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Couple Who Ditched Their Jobs, Sold Everything, and Built this Incredible DIY Expedition Motorhome

This is the story of how two people, at the age of 45, quit their 9-5 jobs, sold just about everything, and built this awesome Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY expedition motorhome to travel and live in.

The back story is basically that at the age of 45 we had both had a gut full of the 9-5 treadmill so we quit our jobs, sold just about everything, built Mk1 of the truck (the one we are talking about now is a rebuild that I call Mk2) and hit the road.

That was back in 2001. We have now dropped anchor for a while and have almost finished building a house from shipping containers.

Couple’s Custom Built Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome!

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 001

Images © Rob Gray

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 002

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

The photos below are of the first version of Rob’s DIY expedition motorhome (the Mk1) before it was renovated into the Mk2 (above).

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0039

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0040

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Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0044

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0045

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Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0047

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0048

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0049

Rob Grays Wothahellizat Mk2 DIY Expedition Motorhome 0050

Images © Rob Gray


Our big thanks to Rob Gray for sharing!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Avatar michael Ostaski October 29, 2015, 7:18 pm

    I love tiny homes, I build super fancy ones myself, but after seeing this one, I must admit, it is so inspiring to me because… it is very plain on the outside but he made the interior super cool looking and functional as well,…It is really a hip and very cool tiny home-!! and it can go anywhere.. ROCK ON-!!!!!!!!
    This is truly a work of ART Thanks for sharing..MO

  • Avatar Rick Pain October 29, 2015, 8:13 pm

    Fan-tas-tic ! A *****A
    This is exactly what I require to tackle Australia.
    I have a budget so I’m in need of your assistance please.
    I have briefly overviewed this article and I’m anxiously curious about the Truck & the running costs as well as the overall cost.

    • Avatar Helena October 30, 2015, 2:05 am

      Me too.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:10 am

      Cost is hard to say, I estimate about $90k for the truck, new motor, materials etc etc.

      Fuel consumption is 4k per litre, which is not bad for 12 tonnes, many Landcruisers with caravans get similar.

  • Avatar Kristina H Nadreau October 29, 2015, 8:18 pm

    This work is so awesome that words fail me. The organization is genius, craftsmanship is extraordinary, function is beyond dreams…

    Congratulations Rob Gray. No one could have done it as well. Alex, thank you for giving us the opportunity to see this wondrous creation. I am blown away.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:11 am


  • Avatar jerryd October 29, 2015, 8:24 pm

    Very nice cabin, terrible choice for the truck getting 5-6mpg and no need for such weight.
    A 2 ton 4wd would have went anywhere too.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:20 am

      What can I say, I just love these old ACCOs.

      It gets nearly 10mpg which is not that bad, better in fact than some 4x4s with caravans.

      A FWD at 2t does not have enough capacity for long periods in the outback, I’ve done heaps of that type of travel and I’ve never seen one under about 3.5t when properly fitted out with tools, water etc etc. And even then you can only stay out for a week or two without resupply of water at least.

      In this truck we can literally sit in the bush for 3 months (in theory), certainly we’ve done 2 months many times without seeing a town and hardly another person.

      Anyway this is NOT a vehicle to go anywhere, that’s what our 4×4 is for. This is a vehicle to live in for 15 years (as we have done) and as such it needs to be a reasonable size. You can have comfort or you can have serious off-road ability, you can’t have both.

  • Avatar Barbara October 29, 2015, 10:27 pm

    Very impressive, very inventive! Kudos on the ultimate moveable man cave! I’d bet Hollywood would love to rent it for an apocolypse movie! Fun and brillant execution!

    • Avatar Gord. October 30, 2015, 9:51 pm

      I was thinking to myself that it looks like from apocalypse movie like the new mad max 😉

  • Avatar Anna Granfors October 29, 2015, 10:35 pm


    It just seems hard to reconcile the co-existence of Tumbleweed-type tiny homes and (as Brian Lund said above) zombie apocalypse vehicles like this on the same webpage. Don’t know if anyone remembers the old print magazine for proto-survivalists “Soldier Of Fortune”, but this would fit comfortably there.

    I sometimes despair that my sanity is irrevocably gone. This is one of those times.

  • Avatar Mike October 29, 2015, 11:43 pm

    These are great units!! I’m not a prepper, but there is no doubt to the high level of quality and inventiveness going on here. And to top it all off I really like the drop down armored awnings. Not only do I simply like awnings, but believe they should be functional for extreme weather. If s*** ever does hit the fan, I’d probably wish I had one of these!

