A home away from home
A motorhome from Brisbane is ready for anything, reports MARK HINCHLIFFE
ATORTUROUS six-month, 37,000km test that included the notoriously rough Road of Bones in Russia has ensured an Australian-made all-terrain motor home is ready for anything.
Brisbane adventurer Kym Bolton had two prototypes for his 2007 trek and after interest from fellow travellers he went into production with the vehicle he calls the EarthCruiser.
‘‘I had done a lot of adventurous travel and looked around the market for a vehicle to tour the world, but there was nothing that existed,’’ Bolton says. ‘‘So I decided to design my own vehicle and had it subcontract-built — which cost a small fortune, being all handmade.’’
Two prototype ‘‘expedition vehicles’’ were built and he set off to see how they managed extreme touring.
‘‘I made a list of 48 improvements and approached a colleague of mine. We formed a company and decided to build it,’’ Bolton says.
‘‘Nothing went wrong with the vehicles throughout the whole trip, but we changed the layout inside and added an external shower and the same type of water-purifier used on international aircraft.
‘‘There were no serious incidents, but we did have a couple of Russians drunk on vodka knocking on the door one night, and had some washing and shoes stolen another night. So we put an emergency lighting system on the outside.
He says the result is a vehicle with serious adventure travel and off-road potential.
More than 60 per cent of inquiries have come from outside Australia.
Bolton’s All Terrain Motorhomes was established with truck accessory importer Lance Gillies. They don’t have a factory; instead, they use specialist companies to install parts to build the $185,000 motorhome.
‘‘The new cab/chassis vehicle is delivered to a spring manufacturer, where all the suspension is changed and chassis work done,’’ Bolton says.
The vehicle then goes on to get the bodywork with Bolton and Gillies monitoring quality.
EarthCruiser uses a Mitsubishi Canter 4x4 chassis, powered by a 4.9-litre, inter-cooled turbo-diesel with 117kW and 471Nm.
‘‘That is normally a six-tonne truck, and we only have 1000kg on the back. So the power-to-weight ratio is quite spectacular,’’ Bolton says.
The EarthCruiser weighs less than 4500kg and can be driven on a standard licence. It has a five-speed gearbox and two-speed transfer case. The suspension is tuned for hard roads and the tyres are militaryspecification.
The rear protection bar incorporates a 3500kg tow bar and tyre carrier. The interior has moulded cabinets, large windows, shower, toilet, kitchen and a double bed. It has solar panelling, a diesel water/air heater and a diesel ceramic cooktop.
Versatile: the EarthCruiser motor home handles the rough (above) with the smooth (left).