Iveco Massif 3.0HPI Overland Camper

World Overlander Sighting

After my encouraging encounter with the Dutch Bros. Coffee barista this past Saturday afternoon, I continued south on U.S. Route 395 through Carson City, Nevada. From a distance and several car lengths ahead in the right lane I saw an unusual vehicle. A hard-sided, custom and possibly self-made, chassis-mounted camper on the rear of a small four-wheel-drive pickup with European plates. There were sand ladders and other gear on the rear, but the overall outfit looked very clean and relatively light.

Custom camper on the rear of an Iveco Massif

I closed the gap, but traffic kept me mostly behind, though I was able to snap a few iPhone pics while underway. The rig was a left-hand-drive Iveco Massif 3.0HPI with a 2998 cc 4-cylinder common-rail diesel. According to the specifications the Massif 3.0HPI has a ZF 6-speed transmission (no automatic, opposite of the USA!), behind either a 148 horsepower/258 lb-ft or a 174 horsepower/295 lb-ft version of the engine. According to Wikipedia, the Massif was made from 2007-20011 under license by Santana Motors in Andalusia.

Side view of Iveco Massif with a compact extended-cab

Traffic movement put me ahead of the Iveco without an opportunity to view it up close while stopped. I pulled to the shoulder, rolled down my window, and waited for the camper to drive by to get a slightly better look from the front. I was able to snap just one iPhone picture as it approached.

What a cool set-up. A narrow track, short extended-cab (2-door) truck, a small turbo-diesel with good torque, manual locking hubs, and a manual transmission. Not only an uncommon sight in the USA, a combination of features that are simply not available here.

If a small, efficient, diesel-powered chassis like this was available from a reputable manufacturer in the USA would enough people buy them?

Iveco Massif European camper, with 3.0HPI diesel, 6-speed manual gearbox, and manual locking hubs

Copyright © 2012 James Langan

Big Wheels and Spare Tires

Maybe I need a new category, unexpected encounters of the good kind?

I drove away from home this afternoon heading for a hardware store hoping to find two bolts to get my F350 spare tire carrier operational. There was a special radio show on channel 60 Outlaw Country (Sirius/XM) hosted by Elizabeth Cook that I was enjoying so I didn’t want to find a store and stop. I continued driving south until I arrived in Carson City, Nevada, and when in Carson City I like to sample Dutch Bros. espresso. After pulling up to the window and ordering my juice, the kid inside (maybe all of twenty years) asked me about my truck.

Kid: Nice truck, is that about a three-inch lift?

Me: Thanks. It’s about 3.5 in the front and 2 in the rear.

Kid: I like it… [he looks down the side and sees the sticker on the bed] Rock Warrior?

Me: It’s a trim package, I got it because of the 17 inch wheels instead of the more common 18s and 20s everyone has these days.

Kid: Yeah you need that… some tire and sidewall on a truck. In sand or rocks those tall wheels get all scratched up and the tires don’t work.

This young man obviously has some experience traveling in the backcountry, he knows what works, and has not been corrupted by the absurd big wheel fad. I was pleasantly surprised, almost shocked.

Practical four-wheel-drives may have a future after all.

Toyo M/T LT285/75R16E on a lightweight, stock, forged aluminum wheel. A thirty-three inch tire on a sixteen-inch wheel; nice.

Copyright © 2012 James Langan