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View Full Version : Dibella Making a 2-Horse Mercedes Horse Van!



blaster
Sep. 1, 2010, 03:38 PM
Just got back from looking at Frank Dibella's Factory.

He just imported a Mercedes chassis and is currently prototyping a 2-horse van!

I think it could be wicked cute if priced competitively, and might be nice choice for some.

Creaghgal
Sep. 1, 2010, 03:54 PM
Can't wait to see it come to fruition!!
Might suit me just fine.

Grasshopper
Sep. 1, 2010, 04:04 PM
Whoa, cool! Paging MistyBlue...paging MistyBlue.... ;)

Guilherme
Sep. 1, 2010, 04:54 PM
Yeah but "competitive pricing" and a "Benz chassis" are not always mutually compatable. :)

The truck-trailer combo is dominant because it it flexible and can fill more than one purpose. If you've got the money to tie up several tens of thousands of dollars in a single use capital item the God Bless You. For most of us it's just not realistic, hence the almost complete absence of a market for horse vans.

Or, put another way, sometimes markets are rational. ;)

G.

indyblue
Sep. 1, 2010, 05:02 PM
Do you mean something like this?

http://www.horsevans.co.nz/

blaster
Sep. 1, 2010, 06:01 PM
Do you mean something like this?

http://www.horsevans.co.nz/

As he described it, I would assume that is fairly close. It is on a 2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis. He was still prototyping it and I was there for other purposes, I didn't exactly push to see it.

But, he is character to talk to and I am sure would love to talk to anyone.

blaster
Sep. 1, 2010, 06:12 PM
Yeah but "competitive pricing" and a "Benz chassis" are not always mutually compatable. :)

The truck-trailer combo is dominant because it it flexible and can fill more than one purpose. If you've got the money to tie up several tens of thousands of dollars in a single use capital item the God Bless You. For most of us it's just not realistic, hence the almost complete absence of a market for horse vans.

Or, put another way, sometimes markets are rational. ;)

G.

I originally purchased my van because I often competed all day at (single day events). I was so tired of standing in the rain, sun, sneet, sleet, and even SNOW. My requirement was to be able to tack up inside. I was considering buying a 2/3 gooseneck trailer. New trailer may have also required an upgraded tow vehicle.

In this situation, I was able to buy a used horse van for far less than the price of the trailer and still keep current truck for other uses. However, there are other benefits of a horse van that I have come to love (e.g it can turn the same as a pick-up, backing up is a breeze, the horses haul great, and the tack is right there).

I guess it is user preference--nobody will ever win the automatic vs manual transmission discussion, or the Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge discussion either:)

JRG
Sep. 1, 2010, 06:17 PM
Saw one at Gladstone during the Festival of Champions. Don't remember who made (wish I had taken a brochure), but it had a back seat that converted into a mini sort of living quarters, complete with table and bed over the drivers seat in addition to a large storage area by the horse compartment. Loved it, hated the price.

Sparky
Sep. 1, 2010, 09:14 PM
The last time I visited Carol Harris at her farm in Ocala, she had just taken possession of a new Mercedes "Whippet Mobile" that she shows her dogs out of. It had crates, bathing and grooming areas and all kinds of things to make dog showing easy. It had a side ramp like the NZ model and I remember thinking it could be modified into a fantastic horse van. Sounds like somebody is on it!

MistyBlue
Sep. 1, 2010, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the page!

And frank didn;t tell me! He's been on the lookout for a 2 horse small newer van for me for ages now. Apparently I'm not the only one looking for one!

So glad he'll be making them. Hoping the Mercedes Sprinter isn't going to shove it out of my budget. :D

Equilibrium
Sep. 2, 2010, 01:50 AM
Those 2 horse models are quite popular over here, Europe. So very easy to drive and comfy for the horses. I just love them!

Terri

indyblue
Sep. 2, 2010, 02:23 AM
Ive been told they are very popular in England. We have 2 x importers bringing them into New Zealand now as of the beginning of this year. It will be interesting to see how many start appearing out and about this season.They start at around NZ$60000.

2DogsFarm
Sep. 2, 2010, 06:51 AM
That would be my Dream Tow Vehicle.

Think he needs a Midwest Beta Testing Site?
I vounteer!

Guilherme:
Just in case the price for the van doesn't turn out to be :eek:, for a small operation like mine (just 2 horses) I use my PT Cruiser for everything.
It hauls 4 bags of shavings & 100# of grain easily with room to spare for more small stuff (supplements, flyspray, groceries, etc).

Just for the convenience of not having to hitch & unhitch I'd love having a van.

Guilherme
Sep. 2, 2010, 08:51 AM
Here you can see some prices on the base units of the M-B Sprinter:

http://www.edmunds.com/mercedesbenz/sprinter/2010/index.html

I guess these things can work in some environments, but I wonder about their viability (and safety) on the U.S. interstates. While there is no "perfect" safety you can do things (or not do them) that can significantly affect operational safety.

And, at the end of the day, you're looking at a vehicle that will run north of $60,000 that does exactly one thing (move one or two horses and some tack, feed, etc.). For the same amount of money you can get a basic 3/4 ton pickup and basic trailer. But you can use the truck for other things.

For folks with money the single use question is not going to be an issue. For others it will be a deal breaker. The demise of the earlier generation of horse boxes does not bode well for this incarnation.

I don't wish Mr. DiBella ill. He is making a market bet with his own money. I just wouldn't buy stock in operation. :)

G.

MistyBlue
Sep. 2, 2010, 09:02 AM
So the base price is the same as my truck give or take. (IIRC my truck was $36k)
A new trailer on top of that cost.

Not sure about single use. I could use the van for pretty much everything I use the truck for. And when picking up loads of hay it wouldn't matter if it was raining. ;)

However not sure how much fun it would be to take the van grocery shopping, etc. :lol:

blaster
Sep. 2, 2010, 10:21 AM
Here you can see some prices on the base units of the M-B Sprinter:

http://www.edmunds.com/mercedesbenz/sprinter/2010/index.html

I guess these things can work in some environments, but I wonder about their viability (and safety) on the U.S. interstates. While there is no "perfect" safety you can do things (or not do them) that can significantly affect operational safety.

And, at the end of the day, you're looking at a vehicle that will run north of $60,000 that does exactly one thing (move one or two horses and some tack, feed, etc.). For the same amount of money you can get a basic 3/4 ton pickup and basic trailer. But you can use the truck for other things.

For folks with money the single use question is not going to be an issue. For others it will be a deal breaker. The demise of the earlier generation of horse boxes does not bode well for this incarnation.

I don't wish Mr. DiBella ill. He is making a market bet with his own money. I just wouldn't buy stock in operation. :)

G.

There are many things I would say about Mercedes, but not sure where the lack of safety comment comes to play. Mercedes tends to be a high-end manufacturer, and generally bodes well in safety and reliability.

If the comment about safety has something to do with a horse vans in general, I would say that horse vans are much safer than tag-alongs.

