Our truck is a 1978 Renault Estafette. The front wheel drive Estafettes were introduced in France in 1959. While initially intended as courier vans, many later models post 1968 were used as gendarmerie police vans. Our little high-top was found just north of the art and history hub of Rennes. Despite it’s many years, it was in pretty good shape and ripping up the old floor revealed relatively little rust. After a few minor hitches, a new fan belt, new inner tubes and tyres, he runs like a dream!


In order to help others convert their own vans and keep the food truck movement going in the UK we’ve detailed the stages of our conversion. If you have any questions we’ll be happy to answer for a small consultancy fee (your food!).

We’ve named our Estafette “Emilio”. Check out our gallery to see the restoration and conversion into “the little taquero”.


The van was originally white. The bodywork needed little work in terms of ironing out dents. After the sandblasting and the primer coat it was time to get sanding again.

Renault Estafette Taco Truck Before
Renault Estafette Taco Truck Inside Before
Renault Estafette Taco Truck Pre Respray
Renault Estafette Taco Truck Side Before Hatch
Renault Estafette Taco Truck Side Before Respray
Renault Estafette Taco Truck Side Before
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X1 Primer Coat Finished
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X2 Rubbing Down


Renault Estafette Taco Truck X3 Orange Front
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X4 Orange Side
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X5 Back Stripe
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X5 Door Finished
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X6 Front Stripe
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X7 Cream Complete Rear
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X8 Cream Complete Front
Renault Estafette Taco Truck X92 Wheels


The previous ply lining was rotten in a few places leading to some rust damage. The bulkhead was in good shape and there was even a secret hatch for storage above the driver. A feature we have chosen to keep. The 6mm ply floor was coated in a fibreglass which chewed through a number of blades when trying to remove it. After repairing the rust and putting some decent insulation in place some brand new plywood lined the inside. Non-slip vinyl was then laid to finish the floor.

1 Inside Before
2 Inside Floor Removed
3 Insulation
4 Corner Before
5 Corner Repair
6 Corner Ply
7 Roof Before
8 Roof After


The hours of cutting the laminate by hand and gluing resulted in a really nice finish. A new door was created through to the cab, a couple of Mexican features added, and a space on the wall tiled in preparation for the sinks.

Inside Floor And Ply
1 Laminate
3 Laminate Walls Finished
4 Laminate Wall
5 Tiles
6 Rear View
7 Door
8 Hatch


Back to work, cutting 30mm plywood for the worktops. The Ply was marked out and cut to fit perfectly along the walls. Brushed stainless sheet was stuck to the surface for a great looking, hygienic work surface. The Griddles were put in place and the gas hooked up. The ply edges and bottom were treated with food-safe oil which really brought out the stripes of the ply. With the spare wheel and gas bottles secured it’s time to drive to the electrician!

1 Ply Worktops Sanding Circular Holes
2 Joining Worktops
3 Joining Worktops
4 Adjusting Worktop Height
5 Stainless Counters In Place
6 Soup Kettle And Griddles
7 Stainless Steel On Plywood Counters
8 Stainless Round Sinks With Mexican Tiles


Electrics and plumbing are in. The beautiful shiny stainless counters are exposed. Now for the Finishing touches. The tortilladora was secured to the worktop for making perfect corn tortillas. The traditional drinks fountain secured to the front counter for making tasty refrescos. Appliances brought in and secured for transit. Now to crack on with making it all look pretty!

1 Tortilladora
2 Counter And Tap Clear
3 Pressure Cooker And Counter
4 Serving Counter With Drinks Fountain
6 Graphics Front
7 Graphics Rear
8 The Little Taquero
9 Well Deserved Beer