Truck­ing off the black­top in style

Big Rigs - - BORDER TRUCKERS - TRUCKIN’ ON THE BOR­DER DAVID VILE con­trib­u­tors@bi­grigs.com.au

FOR many in­volved in road trans­port, time off the high­way is put to good use get­ting out into the el­e­ments chas­ing a few fish or get­ting off the black­top camp­ing or four-wheel driv­ing.

How­ever for those want­ing to get away from it all in style and not in your com­mon-va­ri­ety LandCruiser or Pa­jero, the Iveco/Ex­pe­di­tion com­bi­na­tion de­vel­oped by Earthcruiser Aus­tralia should fill your needs.

Tak­ing cen­tre stage on the Ad­trans/Iveco stand at the re­cent Na­tional 4X4 Show, the off-road rig drew a con­stant stream of vis­i­tors over the event’s three days.

Based in North Wol­lon­gong, Earthcruiser Aus­tralia spe­cialises in the de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of ex­pe­di­tion campers for re­mote ar­eas and ex­tended travel.

Over a num­ber of years the com­pany has de­vel­oped its range of campers through rig­or­ous field test­ing both in the Aus­tralian en­vi­ron­ment and overseas.

The Earthcruiser on show in Melbourne was mod­elled on the Iveco Daily Euro 6 truck chas­sis, which, with a 6-tonne GVM can be driven on a light or medium rigid li­cence. With a 3-litre power plant push­ing out 170 horse­power, a 6-speed man­ual gear­box pro­vides the mo­tive power.

A 2-speed trans­fer case, along with front, cen­tre and rear diff locks, gives the ve­hi­cle the ca­pa­bil­ity to tackle al­most any chal­lenge off road.

Airbag sus­pen­sion al­lows for a smooth ride, with the Quadra-flate air sys­tem al­low­ing all four tyres to be in­flated si­mul­ta­ne­ously when pres­sures have to be re­duced.

In­side, the ve­hi­cle is fit­ted out to al­low for long-term self-suf­fi­cient liv­ing.

Sleep­ing five, the cam­per has a full kitchen and en­suite with toi­let, shower and hot wa­ter unit. Power is pro­vided via so­lar pan­els, with an in­verter al­low­ing 240-volt con­nec­tion.

Out­side the cam­per is fit­ted with two spare tyres, roof racks, bull­bar with LED light­ing and two winches.

The truck can carry 340 litres of wa­ter and 340 litres of fuel, al­low­ing for ex­tended trips away from sup­plies.

Alex Portelli, from Earthcruiser pointed out that the model on show, like the rest of the units pro­duced by the com­pany, was tai­lor-made to cus­tomers’ re­quire­ments.

“All our trucks are pur­pose-built for the customer, we build to spec. We have a range of sizes – a 3.3, 3.4 and 3.6m cam­per – and we do all our own chas­sis en­gi­neer­ing. Lit­er­ally the sky is the limit as to what we can put in them. We can go as far as your imag­i­na­tion can take you,” he said.

The com­pany ear­lier this year re­leased the Ex­plorer XPR440, which is based on the re­cently re­leased Mercedes Benz Un­i­mog U430, with the com­pany also de­vel­op­ing a smaller unit for the Mercedes Benz G-Wagon.

Isuzu and Fuso chas­sis are also en­gi­neered for the fit­ment of the Earthcruiser prod­uct, al­though the Iveco is a pop­u­lar choice among cus­tomers.

“The ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Iveco are un­be­liev­able,” Alex said.

“With the front, cen­tre and rear diff locks and the two-speed trans­fer case, with the winch and the lock­ers, you can pull it up any slope you point it at,” he said.

The Earthcruiser has be­come a pop­u­lar op­tion for those want­ing to head off the beaten track with the de­mand keep­ing the fac­tory busy.

“We have quite a few trucks out there now. We have two in the work­shop and an­other five wait­ing to be built,” Alex said.

So for those who want to leave the high­way and leave the world be­hind for a while, the Earthcruiser might be just the ve­hi­cle to get you there… and back.

“These trucks are made to go re­mote – pack them up and off you go. You can sus­tain an out­back life­style within a lux­u­ri­ous cam­per,” Alex said.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to www.earthcruiser.net.au.

PHOTOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: Alex Portelli with the Iveco in Melbourne.

For re­mote and ex­tended trips, the Earthcruiser is hard to beat.

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