On A Moments Notice…
Head for a nearby lake for the weekend, or point your Sportsmobile to more distant points breath-taking mountains, refreshing seashore, or the solitude of the desert. Better yet, just keep on going for the trip of a lifetime – Alaska or circle the United States with jaunts into Canada and Mexico. Some Sportsmobile owners continue their adventure for years!
Unlike larger motorhomes, a Sportsmobile is far more than just a luxury purchase for occasional use. It’s a practical investment for everyday transportation, weekend enjoyment, and extended cross-country travel. Our surveys show that almost all Sportsmobile owners also use them as their first or second family car. City streets, back roads, and mountains are all taken in stride. And they’re easy to park!
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Sportsmobile is one of the well known and established Class B RV manufacturers in the U.S. For anyone seriously shopping for a Class B camper van, it’s worth checking out a Sportsmobile camper van at an RV Show or by taking a factory tour.
The company got its start manufacturing camper vans in 1961 under the original name Sportswagons. It has come a long way since the ’60s going from basic VW camper conversions to full blown custom conversion vans on just about every chassis imaginable.
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As of September 2020, there are two Sportsmobile locations list on the contact page of the company’s website:
- Sportsmobile Texas in Austin (manufacturing & sales)
- Sportsmobile North in Hunginton, Indiana (manufacturing & sales)
The locations in Fresno, California and Reno, Nevada are no longer listed. Keep reading for news about Sportsmobile West.
Alan and Liz Feld founded Sportsmobile West in 1989 to build custom camper vans. In a press release distributed on September 2, 2020 Sportsmobile West is no longer renewing their IP license.
SPORTSMOBILE WEST, INC.’s LICENSE AGREEMENT WITH SPORTSMOBILE IP, INC., HAS ENDED
Sportsmobile West, Inc., remains open for business and will continue to manufacture vans to fulfill all existing backorders and customer contracts.
[FRESNO, CA September 2, 2020] — Sportsmobile West, Inc., has manufactured and sold recreational vans under a licensing agreement with Sportsmobile IP, Inc., for the past 30 years. Our license agreement has ended. As such, we will not be permitted to take any new orders to build vans for customers until July 1, 2021.
Sportsmobile West, Inc., remains open for business from our same business location at 3631 S. Bagley Avenue, Fresno, California 93725 and committed to all customers. We will fulfill all existing customer contracts and honor all warranties. Our talented production and crafts people will continue to build high-quality recreational vans for all existing customers that placed an order and made a deposit by June 30, 2020. Our service staff also stand ready to assist all customers with any repair and warranty work needed.
Alan and Liz Feld thank everyone for the past 30 years of fun, friendships and adventure with our company. Our outstanding team will be available to assist through this transition.
If you would like more information about this Press Release, please call Alan Feld at 559- 233-8267 or email him at [email protected]
Sportsmobile West Factory Tour
In 2016, we got a chance to visit the Sportsmobile West factory in Fresno, California and take a tour with Jonathan Feld. Watch the video below for a in-depth look at how Sportsmobile custom vans are made. Plus you’ll get to see an original 1965 Sportsmobile VW pop-top campers on display.
Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans
Van chassis Sportsmobile campers are built on:
- Chevy Express
- Ford E-Series Cutaway
- Ford Transit (optional aftermarket 4×4 conversion)
- Mercedes Metris
- Mercedes Sprinter
- Ram ProMaster
Fully Custom Camper Conversions
To get an idea of the custom vans Sportsmobile has built, scroll through SMB West’s Facebook page. We’ve met a lot of Sportsmobile owners throughout our travels and they are all unique.
Build on a New or Pre-owned Van
Sportsmobile can source a new van for you or you can bring your own new or pre-owned van for the build out.
Upfit Your Camper Van
Maybe you don’t need a full build out by Sportsmobile. You can bring your camper in for a solar upgrade or have a penthouse pop top installed.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
To get a fully custom Sportsmobile means you’ll need to get on the production schedule and wait in line. The wait time will range depending on the specifics of your build.
