RETRO RESTORATION: Laidley resident Gail Campbell has a love for all things retro and quirky, and her one of a kind Isuzu motor-home, converted from a former ice cream truck, personifies her passion.
RETRO RESTORATION: Laidley resident Gail Campbell has a love for all things retro and quirky, and her one of a kind Isuzu motor-home, converted from a former ice cream truck, personifies her passion. Dominic Elsome

Ice cream van makes for one cool motorhome

VANILLA Vagabond isn't your average pride and joy, but it has a special place in Gail Campbell's heart.

The large, pink Isuzu truck might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Ms Campbell loves her with a passion.

The 1990 truck was originally a work vehicle in Bundaberg, before it was taken to Cairns and converted to an ice cream truck.

The truck eventually made its way to the Sunshine Coast before Ms Campbell bought it in 2016 via eBay.

However Vanilla and Gail would never have come together were it not for a stroke of serendipity.

"I bought the 1953 one of them but I realised it wouldn't fit in my yard, so I got this one," Ms Campbell said.

During the past two years, Ms Campbell and a small team of dedicated workers have converted the run-down interior into a home away from home and restored the outside of the truck to its former glory.

The work took some time as much of it was completed in the group's spare time, finishing small sections when and where they could.

Ms Campbell said the outer restoration had even proven to be perhaps too good.

"People are still chasing me for ice cream," she laughed.

The end result is stunning, and a far cry from the state in which Vanilla arrived to Ms Campbell.

"It came to me on a back of a tow truck," she said.

"I knew it was going to be completely gutted... but the more I got into the more I found wrong with it.

"A handful of very, very talented people have turned it into what it is now."

The internal fit out includes a galley style kitchen, table and dinner chair, futon and shower - and a large portion of the fit out was sourced from Anuha recycling, giving the motorhome a retro vibe.

"I like vintage - plus I was just trying to manage the costs," she said.

The internal work was completed by Made to Fit Fabrication's Michael Suffolk, and Ms Campbell said she couldn't be happier with the results.

"I designed how I wanted it - and they did it exactly," she said.

"It was amazing - the first time I walked in I was gobsmacked because it was like somebody crawled inside my head and actually managed to do it.

"It wasn't an easy thing to do."

Owning Vanilla Vagabond fulfils a lifelong goal for Ms Campbell.

"I like old vehicles, I like having fun in classic cars and I'd always thought that it'd be fun to have an ice cream truck," she said.

Ms Campbell is preparing to take the motorhome on its first journey this Christmas down to New South Wales, and said the idea was to give it a go and enjoy life while she still could.

"I'm getting older but I've still got good health so I thought I may not ever be able to learn how to drive it but I'm going to have a go," she said.

"I don't want to in a few more years' time find my health's gone down the drain and think to myself 'I sat in Laidley for 25 years and did nothing when I could have been out and doing something and having a go'."

 


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