Digger: Can you
please tell us a little bit about your background and the
background to Silverbean Trailers?
James: I started
converting coffee vans in 2005. In 2010 I decided to
start converting bigger vans/trailers for catering use as
the only catering trailers I could see at shows were the
standard white box with various standards of sign writing.
So I looked into H - vans, airstream trailers, vintage
milk floats, bay window and split screen VW's and I even
drew up plans for a cart (as in horse and cart!) for an
eye catching unit! Bad idea - horse's and food are not an
ideal match! I decided to go for the Airstream trailer
because of it's iconic looks and the internal space. All
the airstreams I could find were very old and needed a
significant amount of work to bring them up to a standard
suitable for Environmental Health and suitable for road
use. So I spoke to my friend Peter, who had been restoring
all things American and vintage, including Airstreams. We
decided there was a gap in the market. The problem is
sourcing and restoring a vintage trailer, and bringing it
up to modern standards, is only fractionally cheaper than
building a brand new one. So off we went to the drawing
board. We built a 16ft caravan first, and it looked
amazing! New galvanised chassis, new brakes, new
electrics, new skin...new everything. We then built the
same style caravan, or shell, as a catering unit with a
serving hatch on the near side. I still have that trailer
and use it regularly at shows and outdoor events. The
design has improved a lot since the first two trailers,
but the eye-catching look and high build quality remain
Digger: Please tell
us more about what people can expect at Silverbean
Trailers and about the sorts of conversions you have done.
Trailers specialises in selling high quality trailers for
commercial use as a catering trailer or promotional
Digger: What various
options and services are available?
James: If it's a
commercial unit you want then our imagination is the only
limit we set. The most popular
trailer is the catering trailer with stainless worktops all
round the edge of the trailer and counter-sunk sinks near
the A frame.
Digger: What are your
particular retro/vintage passions?
James: A cherry red
and white VW samba 1950/1960 model. In my dreams... In
truth, I love anything well designed. I have a particular
passion for the phrase "over-engineered" because I get
in a rage with flimsy design. Throw away society do not
understand this concept. A cheap pair of shoes from the £1
shop will not make an economical purchase in comparison to
a pair of bench-made Loakes.
Digger: You also do
coffee van refits and customisations for catering as well
as coffee machines. Please tell us a little more about
James: I take a modern
(sorry!) van - a VW Transporter preferably though a
Mercedes Vito will suffice, and fit solid butcher's block
worktop, a Victron power supply, an under vehicle LPG
tank, a dual fuel espresso machine and some refrigeration
and storage. A true mobile espresso bar.