How Much Does a Sportsmobile Cost?
The pricing page will give you an idea of what it would cost to build out your own Sportsmobile. You’ll also find price examples that include the van and conversion before taxes and fees.
Sportsmobile 4×4 Vans
Thorughout the years, we’ve toured quite a few Sportsmobile 4×4 vans. Check out the videos below to see what a Sportsmobile van build looks like.
Classic 4×4 Prototype on Ford E-Series Cutaway Chassis
Sportsmobile 4×4 Sprinter with Penthouse Pop top
Sportsmobile 4×4 Sprinter High Roof
For those who need a camper van that is wheelchair-accessible, you can work with Sportsmobile to create a custom van for your needs. Check out their website for examples of wheelchair-accessible conversions.
Sportsmobile Classic 4×4
One of the coolest options Sportsmobile offers is the Classic 4×4. This heavy duty 4×4 adventure van is built on a Ford cutaway chassis with a steel reinforced fiberglass shell.
Features of the Sportsmobile Classic 4×4:
- Built on the Ford E-Series Cutaway chassis
- GVWR 10,050 lbs
- Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 Front Axle
- Advance Adapters Atlas II Gear Driven Transfer Case
- 2.0 Performance Series Shocks
- Ford F-550 Brake Rotors
Watch the Video Series About the Classic 4×4
The team at Sportsmobile West let us take out their Classic 4×4 for a week to get a taste of van life in a Sportsmobile pop top and to share our experience.
Video 1: Learn About Sportsmobile’s Custom Four Wheel Drive System. Alan Feld explains the 4×4 system in more detail.
Video 2: See What It’s Like to Live Out of a Sportsmobile Pop Top. We take the Classic 4×4 for a few days of Dispersed Camping near Mono Lake.
Video 3: Camping at Yosemite National Park in a Sportsmobile Classic 4×4. We learn the bear rules when it comes to a pop top camper van.
Used Sportsmobile for Sale
Sportsmobile 4×4 vans are well known in the camper van community and are very sought after in the used market. You canfind pre-owned Sportsmobiles for sale on their websiteor by searching popular RV listing sites.
A benefit of buying a pre-owned Sportsmobile is getting your camper van sooner. Depending on your build, it can take over 12 months to make your dream van a reality.
Since Sportsmobile camper vans are 100% custom, no two are the same. Every conversion is a little different based on the customer’s needs, which means finding a used Sportsmobile for sale could also take some time.
Try It Before You Buy It – We’ve met many Class B owners who rented their top choices before making a decision. Find Class B Camper Vans for Rent.
Join the Sportsmobile Owners Facebook Group
Class B RV Manufacturers – complete list of Class B manufacturers
Cost of Full Time Van Life Living – Monthly breakdowns Class B Van Life
Frequently Asked Questions About Van Life – answers to popular questions about van life
Visit Sportsmobile’s Website
This custom camper van can sleep a family of 6
The popularity of Class B camper vans has resulted in a plethora of innovative designs; we’ve seen luxury vans, affordable conversions, and everything in between. But one ubiquitous problem becomes clear when you take even a cursory glance at the camper world: Where are all the vans built for families?
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Many of the most popular van designs fit two adults comfortably but would struggle to haul an entire family and all of the required gear. While California-based ModVans is one of the notable exceptions, many families often opt for larger DIY campers like skoolies, expandable trailers, or larger RVs.
Finding a camper van suitable for kids and gear is precisely the challenge my family faced. Like so many others, I’ve spent years dreaming of a camper before my husband and I finally pulled the trigger on a 2013 Mercedes Sprinter van. At first, we only had one child so we converted the van on the cheap with a bed platform, a gear garage, and a child’s pack-and-play crib.
But once baby number two came along, it was clear we needed a more functional design to fit all of us. At the same time, we wanted to maintain the size and drivability of a Class B. The solution? A custom van conversion.
