10 years in Taffy – an S C Sporthomes Motorhome Long Term Use Review

When we were looking for our second motorhome we visited various manufacturers both in the UK and in Europe. We eventually decided on S C Sporthomes to build us our dream vehicle on an MAN 8.180 chassis. It took the best part of a year, was very late and arrived overweight and had to be replated to 9.5 tonnes. This was undoubtedly due to the weight of the wood used to construct the inside of the van – it’s so heavy it take two of you to lift a piece easily about the size of the entrance door. Bad planning? Well, we thought so originally when we had to get an LGV licence to be able to drive it, but 10 years on it seems to have been an excellent choice of wood. Most vans show sign of ageing, both in their selection of interior design styles and the everyday bangs and knocks you get from using it. Taffy has been used extensively used, at least 6 months a year for the first 6 years and then almost permanently since. The interior looks almost as good today as it did 10 years ago. The wood board is still in mint condition, the material on the seats is in a good state but does show signs of wear if you look hard enough and the black worktops and splash backs are still very very good too.  All in all, a great choice of materials.

When people come into the van to have a look at it – and we still get people knocking on the door asking to have a look inside today – they always comment on how great she still looks and this is particularly amazing when you think she’s done 120,000Km in places from Russia, through Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, to Morocco and to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Much of this on dirt, gravel, stone and roads where the pot holes outnumber the tarmac. She’s been shaken rattled and rolled about on these roads and still works at the end of a day, and looks amazing too. When Taffy arrives anywhere everyone stops to look. We’ve met other people where these conditions have made cupboards fall off walls and frames split, but Taffy has so many screws and fixings in it I’m sure we’ve got more screws than Homebase. But its paid off. Taffy is so solid you can rely on her – totally. But this robustness hasn’t been accomplished at the expense of class and luxury. Action Mobil vehicles – who are the Rolls Royce of 4×4 off road expedition vehicles – are normally plain boxes on the backs of trucks, very Spartan inside and expensive. We’ve been in many of these and they are plain, functional and, well, in our book dull. Taffy is a high class yacht on wheels, it is so spacious you can jump up and down in her and not touch the ceiling and feels like a home. It’s not claustrophobic and doesn’t need wide angle photos to make it look enormous inside, yet is only 7.98m long but 9 paces from lounge to bathroom! 

Of course all motorhomes have teething problems, but ours were early on. The fuel tank design was poor – long tanks (2 metres perhaps), supported on 3 brackets let them wobble and split in Egypt and we replaced our 3 tanks for one large one dumping our diesel generator which we’d never used due to our huge solar array. (8 panels).

The windows weren’t fitted properly, the seals around the outside of the window (not against the body itself but on the drip guard at the top of the window) were not applied correctly so the drip tray on the inside of our windows filled up every time it rained. S C couldn’t track this issue down despite a few attempts, blaming condensation, but after resealing these outside Drip guards the problem stopped instantly.

The heating also gave us issues with far too many bends in the air blown pipe work to allow heat to be effective and likewise the air con suffered the same issues. These were fairly straight forward to resolve and were I think more to do with an unfamiliarity with the systems than anything else. Once resolved everything worked fine and has done since.

But really,  for a bespoke one off design these issues were almost insignificant –  though at the time drove us crazy! 

We’ve had some parts wear out – one diesel heater died in a smoke screen a destroyer would have been proud of and the bellows for the marine vacuum toilet wore out after 9 years. These really are consumables, they won’t last for ever and its amazing in my book that a heater that sits under the van being constantly covered in crap from the road worked for so long in the first place. As for the loo, well, its a real pain in the arse to service but again it was just wear and tear.

So, overall after 10 years in Taffy, are we glad we bought her and still have her? Definitely! Would we use SC again? Yes! Though we’ve got no intention of selling Taffy anytime soon and I’m not sure they’d want another order from us as Taffy was such a difficult project! But if you are looking for a company to build you a motorhome that’s robust and can withstand almost anything, short of being a 4×4 then SC should be on your list of makers to visit. You’ll get an incredibly solid and well built vehicle that looks stunning years later at a good price. Be prepared for some missed deadlines and last minute fixes though, but it’s all worth it in the end if you have a vehicle you can rely on totally, feel comfortable in and above all is rock solid and reliable.