All Exploring Happiness VanLife

This retro camper will blow your mind!

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We bought a Van! Well, it’s over a year ago now, so it’s about time I did a blog post on it! Our van is a Fiat 242 E, she runs a 2.5-liter diesel engine, has 4 gears and a top speed of around 100kph/65mph, but she prefers to keep it around 80kph/50kph.

Fiat 242 E Diesel – Mobilvetta Design

We have decided to name her Olivia, because of her beautiful olive green stripe down her side.

As well as living in Olivia full time, we also use her when we go to markets to sell our crafts, she is always a great conversation starter and she brings a lot of colors with her.

As a stall unit

Niki decorated the back wall of the kitchen unit, then I mounted the stainless steel bracket and the magnetic knife holder. Before you say anything, the knives won’t go far if we crash, trust me, I did the math.

Kitchen unit

The 2 covers open up and hide away the sink and 2 burner hub, and just to the right of the sink is a fold-down table for chopping veggies or drying your dishes. It is complete with extractor fan and top lighting.

Under the covers, sadly there is a slight burn on the left cover, but we live with it

The Van is less than 6 meters long, but sports a full-on bathroom with shower unit, loads of closet space, a 4 seat bench and table that converts into an extra bed or lounge area – Without turning any front seats that is!

The captains chair is the classic cheap imitated leather of the 80’s, complete with annoying turn handle needed when adjusting the position, oh yeah, and you need to access the engine from inside the cabin.

The table folds away completely, can be taken off and used outside and slides from side to side with a clever locking mechanism. Super practical if you want to sit outside, but don’t want to bring an extra table.

Smart table

The bench converts into a front facing bus style seat, making 4 people face forward, so you can always bring your friends along on a road trip (not on any of the photos).

The toilet is a great space saver, when everything is folded away, and the door is closed, it is less than 50x100cm, an unbelievably clever system, oh, I forgot to mention that she has hot water on demand via the gas water heater – Hot showers on demand + it is wired to the kitchen, so you can wash your dishes in scolding hot water!

Spacemaster toilet unit with water heater, folds away to almost nothing

That isn’t all, the bed is mounted to the roof on a metal frame that comes down with a hydraulic piston, enabling you to have a fixed bed + 4 seats!!

Bed up

We call it the cave when the bed is made and we have thrown up all the blankets, duvets and pillows – #Hyggeligt (google it if you don’t know)

Bed down

She needed and still needs quite a bit of rust work done, but I managed to do the hood and the bottom of the windscreen before we headed off to camp quirky.

In Calais waiting for the ferry

As you can see it wasn’t pretty before I did the work, actually it was pretty bad, lots of spots where the rust had gone through, still need to remove the entire windshield and get it fixed all the way around, but for now, she is golden!!


The model is actually the same as a Citroen c35, the only difference is that the Fiat model is built in Italy, and the Citroen is built in France.

Bit of rust to be fixed

She has already been with us for many adventures, and when we find the time, we will strip her down completely, sandblast her inside and out, then rebuild the interior with the original materials so she can last another 50 years.


There is a 200w solar panel installed on the roof, and she is sporting a total of 300 amp hours of battery life, making her completely independent 9 months out of the year in Scandinavia or 12 months out of the year in Portugal.

Sønderborg, Denmark

If you want to keep following along what we and Olivia are up to, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter below.

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