It’s a road trip to rival any Top Gear expedition.
What better way for businessman David Elliott to show off his Huddersfield-built Ford Terrier campervan conversion than to drive it 4,500 miles to the Ford factory in Turkey which makes the Transit Custom on which it is based?
The trip proved an eye-opener for David, managing director of Shepley-based Wellhouse Leisure, and his co-driver and work colleague Layne Stuart whose epic day journey took them through 10 countries before they rolled up outside the Ford Otosan factory in Istanbul.
Said David: “I wanted to go to the Ford Transit factory in Turkey to show them how Wellhouse creates the award-winning Terrier campervan from a Transit Custom. And why not? Everyone loves a good road trip – and the Terrier certainly proved it could take it all in its stride.”
David and Stuart set out early on a Sunday and passed through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria before crossing into Turkey in three days after driving an average of nearly 800 miles a day.
After a factory tour to see Ford Custom vans rolling off the production line, David proudly showcased the Wellhouse Ford Terrier with its Made in Huddersfield nameplate to senior management and some of the factory’s 10,000 employees so they could see how Wellhouse Leisure converts the Transit Custom into the Ford Terrier.
The following day, David and Stuart set off for home and travelled almost 2,200 miles back to Shepley in just 48 hours.
Said David: “It was an amazing trip. We’ve seen some amazing sights, from remote parts of Europe we’re never likely to see again – and some we probably don’t want to see again – to the impressive Ford factory. We were delighted to receive such a warm welcome from everyone at the Ford Otosan plant.”
He said: “In Croatia, we were travelling on a two-lane motorway built with EU money. It was 10am and you couldn’t see another car for miles. In Serbia, we saw wild dogs everywhere, which felt weird.”
In Bulgaria, the duo unwisely followed their sat-nav instead of the local direction signs and ended up down an unpaved road driving past a travellers’ camp before finding their way back to the motorway to Istanbul. They also saw huge, deserted factories – relics of the Cold War era.
“With 120km to go, it took us two hours to get to Istanbul, but another two hours to do the final 20 miles because the roads were so congested,” said David. “There were people on the motorway with shopping trolleys trying to sell goods.”
Said David: “Apart from getting lost in Bulgaria and thinking we weren’t going to survive the complete traffic chaos of the Istanbul rush hour, the trip went extremely well and really proved that the Ford Terrier is designed and built to undertake long distances trips like this in its stride.”
Will Periam, deputy general manager at Ford Otosan, said: “It was great to meet David Elliott in Turkey and to show him our factory producing the Ford Transit, Transit Custom and Transit Courier vehicles. We were very interested and proud to see the product converted into the Terrier vehicle.”