This Hollowed-Out Jet Engine Camper Took Over Six Years and 1,000 Hours to Build

Who wants an Airstream when you can have a Jetstream?

byJames Gilboy|
Builds photo

If there weren't a proverbial parachute to save airlines from going under due to pandemics or market crashes, what would we do with all the grounded, redundant aircraft? Many could be converted into limousines, though that would leave a heck of a lot of plane unused. Perhaps we could borrow a trick from a Brit by the name of Steve Jones, who turned the gutted engine housing of a Vickers jetliner into a streamlined custom camper.

An aerospace mechanic by trade, Jones got the engine nacelle from a 1967 Vickers VC10 airliner, specifically number XV104, which served in the Royal Air Force for nearly 45 years. After being phased out of service in 2012 with 38,383 total flight hours logged, the airframe was sent to a scrapyard owned by one of Jones's acquaintances, whom he contacted to snag it for conversion into a custom trailer—or as it's known in Britain, a caravan.

Though Jones has built plenty of campers in his time, this conversion was far trickier than any under his belt so far. The build took him over six years and 1,000 hours of labor, though his attention to detail has finally paid off with the one-of-a-kind trailer seen here—and a TV cameo on British architectural show George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

"I've converted lots of camper vans and caravans over the years, and used all that experience in designing and building the pod," Jones told The Drive. "The whole job was extremely difficult. This part was never designed for this purpose. The fabrication was the longest job."

"I'm always doing weird and wacky builds, and I wanted to make something that everyone goes WOW! I think I've achieved that now."

Jones's nacelle trailer is, to our knowledge, the only one of its kind in the world, and has already attracted offers to buy it for more than $31,000. Costing just $4,400 to build so far, Jones could turn the trailer into a tidy profit, though the market will have to wait, as Jones will be reserving his handiwork for himself and family for the time being.

"This is for myself and family to enjoy over the next few years," Jones told us, adding that he has no plans to build a second such trailer—largely because additional VC10 donor nacelles are now impossible to come by.

"I can't get any more as they've all been scrapped, but I've got a few plans to build a Boeing 747 engine nacelle into a static caravan with two levels," Jones concluded. "That nacelle will take around the same amount of time."

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