Thursday, June 13, 2024

eBay crowns the winner of first ever eBay Van Conversion of the Year Awards

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Automobile Magazine
Editor | News | United Kingdom

eBay has announced Paul White and his AmBEERlance as the overall winner of its inaugural Van Conversion of the Year Awards.

Paul White, a bar owner from Liverpool, battled it out against hundreds of other van converters and has won a £10,000 cash prize. As well as taking home the top prize for his creation, Paul was also judged to be the “Best Business Entry”.

Paul’s wife, Clare, applied to the awards on Paul’s behalf as she felt he deserved recognition for his work during COVID. When their business, The Dog House bar, had to close during restrictions, the pair were left questioning their future. Paul decided to diversify. If regulars couldn’t come to the bar, the bar would come to them.

This is how the AmBEERlance came to life. The Peugeot Boxer had previously been used as an ambulance, but is now a fully functioning and licenced bar. Thanks to its former role, there was plenty of space available to convert it into the mobile pub Paul was after.

On how the AmBEERlance came to life, Paul said: “One thing you couldn’t get in lockdown was freshly pulled pints, so the van allowed us to visit our regulars, while spreading a bit of joy. It also allowed us to pay our staff in full while the bar was closed and they were furloughed. It was so lovely to see neighbours buying each other pints to say ‘thank you’ as they were high risk so unable to go out”.

It took Paul just four days to complete the conversion during lockdown, after which, he took it out to serve the local community.

Paul said: “It kept us afloat; we wouldn’t have survived without it. We were able to source most of the parts from eBay, such as the solar panels, the lithium batteries, and the electrics. It made a massive difference because we needed everything fast so we could get out and see our regulars and other locals.”

The judging panel consisted of: TV presenter and architect, host of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces, George Clarke; bespoke engineering and design company, Envisage Group; and eBay’s Vehicle Parts and Accessories Category Lead, Laura Richards. The panel worked hard considering hundreds of impressive entries, ranging from tremendous tradesmen transformations to the chicest campervan conversions from specialist industries and “Van Lifers”.

George Clarke, said: “It was an absolute pleasure judging eBay’s first ever Van Conversion Awards. The story of Paul’s conversion really stood out for me. It’s quite amazing how a simple, humble van can actually save a business and the staff’s livelihood. He hasn’t gone over-the-top, he kept it functional, getting what he needed from eBay and having it up and running and serving the community in just four days, which is amazing!”

Laura Richards, eBay Vehicle Parts and Accessories category lead, said: “We’ve loved going through all the entries; Paul’s was extremely impressive in terms of becoming a functional and successful business. It’s great to see how eBay’s range and speed of delivery has been part of his story, and so many of the other entrant’s conversions as well. It’s been truly remarkable seeing what can be achieved in the space.”

Nick Colledge, Managing Director, Envisage Group, said“It’s been  hard choosing a winner as all conversions show tremendous imagination and workmanship to create the final product. From those that have no experience whatsoever to the expert professionals, we’ve been incredibly impressed by the outcome of so many of them.”

Before selecting the overall winner, eBay’s judging panel managed to whittle it down to seven stand-out van conversions, including Paul’s, from the following categories: Most Stylish Design, Best Business Entry, Best Luxury Camper, Best Professional Conversion, Engineering Innovation, Thriftiest Conversion and Best Beginner Build.

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