In general, motorhomes have quite the bad rep; images of ungainly white van-based blobs crawling along at 20 mph on a country lane with a queue of frustrated traffic languishing behind. But there are pockets of cool within this housecoat of naffness; self-built housetrucks like this Hino in New Zealand and motorhomes using more unusual vehicles as a base. Like an American school bus.
The vehicle is a Bluebird-bodied school bus based on the long-lived Chevrolet/GMC B-Series chassis, the type you'll see every morning in suburban America, but take one step inside and any notion of schoolkids waiting to pelt you with spitballs is thankfully dismissed. The man with the plan behind this grand design is Hank Butitta, a graduate architecture student from Minnesota in his final year who as a final project wanted to design a palpable project rather than one that existed purely on paper. This bus was not only the manifestation of that idea, but a solution to all of the bureaucracy surrounding building a small cabin on his grandfather 80 acre land plot of land. Hank takes up the story:
'The bus was purchased on Craigslist for $3000, and has had about $6000 of improvements. It’s not pocket change, but it’s less than a down payment on a home, and it’s less than I paid in tuition for my last semester of grad school. The majority of the work was completed in 15 weeks, just in time for my final review (although the first seven weeks were almost entirely design and prototyping, with the bulk of the construction completed in the last month and a half of the semester).'
'The even spacing of the window bays allow for the volume to be broken down into modular units of 28 inches square, leaving an aisle that is also 28 inches wide. The modular units are then grouped to create four primary zones: Bathroom, Kitchen, Seating, and Sleeping.'
In addition to this great feat, he's on what he calls a 'month-long experience to test the functionality of the bus'; namely a 5,000 mile journey through different routes, picking up and dropping up friends and family on the way. He's documenting the journey on his website.
One heck of a roadtrip.