Meet the Team
Dee - Engineer
Dee has an MSc in Autosport Engineering, 7 years experience as a Design Engineer for Jaguar Land Rover and a lifelong love of all things automotive. In addition he holds membership of both the Society of Operation Engineers and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers.
Prior to attending university he worked in car dealerships, sold advertisement space to automotive companies and ran a car body shop. Before leaving the UK to start full-time vanlife, most of his spare time was occupied tinkering with one of his various cars, vans or motorcycles. As a result Dee has a huge wealth of knowledge when it comes to motor vehicles and loves to keep up to date with changes within the automotive industry.
Special talent - identifying any car model from one tiny detail (usually including year and spec!)
Claire - IT & Admin Support
Claire is a qualified Minerals and Waste Planner but decided to leave the glamorous world of quarries and landfill sites behind for a life on the road. With over 20 years experience working in legislative and detail orientated roles, she is able to assist Dee with all non-technical aspects of VWE.
Special talent - cooking a top class roast dinner in a campervan!
Gloria - The VWE Inspiration
We bought her back in March 2018 with the plan to live on the road, exploring mainland Europe and beyond. Little did we know of the trials we would endure before we actually managed to take the leap to full-time vanlife in July 2020.
Dee left his job and set about converting the van from a former mobile classroom to our home on wheels. This in itself was a huge undertaking and took a bit longer than planned, but it was once the conversion was complete (well, as complete as these things every really are) that we hit the first speed bump. Gloria had already been uprated by her previous owners from 3.5 to 3.9 tonnes - being so youthful we do not have the benefit of a pre-1997 driving license with automatic entitlement to drive vehicles over 3.5t, so we set about downrating her. To our shock we had hugely underestimated the post-conversion weight, even after removing unwanted weight such as a tail-lift. We were faced with the possibility that our home (we had already been sleeping in the van at a family member's house so it had truly become our home) not being and potentially not having the capability of being road legal. After a couple of traumatic days and some extensive research into our options, we sought the advice of a well-known vehicle weight rating company to look at achieving a further uprating.
Following a brief consultation, the aforementioned company advised that the type of Transit we had would max out at 4.2t and no more. Refusing to give up, we established that Dee's engineering qualifications met the DVLA requirements for submission of technical reports and set about researching all things related to van weight changes. To cut an already long story a bit shorter, within a few weeks Dee had found everything he needed to submit an application directly to the DVLA (after upgrading the van's suspension and tyres) and the result - Gloria is now rated at 5.15t and completely road legal.
Once we recovered from the emotional rollercoaster, we got to thinking that we couldn't possibly be the only ones out there who hit this problem - especially with the increasing number of folks looking to embark on vanlife, be it full or part-time.
So here we are - the VWE team, one of only five DVSA authorised companies in the country to provide this service - ready to help you navigate the process we found ourselves wading through alone a year or so ago. We really do understand being on your side of this DVLA minefield; as such, we will do everything possible to achieve your desired van weight goals with bespoke advice and a can-do attitude.