Someone Turned a McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Fuselage Into a Ridiculous Camper

Mercedes Streeter

Published 3 months ago: April 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm

One of the weirdest things you can do to any sort of vehicle is bolt the fuselage of a plane to it. Want a cooler boat? There’s a fuselage for that. Want a more striking race car? Mount a plane to it! If you want to turn heads at a campground, a seller on eBay has an oddball idea. For the price of $US62,500 ($86,763) would you like to sleep in the first 12.19 m of a McDonnell Douglas MD-88?

This one was sent to me by our managing editor Lalita Chemello, and I have to say that she knows exactly the kinds of RVs that I like. It combines two things that I love — planes and RVs — into one ridiculous singular vehicle. I use that term lovingly, here, because I would so sleep in this thing on a camping trip. Let’s break down what you’re looking at because there’s a lot going on.

Photo: eBay

Introduced in the fall of 1980, the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 was a narrow-body rear-engine airliner. If you’ve flown on regional flights on Delta Air Lines or American Airlines in recent years, you could have taken a seat aboard one of these beasts.

Photo: eBay

The MD-80 program launched in 1977 as the DC-9 Series 80. Boeing notes that they were also called the DC-9 Super 80. As the names imply, the plane was a development of the DC-9. The Series 80 was larger with a higher maximum take-off weight and a greater fuel capacity. The planes also got technology and engine updates, too. As Aerospace Technology notes, the name was changed to MD-80 in 1983.

Over the years pilots have found the MD-80 to be a bit of a hot rod, and it earned the nickname Mad Dog.

Photo: Grant Wickes | Wikimedia Commons, Other

The MD-88 that you see a portion of today is the last variant of the MD-80. Depending on how the aircraft was ordered, an MD-88 was similar to the higher performance MD-82 or the longer range MD-83, but with more technology such as a glass cockpit over analogue instruments. Delta ordered 80 of these, so if you’re one of the lucky ones to have flown on one of these, chances are it was an MD-88.

Photo: eBay

This particular example was registration N956DL. It was delivered to Delta in 1990 and flew until 2019 when it was stored. At some point later it was chopped up and mounted onto a dovetail gooseneck trailer.

It doesn’t look too impressive on the outside, but I adore how untouched the aircraft is inside. This “camper” is basically a time capsule. I mean, take a look at how the seat pockets still have the aircraft’s safety card and how the overhead storage compartments still have their Wi-Fi stickers.

Photo: eBay

Even the flight deck is intact, and it comes with a flight simulator yoke and Microsoft Flight Simulator X. It’s as if whoever built this thing dropped the fuselage onto the trailer, put some TVs inside, then called it a day.

But thankfully you do get more than just a plane to sleep in. Out back is a porch featuring camping chairs and the air-conditioning unit for the rig.

Photo: eBay

Apparently this trailer spent some time as a sales office of some kind, which explains the random desk and no beds. Adding some beds shouldn’t be too hard. You get everything you need in a camper from a fridge, ice maker, burner and a working RV electrical system.

Photo: eBay

Sadly, since the bathroom uses the aircraft’s original lavatory, you don’t get a shower. Another downside is that this thing weighs in at 8,346 kg. That means that you will want something like a well-equipped Ford F-350 or similar truck.

The seller had it up for sale on eBay last month. It failed to sell after 11 bids totaling $US38,177 ($52,997). The seller’s Buy It Now price was $US62,500 ($86,763). That is a huge wad of cash but this is also a unique vehicle. I’m not sure if it’s worth the ask but I still absolutely love it.

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