Happy Fourth of July!
February 24th, 2018 marks the two year anniversary of the Sonoran project. The slide-out design that I have built in the Sonoran project was actually intended as the proof-of-concept design for a much bigger idea. I’ve used that design on two such models as you have seen, with the last design named the Soloist. On such an occasion, I’ve decided that it’s time to truly show the versatility of such design. I’ve decided to start creating a couple motorized RVs based on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis. I’ve been contemplating this design for many years. This project is literally 2 plus years in the making. I started to seriously considering designing motorized RVs in the 2016 when I was debating about the design of the Sonoran project as either a tow-able model or a motorized version. I chose to create a tow-able model with the Sonoran project instead of the motorized model because I wasn’t so sure that I could make an optimal design in the first attempt. I wanted to create a new class of RVs that are so lightweight and compact that you can park the RV in your driveway just like a minivan or a full-size truck yet the RV must be roomy enough so that you and your loved ones can relax in comfort after a long day of adventure. There is no room for error when designing a motorized RV on an expensive cut away van chassis. The path taken was a long and rigorous process. I needed to prove the concept first, then optimize the weight to minmize the load on the chassis. Once I am confident that every minute design details has been properly addressed, then I can confidently put the design onto a cut away van chassis. It took more than half a year to do the initial design, hence, I didn’t update this blog very often. Once the initial design is completed, I can literally cut metal and start welding them together.
This motorized model is especially challenging because of the extremely narrow body of the cut away van chassis. The van was originally designed for the narrow lanes of the European back country. The narrowest section of the interior body between the rear axles is merely thirty-eight inches! Off course, there were a lot of sleepless nights. My wife had even scolded me for having forgotten to eat lunches on many occasions which probably weren’t very good for my health. But like a possessed man, I blindly pushed on.
The goal? There will be a next generation of super compact RVs created specifically for the active lifestyles of the hard working families.
Why the Mercedes Sprinter Model?
Why pick such a small chassis to build the RV? Although I’ve always love a good challenge, but that wasn’t the reason for the selection. Going back to the years of working for a company, holidays and vacation days were very precious and far too few in between. As my young family was growing up, I’ve always hated the vacation packages such as cruises and packaged vacation deals where you will be herded along with everybody else trying to maximize their vacation times. After the vacation, I’ve always felt like I’d need another vacation by myself just to recover from the vacation. Ironic isn’t it? I am not trying to diss these vacation packages. I just felt like there must be some other alternatives to instill a sense of adventure into your kids and create those very special bonding moments that only mother nature can provide. What if on a whim, you just grab your kids and jump into your RV heading to the next unknown destination of the great outdoors? So, the RV has to be small enough that you can park in your driveway everyday instead of some paid RV storage, yet when you are at the destination it will have to be big enough so that you can sleep two adults and one or may be two young kids! Comfortably that is and none of the hassle of putting up the tent! What about all-wheel drive when you are in a less developed camp site? Yes, I’ve seen a lot of those Class B van conversion RVs. Let just say they fell far short of the stated goals. What I need is to give the Soloist the driving cab of the Mercedes Sprinter van chassis. Perhaps, now you would understand why it was no coincident that the Soloist was created. I have had my eyes on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis for the longest time. The narrow body of the Sprinter poses a real challenge but I love the reliability and the drive ability of the Mercedes design. Oh my, and look at those good looking curves! No silly, not her, the Mercedes! Mercedes have really mastered their very characteristic curvy design. One quick glance of their car’s stylish silhouette and you know it’s a Mercedes. Let see if I can match their characteristic design with my own. It’s really tough to make a breadbox sexy you know, but if we are going to park the RV in front of the house, let’s make the neighbors jealous shall we?
So this is what I am starting with. Please note that the following Mercedes chassis pictures belong to Mercedes, not mine.
The specification for the chassis are:
Ok, ok, enough of the blabbering. Either put up or shut up
Drum rolls please, maestro…Introducing the world’s first full wall slide-out Class B RV design.
Have You Ever Seen a Full-wall Slide-out on a 23 foot RV?
There isn’t one until now! The overall dimensions and floor plan layout of the RV are as follow:
See how seamlessly the body of the Soloist design integrated into the Mercedes cut away van chassis? I did not ruin the aesthetic looks of the Mercedes design.
Do you remember the slide-out that was built in the Sonoran project?
Look at its reincarnation now…
Why The Grand Canyon Project?
I lost count how many times I’ve visited and camped at the Grand Canyon. Most trips started with a few friends getting together on Friday night, then simply grabbing a tent, picked up some foods at the supermarket, fill up the gas tank, and off we went in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The Grand canyon is such a wonderful place that it will give you a sense of awe in the present of mother nature.
What a blessing to have grown up out there in the Southwest. Even at this age, I haven’t lost the lust for wandering. The place itself have gotten a lot more like a tourist trap now a day. However, because of the sheer size of the Grand Canyon, you can still find a lot of the primitive camping spots in the area. So, this project is a tribute to mother nature’s grandest. It was designed for those who crave for the spontaneity of the unplanned adventures. I hope someday my creations will inspire even the least adventurous to be out there and enjoy the best that mother nature can offer. I also hope that they will teach their children to appreciate the grandeur of the outdoors at the early age so that when they grow up, they won’t trample mother nature’s virgin lands and will only leave behind the gentle footprints of their visits.
By the way, watch for my next post for the most innovative RV interior design as I am pushing the limits of compactness in the Mercedes Sprinter design.