I recently called a military truck-turned RV Titan XD 4400 camper one of the most ridiculous ways to travel the world. I now have to take that back because this also exists on Earth: the 2008 Ford F-750 World Cruiser. It was built by one of the founders of the company that moved the Space Shuttle Endeavour to its new home. He spent $US6 million (so, around $8 million) making it a reality.
This wonderful creation was recently spotted by AutoEvolution and it pops up from time to time on the internet. The Ford F-750 World Cruiser is the brainchild of Peter Dunkel: Co-founder of Dunkel Bros. Machinery Moving in Alameda, California. The company moves everything from CNC machines and fighter jets to yep, getting the Space Shuttle Endeavour from LAX to the California Space Centre. This motor home was one in a long line of builds for Dunkel, and it has the distinction of surpassing the original pricy budget of $US2 million to reach that $US6 million figure.
According to a 2013 Mecum auction, Dunkel drew on his experience to build the “mother of all multipurpose vehicles” and we’re going to get back to that in a second.
He started with a 2008 Ford F-750 medium duty commercial truck. You’ve likely seen these as dump trucks, tow trucks or day cabs. These are trucks with a GVWR of up to 37,000 pounds. For example, the largest U-Haul rentals are Ford F-650s capped out to right at the 11,793 kg limit for a standard driver’s licence.
So it’ll probably confuse you to hear that Dunkel made it even bigger.
The F-750 already measures in at 2.44 m wide fender to fender. Dunkel then added 22 inches in width to the entire truck. This was done to up the truck’s usable space so that a vehicle can be parked in the back.
It also adds a bit to the interior volume.
Being nearly 3.05 m wide is fine if you never leave the highway, but I can’t imagine this being anything less than a nightmare to drive on narrow backroads.
If you’ve ever driven one of those aforementioned U-Hauls, you know that one of these doesn’t exactly have a comfortable ride. Dunkel combatted this by putting the cab on its own chassis with an air ride system and bolted to the truck’s frame.
Inside, you get the typical luxury RV fare. You have a living area, sleeping area, kitchen and bathroom. There’s nothing too amazing going on here and it actually has fewer amenities than the typical rigs I write about. But you do get to see how widening it changed up the interior.
There are no solar panels and not even a mention of what the liquid tank holding capacities are. Dunkel built this in hopes of avoiding the quality problems of factory-built RVs. It has an instant water heater in place of the typical propane hot water heater and he invested $US20,000 (around $30,000) into wiring components alone.
Moving the mammoth RV is a Caterpillar C7 offering up 300 HP and 544 kg-ft torque going into an Allison six-speed automatic.
The Mecum ad says that the World Cruiser is good for a 113 km/h cruise. These will get about 10 mpg in stock form. If you could match that you’ll be looking at 966 km out of the onboard dual diesel tanks.
How did this exceed its budget three times over? Dunkel says that he found “a lot more avenues to make and create something better. Let’s just say the art piece got larger and we had to throw the budget out the window because we were going somewhere no one had ever tried to go.” And when all was said and done, he spent $US6 million on it.
Now back to that “mother of all multipurpose vehicles” thing.
The Mecum ad states that the World Cruiser outperforms anything like it. I’m not sure if that’s true. It’s too wide and too long to do anything off-road, too wide to actually live up to its name and far more expensive than more practical rigs.
At any rate, Mecum thought it was worth $US450,000 (around $630,000) to $US650,000 ($900,000). Someone tried throwing $US500,000 (let’s say $691,000) at it and it didn’t sell. I’ve tried seeing where the truck went after that and I haven’t found anything. Hopefully it’s still out there being someone’s bizarre super super-size pickup.
This article has been updated since it was first published.