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.
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.
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?
Copyright © 2012 James Langan