Some timely updates:
It has been some time since this website was updated. This is totally my fault and I can only plead work pressures as the change to the kids managing the farm while we supervise takes place.
In the meantime very little has happened with VP as she is almost ready to hit the road anyway. We have been building a trailer for the Grand Vitara and the progress for that can be seen on the trailer page in the menu.
As we move to a more supervisory role in the farm management area I should have more time to keep this site updated. Thank you for you patience.
It has now been over three years (where has that time gone) since we launched this site and it has been a pretty hectic time since then. There has been so much to learn about our model, where to find the things we need to find, where to purchase things at an affordable price and of course more frame rust than was expected to deal with. The site has developed in that time to be a contact point for many others (surprised at how many are out there) going down this road, pun? in some cases you have been on it for years, (the build road, not the real one). Now we have international viewers as the site has crept up the ratings and that has led to contact on some overseas forums as well.
We have had to develop the site as interest in our project has grown, and contacts have built up. That is why some sections like the forum, have been added, to try and keep the info flowing (it goes both ways). These we will develop further as time permits. We have also met some wonderful people who appreciate the site, the buying group, and the confirmation that they are not alone !
The buying group also has come about from a suggestion that we should combine resources to try and save some money and manufacturers are coming to realise a sale at wholesale price for their product is better than no sale at all. If you are interested have a look at that page.
Our own motorhome build is an Austral Tourmaster, ex 53 seater, 12.5 mtrs long, tag axle coach with the v6 turbo-ed Detroit diesel and 6 speed Spicer gearbox. The coach will cruise comfortably at 100 kph. It will be converted over the next 30 months and a series of small trips undertaken to allow for any adjustments that need to be made.
It is also a lot of fun to be able to help when people ask your advice, if we have already done it.
Our own build is progressing nicely, we are planning on a finish by March 2014, which is a little later than thought originally, due to a fool of a farm manager not realising what a good deal he was getting . Probably 2 weeks would be enough to finish VP if left totally alone, but it seems is not to be for a little while at least.
I will leave the below in place (first posting and early on this page) for first time viewers, so they can read where we have come from, and get an idea of what has happened early on in this conversion.
We will do the conversion ourselves as we have the skills available amongst our farm workforce, and of course if you are farming, you have access to a fair bit of equipment.
We are not complete novices, many years ago Bill converted a Sydney suburban bus (AEC 11.3 ltr underfloor mid mount) back in the days when the term motorhome probably wasn’t invented, as most people, when informed of what Bill was doing would say “don’t you mean a caravan?” Bill and his mates had a ton of fun going to open air rock concerts, skiing trips etc, but eventually a guy offered Bill $12K (35 years ago !) of gold nuggets for the vehicle so it was bye bye bus. In the intervening years it has been head down bum up building a business, but Bill has always had an eye out for an Austral or Denning at the right price.
We will go all fibreglass outer skins and roof, retain and re-use the front and rear headers (fibre glass) and thus keep the water out. We have done a 350mm roof lift as we will not be doing the common passage down the middle, but instead down one side. This allows us to have a flat ceiling, and makes running wires much easier. The products for fixing skins etc that are available now are far more advanced than when the coach was built.
While not needing to adhere to a budget, tight control will be exercised over what goes into this vehicle, as there are far too many palaces (in our humble opinion) out there that have had way too much capital invested in them, that will never be returned. Further into the conversion we will do a budget category detailing our spending if people find that useful.
We invite you to follow our progress over the next couple of years as we finish this project, and we will post some contact details . If you are doing a conversion, or a supplier who would like a link to your site feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.