Also while the prices may be some sort of guide, it doesn't list an unfinished chassis/cab option only. Presumably those should be cheaper than finished models on Edmunds.

Melelio
Sep. 2, 2010, 10:35 AM
Is this so that people can look 'cool' driving something with a Mercedes logo? Or is there some compelling safety and usability that this Mercedes thing gives that other non-imported things can't?

Reggie1960
Sep. 2, 2010, 11:49 AM
That's pretty cool, those that I can see on the NZ link. I don't think we'll trade in our truck and trailer any time soon, though. My husband and son like their bass boats and seadoos too much to make that happen.

Mercedes has a great reputation for safety and creature comforts, little attention to details, I can see where a Mercedes conversion vehicle might currently be seem as safer than other imports -cough cough Toyota. But if a person is a die hard Ford fan like my husband, he would wait for the Ford.

blaster
Sep. 2, 2010, 12:51 PM
Is this so that people can look 'cool' driving something with a Mercedes logo? Or is there some compelling safety and usability that this Mercedes thing gives that other non-imported things can't?

I believe there not are not many chassis that would be comparable. It has a turbo diesel engine and a really tight turning radius.

MistyBlue
Sep. 2, 2010, 12:55 PM
Yep, believe it or not Mercedes makes very common and very hardy commercial trucks. That mercedes sprinter is around the same cost as Dodge and GMC and the other commercial large van makers.

The Mercedes trucks and vans aren't the status symbol vehicles that their family vehicles are, so tend not to carry the luxury price tags.

I didn't look over the Sprinter stats full...anyone know offhand if they make an AWD model?
Eh, maybe I should just go look. I'm thinking for horse show field parking, trail head parking and New England winter weather driving AWD or 4WD is a good thing.

Leather
Sep. 2, 2010, 02:00 PM
Yep, believe it or not Mercedes makes very common and very hardy commercial trucks.

Yup--I've got a friend who has lived in Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan and in all three countries the garbage trucks were Mercedes. :lol:

MistyBlue
Sep. 2, 2010, 02:27 PM
LOL! The guy who pumps my septic tank drives a Mercedes tanker truck. :D

horsevans.co.nz
Sep. 9, 2010, 09:29 PM
Hi all,

I am the owner of Horse Vans NZ Ltd supplying the NZ market. We only use the Renault Master chassis as it is lower and wider than nearly all the other large van models. Therefore offering a superior sway free experience.

Please note that our Horse Vans are sold from NZD$58k which includes NZ Sales tax so excluding tax are sold from NZD$51k (approx USD$35k at FX rate of $0.70).

I can likely get left Hand Drive models landed in the USA for a similar price (plus any duties and taxes that are applicable over there). Anyone who is interested in purchasing (& may wish to become a sales agent with their van) please feel free to contact me at any time.

Our Horse Vans have been tried and tested for over 15 years in the UK. They are definately safe and the rear facing travel is less stressful for horses. The major advantage though is ownership cost savings compared to a truck and no heavy truck licence needed. Plus so much safer & easier to use than a float!
By the way the vans can have tow bars and tow 2.5T braked trailer so they can take a float and extra horses if necessary and are still a great family utility/goods/bikes/campervan vehicle.

Cheers
Larissa Mortimer
Ph: +64 21 907-644
Email: larissa@horsevans.co.nz
www.horsevans.co.nz

MistyBlue
Sep. 9, 2010, 09:49 PM
Larissa, the vans are gorgeous. :yes:
Unfortunately advertising isn't allowed on this BB. But thanks for sharing the link with prices.

joiedevie99
Sep. 9, 2010, 09:52 PM
I believe the model on display was a 2-horse Theault.

blaster
Nov. 29, 2010, 05:43 PM
And the 2-horse prototype is ALIVE!!

http://www.frankdibella.com/

MistyBlue
Nov. 29, 2010, 07:11 PM
It's GORGEOUS!!!!! Love it! Way to go Frank!!!

jn4jenny
Nov. 29, 2010, 07:51 PM
I believe the model on display was a 2-horse Theault.

That's what I took pictures of at World Equestrian Games--a Theault Morpheus. The sales contact listed was for some guy in Miami, Florida.

Pics from WEG (sorry they're at night so not amazing, but my DSLR came through for me anyway):
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w197/jn4jenny/DSC01572.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w197/jn4jenny/DSC01571.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w197/jn4jenny/DSC01569.jpg

The Theault was parked next to these Fautras trailers that looked like crappy aluminum Brenderup-style trailers. The one nice thing I can say for the Fautras trailers is that they had a full-size front escape door large enough to take a horse through in an emergency. Other than that, I wasn't too impressed. The Theault Morpheus, on the other hand, looked like a thin slice of luxury horse transport heaven. :)

mypaintwattie
Nov. 29, 2010, 08:43 PM
On a Sprinter chassis? We had an Itasca Navion RV which are built on the Sprinter chassis. The thing was so top heavy it would make me motion sick on a long drive. It is a fairly narrow chassis, I don't know if I'd stick 2 horses on it. Got good milage and was a well built engine, but just didn't work well with an RV body over it for us.

blaster
Nov. 29, 2010, 10:15 PM
Well, I am not a automotive engineer, but I imagine that "top heaviness" could be due to more than just one factor. Center of gravity, and well as, selection of suspension parts could really change a vehicle performance even given the same chassis.

BetterOffRed
Nov. 29, 2010, 11:29 PM
The Theault Morpheus, on the other hand, looked like a thin slice of luxury horse transport heaven. :)

Could not have said it better!

I wouldn't turn down that MB Horse Van if Santa decided to drop one off at my house on Christmas morning! Maybe I will sell my house and live in it!:lol: I wonder what Ford Truck/Dodge Ram loving Texans would think when they saw me and my po cruising down I-75 in that beauty! :lol:

BasqueMom
Nov. 30, 2010, 02:48 AM
Probably not much.....did you mean I-35? I-75 goes to Florida. Sorry,
couldn't resist. This Texas would say "Right On."

greenwave
Nov. 30, 2010, 03:53 PM
Does anyone know an approximate price point on the DiBella or Theault vans? I've always loved the idea, glad to see they're making broader entry to the US market.

The Horse Van NZ pricing in USD is, according to my friend google, 39K for the Small, 44K for the Medium, and 49K for the large (without any taxes or fees - lord knows what those would run).

My first impression is that the horses ride lowest in the Renault Master conversions (e.g. Horse Vans NZ) as they stand between the front and rear axles. Certainly *appears* to be a very stable and horse friendly set-up. The Theault Morpheus horse area looks high by contrast.

Anyplace Farm
Nov. 30, 2010, 04:22 PM
Love Frank. Had many discussions with him back when I owned a horse van. And we did talk about 2 horse vans back then. I knew a girl in college who had one. It was so cool. No clue who she got it from but this was back in the 80's.