I envisioned a Sprinter that could sleep four comfortably in the winter as we chased snow around the American West. I had even larger ambitions for the summertime, when we often camped with family and friends. Could we build a van that slept six people?
Four years of traveling with our first Sprinter helped me cultivate a clear plan for what we wanted in a custom build and what we didn’t. With two working parents and two kiddos, time constraints made another DIY conversion out of the question. Instead, we turned to the seasoned experts at Sportsmobile, specifically the Sportsmobile West office based in Fresno, California.
I knew we wanted four-wheel-drive if we were going to pay the money for a custom conversion, so we opted to build out a high-roof 4x4 2017 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 cargo van. The 170 extended version offers plenty of space, and we chose the high roof because we use our vans so much in the winter to ski. Sportsmobile has made a name for itself with its pop-up conversions, but we wanted to be able to cold-weather camp and stand-up tall getting ready for the slopes.
Open the sliding van door and you enter into the kitchen and living room area. Cabinets and counters on both sides of the van store cooking supplies, and the galley kitchen includes a microwave, refrigerator, sink, and two-burner induction stove. A small shelf above the stove keeps coffee mugs easily accessible, and two lined drawers help organize cutlery without making a peep while driving. One of the most helpful features is the full-height pantry, where cut-out storage areas of different sizes store a surprising amount of food.
The front passenger seat swivels and an extra counter space flips up to create an eating space, but our family eats most meals at the large dinette and table area located in the center of the van. The removable table is stored behind the driver seat, and this seating area transforms into a large sleeping space at night. Storage underneath the seats holds bedding for the kids, while two adults—including my husband who is 6 feet 4 inches tall—sleep comfortably in the queen-size bed above thanks to flared sides.
Windows throughout provide lots of light, as do ceiling and push-style LED lights. Built-in shades offer two settings, a slightly see-through privacy blind and a black-out shade (although we do wish the black-out shades were a bit darker). Storage was a crucial factor in the design, and clothing for four people fits in the four white overhead compartments. Two fans keep air flowing, extra insulation traps in heat during extreme cold, and a central command center controls the mechanicals, hot water, 200 watts of solar, 2,000-watt inverter, and the Espar hydronic diesel heater.
A white and gray interior color scheme complements the van’s exterior tenorite gray, and small touches like contrast stitching on the seating makes the van feel more modern than most RVs. We threw in the El Puffy Rumpl Blanket for some color and marine-grade vinyl ebony floors that sweep out easily and feel like home.
Outside, a flip down table and a pass-through cabinet make life on the road a little more convenient, and a large awning provides shade. A ladder leads to Zamp solar panels and a hardshell James Baroud Grand Raid rooftop tent with a mattress that’s wider than a queen and nine inches longer than a king size bed. It’s spacious enough for two adults or even one adult and two kids, and was the key to sleeping six people in the spring, summer, and fall.
Off-road accessory designer Aluminess provided a custom rooftop rack, light bar, exterior lights, and an air compressor for pumping up bike tires. The rear of the van is an adventurer’s gear garage, and the L-track securement track makes it easy to set up either bike racks or ski racks depending on the season. Hot and cold water and an outdoor shower are accessed from the garage as well, and a custom hitch holds expedition boxes and a tray for firewood.
Other bells and whistles—like a keypad entry security system, custom audio and navigation, and wireless cell booster—round out a long list of amenities. The one question I get a lot is whether we miss a bathroom, and for us, it’s not a problem. We use the outdoor shower, pee in the great outdoors, and have no problem in the winter relying on recreation centers to stay clean. Not having a full bathroom opened up a ton of interior space, and if we ever want to add a compostable toilet, we can.
Our 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter van cost approximately $62,000 and the conversion by Sportsmobile cost $84,000, for an all-in total of about $146,000 before tax. While expensive, we received bids that were almost twice as much from other conversion companies. Since each build is custom, prices will vary, especially if you opt for a smaller van.
