Bold British startup Duckworth Overland has got down to meld two of essentially the most recognizable merchandise in land journey: the Land Rover Defender and the Airstream/Bowlus-style aircraft-inspired aluminum camper. The ensuing “Aerover” mini-RV, then, is one thing of an anomaly, a gritty, go-anywhere 4×4 full with a tall, tree branch-snapping bulging zeppelin of an alcove motorhome shining brightly on its again. It is an RV that calls for to be seen, even when voyaging to locations the place there is no one to see it.
A commonality we have seen amongst each skilled and novice overland and off-road builders: regardless of how good and wonderful their ultimate design is to the surface world, it by no means appears to fairly scratch that innovator itch. If something, it solely irritates the itch, pushing them to start conceptualizing their subsequent creation effectively earlier than ending the present one.
That appears the case for Duckworth Overland founder Thomas Duckworth. Whereas finishing and touring within the Lorry Life , a shed-based tiny dwelling secured atop a retired Bedford MJ military truck, Duckworth turned hooked on the expertise of actualizing his imaginings into real-life off-grid journey autos and experiences. From the seems of his follow-up challenge, it additionally appears he gained an affinity for equipping rugged, military-grade machines with spacious lodging.
With the Aerover, typically referred to as the “Air Lander,” Duckworth focuses his particular person passions for overlanding and hands-on automotive restoration right into a single challenge. A construct just like the shed-on-flatbed Lorry Life did not train Duckworth’s restoration abilities, corresponding to panel beating and English wheel metallic shaping, however a British-meets-American mixture of handcrafted Streamline Moderne motorhome and restored Defender actually ticks each field, as soon as, if not twice.
Duckworth rapidly discovered a shared enthusiasm for his challenge with engineer, CAD designer and all-around outdoorsman Michael Gerrard, and the 2 began placing collectively the somewhat unlikely pairing behind the Aerover idea. The pandemic lockdowns and basic slowdowns of 2020/21 helped create the time to begin pushing the challenge from imaginative and prescient to marketable actuality.
The Land Rover Defender TD5 130 van that served as Duckworth Overland’s place to begin seems strong and clear sufficient from afar in images, however zoom in nearer and you’ll see it is worn, bruised and battered … and that is earlier than you get to the roughness beneath the pores and skin. For sure, Duckworth wasn’t about to meticulously coach-build a shiny, new motorhome on its again with out some restoration.
The startup group stripped the Defender right down to unfastened components, changing or restoring the whole lot, starting by swapping the unique body with a brand-new galvanized metal J.E. Marsland Defender chassis. It additionally reconditioned the diesel five-cylinder and gearbox, added a self-leveling air suspension with a number of journey heights, rebuilt the axles and differentials, added new disc brakes, swapped in a more moderen, reconditioned energy steering field, and repaired and repainted the physique, amongst quite a few different replacements and restorations.
To create the “habitation pod,” Duckworth first put collectively a CNC-cut skeletal wooden buck, which it used to kind the aluminum body and hand-shaped exterior panels. As soon as the alu pores and skin and bones have been full, the wooden items have been faraway from inside, permitting for the ultimate meeting of the body and physique panels by way of the innumerable rivets that dot the polished shell.
The Land Rover and aircraft-inspired camper complement and distinction one another to spectacular impact. Few different earthly articles are as symbolic of liberating, self-guided journey as a Land Rover Defender and a basic 1930’s aluminum RV, they usually come collectively to help that journey extra successfully than both can do alone. However, few issues look as distinctly totally different because the arduous, curve-less face of the Racing Inexperienced Defender cab and the rigorously streamlined, shimmering bare aluminum of the aeronautically impressed camper.
Duckworth accomplished the shell simply forward of a primary exhibiting finally month’s Goodwood Revival, constructing a short lived plywood flooring and wooden benches to ship a greater really feel for the scale of the area. The remainder of the inside remained a skeletal balloon of shiny aluminum awaiting a full fit-out.
The Bristol-based overland store in the end desires to safe a purchaser earlier than continuing with a personalized inside construct, however it has printed some renderings and concepts of how the cabin may come collectively. Plans name for a extremely trendy setup that eliminates the necessity for LPG tanks with a robust electrical system that may run the induction cooking, lighting, water pumps, and different home equipment and gear. A 200-Ah lithium battery might be charged by way of a 220-watt roof-mounted photo voltaic setup, automobile alternator and shore energy hookup.
The ground plan will in the end be configured across the purchaser’s enter, however Duckworth intends to enrich the kitchen block with a convertible dinette/major double mattress. A stowable transportable bathroom might be on supply, as will the choice of a extra full rest room compartment. The tapered nature of the massive above-cab alcove implies that it is restricted to storage or a smaller secondary mattress.
Plans additionally name for warmth, A/C, sizzling water and a second kitchen space for out of doors cooking. Duckworth is leaning away from the same old low-cost plastic RV trim and towards greater high quality inside supplies like wooden, naked metallic and leather-based, which call to mind the inside of one other aluminum camper, the Lume Traveler.
We despatched a pricing inquiry by means of Duckworth’s web site however didn’t obtain a solution earlier than publishing. We are going to replace if we do, however the ultimate worth will certainly be closely influenced by the customer-driven inside structure and gear. In response to its web site and social media, Duckworth is eagerly on the lookout for its first purchaser, urging events to message it for extra data. After ending Aerover #001, it plans to proceed with a restricted manufacturing run.
We look ahead to having a look on the ultimate product as soon as the inside is full.
Supply: Duckworth Overland