For over 35 years Vancraft have specialised in fitting premium quality bodywork to new, or pre-owned, lightly used chassis. Complete vehicle refurbishment, repairs and bodyswaps, are also undertaken on all types of bodywork.
Based in Besthorpe, Norfolk, the company was started in 1979 to cater for removal operators, who did not want to invest huge sums of money into new vehicles that spend almost half of their working day standing still, and only cover relatively low annual mileages.
A brand new, full-sized removal vehicle can cost anything up to £100,000, but refurbished chassis with new bodywork cost £45,000 – £65,000, so it is possible to have two for the price of one. Typically up to five years old, with low mileage, all the pre-owned chassis are from regular sources.
They are inspected and thoroughly serviced, a new MOT test is carried out prior to delivery, the cab interior is completely refurbished, and twelve months warranty is provided.
All types of chassis are supplied, it’s all driven by customer’s requirements.
At least 75% of Vancraft’s output is at 18 tonnes, with the balance at 7.5 tonnes. Trailers and new chassis are bodied as well.
Bodies are usually constructed from low weight, high impact resistant, G.R.P. sandwich panels, with alloy cappings, and stainless steel structures and fittings. The side doors are hung on heavy duty, waterproof hinges, and all the door handles and rear hinges are of stainless steel and neatly recessed. The roof is a one-piece fibreglass sheet supported by alloy ribs.
Vancraft also makes its own luxurious double sleeper cab top pod, which can be fitted instead of the traditional luton head. Aerodynamic mouldings, and an aerodynamically styled front for luton heads are standard.
Vehicles are usually delivered some eight to ten weeks after the order is placed, which is often quicker than the waiting period for a new chassis. An 18-tonner can take a 28ft to 32ft body with 2200 to 2450 cu. ft. of space inside. A sleeper pod will reduce that by 160 cu. ft. or so. Bespoke aluminium non-slip loading ramps, manufactured on site, are supplied with the vehicle, and are usually carried beneath the floor in a fully enclosed housing.
Vancraft bodywork can be fitted to day and sleeper cab/chassis, using the latter, and a top mounted pod will provide sleeping arrangements for up to four persons. Seating can also be offered for up to eight persons, which can be useful when engaged in commercial moving operations. Vancraft bodies seem to last indefinitely, with ten-year old bodies being transferred to a second chassis, and sometimes twenty year old bodies on to a third, which means a projected life of well over 25 years.