Camper vans are still a hot commodity as travelers continue to yearn for the outdoors. Many are built for luxury on the road while others, like this Ford E-250 Sportsmobile with its Quigley 4x4 system, will take you places no other camper can.
Travel down roads out west and you’re certain to find a surprising number of campers outfitted for off-roading. Some are pickup trucks with chunky tires and bed campers while others are vans built out for off-grid camping adventures. When I was out in Colorado last week I found this awesome 1998 Ford E-250 Sportsmobile for sale on Facebook Marketplace. This thing has just about everything you need to camp out in the middle of nowhere.
Sportsmobile has been in the business of turning work vans into rolling apartments since 1961. The company started with conversions and kits for Volkswagen vans before getting into making conversions for Ford vans, too. These early vans were light on features.
Buyers got an icebox, faucet and some furniture. Stuff like a toilet, stove or a sun deck were optional. The company made a number of wild conversions through the years, including vans with shag carpet and mini bars.
Off-road camper vans were a part of the formula since the early 1970s and they stuck. This E-250 sports a robust 4x4 system from Quigley Motor Company, a manufacturer specializing in converting two-wheel-drive vans to four-wheel-drive.
The 4x4 system in this application is engaged manually with a lever. It comes with a low range as well as locking hubs and a limited-slip differential. It’s paired to a set of Cooper Discoverer STT Pro mud tires, so it should be plenty capable at getting itself deep off-road.
That 4x4 system is driven by Ford’s Triton V10, good for about 305 HP and 420 lb-ft torque.
These engines sound pretty neat, too, but spark plug changes can get difficult. These vans have a short and stubby hood and a lot of engine work happens inside with the “doghouse” removed.
The interior has some nice amenities for when you get to your destination.
The seller says that it has a larger bed in the back and a 50 gallon fresh water tank underneath it. That water is heated by an instant hot water heater for cooking or a nice, hot outdoor shower.
There’s also ample storage, a sink, refrigerator and a portable toilet. The seller doesn’t mention how the electrical system works or if there’s a heater outside of the van’s heater.
A Sportsmobile isn’t cheap new or used. The price for this one is $42,000 on Facebook Marketplace in Crested Butte, Colorado. And spending that money gets you a dated interior. I found some others with nicer interiors, and prices as high as six figures.