Trust me, Frank didn't choose the Benzo because of the logo, he chose it because of how low it sits. When we talked about a 2 horse years ago, he said he was trying to find a chassis that didn't sit up so high. Makes for a pretty steep climb for the horses to get on it otherwise.

Love Frank but it makes me crazy how he never puts prices on the site!

blaster
Nov. 30, 2010, 04:25 PM
The Horse Van NZ pricing in USD is, according to my friend google, 39K for the Small, 44K for the Medium, and 49K for the large (without any taxes or fees - lord knows what those would run).



I would very cautious that importation could be more than just $$. The vehicle needs to comply with US DOT safety and emissions regulations.

greenwave
Nov. 30, 2010, 08:04 PM
Blaster, I'm sure you're right. Importing a vehicle from abroad would probably be a logistical nightmare but then again there isn't much of a selection here in the US.

Here's a very shiny 2-horse built on the same chassis as Frank's:http://www.autobase.com/cgi/info.exe?bc=4689895&dealer=schueur2#

They're asking 72k.:eek: Wonder how much of that is the stainless cladding?:lol:

The side says "Turnbow" so I went to the Turnbow site but there's no mention of horse vans. I suppose this one was custom.

jacksmom
Nov. 30, 2010, 08:44 PM
okay, that settles it. in my next life i'm coming back a seriously well financed trustfunder. those vans are just dreamy!

Guilherme
Nov. 30, 2010, 10:42 PM
The horse van is great...if all you want to do is move horses. For most of us who have our own place the horse van is a non-starter as all it does is move horses.

For $72,000 you can get a a pretty nicely set up, new 3/4 ton, 4WD pickup, B&W Turnover Ball, RhinoLining, and a well set up 4 horse AL stock trailer or horse box. With the money you have left over you can pick up a new Stubben saddle with all the trimmings. And probably finance a nice riding vacation for a week or so.

Then, when you get back, you can unhook the trailer and commute in the truck. And haul feed, shavings, groceries, lawnmowers, drywall, plywood, anvils, furniture, ag chemicals, etc.

Like I say, horse vans are great...if all you want to do is haul horses. :)

G.

Anyplace Farm
Dec. 1, 2010, 08:54 AM
I'm not about to argue that $72K is a lot to spend on a 2H van. But, it does do more than haul horses. You can haul furniture in that thing and shavings and anvils and feed and hay and so on and so on and it is covered. The only thing you can't do with it is unhook it and use it to commute to work.

Trust me, my ass would find plenty uses for that van if I had the $72K to drop down on it.

Guilherme
Dec. 1, 2010, 09:50 AM
I'm not about to argue that $72K is a lot to spend on a 2H van. But, it does do more than haul horses. You can haul furniture in that thing and shavings and anvils and feed and hay and so on and so on and it is covered. The only thing you can't do with it is unhook it and use it to commute to work.

Trust me, my ass would find plenty uses for that van if I had the $72K to drop down on it.

That you can haul furniture, etc. in a horse van is true enough. If you take the time to pressure wash the inside, first. Not all that many people like aging horse manure on their kitchen tables or living room divans. :)

And the commuting thing is a real issue.

Like I say, horse vans are great for hauling horses but are single purpose vehicles. That's a non-starter for a very large number of people, hence the very small market for them.

G.

Anyplace Farm
Dec. 1, 2010, 10:51 AM
The frequency that horse people move is pretty low. The total of horse people who keep a house so clean that it doesn't have horse, dog, barn dirt on it is also pretty slim. So, I'd venture to say there aren't too many horse people who are squeamish about a jiblet of poop getting on their Ethan Allen? furniture. I'd also hazard a guess that they'd be smart enough to put a sheet or tarp down before setting their furniture down on the van floor. Therefore, I'd say the van would work just fine for that as well as for all the other stuff, such as hay, feed, and all other manner of stuff that horse people don't give a rat's ass about if it gets some poop on it.

FWIW, I did indeed haul my furniture in a horse trailer once. And I have real wood furniture, not laminate. Teak pieces that have been in the family for nearly 50 years. I'm sure we wrapped the furniture like all moving companies do. I don't recall any poop residue getting on any of my stuff.

Vans rock and I loved working off of mine. I loved being able to stand inside a well lit area and tack my horse up while staying out of the wind or rain.

tabula rashah
Dec. 1, 2010, 11:11 AM
To me, it looks way less stable than a regular ole GN trailer-
I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I find nothing appealing about it

BetterOffRed
Dec. 1, 2010, 11:22 AM
Probably not much.....did you mean I-35? I-75 goes to Florida. Sorry,
couldn't resist. This Texas would say "Right On."


75 aka Central Expressway. :)

greenwave
Dec. 1, 2010, 12:13 PM
tabula - Yes, some of these horsevans do not give the appearance of being super stable. I'd say the Benz with the $$ custom (I'm positive) conversion I posted a few back is an example.

However, there also seem to be quite a lot of purpose made horsevans out there that look to me like an ideal horse transport vehicle IF - as G has said - you don't need a lot or any secondary utility from the vehicle.

Like this (http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5121/5223586775_e623a40753_b.jpg), a more utilitarian offering from Theault, or this (http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5282/5223586889_ee65103fc3_b.jpg), from BOSS Horseboxes.

I believe the Theault van (Proteo) is going to be offered in the US under the name Proteus. From what I've gathered, Theault represents the high end of the small "hosebox" market in Europe; I think the Proteo retails there ~$60K, so I'm sure a new 2-horse box of another make can be had for much less.

Anyplace Farm
Dec. 1, 2010, 03:43 PM
I'm no physics expert but isn't what makes something top heavy the fact that it is too far off the ground? For instance, the SUVs that are really high off the ground and narrow and tall, yes, they are top heavy. All the weight in and of the vehicle are sitting way up high off the surface of the earth.

Conversely, with these vehicles, they sit so low to the ground, regardless of their headroom, I'd think a horse would have to violently throw himself against the walls several times to flip the thing. Or, the driver would have to be a total dumbass and careen through a turn to flip the thing. So, these don't give me any scary feeling. My horse van sat way up high, was probably not much wider than these things and it never gave me the impression it was going to flip over under normal circumstances. I'd done many a U-turn in that thing fully loaded.

Having seen a trailer accident first hand, I can tell you that when any vehicle starts to fish tail, it's goin' down.

poltroon
Dec. 1, 2010, 03:50 PM
My horse trailer has hauled quite a lot of furniture, appliances, and cardboard boxes over the years, and I have never pressure washed it. I did take the shavings out and sweep.

But let's face it: that swept trailer floor was almost certainly cleaner than any carpet! :D

The nice thing about a van (or trailer) to haul such items rather than a pickup truck is that it's not only covered, but you also don't have to lift things so high. You use a dolly and roll it up the ramp.

You couldn't get away with one as an only vehicle. But the small ones aren't much bigger than a dually pickup as far as parking and they could be pretty versatile.

greenwave
Dec. 1, 2010, 04:27 PM
I'm no physics expert but isn't what makes something top heavy the fact that it is too far off the ground?

