Saturday, January 2, 2010
In search of my dream campervan
It is suprising what you can find when you go trawling around mudah.my! This was a totally unexpected find. The camper is based on a Isuzu van, the body seems to be made of fiberglass and it has a roof top water tank, a bathroom, and a foldable table. When I inspected the camper, it was in running condition but the interior was half finished and the bathroom wall was covered with black mold. On top of that, being a newbie, I was unsure of its on-road legal status. The car owner grant stated that it is a window van under private ownership but it is clear that the camper body was grafted onto a standard Isuzu van by cutting off the original van body.
Despite all these apparent problems, I wanted the camper badly. Lesson number one, never get yourself into an emotional state where you badly wanted something even if you knew there are problems. The owner says that he himself was unclear of the legal aspect of the van's road worthiness for he bought it as it is without ever taking it to the road.
Being a foolish newbie, I agreed to pay a non returnable deposit for a lower price and hoping that I can somehow renew the roadtax as it is. The Puspskom (vehicle inpsection center) guy turned up onsite to inpect the van, this was the last hurdle for me. The Puspakom inspector took one look at the van and declared that it can never be road legal because on the owner's grant, the body type is recorded as windows van and the actual body is caravan. To change the body type record would required submission of engineering plan to JPJ for apporval. Undaunted, I seek out a commercial vehicle body builder and asked if they can "reverse engineer" an engineering plan for me for JPJ approval purpose. Sadly, typical of most Malaysian business people, they would not touch anything that is out of the ordinary or even slightly beyond what they are familiar with. This van is clearly a lost cause.
At this point, I knew how captain Ahab felt on his quest to find the white whale. Besides the loss of the deposit money and the dissapointment, it was a bitter lesson for me for not doing my homework on finding out all the legal requirement for such vehicles. However the dream remained undiminished. My quest continued.