Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

-1
Ford is working with MAKE to profile owners of the Transit Connect, a vehicle that offers creative types a small, modifiable vehicle to suit their passions and personal pursuits. In this series, we’ll be profiling Transit Connect owners and looking at how they’ve customized their rides.

Kevin Hornby is an auto conversion specialist. He owns Kevin Hornby Designs in Vista, Calif., just north of San Diego. But working in California instead of, say, Italy has its disadvantages.

Unlike Europe where car manufacturers sell scores of small, modifiable vehicles, the choices in the U.S. are far more limited. So when he learned Ford was going to start selling the Transit Connect in America he jumped on it.

“I said ‘this is it.’”

img_4904

He says the Transit Connect fills a niche in the American market for an affordable, small-sized vehicle that is well-suited to customization. Here’s how he describes the vehicle on his website:

Remember the days of the Volkswagen camper…easy to use, didn’t empty your wallet at the gas pump, and priced to fit almost anyone’s budget?  Well it’s here again thanks to the Ford Transit Connect and Kevin Hornby Designs. Packaged into a small daily driver, this vehicle is a great choice for the sports enthusiast, weekend camper or tailgater.  Unlike the old Volkswagen camper, you can travel comfortably at well over 50 miles per hour and you’ll get that new car smell and warranty to boot.

img_4885

One of Kevin Hornby’s fully loaded Transit Connects complete with bed, flip-up grill, sink, and shower wand.

To capitalize on the Transit Connect’s potential, he developed a design for turning the automobile into a self-contained camping and travel unit. It includes a fold-out, 6-foot long bed, a flip-up counter and sink, a wand shower,  a pressurized water tank, and space for a refrigerator or toilet.  One of the cool parts of the design is it still allows for use of the backseat. He calls it “The Module.”

Kevin says he’s had “tons and tons” of interest in his design and for Transit Connect modifications in general. But few sales. He’s sold about five modifications, including one that included a flat screen TV, a tracking satellite, and a swing out generator.

“The guy just wanted to get out and go,” he said.

He says because the vehicle is affordable and easy to work on, it appeals to owners who want to do the modifications themselves. Most people call him for ideas and then go off and build it on their own.

“It’s small. It’s easy to drive. It’s a great little weekend camper.”

He doesn’t begrudge all the DIYers, but he cautions against trying to do too much.

“With a small vehicle you have to keep things simple,” he says.

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


Related

Comments

  1. My next vehicle just might be a Ford. As a semi-disabled ham radio operator, this little vehicle looks like it might fit the bill nicely. It should be fairly easy to install a ramp or lift for my mobility scooter as well as installing my mobile radio.

    1. sean says:

      Yes great wee Van My Aunty back in Ireland Had one of these for many years
      with automatic locks on straps to stop from rolling back when loading and hold motorized wheelchair in place when moving good luck

  2. tjanderson says:

    cool, more photos would have been nice :)

  3. joe says:

    Check out http://www.khdcampers.com they have some pics on their site. Great integrity!

  4. randomjnerd says:

    One annoying thing about this model – not rated to tow anything. Yet the same model in the UK, is rated for 900kg.

  5. [...] the piece Ford Transit Connect Profile: Kevin Hornby, Bryan Johns (@k4gdw) [...]

  6. Scott Armstrong says:

    If Ford would put a diesel engine as an option in the Transit Connect that would probably have a lot of appeal here in the US for businesses and individuals that prefer diesel.

  7. —Unlike Europe where car manufacturers sell scores of small, modifiable vehicles, the choices in the U.S. are far more limited.—
    I live in The Netherlands; we call this cars ‘mini-van’. They are on the road now for 15 years. I just bought a secondhand Renault Kangoo for 2000 euro and sold my Hymer Car camper. Many people in Europe are making now ‘mini-campers’ out of this mini-vans. As you said as a weekend camper. This cars have all the common features of a ‘normal’ car. I am working now on my next Maker project showing a simple but complete interior. Mini campers have the future. http://www.minicamper.nl/

  8. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the
    internet people, its really really good article on building up new blog.

  9. […] We’ve been talking about taking a road trip next year and have been half heartedly reading blogs about it and searching Kijiji for converted vans to travel in and wouldn’t you know it I come across this little gem. http://makezine.com/2013/01/25/ford-transit-connect-profile-kevin-hornby/  […]

  10. […] profiled the Transit Connect as a maker-friendly vehicle, from auto-conversion specialist Kevin Hornby to the Drone Dudes who fly multicopters right out of the back of their vehicle. We’ve seen […]

  11. It’s an remarkable post for all the internet viewers; they will obtain
    advantage from it I am sure.

In the Maker Shed