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Motorhome to take the family through Africa

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VIEWS

When Gustav & Annelise Marais came across this all-aluminium game viewer body, built by reputable manufacturer Alu-Cab, they knew they had found the perfect truck body for their family camper vehicle!

The Marais had been dreaming of owing a motorhome for years but cost of these vehicles are high, and they wanted a 4×4-capable motorhome to be able to go places where standard motorhomes with low ground clearance and 2-wheel drivetrains could not.

Another issue was that unlike rigid chassis motorhomes, most truck chassis based motorhomes are usually only homologated for two (driver plus one) – so unless you purchase a double cab truck on a big price tag, and consequently also give up a lot of accommodation space, where do you travel the kids legally?

Then they came across this game viewer body at a truck yard and decided to project manage a build themselves.

YOUR DREAM COME TRUE


Are you interested in living the off-road life? Want to go anywhere in Africa with the whole family?

This incredible vehicle is now FOR SALE.

If you are interested in buying this custom-built off-road motorhome, simply fill in the enquiry form at the bottom of this page, or click here.

Gustav & Annelise were confident that with all the research done and years of camping and traveling experience behind them they would be able to design and custom build a family camper just the way they wanted it.

The added bonus was that this body had already been homologated at great expense to carry passengers, and is officially registered as a motorhome to carry seven seated persons.

But they did a lot more than just build their own dream camper truck. Realizing that the vehicle also has to appeal to other families in the event of eventual sale they refrained from adding too many personal features and rather concentrated on building a good all-rounder that has all the amenities and features found in all good motorhomes.

Secondly they wanted to ensure that everything was done according to the book for safety and insurance company purposes. For this the Marais’ approached Rainbow Polyurethane, a registered MIB (Manufacturer, Importer & Builder) of vehicles based in Parow Industria for the conversion of their game viewer body.

Before the fun could start the body had to be fitted to their newly purchased choice of chassis, a Fuso FG6-136 4×4. For this they Marais chose Vebody, a warranty approved truck body builder based in Stikland, Cape Town.

They also had to get rid of the dual wheels that come standard on the Fuso and spared no cost by importing a set of 6x 17” tubeless rims from the industry leader in Australia! SGS Motorsport & Rim in KZN helped to have specialist 37’ tyres with a 131N rating, and payload of 1 950 kg per tyre, imported and homologated for SA. These tyres are vital for this weight of truck. No other brand of tyre available on the SA market offers this load rating.

THE VEHICLE

The Marais’s choice of truck chassis was really dictated by the Alu-Cab body, as the body was manufactured for the Fuso FG6 4×4, originally to be used as a passenger game viewer demo. The Fuso FG6-136 4×4 is classed as a light commercial truck with a GVM of 6 ton fitted with Lo/Hi range capability and a central diff-lock. A more than capable base vehicle for a 4×4 family overland camper!

Although the max speed on the FG6 is electronically limited to 115 km/h the gear ratios on the FG6 are low, almost tractor-like, and it allows the 4-cylinder 4.0 tdi engine to trundle along happily at 80 – 90 km/h when loaded. The national max speed limit in SA for this size vehicle is 80 km/h, although motorhomes are usually exempt from this.

Remember, this vehicle was built as an off the beaten track motorhome, where even 80 km/h would be too fast a speed to travel at. If you want to race to a campsite 300 km away after work on a Friday for a quick weekend’s camping, then this vehicle is not for you.

Ultimately, this is a lifestyle vehicle for a family that likes to adventure travel during their holidays!

The FG also lives happily on sand, as seen here on the famous sand dunes of Atlantis just outside Cape Town and seaside at Walker Bay Nature Reserve.

The main addition to the Alu-Cab shell in terms of space was a bed-over-cab extension to facilitate a queen size bed, thus freeing up living space. For this some engineering drawings were required and the front of the body was cut out accordingly to allow for the extension.

What is particularly interesting about this build is that apart from the pop-up roof over the queen bed, the entire bed-over-cab extension itself can also be lifted up on pneumatic cylinders, with the push of a lever, allowing for the tilt of the truck cab.

This is important to enable checking your engine oil for example, or maintenance access to the engine bay. Without this very thoughtfull feature one would have to remove the entire body for engine servicing! It is a very clever feature indeed.

INTERIOR

Following all the structural work, it was finally time for the interior fitment. After the body panels were insulated the entire interior layout was laser cut from aluminium sheet for a lightweight solution. This also makes this one of the most hard-wearing and easy to clean interior fitments you can hope for.

Everything inside this camper body has been manufactured with practicality and ease of maintenance in mind. Truly build tough for Africa!

A well-planned sleek and modern interior allows for ample storage, table-side dining for four people and sleeping for four (two single and one queen bed).

There is a 230 L Zero gas/electric fridge/freezer and microwave above it (with ample space if you wanted to upgrade to a convection grill combo). Plus there is a full wetroom with Thetford electric flush cartridge toilet, basin and shower. A Hansen gas/electric geyser and two 24v waterpumps enable water flow of residential house proportion!

Apart from the expected two-burner Dometic gas hob and hot and cold water sink, the level of detail in craftsmanship is evident in the interior kitchen space where you will find cut-to-size inserts in the drawers for your plates, mugs and cutlery.

There is an excellent exterior kitchen that include a gas grill for a quick roadside “boereworsie”, and Snappy Chef convection hob. The latter has its own dedicated magnetic base pots and pans at hand.

At the rear end of the camper body you will find a dedicated storage room with all the space you could need. This space also holds the house batteries and electrical installation, and is accessed via its own door separate from the living space.

KITTED OUT

For adventures off the grid, the motorhome is built with with six 12V deep cycle batteries and two 3 000 W inverters.

It is also fitted with a PTO, tank and rear hydraulic outriggers great for levelling when parking to camp. And they come in very handy when having to change a rear flat tyre as you can simply lift the rear of the truck off the ground with them!

A roof-mounted winch that swivels above the 2x rear spare wheels makes lifting those heavy wheels child’s play.

THE JOURNEY

After some local camping excursions around the Western Cape and an epic 5 000 km round-trip to and around Namibia, the Marais family has decided to part with their one-of-a-kind 4×4 motorhome and it is now available for sale.

Don’t think however they are parting with their much-loved baby, “Vlakvark” as Gustav and Annelise like to call it, because they are tired of this lifestyle. Nothing of the sort!

The reason they are selling is because they have already purchased a much larger 15-ton truck and a new build is under way at Custom Campers to fulfil a life-long dream of home schooling their children on the road around the world for the next three to four years. They plan on departing Cape Town early next year.

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