I think it's not so much distance from ground but center of gravity. The problem when transporting horses is that their center of gravity is high - somewhere midway up their barrel - and thus the center of gravity of any vehicle will be negatively affected when loaded with (top-heavy) horses.

I'm no physics expert either but I *think* that the best way to combat this problem design-wise is to have the horses "z" position, relative to the road, be as low as possible. In other words, I don't think it matters so much if the van itself is "low", it matters that the level at which the horses stand is "low". In that regard, I don't think all the horse vans on this thread are created equal.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong!:lol:

FrankDiBella
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:12 AM
It's GORGEOUS!!!!! Love it! Way to go Frank!!!

Thank you. The 2 horse van is really taking off. There are more cost effective solutions; one can use a Ford E-450 diesel, Freightliner Sprinter, or a used Dodge Sprinter.

It is all a matter of user preference.

MistyBlue
Jan. 20, 2011, 10:35 AM
You're quite welcome!

Will you be modifying those vehicles into horse vans for customers? And if so, do they acquire the F450/Sprinter first?

LisaB
Jan. 20, 2011, 11:03 AM
I would venture a guess that since everywhere else in the world, they use vans like this with the treacherous roads they have to go on that they aren't top heavy and probably a lot more agile. I would have loved to have this last weekend while tromping through the back streets of Middleburg - talk about white knuckles!

FrankDiBella
Jan. 20, 2011, 12:37 PM
You're quite welcome!

Will you be modifying those vehicles into horse vans for customers? And if so, do they acquire the F450/Sprinter first?

Yes, we are currently building an E-450 2-horse for a customer. I took this picture for you.

I cannot embed the picture, but here is the link:

http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e450_2horse_dibella.jpg

LittleblackMorgan
Jan. 20, 2011, 01:51 PM
The sprinter is NOT an expensive vehicle. Dodge has one, Ford has one...

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 20, 2011, 02:05 PM
Yes, we are currently building an E-450 2-horse for a customer. I took this picture for you.

I cannot embed the picture, but here is the link:

http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e450_2horse_dibella.jpg
Augh! Be still my heart. Frank, can you update this thread with a link to the finished product when you're done?

FrankDiBella
Jan. 20, 2011, 02:20 PM
Augh! Be still my heart. Frank, can you update this thread with a link to the finished product when you're done?

No problem. We expect it to be done in the next two weeks. We would be happy to walk you or any Chronicle member through the van upon its completion.

MistyBlue
Jan. 20, 2011, 03:29 PM
Thanks for that info and photo.

Love the low entry in the newer style horse vans and not having to drive something the size of an RV around.

blaster
Jan. 20, 2011, 05:45 PM
Frank, would you mind providing general pricing for using the other platforms? For instance, if the Mercedes is X, the Ford would be 0.6X, or maybe the range is $XX-$YY depending on chassis?

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 20, 2011, 06:49 PM
No problem. We expect it to be done in the next two weeks. We would be happy to walk you or any Chronicle member through the van upon its completion.
That'd be great. I went to your site earlier and took the tour of the Mercedes. What a sweet ride that thing is. But, probably like many others, just a little too rich for my blood.

So, if we were to have you build one of these things for us, do we order the chassis and have it shipped to you and you take it from there?

I love your website. My only gripe about it is there are no prices. I always feel bad calling you and asking for prices on each one.

JenEM
Jan. 20, 2011, 07:32 PM
The sprinter is NOT an expensive vehicle. Dodge has one, Ford has one...

They're pretty commonly turned into smaller television microwave/satellite vans. That's a lot of weigh to heft around, and those dishes on the trucks are pretty top-heavy, too ;) The only time I've seen them look particularly unstable is when someone either extended the tower without putting down the stabilizer, or with the dish up in high winds.

Living in an urban area, even having a truck to tow a trailer with is essentially an extraneous second vehicle for me. If something like this were in my budget range, I'd certainly be interested. Maybe by the time this truck/trailer wears out, there will be some used ones in my price range :lol:

Guilherme
Jan. 21, 2011, 12:10 AM
The sprinter is NOT an expensive vehicle. Dodge has one, Ford has one...

Take a look:

http://www.edmunds.com/mercedes-benz/sprinter/2011/

Here's the Freightliner version:

http://www.truckpaper.com/list/list.aspx?ETID=1&catid=27&Manu=FREIGHTLINER&MDLGrp=SPRINTER&bcatid=27

An F-450 cutaway chassis starts at $28,500 and gues up, depending upon engine and amenities.

Add to these prices the cost of conversion.

G.

Christa P
Jan. 21, 2011, 12:18 AM
Not that I have the money (far from it :lol:), but would these vans pull a small trailer? I am thinking along the lines of hauling 2 carriages in a (preferably) enclosed trailer or a small travel trailer for camping.

Christa

JenEM
Jan. 21, 2011, 01:46 AM
An F-450 cutaway chassis starts at $28,500 and gues up, depending upon engine and amenities.

Add to these prices the cost of conversion.

G.

I know how much a baseline-level conversion to a sat truck costs, and that's including the cost of professional quality sat equipment. Given a horsevan conversion is basically putting a big box and a ramp on it, I can't imagine that it would cost anything near what two tons of television equipment does. I really don't think you'd be looking at anything more than the cost of a very nice 3/4 truck and trailer would cost.

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 21, 2011, 09:05 AM
We need Mr. DiBella to tell us how to get just the cab and chassis. Because why would you pay up to $35K for the whole Sprinter when all you need is the cab and chassis to go to DiBella to put the box on?

I feel a google search coming on ....

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 21, 2011, 09:07 AM
Here we go. Looks like you can get them for just under $30K - just the cab and chassis.

These (http://dodgebuyersguide.theautochannel.com/Trims.php?car=Dodge-Sprinter-Chassis-Cab&model=Sprinter%20Chassis%20Cab) are the Dodge ones.

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 21, 2011, 09:13 AM
Here's the Freightliner. (http://sprintervans.com/06_Chassis%20Cab/Chass_Gal/chassis_cab_gallery.htm#)

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 21, 2011, 09:15 AM
An entire forum (http://sprinter-source.com/forum/)of Sprinter enthusiasts.

Guilherme
Jan. 21, 2011, 09:38 AM
I know how much a baseline-level conversion to a sat truck costs, and that's including the cost of professional quality sat equipment. Given a horsevan conversion is basically putting a big box and a ramp on it, I can't imagine that it would cost anything near what two tons of television equipment does. I really don't think you'd be looking at anything more than the cost of a very nice 3/4 truck and trailer would cost.

Our local trailer shop, that also does custom conversions, is at the lower end of cost charging $65/hr. for shop time. When we put a "weekender" package in our trailer I just paid for shop time and materials. I wasn't charged any fees for design. I did most of the design work and then we discussed my ideas and modified them where appropriate (to same time, money, materials, etc.). We had a couple of glitches (mine and theirs) and all were corrected at no charge. I guess I should say I've been a customer here since 2002. ;)

Mr. DiBella is in business to make money. He's invested his time in designing the box so he'll want a return on that investment. Add to that the cost of shop time and materials. He's in a higher cost area than we are so I'd suspect at least a 10-15% increase over our shop time costs.