    • Avatar Kimmie October 31, 2015, 6:02 am

      I hit that report comment button on accident! So sorry

  • Avatar Helena October 30, 2015, 2:04 am

    Brilliant idea, especially for Australia which is NOT tiny house friendly like in the US. Also our roads are far worse too. Canadians would understand. In Australia, councils and governments do not like the concept of tiny houses as, if you are independent, they cannot finance $15K taxi rides for themselves. (Really!) Councils will try and throw every single regulation at you that they can. The fines are exorbitant. A tiny house truck solves this problem entirely. As long as you lie and say it is for RV purposes, you can have financial freedom.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:24 am

      Yep, we’ve been living in this all over Oz for nearly 15 years, and in all that time have barely paid a cent for accommodation. A few $ in the occasional National Park and that’s it.

      We now own land and are living in the truck on that, our council is pretty good actually but if we do get pinged we simply pack up, bugga off and come back next week 🙂

  • Avatar Glema October 30, 2015, 4:08 am

    i love it! I too have a hard time convincing hubby Dana. I did finally get him to offer a fifth wheel first to try things out. He wants a “home port”
    as well. He isn’t ready to let go of all the stuff we have. Personally, I’ve already started to get rid of things. We did downsize to a 1100 sq ft apartment from a 1900 square foot house. So baby steps. But one day…
    Thanks for sharing Rob. Nice job!
    I’ll show him this and see what he thinks. Maybe just need to appeal to his macho to get my tiny hehehe. God bless and happy trails!

  • Avatar rick October 30, 2015, 6:24 am

    o.k. how much sweet heart !!!

  • Avatar Chel October 30, 2015, 6:47 am

    The name alone says it all. Then I saw the first picture and knew it couldn’t be called anything else. Brilliant.
    If 5 or 6 mpg is right, the base isn’t one I would go with.
    Great ideas and inspiration though.
    Great layout and planning – the result of living in it makes a huge difference. Some of the cute wood finish THOWs are obviously made for the market by people who would never dream of actually living in one themselves.
    Those awnings for both shade and security can’t be bettered.
    It would look like an ordinary wagon in an urban lorry park.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:30 am

      Standard these have a petrol motors and the 5mpg is probably about right. But we put a diesel in and get about 10mpg.

      Security is top notch, the lounge room is 2 metres in the air and the bedroom 3m, so even with the windows open it’s not easy to get in. We always close the lounge shutters at night but are quite happy to sleep with the bedroom shutters open, great in the hot weather.

      Apart form that I can easily get onto the roof from inside and pour boiling oil over any invaders.

  • Avatar Pamela Woods October 30, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I would love the follow ups to this. I agree, break down of costs and hints, please, bring it. I’ll trade you a week at my vacation home in Tucson for the directions. Cheers to you, this rocks.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:34 am

      I posted total cost above, but as a rough guide

      Truck, $30k with recon gearbox, recon Perkins diesel, and stretched chassis.
      Mk2 body, $45k
      Solar and all appliances, maybe $15k.
      My time (3 years for Mk1, 18 months for Mk2), priceless.

      I’ve been to the US and loved it, but doubt I’ll ever go back, you can stay here in it for a week though if you like 🙂

  • Avatar Porcsha S. October 31, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Close to being amphibious! Cool house!

  • Avatar Pete November 1, 2015, 2:36 am

    For those asking, I’m fairly sure the build cost was somewhere in the ballpark of $150-200k. At one point the Mk1 was up for sale for around $120k (from memory). He had the chassis extended on the Mk1 and shortened again (though longer than standard F1) on the Mk2.
    MPG/ L/100km is around 5-6mpg on these trucks, and though he runs a Perkins diesel it was still an older motor and I’d imagine it would get similar mileage. The best thing to do would be to swap in a newer of more efficient diesel motor and gearbox. Standard these trucks don’t like going over 80km/h on the highway and chew diffs, but when you’re driving such a beast I doubt you’d need to go much faster very often.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:41 am

      Pretty right there Pete.

      I have just covered costs and mileage for Mk2 above.

      We never really kept records when building Mk1 but I estimate about $180k.

      80kph is tops, especially with the lower revs of the diesel as compared to the original petrol motor. Any faster and it’s just too hard to drive, in fact I’m happy to potter along at about 70kph. I’m in no hurry (last I kept records we averaged 137k per week) and in the outback the roads are long and straight so people can pass easily.

  • Avatar Pete November 1, 2015, 2:41 am

    My apologies, my post above mentioning price range was mistaken. I re-found an article quoting Rob would sell the vehicle (at the time) for $250,000 USD.

