This Toyota Pickup-Based, Engine-Swapped Overland RV Is Your Ticket Off the Grid
What has air ride, a solar-powered fridge, and a heated indoor shower? This beaut of a Winnebago Warrior, of course.
In hindsight, it seems inevitable that the rising popularity of off-roading and van-based homes would collide, producing a wave of interest in overlanding. Now that this wave is crashing over car culture, unique campers are hitting the market with regularity, their bases ranging from VW New Beetles to Hummer H1s and even vintage Grumman Olsons. And last week, their ranks were joined by a heavily modified Winnebago Warrior, one apparently capable of sustaining off-grid life for months at a time.
Based on a 1994 Toyota Pickup (the aptly-named American version of the Hilux), the customized Winnebago Warrior listed on Facebook Marketplace in Denver, Colorado is on the small size for an RV, around 21 feet long, but it's big where it counts. Like behind that brush-guarded face, where in place of the stock 3.0-liter Toyota V6 is a larger 3.4 engine. It bests the factory output by at least 38 horsepower and 37 pound-feet of torque, producing a minimum of 183 and 217 respectively, which it channels through an "HD" automatic transmission of unspecified origin to a similarly heavy-duty rear axle.
This Winnebagoyota's (sorry) chassis has gotten similar attention, with frame reinforcement, a tow hitch, cargo rack, and reserve fuel tanks. All this mass is kept aloft by air suspension, which also smooths out its ride for its maximum of five occupants. All can apparently sleep on either fixed or fold-out beds in its surprisingly well-furnished interior, which includes not just a gas stove and sink, but also appliances run on dual deep-cycle batteries, kept charged by rooftop solar. These include a mini-fridge for keeping provisions fresh and a water heater, connected to both indoor and outdoor showerheads.
And it's not just fit for weekends as a race support vehicle, as DeTomaso stickers suggest it has seen. Its seller claims multiple people have "lived in this several months at a time," making it comparable in occupancy to your average Denver property, and at an asking price of $26,000, similar in cost to a year's rent. Given the choice of waking up in an increasingly ugly and unaffordable Westminster suburb, or an idyllic, government-maintained valley, though, I know which I'd pick.
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h/t Rafi Ward