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Motorhome Review: Custom Campers Iveco


Your first time of laying eyes upon the latest creation to roll from the Custom Campers workshop might very well draw gasps of awe from you. First of all, there’s the sheer size of the thing: long, tall, and wide, it carries a physical presence second to none. Secondly, this vehicle really seems to have it all. It’s a comprehensively-equipped overland vehicle that also boasts all the comforts you’d expect in a high-tech, luxurious motorhome.

Words & Pictures by Martin Pretorius

That’s the nice thing about commissioning a custom-built camping vehicle: it can be whatever you want it to be, provided that your budget is generous enough. Selecting an Iveco 55S15W chassis cab to carry all this luxury sets the tone for the project. It’s a well-regarded platform with genuine 4×4 abilities, and offers the flexibility needed to create a genuinely unique motorhome.

It does stand quite high off the ground, though. The perception that luxury motorhomes are meant for retirees and other comfort-minded folks is shattered by this creation’s lofty ground-clearance, which will allow only the reasonably limber and agile into its plush living quarters.

Getting into the (standard) fifthgeneration Iveco cabin is quite a step into the blue, and entering the plush accommodation quarters requires the use of a stepladder. That’s not through any fault of Custom Campers, mind you: every off-road-capable camping vehicle is, to some extent, hamstrung by exactly the same limitation.

And off-road-capable this camper certainly is. There’s a burly 3.0-litre turbodiesel up front (with a custom 300-litre fuel tank), permanent all wheel drive with a four-speed transfer case and three differential locks, all supported by a set of chunky Michelin tyres. If you really want to take your home where none has gone before, this is a good way of going about it.

But that chassis cab is only a solid starting point, because what happens to it in the Custom Campers’ factory really rounds off the package. There are hefty fabricated bumpers on each end, each carrying a remote-controlled 12500 pound Warn Zion winch in a reinforced casing. The front bumper is integrated into a tubular steel external cab guard, and the rear winch serves a double purpose as lifting assistant for the two spare wheels, through an intricate gantry-and-pulley system which is part of the rear fascia.

Custom Campers Iveco Images

Great care was taken to fit all the accessories above the chassis line, giving unimpeded approach- and breakover angles, while the rear end has a significant undercut in its design to ensure a good departure angle.

This Iveco might not really be your first choice for a serious rock-climbing mission, but it certainly won’t struggle to traverse a rocky, muddy or flooded mountain track.

The oily bits might be ready for the rough stuff, but the living quarters have a definite air of sophistication. Once you’ve ascended the (removable) aluminium ladder, you’ll find a cleverly laid out kitchen immediately on your left, numerous storage compartments (all finished in a classy grey to go with the laminated wood flooring) to your right, and a shower/toilet (complete with a cute little WC logo on its door) in front of you.

Storage compartments can be found inside and out around the rear section: there are voluminous drawers under the double bed, shallower lidded shelves (with built-in LED lighting) above the bed, and cupboards and drawers on both sides of the outside walls.

As if that were not enough, a pair of large SnoMaster fridge/freezer units slides out from the driver’s side of the short hallway, opposite the kitchen.

The kitchen itself is a model of packaging efficiency. The washbasin has a collapsible faucet and a hard cover to create extra work-space on the kitchen counter, a drawer underneath hides a Snappy Chef induction stove, and a shelf above houses the Defy microwave oven along with some securely-mounted coffee mugs. Not that you’d be limited to cooking indoors. Open one of the locking external storage drawers on the passenger side of the camping area, and another induction stove and folding washbasin appear.

Combined with the electrically operated Fiamma awning, this creates a wellequipped outside cooking-and-kuier area, complete with remote-controlled spotlights dotted around the exterior.

Electrical outlets and hidden lights are spread throughout the living room, with most plugs and switches located around the kitchen area. These electrical outlets are powered by one of the most powerful electrical systems around – a huge solar panel mounted atop the reinforced flip-up roof panel, feeding into a quad deep-cycle battery array and regulated by a 5000W Victron inverter/charger system, to provide enough 220V power for all these electrical gadgets.

Other home comforts are provided by a geyser capable of running on either 220V or gas (fed by four externallymounted cylinders), along with a 300-litre water reservoir.

A motorhome allows you to take the comforts of your residence wherever you wish to go, but this off-road Custom Camper extends that freedom to places that normal vehicles could only hope to reach. Doing so with all these features and modern conveniences moves this recreational vehicle into the luxury realm – a fact reflected by the R1.4-million price tag (including the cost of the base vehicle) estimated for this specific camper. Of course, much of that price is due to the superb electrical system and luxury appointments, and can be reduced quite nicely by cutting down on induction stoves, batteries and fridges, and lowering your standards regarding the solar system and inverter.

But, however you look at it, this has to be one of the ultimate ways of combining the great outdoors and uncharted territories with the comfort of your own home. Think of it as a go-anywhere luxury loft apartment, and you’re halfway there.

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