Minibus – Conversions and Conversations

How to make a minibus

Over the last couple of years, we’ve made films about all sorts of motoring stories.

From rockstar driving instructors, to Skylines going sideways and even a trip to visit a man in the rolling hills of Umbria with a barn containing more than 40 MX5s! We’re up for any kind of filming brief, however full or indeed brief, but I’ll be honest, this one was a challenge!

“You want a film about minibuses??” Ok leave it with me. My first port of call for all these films is to try and find somebody interesting. Some kind of a character. Is there a man in Devon with the world’s greatest collection of minibuses? No there isn’t. Is there a minibus museum somewhere? Sadly no. Do people race them at weekends? Well, they race proper big buses in a banger racing fashion, but it’s not minibuses sadly, so that doesn’t count. I thought, I need to try and find an interesting company. A one stop ideally, so thank the lord when I happened upon Stanford Coachworks, during a laborious bout of Googling.

Stanford Coachworks is a small independent company based in Stanford Le Hope in Essex who produce every kind of minibus you can imagine. From school minibuses, to ambulances, to specially-adapted vehicles for those with challenging mobility issues, to luxury mini coaches that resemble a private jet on wheels. Whatever the end product the starting point is always the same. Just a plain and simple panel van from one of the major manufacturers. Stanford cut the windows out, put in the wiring looms for the electrics, fit the tracking for the seats, they upholster the seats, they do the lot, all on a small industrial estate in Essex. What’s even more impressive is that a build team of two are responsible for every stage of the process from start to finish, so the skill set of each individual and each build team is vast.

Huge thanks to Jess Rider and all at Stanford for making us feel so welcome. Lovely people and a great company, who kindly allowed us to come and spend some time with them and capture their story. It all makes for an interesting little film about minibuses, which most thought impossible…….ourselves included.

Stanford minibus