A straight up cost comparison is likely going to favor the truck-trailer combo. An F250 Super Cab will start at just over $30,000 (with either a 6.2L V8 or the 6.7L diesel; no diesel premium currently being charged per Edmunds). A an F150, which is satisfactory as a tow vehicle for a two horse trailer, will start at just under $30,000 with a 5.0L V8. You can get a new Featherlite 2H bumper pull with a dressing room for about $13,000 (add $1500, more or less, for a gooseneck).

The above prices are MSRP. Last fall our local dealer had an openhouse and was doing $100 over invoice on new trailers. The local Ford dealers have some pretty impressive discounts and rebates. I'm using MSRP as a basis of comparison. Real world prices will be $4000-$5000 less on the truck at at least $1500 less on the trailer.

I don't doubt that Mr. DiBella's work is excellent and the quality of his product will be outstanding. But it won't be cheap and the horse van remains a single-purpose vehicle. For folks with pockets deep enough to handle this I say "God Bless 'Em." But for most there are some serious practicality concerns. If this were not so he would not be about one of two companies doing this kind of work.

G.

FrankDiBella
Jan. 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
Frank, would you mind providing general pricing for using the other platforms? For instance, if the Mercedes is X, the Ford would be 0.6X, or maybe the range is $XX-$YY depending on chassis?

A 2 horse van box ranges in price right now because every one is custom. The body is all aluminum and it is a higher end horse van. We have used 2 horse vans starting at 20k up to 85k+ here are two pictures of more economical 2-3 horse vans.

Chevy Cab-Over 3500
http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/DSC06212.jpg

2002 Chevy 3500HD
http://www.frankdibella.com/usedvans/Morton_&_Davis_3.jpg



would these vans pull a small trailer? I am thinking along the lines of hauling 2 carriages in a (preferably) enclosed trailer or a small travel trailer for camping.

Christa

The Sprinter Horse Van comes standard with a towing package. The 3500 Sprinter is able to tow small/medium size trailers so yes a utility trailer or flatbed trailer for carriages would work fine. The size of trailer you can pull also depends on how loaded up the van is. We also offer a option to install air-bags to increase the load capacity.

Any other questions please post and i will answer asap

War Admiral
Jan. 21, 2011, 10:17 PM
And the 2-horse prototype is ALIVE!!

http://www.frankdibella.com/

WOW. That. Is. Stunning!!! Congratulations, Frank, on a FABTASTICO new product!!! Hopefully one day I'll win the lottery and be able to afford one! :)

I think it's the right move at the right time. Vans are MUCH easier to drive, especially on a big highway, and so many shows are in purpose-built facilities right off the interstates nowadays - I know I'm doing WAY more highway miles when hauling than I did back in the day when every horse farm had a show in its back yard.

Plus, now that gas prices are going up, nobody can afford to commute in their hauling trucks anyway. Mine pretty much just sits in the driveway any more, and I have to remember to "take my pet truck for a walk" every weekend to keep it ticking over. (I commute in a 4-cyl. car.) If I'm going to pay for insurance for something that just sits around when I'm not showing, I'd just as soon pay it on something that REALLY makes my horse towing life easier.

I'd buy one in a minute!

Still Workingonit
Jan. 22, 2011, 01:32 AM
Been here for more than a year - hardly needs to be "proto-typed" as horse trucks are very common elsewhere in the world from the USA. a horse-truck would be my preferred transportation if I could afford one again - not just for horse-shows but also for accomodation etc for dog shows.

FrankDiBella
Jan. 22, 2011, 01:07 PM
WOW. That. Is. Stunning!!! Congratulations, Frank, on a FABTASTICO new product!!! Hopefully one day I'll win the lottery and be able to afford one! :)

I think it's the right move at the right time. Vans are MUCH easier to drive, especially on a big highway, and so many shows are in purpose-built facilities right off the interstates nowadays - I know I'm doing WAY more highway miles when hauling than I did back in the day when every horse farm had a show in its back yard.

Plus, now that gas prices are going up, nobody can afford to commute in their hauling trucks anyway. Mine pretty much just sits in the driveway any more, and I have to remember to "take my pet truck for a walk" every weekend to keep it ticking over. (I commute in a 4-cyl. car.) If I'm going to pay for insurance for something that just sits around when I'm not showing, I'd just as soon pay it on something that REALLY makes my horse towing life easier.

I'd buy one in a minute!

Very well said, the Sprinter Van when we drove it at 65mph on the highway and around backroads got around 18mpg. The areo-dynamics on the Sprinter van are much better than a truck and trailer. It is also very easy to drive, has a tight turning radius, and can fit in a normal parking space.

Tamara in TN
Jan. 22, 2011, 02:05 PM
Very well said, the Sprinter Van when we drove it at 65mph on the highway and around backroads got around 18mpg. The areo-dynamics on the Sprinter van are much better than a truck and trailer. It is also very easy to drive, has a tight turning radius, and can fit in a normal parking space.


your vans are stunning.

Tamara in TN

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 23, 2011, 07:51 PM
If I'm going to pay for insurance for something that just sits around when I'm not showing, I'd just as soon pay it on something that REALLY makes my horse towing life easier.

I'd buy one in a minute!

I'm with you. I don't want to pay insurance on three vehicles (car, truck, trailer), inspect three and find a place to park all three, put tags on all three and pay taxes on all three. What a pain in the ass!

I'd rather have my car and then my hauling situation as one unit.

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 23, 2011, 07:53 PM
Very well said, the Sprinter Van when we drove it at 65mph on the highway and around backroads got around 18mpg. The areo-dynamics on the Sprinter van are much better than a truck and trailer. It is also very easy to drive, has a tight turning radius, and can fit in a normal parking space.

THIS is money. Especially the parking space part. Probably a hell of a lot easier to navigate thru drive thrus with the right clearance too!:lol:

Eye in the Sky
Jan. 23, 2011, 08:59 PM
Very well said, the Sprinter Van when we drove it at 65mph on the highway and around backroads got around 18mpg. The areo-dynamics on the Sprinter van are much better than a truck and trailer. It is also very easy to drive, has a tight turning radius, and can fit in a normal parking space.

I'm speechless.

If I ever choose to buy my own horse transportation, this will be what I save for. :eek::yes:

MistyBlue
Jan. 23, 2011, 10:20 PM
LOL...Tyler I think the fitting into a regular parking spot might be your #1 sales pitch for the newer smaller horsevans! :winkgrin:

My long bed extended cab F250 can't even do that.

I don't have anywhere on my property to easily park a trailer. Not where I can get my truck to it anyway. And I have over 1000' of driveways and parking areas...but here in New England ur lots can be hilly and trying to maneuver a truck and trailer on short steep winding hills in your own driveway can be a royal pain, if not impossible.

