Finally, we have the antidote to super expensive, crisp, or perfect RVs or trailers with few visual stories to tell. Thanks to Tiny Home Tours on YouTube we have Hella, a white 1954 Dodge M152 truck which is now a motorhome that is big on character and smaller on less important details.
This guided tour gives a comprehensive overview of the truck, its construction and use. Let’s take a look at why owner and builder Richard Villacres chose this particular vehicle and what’s under the hood.
The 1954 Dodge M152 is perfect for life on the road
Our journey began a few years ago after 2014 in a Craigslist ad for a $ 6,000 Dodge M152 military style truck sent by a friend, after initially wanting to convert a small school bus he spent an additional $ 3,000 on have it transported through the US. It didn’t work – at all – but after some effort and $ 6,000 more driving and driving were legal.
A little money, around 3,000, continued to have the rims modified to accept modern radial tires which otherwise would not have fitted the wheels.
In total, the motorhome cost the owner 28,000 in total, from the wreck to the house on wheels. Under the hood is a small block V8 Chevrolet 350 ci (which began life in 1967 in the Camaro), which replaced the older 6-cylinder Chrysler Flathead.
The owner says the increased horsepower and torque has made a huge difference in daily driving and looks like a great improvement in our opinion.
Based on the Dodge M37 truck, produced in many forms and widely used by the US military, it was a utility truck and the old Flathead engine that produced something like 116 hp.
Inside there’s a simple kitchenette area between the cabin and the bed with a butane hob and plenty of storage under the bed – Richard admits he keeps it simple and lives on a budget.
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Inside there are numerous stickers and badges on the walls and doors, inscriptions and words like Love and Gratitude on the window frames.
Richard explains that he loves the patina and feel of this kind of style, it has more character than something ultra-modern and clean.
He includes an ever-growing list written on the wall in marker of the places he’s camped – it’s already a long list since he’s been living in the van full time for the past three years.
At the back we have another stove, which sits on a shelf when the back door is open – better when it’s not raining.
There is also solar power, a 100W panel on the roof powers the refrigerator, and a second 12-volt battery powers additional accessories or the refrigerator when there is no solar power.
Everything you need is here, including accessories and welding tools, so it’s always possible to fix something or get work done for someone else.
Speaking of work, we come to the best part: that this truck is a vehicle for Richard’s new business, photography for disadvantaged individuals and families, people living in homeless shelters and / or living in difficult financial, domestic or other circumstances. People who cannot afford portraits.
It was after Richard spent many years working in commercial photography for advertising.
It’s great to see such a unique vehicle based on an interesting and rarely seen truck – for more information you can check the website jackdaw.love for more details on Richard’s wonderful business.
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