a photograph of a Ford E-350 sportsmobile

The Rig (aka Sportsmobile)

In News by DustinWong

Ojai, CA

As I started to plan a road trip through Western National parks this summer to photograph landscapes and other inspiring moments, I began to search for a vehicle that would enhance the experience. Living and working on the road can be challenging and although I probably could do it in my Jetta Sportwagen TDI I kept my eye out for a good deal on a more equipped camper/RV vehicle.

Enter the Sportsmobile. For those who have not heard of one, (or seen one) here is the company’s description off their website, “We convert Ford, Chevy/GM and Mercedes-Benz vans into luxurious travel homes, and for many other uses. We offer lots and lots of choices so you can have it just the way you want it.” They are similar to RV Class B Sprinter vans, but one thing that intrigued me about the Sportsmobile is the option to have 4×4 drive on a fully equipped camper van. This meant that everything I needed to survive and work would travel with me to locations few have traveled before.

The Challenge
At any given time there are probably only ten used 4×4 Sportsmobiles for sale across the country, most of them in California. This made finding one that would suit my budget and needs rather difficult. I also had a limited amount of time to locate one before my planned departure date. I shared my plans with Lynn, who is in charge of used listings at the Sportsmobile California branch, and she helped me hone in on the features that were important to me. I felt that if I though about it hard enough sometime would happen. I was determined to find my Sportsmobile. I even made my work password “Supertruck” to remind myself throughout the day of my goal.

Thoughts Become Things
Throughout my search Lynn was a blessing, answering all of my questions, giving me her honest opinions, and ultimately giving me a heads up on special unit that was being sold in California. The owners sounded great, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity and flew down to Santa Barbara to check it out. I couldn’t believe the timing, I had manifested this vehicle by thinking really hard about it! I knew that I had been lucky to have the chance, but the rest was up to me – to act. As I was flying down there, life seemed surreal. Everything was happening so quickly yet so smoothly. Was this really happening? Was I really going to go through with it and purchase it?

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a warm hearted family who undoubtedly had some amazing times in the vehicle, logging over 115,000 miles on it over 10 years. The wonderful couple were in their 70s and accepted me into their home. This was no ordinary car sale–it felt more like visiting grandparents. I took the time to ask about their experiences and found them to compassionate souls and very passionate about life.

The car checked out great and everything else felt right so it was a no brainer – I made the deal.

Here are the details:

Sportsmobile 2003 Ford E350 EB (Extended Back)
7.3L Diesel (this is apparently a solid engine that Ford discontinued. It’s known to run over 300,000 miles)4×4 by Quigley Electric Penthouse w/Bed, Upgraded Audio, CD/NAV/DVD/GPS, Bluetooth, Speakers, Subwoofer, Back-Up Camera, Temperature Controlled Remote Start, Sound Deadening, Leather Seats, Propane Stove, Sink, Refrigerator, Furnace, Hot Water Heater, Exterior Shower, Porta Potti, Portable Shower, Day/Nights Shades, Door Screens, House Battery with Inverter, 2 Solar Panels, Under Floor Storage, Exterior Lights, Awning, Yakima Rack, Running Boards, Rear Bumper w/Lights, Rear Tire Carrier & Basket, Correct Tracks, Super Springs, Upgraded Wheels & Tires, Sleeps 4, Seats 5.It’s fully road tested and in great condition. They are sad to see it go, but excited for my photography adventures.

Check out the pics below (see all here)

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel

Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel Sportsmobile 2003 4x4 Ford E350 EB 7.1 Diesel