As I said before, I've had commercial haulers take one look at my driveway and I end up loading and offloading in the street instead.

I drove a horsevan as a teen, decades ago. The huge oversized version that required some eventing moves and airs above the ground to load a horse into it. And I still preferred that oversized land-barge to a truck and trailer combo.

I've had my F250 for over 5 years now and haven't bought a trailer yet. Now that there's a possibility of a "normal" sized horsevan out there, I probably won't ever buy a trailer.

Instead I think I'll be looking into finding a lightly used newer Sprinter and sending it for a visit to your place at some point not-too-far in the future. :winkgrin:
(I'm assuming you do custom paint? Can't have one not in my barn's colors!)

FrankDiBella
Jan. 24, 2011, 10:44 AM
LOL...Tyler I think the fitting into a regular parking spot might be your #1 sales pitch for the newer smaller horsevans! :winkgrin:

I think I'll be looking into finding a lightly used newer Sprinter and sending it for a visit to your place at some point not-too-far in the future. :winkgrin:
(I'm assuming you do custom paint? Can't have one not in my barn's colors!)

Thanks everyone for your feedback! We are proud to announce that on Saturday the first Sprinter Horse Van left with its new owner and we are only weeks away from completing the 2nd horse van for a customer.

For future orders customers can supply a new/used Sprinter chassis however we prefer to supply one for you. If you would like to supply your own chassis please contact us first to make sure it meets the specifications needed. We also have a 2006 Ford E-450 diesel chassis available for purchase.

We do all custom paint in-house using aircraft grade paint and can do any design or color scheme to match your farm/barn.

FrankDiBella
Jan. 26, 2011, 11:10 AM
Today we put the new E-450 2 Horse Euro Van in the paint booth, here are a couple of pictures.

www.frankdibella.com/e450_horse_van_dibella_1.jpg (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e450_horse_van_dibella_1.jpg)

www.frankdibella.com/e450_horse_van_dibella_2.jpg (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e450_horse_van_dibella_2.jpg)

MistyBlue
Jan. 26, 2011, 01:53 PM
Soooo, what color will it be?

Do yoou know of any van options available in AWD or 4WD?

FrankDiBella
Jan. 28, 2011, 10:12 AM
Soooo, what color will it be?

Do yoou know of any van options available in AWD or 4WD?

The colors of the second van will be the same as the first, Silver & Graphite Grey Metallic. (Any colors are available thought)

The Sprinter Chassis is not available in AWD/4WD. The 2WD is actually better though because it is lower to the ground, making it easier to load. 4WD is better to avoid getting stuck in a field but the Sprinter Chassis does come standard with a good off-road tread tire to help overcome this.

Here is a brief option list we put together:
www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/euro_van_option_list.jpg (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/euro_van_option_list.jpg)

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter website:
http://www.mbsprinterusa.com/vehicles/cab-chassis/models/3500-standard-roof-170-wb-14-specs.php

Freightliner Sprinter website:
http://www.freightlinersprinterusa.com/vehicles/cab-chassis/

Guilherme
Jan. 28, 2011, 11:43 AM
Marmon-Harrington in Louisville, KY makes AWD kits for a wide variety of commercial vehicles. I don't know if they make one for a Sprinter or not.

The Mitsubish Fuso comes in an AWD version. The cost for the chassis looks like about $10,000 more than the Sprinter but it's a heavier duty frame and bigger engine.

G.

Simrat
Jan. 30, 2011, 11:08 AM
Frank, do you know if the Sprinter runs well on biodiesel?

MistyBlue
Jan. 30, 2011, 01:46 PM
Good question SimRat.

Or how about manure? Tyler, if you can make a Sprinter horse van that runs on manure...damn the price I'll buy it! :yes:
(I wouldn't even care if it was hot pink with lime green spots! :winkgrin:)

Velvet
Jan. 30, 2011, 05:08 PM
And the 2-horse prototype is ALIVE!!

http://www.frankdibella.com/

Drives me nuts that he doesn't put prices on the site. :sigh:

I've contacted them about used vans before and it's a PITA to now just be able to look on the site and see prices. He needs to get with the times. Nowadays we all want instant gratification and information when we go to a site or we move on. Doesn't matter that he's one of the few that sells vans, I've known students who were interested and then lost interest and bought a truck and trailer without pursuing the vans because they figured if the prices weren't published, they couldn't afford them. And after I found out the prices, that was an incorrect assumption.

Anyplace Farm
Jan. 31, 2011, 08:28 AM
Drives me nuts that he doesn't put prices on the site. :sigh:

I've contacted them about used vans before and it's a PITA to now just be able to look on the site and see prices. He needs to get with the times. Nowadays we all want instant gratification and information when we go to a site or we move on. Doesn't matter that he's one of the few that sells vans, I've known students who were interested and then lost interest and bought a truck and trailer without pursuing the vans because they figured if the prices weren't published, they couldn't afford them. And after I found out the prices, that was an incorrect assumption.

Yes - love the company but hate that I can't get instant gratification by seeing prices. Especially when you have sites like Horse Trailer World (http://www.horsetrailerworld.com/home/newhome.asp) that shows you rigs, trailers, etc from all over the country with prices listed. Talk about instant gratification!

I like to see what I want, see what it costs and aim for it.

Velvet
Jan. 31, 2011, 10:28 AM
Maybe he doesn't want or need to sell many horse vans for his business? :confused:

FrankDiBella
Jan. 31, 2011, 10:51 AM
Marmon-Harrington in Louisville, KY makes AWD kits for a wide variety of commercial vehicles. I don't know if they make one for a Sprinter or not.

The Mitsubishi Fuso comes in an AWD version. The cost for the chassis looks like about $10,000 more than the Sprinter but it's a heavier duty frame and bigger engine.

G.

We did look into the Mitsubish Fuso FG 4x4, it is a option but it is not very well suited for this application. The CA (cab to axle) is too short so the truck would have to be stretched. The Frame height is very tall and the price is higher than a sprinter. It is a good idea but it would not be economical.


Frank, do you know if the Sprinter runs well on biodiesel?

Great thinking, I did a little research and the Sprinter will run on biodiesel with some modifications.


Drives me nuts that he doesn't put prices on the site. :sigh:

I've contacted them about used vans before and it's a PITA to now just be able to look on the site and see prices. He needs to get with the times. Nowadays we all want instant gratification and information when we go to a site or we move on. Doesn't matter that he's one of the few that sells vans, I've known students who were interested and then lost interest and bought a truck and trailer without pursuing the vans because they figured if the prices weren't published, they couldn't afford them. And after I found out the prices, that was an incorrect assumption.

yes, I am working on bringing my father Frank into the 21st century. This seems to be the only complaint ive heard but I have heard it from a lot of customers. We are currently building a more simple and user friendly website that will be launched this spring. This website should be more helpful for online shoppers and finally have prices so customers can have a more pleasant shopping experience.

