No matter how many customization options an RV company offers, they can never match the unique look of a recycled or rescued rig. Even before the iconic Airstream and Winnebago appeared on American roads, there were many creative, handy nomads that were building homes on wheels from used, recycled, or reclaimed vehicles. These included everything from horse-drawn gypsy wagons to improvised tents on truck beds, and has grown to a cottage industry that builds house trucks, gypsy wagons, and even transformers.
The Original Land Cruisers
The gypsy wagons of the English Romani might have been the first mobile homes, designed for life on the road. Historically, these were richly decorated and very ornate. Enthusiasts of the classic design have done some impressive work recreating the detailed artwork and bohemian style of these graceful mobile homes.
Many modern adaptations of the Gypsy Vardo also exist today, copying the bow-roof style, using DIY plans and designs that often include reclaimed materials and recycled trailers.
Small in Japan
We’ve all heard the stories about Japan’s capsule hotels and tiny apartments, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this brilliant design is based on a Japanese style home.
This DIY project, called the Transformer House, was brought to life by three students from Japan. It began as a simple commercial delivery truck, and still resembles one when closed. The light metal frame has been modified with a hydraulic motor that unfolds to open a second floor, to reveal the main-floor patio and kitchen.
Housetrucks and Hobbits
Roger Beck builds housetrucks, sometimes out of buses, but he also recycles old commercial vehicles. Some of his previous projects include a 1986 65-passenger bus and a 5-tonne Ford truck, converted into quaint wooden homes on wheels for both vacation and long-term living. The style of these elaborate mobile homes mirrors the Housetrucker movement in New Zealand, which has had a tradition of elaborate, custom-made mobile homes since the 1970s.
The lack of height restrictions on their custom-built homes, which can start with a recycled fire engine, commercial truck, or passenger bus.
There’s nothing that can express your personal taste and style better than something you design and build yourself. Even if you don’t have the handyman skills, plenty of innovative engineering companies will custom-build a recycled rig to your specifications. Whether it’s a small, light gypsy trailer, or a five ton truck towing a wooden home with a thatched roof and patio, there’s a custom-built, recycled rig for every gnarly road-trip. And if you’re a fan of retro RVs made from recycled, reused, rescued rigs, you always know you can rent one here on Outdoorsy!