Eight months in, our van—we’re still brainstorming a nickname—is running well and successfully hauling our family up hills and into valleys. I followed storms, camped in parking lots, and woke up to powder days this past winter, and six people had no problem sleeping on the banks of a river over Memorial Day. No matter the season, it’s my go-anywhere cabin on wheels.
Five Best Sportsmobile Campers For The Adventurous
Sportsmobile Campers are camper conversion pioneers who have been in business since 1961. Their first campervan conversions were inside the classic VW bus, and their tiny homes have since been enjoyed by generations of those who enjoy van life travel. Fast forward almost sixty years, and Sportsmobile now have a range of vans available, including Mercedes Sprinter conversions, Ford campers and Dodge Promasters. Today we’re going to be exploring five of the Sportsmobile fleet and discover why one of their campers makes a great off grid home perfect for outdoorsy folk who are living the van life.
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1. Sportsmobile Classic 4×4
First up in our list of the five best Sportsmobile Campers we have the Sportsmobile Classic 4×4, my all-time dream compact camper van. Yes, my current tiny home has a beautiful hand-built interior, but being able to take my off grid adventure fully off road would be amazing. The Sportsmobile Classic 4×4 is built on a Ford Cutaway body, moulded with a steel reinforced fibreglass shell for a sturdy van that can take all the knocks and bumps that come with off roading.
While this van may be one of the small campers out there, extra space is created through the use of a pop-top ‘penthouse’. The raising roof allows enough room inside to stand up comfortably; a must-have feature for most vandwellers. When down, the roof is flush with the shell of the van, creating a smooth, seamless look. Owning a pop top camper van also makes driving a pleasant experience as your motorhome is nicely streamlined, but it is the 4×4 conversion that makes driving this beast a breeze. This monster camper can tackle even the toughest of dirt roads with a full, heavy-duty 4×4 conversion built with off road adventurers in mind.
Inside, the Sportsmobile Classic 4×4 can be completely personalised to suit your taste. There are many choices to make when it comes to the interior of your Camper Van and Sportsmobile have it all including different bed, seating, storage, flooring, bathroom, kitchen and colour options. All these choices allow you to create a unique space that works for you. All of Sportsmobile’s vehicles can also be built with a full solar electrical system, giving you the freedom to stay off the grid for longer.
2. Sportsmobile Mercedes Sprinter
Up next on our list of the five best Sportsmobile Campers we have the Mercedes Sprinter conversion. Sprinter van life is on the rise, and it’s no surprise as these vehicles are reliable, powerful and spacious, paired with a Sportsmobile conversion the Sprinter Van becomes an ideal home on wheels. While Sprinter vans are usually roomy enough without a pop top, one can be added to your vehicle to give you 8′ of interior height, and space to sleep two ‘upstairs’. This added height means that a Sportsmobile Sprinter could be the perfect conversion for a family of four.
Like the Sportsmobile Classic, the Sprinter Van conversion can also be given a full 4×4 upgrade, allowing you to have and all terrain camper with some extra interior space. Again, the interior of your camper is entirely customisable. The conversion above is an excellent example of how much can be squeezed into a Sportsmobile Mercedes Sprinter conversion and how fresh and modern the interior can look, making it suitable even for those living in a van full time.
There are a couple of ways to order a Sportsmobile Mercedes Sprinter conversion. The first way is by choosing a standard plan, tried and tested layouts that have worked for previous customers and with over fifty designs to choose from, there is sure to be something to suit you. If you can’t find a plan to suit your needs, then you can design your own interior with the help of Sportsmobile’s design studio. This cool software allows you to play around with different layouts until you have created your perfect van, such a great idea!
3. Sportsmobile Dodge Promaster
At number three on our list of the best Sportsmobile Campers, we have the Dodge Promaster Conversion. Dodge Promasters are great vans and are perfect for those wanting to travel in a van. These vans come in a range of different sizes, regular body, extended body and long body. There is also the choice between regular roof, high roof and pop top penthouse roof. All of these options provide a size perfect for your needs that can accommodate all of your van life essentials.
