Some of you may recall me from some time back. When I first came around here, I though I had quite a decent chunk of coin coming via a lawsuit but...California's Attorney General had other ideas and settled the case out from under myself and my co-plaintiff.
So, I ended up with $76k. Ah well
. NOT enough to even think about a Renegade/Showhauler/etc.
I pondered the idea of a bus conversion for a while. Most older buses can't be set up to take a bike up a ramp into a bay in the rear. The exception is the Bluebird (or older Wanderlodge on the same chassis) as they're "mechanically similar" to a commercial mid-duty truck and have strong frame rails going to the back bumper and a front engine that doesn't get in the way. But retro-fitting something like that with a garage would be an undertaking, costs would still climb, they're autos with either a gashog of a gasser motor or a Cat3208 which sucks Diesel just as bad (6mpg common on a 35ft rig). Plus they're generally 6'3" inside and I'm 6'4"
But then, I found something...unusual. I found what appears to be an "early ancestor" of the whole Truck Conversion industry - a 32ft overall critter, 16ft living space plus cabover bed PLUS rear garage...currently only partially covered, on a Ford F450 chassis!
It's freakin' *amazing*. Condition is close to mint - 100% functional, 97% cosmetic...a few paint chips here and there, a place where a branch did a 2" wide dimple in the cabover-bed aluminum skin but no breakthrough. Aluminum skin appears to be a heavier grade, certainly thicker than most cargo trailers. Steel tube frame chassis, all hardwood cabinetry, serious quality throughout. The undercarriage looked to be WAY beefy and in good shape.
Yeah, it's a gasser, an FI460 Ford...but somebody had it who cared about mileage. They added vaccum and fuel injector pressure gauges, plus of course it's a highway-geared manual tranny. Watch the guages some, keep it at 65, it's a 15mpg+ rig.
Some googling showed that "Hansen Haulers" is now a "Hansen's Machine Shop" in Sacramento at the same address, same owners, out of the conversion biz though. I talked to the owner, who explained that this beastie is probably one of his first of a total of about 50 rigs between 1988 and 1998.
The "pickup truck nose" may be funky but it makes working on this puppy a sheer joy.
I stopped by "Dr. George" (see also http://www.rvdoctorgeorge.com
) local to me in Sacramento - this guy has a really solid rep in RV repair. His ballpark is that $6k, $7k tops would let him add more framing, a rear door and fully skin/insulate and enclose the rear garage. I may also turn the "garage area under the bed" into additional living space area...I need motorcycle hauling, not a full-length car
. And I'll also be adding a good inverter and battery bank, up near $3k worth.
Yeah, it's a bit small but not too bad for one guy and the occasional guest, or even a couple. The build quality is literally Showhauler/Wildside/etc level, on a sort of "slightly mini scale". It's so far beyond the build level of a mass-market RV it ain't funny. It won't have the monster towing ability of a modern high-bucks rig but I don't need towing, once I've got bikes on board I won't need a trailer at all.
It's mine now.
It's a happy ending on a budget and gives me what may be the oldest professionally built truck conversion on the road
and the ancestor of y'all's rigs with more bucks in