LisaB
Jan. 31, 2011, 01:49 PM
Tyler, for most us, when we don't see a price, it means we can't afford it. Even though probably many of us can. But that's the picture you're portraying when you don't list prices.
Hopefully, that will help you!
LOVE these vans, BTW.

Anyplace Farm
Feb. 1, 2011, 10:57 AM
We are currently building a more simple and user friendly website that will be launched this spring. This website should be more helpful for online shoppers and finally have prices so customers can have a more pleasant shopping experience.

Awesome! Thanks!!

hey101
Feb. 1, 2011, 12:04 PM
The horse van is great...if all you want to do is move horses. For most of us who have our own place the horse van is a non-starter as all it does is move horses.

For $72,000 you can get a a pretty nicely set up, new 3/4 ton, 4WD pickup, B&W Turnover Ball, RhinoLining, and a well set up 4 horse AL stock trailer or horse box. With the money you have left over you can pick up a new Stubben saddle with all the trimmings. And probably finance a nice riding vacation for a week or so.

Then, when you get back, you can unhook the trailer and commute in the truck. And haul feed, shavings, groceries, lawnmowers, drywall, plywood, anvils, furniture, ag chemicals, etc.

Like I say, horse vans are great...if all you want to do is haul horses. :)

G.

To add to this... horse vans are much more expensive to maintain on a yearly basis than a truck-and-trailer combo. I used to have a 3H horse van and the insurance and yearly registration alone was $700+/ year, not to mention the normal operating expenses of any motor vehicle (oil, tires, etc). I sold it (at Frank DiBella's, actually! :)) when I moved overseas in 2002 and purchased a truck-and-trailer when I returned to the US at the beginning of '04. I did love my horse van because, well, it was cool! And easy to drive around! But when it came down to brass tacks, the truck-and-trailer combo was much more practical and economical.

Simrat
Feb. 2, 2011, 02:23 PM
Great thinking, I did a little research and the Sprinter will run on biodiesel with some modifications.
Why would it need modifications? My Jeep Liberty CRD and my 2002 Dodge D250 both ran fine on B20 or B99 with no modifications at all.

Are you maybe thinking of the mods needed to run SVO (Straight Veggie Oil)? That does need a dual tank and pre-heating system.

LexInVA
Feb. 2, 2011, 03:01 PM
Why would it need modifications? My Jeep Liberty CRD and my 2002 Dodge D250 both ran fine on B20 or B99 with no modifications at all.

Are you maybe thinking of the mods needed to run SVO (Straight Veggie Oil)? That does need a dual tank and pre-heating system.

It really depends on what mix you are planning to use as well as your engine design. B2/B5 can run just fine and is approved by Mercedes for use with their newer vehicles. B10, which is standard in my area, will do fine in anything for the most part. Long-term use of B20 and higher is where many owners tend to swap out factory parts for ones that are friendlier to biodiesel usage.

Guilherme
Feb. 2, 2011, 03:39 PM
Why would it need modifications? My Jeep Liberty CRD and my 2002 Dodge D250 both ran fine on B20 or B99 with no modifications at all.

Are you maybe thinking of the mods needed to run SVO (Straight Veggie Oil)? That does need a dual tank and pre-heating system.

The Alphabet Soup has imposed some pretty serious restrictions on diesels, particularly for soot. The newest engines require a "pee tank" (or more correctly a urea tank). The 2007-2010 Duramax's are limited to B5 by their DPF (diesel particulate filter) system and the need to "regen" (burn diesel to clean the filter) once each tankful or so. It's my understanding that at least some biodiesel fuels are incompatible with these systems.

Our John Deere dealer told me that I could go to B20 in my older Deeres, but if I wanted to use a higher B number they would require some modification. Since I'v no plans to "go bio" I did not investigate the mods required.

Given the cost of an overhaul of a diesel I'd proceed VERY carefully before I used high B number biodiesel.

G.

Anyplace Farm
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:14 PM
It really depends on what mix you are planning to use as well as your engine design. B2/B5 can run just fine and is approved by Mercedes for use with their newer vehicles. B10, which is standard in my area, will do fine in anything for the most part. Long-term use of B20 and higher is where many owners tend to swap out factory parts for ones that are friendlier to biodiesel usage.
It never ceases to amze me your breadth of knowledge on stuff. And I'm not being facetious.

Anyplace Farm
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:18 PM
To add to this... horse vans are much more expensive to maintain on a yearly basis than a truck-and-trailer combo. I used to have a 3H horse van and the insurance and yearly registration alone was $700+/ year, not to mention the normal operating expenses of any motor vehicle (oil, tires, etc). I sold it (at Frank DiBella's, actually! :)) when I moved overseas in 2002 and purchased a truck-and-trailer when I returned to the US at the beginning of '04. I did love my horse van because, well, it was cool! And easy to drive around! But when it came down to brass tacks, the truck-and-trailer combo was much more practical and economical.
I'm not arguing a point - just doing some research so bear with me....

Is it poss that your van was expensive to insure due to it's age? Like, was it older? I'm wondering if insurance is higher for it because parts for it would be more expensive to find...

Also, $700 a year for insurance works out to about $58 a month. I'm paying $65 a month for my 2007 RAV-4 so $58 would be a deal in my world! Plus, I think USAA gives us a better rate when we insure more than one vehicle.

And with a truck and trailer, aren't you still paying maintenance on two vehicles, paying for registration for two, inspecting two and insuring two? I don't see how they would be cheaper than paying for the one (van) vehicle... Not to mention you'd still likely have to worry about your every day car.

Again, I don't have a clue so am trying to edjumacate myself.

LexInVA
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:38 PM
I think the insurance may have been higher because it's a specialized vehicle not to mention it's not standardized as a van either. It's like insuring the Batmobile. The insurance company may also classify it as a commercial vehicle I suppose.

hey101
Feb. 2, 2011, 05:05 PM
My horse van was very very old (60's something) and cost me $5000 to purchase in 1999. I could not afford to trade in my car for a truck and then also purchase a trailer, so the $5K horse van was what I could afford at the time (I was fresh out of college in my first job). When I owned the horse van I lived in PA, and PA made me register it as a commercial vehicle because of it's size. It was awhile ago so I don't remember EXACT numbers, but the annual registration fee was $200 or more. And then I distinctly recall insurance in the $700 range. Being a much older vehicle, it was also quite expensive to maintain and unreliable. I had it break down on me once with my horse in it. I had to offload my horse on the side of the road, call a friend to come pick up my horse, and have the van hauled to a repair shop.

All of this for a vehicle that for the most part, I only used to haul my horse around- 1 or 2x/ week at most. I also had to pay registration, insurance, maintenance etc on my regular car.

