Fifteen months ago, after more than 10 years of driving trucks, I became a van man. I started doing construction projects while still in high school, picking up lumber in the family Suburban. Eventually I acquired a Ranger and an old F-250 flatbed, which together formed a pretty good setup for a variety of jobs. After contracting in California for a number of years, I decided to get serious about finish work, and in the summer of 2012 moved to Tennessee and went to work for a high-end trim carpentry outfit. Before leaving, I sold my trucks and started to think about what I would drive now that my requirements had changed. On small jobs it might be necessary to haul material but on large jobs it’s delivered—so for the most part I need only transport the tools for one trade (tool-intensive though it is). I thought I would buy another truck, but with some encouragement from my new boss, I began to look at vans. The Chevy Uplander was too small, and full-size Ford and Chevy vans were too large. Sprinters were similarly gigantic, and expensive. Ultimately I settled on the Ford Transit, a small European-style van that in a few short years has gone from being an oddity to something you see all the time.
I bought a used 2010 Transit Connect XLT. It cost about $20k and there were 24,000 miles on the odometer. There are two seats in front and a large cargo area in back. The cargo area can be accessed through a pair of outswing doors on the rear of the vehicle or sliding doors on either side. Working out of this vehicle forced me to change the way I hauled and organized tools but it has been worth it. For photos and a description of how I organized my tools to fit in a smaller vehicle see the slideshow on this page.