Unicell Van Build Idea

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
#1
I have the opportunity to purchase a somewhat rough 2005 Ford E350 SRW 12 foot "Unicell" van for a cheap price. Basically for what the "Cell" is worth. The van itself is a 5.4 equipped van with 240K on the clock with a "supposedly" replaced engine/transmission in 2012. The van runs and drives good and was fleet maintained from a heat/air company. The exterior of the van is a "4" at best due removal of the wrap which removed paint from the bottom of the Cell and the van itself. The interior has finished walls and a solid wood floor.

Unicell vans start life as a van Cab/Chassis with the cell added. This cell has the 2 rear opening doors rather than the single lift rear door. There are no side doors on a Unicell. The UniCell bodies are fiberglass and well built. A 6 foot + height man can stand up on one easily. Here is a link to the company website: https://www.unicell.com/van-bodies/

The van I am looking at is 2WD. Plan would be to put a 2WD Lift kit on it along with bigger wheels/tires and call that good. A critical part of this is my ability to use this "high mile" van as I am NOT looking to remove the cell and install on another chassis.

I have attached a picture of what the van I am looking it is like. This picture is from the Unicell website.

This all leads to my question:

What do you all think about building this to a light duty camp/off road van?

I look forward to your responses!
 

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#3
I saw that one listed today too. I'm not looking but do work in Nashville. Let me know if you pick it up and need a wrench partner.
 

GNTY

Adventurer
#5
Just bought one of these a month ago. They seem to very well built and would say they have great potential as a camp/light off-road unit. It’d be great to see another unicell project.
Mine is a 03 7.3 diesel and has the two rear swing doors as well. It will be getting 4wd and will be a sort of sport/multi night rig. Removable kitchen pod, heat, fold down bunks etc. Main use as a year round moto/snowbike van.
 
#7
I used to have vans, but in a van, you are always wanting a few more inches of space here and there. (or a couple of feet.)

I'm surprised that there aren't more box van builds on here. I think that a 12' SRW box vans with a Weldtec lift would make a great Expo vehicle, for not a whole lot of cash.

The miles are a little high, but you can drop in a new or re-built engine every 150 k miles, and be back on the road in no time.
 
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#8
I did something similar.

After working out of regular vans I knew the wasted space and building issues of them. I decided to go with a 10' box van on the Chevy chassis. Ended up with a 12' one. I wish Chevy did the 12' box with the Express Extended wheelbase. That would be the perfect rig.