Once I was in the truck-and-trailer rig, I paid only normal vehicle registration on the truck ($35 in PA? IDK, it's been awhile and i"m old now! :lol:), paid insurance on only one vehicle, and the trailer insurance was covered by the truck insurance. The trailer cost a few thousand to purchase versus many thousands to purchase another van (after having a very very old vehicle, I was loathe to have anything that old again especially if I were to be hauling my horses around in it- not a chance of finding a newer horse van for anything under $20K!)


Like I said, I really did love my horse van! In spite of, or perhaps because of, it's quirks. But for me, in the long run, the economics of the van did not make sense. For someone else it might.

Anyplace Farm
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:58 AM
My horse van was very very old (60's something) and cost me $5000 to purchase in 1999. I could not afford to trade in my car for a truck and then also purchase a trailer, so the $5K horse van was what I could afford at the time (I was fresh out of college in my first job). When I owned the horse van I lived in PA, and PA made me register it as a commercial vehicle because of it's size. It was awhile ago so I don't remember EXACT numbers, but the annual registration fee was $200 or more. And then I distinctly recall insurance in the $700 range. Being a much older vehicle, it was also quite expensive to maintain and unreliable. I had it break down on me once with my horse in it. I had to offload my horse on the side of the road, call a friend to come pick up my horse, and have the van hauled to a repair shop.

All of this for a vehicle that for the most part, I only used to haul my horse around- 1 or 2x/ week at most. I also had to pay registration, insurance, maintenance etc on my regular car.

Once I was in the truck-and-trailer rig, I paid only normal vehicle registration on the truck ($35 in PA? IDK, it's been awhile and i"m old now! :lol:), paid insurance on only one vehicle, and the trailer insurance was covered by the truck insurance. The trailer cost a few thousand to purchase versus many thousands to purchase another van (after having a very very old vehicle, I was loathe to have anything that old again especially if I were to be hauling my horses around in it- not a chance of finding a newer horse van for anything under $20K!)


Like I said, I really did love my horse van! In spite of, or perhaps because of, it's quirks. But for me, in the long run, the economics of the van did not make sense. For someone else it might.
You sound like me - I also had an old van. 5-horse. We called it The Big Green Beast. Bought it in prob 1999 as well for about $3500. It was a 1969, Frank DiBella TruBuilt. To Frank's credit, the box was beautiful and I later sold the van on ebay for $1000 to a guy in TX who just wanted the box.

When I insured mine, USAA covered it as a cargo van. I couldn't tell you how much it cost, I just remember it being nominal. Same with tags - I don't remember anything like $200 for them. Funny your insurance co made you make it be a commercial vehicle when I doubt you had a license to drive a commercial vehicle - but rather, a private license (I assume).

Anyway, servicing the van was a problem from a tires standpoint which unfortunately, I didn't know until I bought the thing. It had split rims aka Suicide Wheels and getting a shop to touch them was tough. It did overheat often and caught fire on our way back from Rosemount. That was exciting. Thankfully, I had a buddy with me. Had he not been there, I would have stood back and let that thing burn to the ground. I'm terrified of fire. But, he got the fire out quickly and of course the pony was already off and no amount of work on that engine could figure out what the problem was. So, it made shade in a field for awhile and offered a nice home to some wasps until I sold it on ebay.

I did love The Beast, though. Especially on cold, rainy days.

trubandloki
Feb. 3, 2011, 09:34 AM
They look so lovely.

Now to figure out how to win the lottery so I can afford one.


MB, I want to see photos when you get yours.

FrankDiBella
Feb. 11, 2011, 04:57 PM
Here are a few sneak peeks of the Ford E-450 2 Horse Euro-Van with Toy Hauler attached for hauling carriages, golf carts, extra tack, and living space.

What does everyone think?

E-450 Euro-Van front (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e-450_wtrailer_1.jpg)

E-450 Euro-Van rear (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/e-450_wtrailer_2.jpg)

Toy Hauler Interior 1 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/ephx_interior_1.jpg)

Toy Hauler Interior 2 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newtrailerimg/ephx_interior_2.jpg)

kdow
Feb. 11, 2011, 05:51 PM
I'm surprised how roomy it looks in the hauler. Though maybe a little claustrophobic with only two small windows - is it possible to add some sort of sky-light type thing to make it feel less like a box?

I would also love to see floorplan style drawings of things - I love photos, but for some reason floorplans just help me better understand what's going on with the use of space.

Simrat
Feb. 11, 2011, 07:19 PM
Do you have photos of the inside of the van (the horse area)?

PonyGal08
Feb. 11, 2011, 08:09 PM
Do you have photos of the inside of the van (the horse area)?

And tack area :yes:

FrankDiBella
Feb. 24, 2011, 04:17 PM
I'm surprised how roomy it looks in the hauler. Though maybe a little claustrophobic with only two small windows - is it possible to add some sort of sky-light type thing to make it feel less like a box?

I would also love to see floorplan style drawings of things - I love photos, but for some reason floorplans just help me better understand what's going on with the use of space.

Sorry for the delayed response we have been quite busy finishing up the 2 horse Euro-Van. This is the 1st Toy Hauler we built and we do not have a floor plan we can share yet. However the dimensions are 18' ft. long x 8' ft. wide x 7' ft. tall and we can easily adjust the dimensions to the customers specifications. More windows and sky-lights can be added to make the living-quarters feel more open.


Do you have photos of the inside of the van (the horse area)?

Here are pictures of the Ford E-450 Euro-Van Exterior:
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Exterior 1 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_33.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Exterior 2 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_1.jpg)

Pictures of Interior:
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Interior 1 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_13.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Interior 2 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_15.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Interior 3 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_16.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Interior 4 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_18.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Interior 5 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_20.jpg)

Pictures of Tack Room:
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Tack Room 1 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_24.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Tack Room 2 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_26.jpg)
Ford E-450 Euro-Van Tack Room 3 (http://www.frankdibella.com/newvans/e450_euro_van_frank_dibella_2_horse_27.jpg)

More Pictures are available at: www.Frankdibella.com/new_vans (http://www.frankdibella.com/new_vans.html)
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Anyplace Farm
Feb. 27, 2011, 05:47 PM
....wipes drool off of chin...

Augh! I cannot stop thinking about these vans! They make very practical sense for me because where I board is a very small property. Hard to navigate around the parking lot.

There are two trailers in the lot and only three other cars can fit in the lot at a time. We are only a five horse barn.

Having something I can just drive in and maneuver in one piece would be so much easier. If I have a truck and trailer, I would have to park the truck in front of my house (way too ghetto of a look for me) and squeeze the trailer into our already cramped lot at the barn.

So, this style van is BONUS!!

Simrat
Feb. 28, 2011, 10:56 AM
I feel similar. And I know that my mare would like riding facing backwards. She does that when hauled loose. These look really nice!

TuxWink
Feb. 28, 2011, 04:22 PM
I'm in love with these. Really nice!

FrankDiBella
Mar. 1, 2011, 03:32 PM
Great thanks everyone for the feedback! We know how stressful and complicated horse transportation can be so our goal is to make these horse vans as simple, user friendly, and stress-free as possible.:)