    • Avatar Rob November 2, 2015, 8:46 am

      I think at the time I didn’t really want to sell it so put that price on in case an oil magnate decided he wanted a new toy 🙂

      As with all things they are worth what someone will pay, my time and the cost of materials don’t really matter. I did have someone email me a few weeks ago and ask for a price, I haven’t heard from him since. I guess he thought he’d get it for $20k or something.

      We have a house so don’t really need the truck now, but I’ll keep it as a bug out vehicle before I give it away.

  • Avatar Thom Brand January 26, 2016, 4:05 pm

    This is it,this is the one!
    You’ve pegged it!

  • Avatar Thom Brand January 26, 2016, 4:10 pm


  • Avatar Elizabeth February 11, 2016, 7:53 am

    Very Impressive!!! You have inspired my husband and I to build one along these lines. I love the truck choice! Could you perhaps post a pic of the bathroom please? Thank you!

    • Avatar Rob Gray February 11, 2016, 6:19 pm

      Actually Elizabeth there isn’t a “bathroom” in the normal sense of the word. The entrance is used as a shower, toilet, laundry and home brew work area depending on what is slid out.

      That said I should have some photos of this lot but don’t appear to have any.

  • Avatar Dave Aitken December 7, 2017, 9:05 am

    What a supa, supa job guy’s, attention to detail and finish is brilliant,A real credit to both , WELL DONE …now you say Mk1/Mk2 ? for my 2 bobs worth . As an ex soldier Mk1&2 ‘s were the first 4wd versions, later 4wd units were known as Mk 3 and 4 with 4 being the last of the 4wd models ,correctly they are : Trucks 2 1/2 ton GS with winch , they ran 282 6 cyl petrol, 1 x 1 9/32 Stromberg carby , cast split headers with 2 into 1 muffler under front bumper gear box was crash 1st + syncro
    The 6 wheeler was Trucks 5 ton GS with winch F 1 ,ALSO known as Mk5 this ran 5 speed crash box and transfer case and 2x rear diffs with full time power dividers , 282 petrol 6 TWIN Carbs and headers , 1200 x20 bar treads , howled like buggery on the road and could be heard B4 they were seen. My mate Allan Coulton now from QLD was known as ”Redline, thats how he drove the fuel support truck in the 70’s at 1 Signal Regiment Ingleburn ….Army rego No for that truck 25-086 man those were the days
    kind regards happy travelling

    • Avatar Rob Gray December 7, 2017, 4:40 pm

      Hi Dave, yes my use of the terms Mk1 and Mk2 does cause some confusion given that the “Mark” terms were used for these ACCOs back in the day. In this context I refer to the two builds I did on the same chassis and only started using the terms after I tore apart the first body and rebuilt it.

      You are correct of course, this is an F1, AKA Mk5. And man those rag tyres were terrible, after camping for just one night they would get a flat spot and for the first few 100 yards next morning we had square tyres until they came good. They are long gone, I have radials these days.

      Oh, and it’s no longer a “Truck 5 ton”, I got the GVM upped t0 14 tonnes by a friendly engineer, so it’s probably a “Truck 9 ton” now 🙂

  • Avatar Gabriella December 8, 2017, 6:38 am

    …..But can you believe it ?…Fantasy no Limits!

  • Avatar Nanny M December 11, 2017, 12:51 am

    Whoa! Inside is surprisingly classy. I love the clever deck especially.

  • Avatar Louisiana Nomad Lawyer December 12, 2017, 4:45 pm

    Now, this is the vehicle/home you need if want to survive the zombie apacolypse! Awesome. Great work.

  • Avatar Claude July 13, 2018, 4:15 pm

    Wow, love the truck of my dreams, excellent arrangement for long and adventurous trips, I would have adapt the same ideas. Excellent in every point.

  • Avatar Karen Blackburn July 14, 2018, 7:33 am

    Different. Showed my husband (ex NZ army) and first thing he said was “which war zone do you live in?”

  • Avatar Joel Nixon January 15, 2019, 12:57 am

    Hi there,
    I just wanted to say to the designer of the RV that you were onto something really very amazing and thank you for posting for us the insides and skeletal frame, it’s really cool to see how your RV holds together.

    Also, have you considered teaching? Starting a small custom camper company? There are a number of variants I could see you offering like inflated airfoam bedding and seating, cantilever and murphy bed style appliances to offer more interior room. Over all I am so impressed. Now if you could also go on water!

  • Avatar Graynomad January 20, 2019, 6:54 am

    Hi Joel,

    Yes I did consider all of the above, but TBH after each build (I’ve done two, the first one was even more complex) I just wanted to hit the road and do anything BUT deal with motorhome building 🙂


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