stuff we need to cart along.
Now, everyone is different and I know that for some people having two sofas that convert into a bed is a must but then where do they store all of their gear? And when they just want to flop into bed after a couple of
bottles glasses of the red stuff it’s a pain (we feel) to have to start pulling up seats, rearranging them into a nocturnal jigsaw puzzle, getting bedding out and making up a comfortable place just to sleep. We know – we’ve tried it!
The washroom was a given. It’s got a flushing toilet, small washbasin and tap which pulls out to form a shower head. When you’re just camping for a day or two, you can manage with on-site facilities but if you wake up in the middle of night needing to deposit the earlier beverages it’s no fun having to get up, make yourself half decent and traipse off to the wash block, nodding as you go to the others doing the same thing. Porta-pottis (portable toilets) help slightly and we used to have one in the VW but, without going into too much detail, you’ve got to be on very good terms with your wife/partner/dog to perform the sort of midnight gymnastics required to actually use one of these with any kind of dignity – particularly when half asleep. Also, an on-board washroom means that you can stay on sites with no facilities at all.
Finally, although there’ll only be two of us actually sleeping in the van, we wanted to have the ability to travel with other people occasionally, hence having the two additional, belted, travel seats. When stationary these form a 4-seater dinette with the driver and passenger seats which swivel round to face the central table.
When we came to put all of these requirements together we quickly ruled out British manufactured vans. Apart from a few quality issues, virtually all UK vans featured the two-sofa layout which we particularly didn’t want, so we started to look at continental models and of all the ones we saw, Globecar stood out (for us) as the manufacturer to go for, and of the many different models they produce, the Globescout R ticked all of our boxes. The “R” in the title refers to the washroom layout – as we call it “the roundybouty bathroom” but it actually stands for “Raumbad” (which I believe is German for roundybouty bathroom) and utilises a clever design of tambour doors to expand the washroom into the aisle of the van thus giving vastly more space for showering/teeth cleaning/toilet duties or simply admiring oneself in the 3 mirrors! The tambour doors can also be used as screens to block off the bedroom or provide a dressing area. Brilliant.
The final thing in this vans favour is the high-mounted fridge. So many other vans have the fridge at floor level which always necessitates grovelling around on your knees to access that annoying item that always gets pushed to back at the bottom. Not so here: everything can be accessed standing up. Underneath the fridge is a decent wardrobe to hang coats/shirts/ballgowns etc.
So there we have it. WILMA. The van which will be our home for the time we’re out on our travels.
Hopefully, we have chosen wisely!
(Note: apologies for the use of brochure images – haven’t got around to taking our own yet!)