Welcome to Manins' truck camper project

History

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1972 our Dormobile in Sweden

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1971 in our Dormobile on the Rhine in Germany.

We first were exposed to motorhomes in 1971 when in England we bought a late model 'Romany' Dormobile based on a Bedford CA van and did occasional tours around UK and the Continent. Its wonderfully versatile seats (front seats swivel around, all fold flat, rear fold up, fit to a double bed), concertina-up roof and roof bunks were a treat.


In Australia, several hires in Queensland and Tasmania heightened our interest. We resolved to buy our own, and slowly built a profile of what we required. As can be seen from our historical photos, the kind of motorhome we needed would be one that is capable of bush camping for several days at a time. Long stays in organised caravan parks are not our scene!


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2005 in Tasmania

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2004 in Tasmania at Cockle Creek in 4WD

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1982 in Queensland


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2012 in Western Australia on the west bank of the Pentecost River, Gibb River Road

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2009 in Western Australia, north of Mullewa on the banks of the Greenough River

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2008 in Far North Queensland on north bank of the Jardine River


Since the motorhome would need to double as a second car, and since we had to be able to park the thing somewhere off the street, a large vehicle was out of the question.

We eventually settled on an Avan Applause 500 based on a Fiat Ducato and in mid 2007 bought a second-hand one. We kept it until September 2014, enjoying many, many great times in it. I made numerous changes and enhancements to the motorhome and documented these at length.

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2011 Our Avan Applause on the snowfields

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2009 Our Avan Applause at Six Mile Creek

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2008 Our Avan Applause on a bank of the Murray River


Even though the Ducato could drive on many challenging roads and tracks, its limitation of front-wheel drive restricted the places we really wanted to go. We were hiring 4WDs to do those trips: to the Cape, and Gibb River Road.

We had been lusting over EarthCruisers for several years, but they were based on vehicles that were just too big, and were very expensive. The appearance in 2013 on the market of the Iveco Daily 55S17W, a high performance small 4WD truck, sparked our interest and we started enquiring of manufacturers about a motorhome or camper based on that vehicle.

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In November 2013 we found TravelTrucks was fully committed to work exclusively with the Daily 55S17W, that the principals of the company, Kym Bolton and Col Gilliland, had extensive experience with building commercial expedition vehicles, had used them extensively, and that they were well advanced with plans for a camper that would meet all that we were looking for.

The TravelTrucks design would solve the major issues of:

  • Being short enough and low enough for us to park in our carport off the street in suburban Melbourne.
  • It would be a true 4WD with high clearance and excellent approach and departure angles.
  • It would be able to carry enough fuel and water for extended remote stays.
  • It would be comfortable with a pop-top roof, permanent double bed, kitchen and shower/toilet.
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Jun.2014 Jannette checking out the interior of the camper.

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Jun.2014 At the Brisbane launch of
the TravelTrucks camper.

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Dec.2013 At TravelTrucks viewing the Daily 55S17W.


We visited the Company in December 2013, signed up for a 55S17W soon after and then waited until June 2014 to see the prototype camper which was launched at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show. We were pleased with what we saw hands-on, and signed up for a complete camper. It was not until February 2015, after many changes of detail, redesigns, delays, missed deadlines and a few extra requests, that TT30, the 30th 55S17W sold by TravelTrucks and the sixth Expedition Camper completed, that we took delivery.

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Feb.2015 At TravelTrucks — other side of TT30.

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Feb.2015 At TravelTrucks — side view of TT30.

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Feb.2015 At TravelTrucks taking delivery of TT30.


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