All of Sportsmobile’s Campers, including the Dodge Promaster conversion, utilise electricity for the interior units (e.g. fridge and heating), not propane. This is much safer and means you can save on internal storage space. It also means that the only fuel you need to source for your camper is diesel for driving, not diesel and propane, this allows you to stay off grid for longer without worrying about your resources. If solar power isn’t your thing, you can opt for a generator or a second alternator to charge your batteries when living off the grid. The vans can also be fitted with an electrical hook up system for campsites.
We love the conversion example above. This camper is a regular body, high roof Dodge Promaster, with plenty of interior space to create the living area. This conversion is relatively simple, but in such a small space simplicity is often key. The open plan layout creates a spacious feel, still with plenty of storage for life on the road. The platform bed allows loads of storage space at the back for bulky items, good news for adventurous people travelling in a van.
4. Sportsmobile Mercedes Metris
At number four on our list of the best Sportsmobile Campers we something for you if you’re looking into micro campers, the Mercedes Metris. The Mercedes Metris camper is perfect for you if you’re looking for a vehicle that you can take out on weekends or for holidays but also use on a day to day basis. This campervan is ideal as it is small enough to fit into a regular garage, is super easy to drive and can easily fit in any parking space.
The Mercedes Metris conversion by Sportsmobile goes one step further with its versatility by creating campervan units that can be quickly removed. The front three units, beds and the seats in the back of the Mercedes Metris can be taken out of the camper van, turning it into a cargo van. This is perfect if you need to be able to use your camper for both work and leisure. If you do not need a work van, extra seating can also safely added to the back of the van, once the camper units have been removed. These additional seats allow the van to transport six people safely.
When in camper mode, the Mercedes Metris has everything needed for a trip away including, sink with removable faucet for an outdoor shower, a fridge, hob, table, storage space and two double beds, one in the back and one in the pop top roof. In camper mode, the van seats four, two in the front seats which swivel round to face the two back passenger seats. This van is perfect if you’re looking for a smaller, more affordable camper.
5. Sportsmobile Ford Transit
Last but not least on our list of the best Sportsmobile Campers we have the Ford Transit conversion. The Ford Transit conversion works in the same way as the Mercedes Sprinter and Dodge Promaster conversions as you can design the layout yourself. As the interior sizes are similar, many options are the same for these three conversion types. You can also choose to upgrade to a 4×4 Ford Transit. However, this conversion is not done in house by Sportsmobile but by Quigley, as this is the only company in the US certified to complete the 4×4 Ford conversion.
For the interior build, all options are available from Sportsmobile, and extra alternatives can be added to make your camper function even better. If you plan on travelling to through extreme temperatures, for example, opt for the added extreme insulation package, designed to keep you warm in the coldest of climates and cool in warmer environments. Other optional extras include an awning, rubberised flooring, baltic wood cabinetry and lithium batteries.
We love the above example above of a Ford Transit Sportsmobile conversion. This tiny house is built in a regular body Transit van but still has space for everything needed for off grid living. We love the slide out bike storage at the back of the van, this sort of storage is important for many adventurers and works really well in a Ford Transit camper. This conversion also has ample storage space and a large, comfortable double bed, perfect for a good nights sleep.
Sportsmobile Campers are a great option if you’re looking for a reliable conversion company who will take you every step of the way, from buying the van, through the designing process and to the final outcome. They are also there to support you with their five year interior conversion warranty, which is one of the best warranties we have seen and is an excellent bonus to buying a Sportsmobile van. With sixty years of experience, Sportsmobile are highly professional and have a wealth of conversion knowledge, giving you the best outcome possible. We love these vans, in particular the 4×4 conversion and penthouse pop top roof that can be added to any conversion. Sportsmobile Campers would make the perfect adventure vehicle for your next road trip!
Let us know what you think of Sportsmobile Campers and get more content from the Van Clan team by joining us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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.2020 Sportsmobile Classic 4x4 Camper Van Tour - Old School Esthetics With Modern Technology
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