Incredible two-story 8x8 off-road motorhome sleeps 10 people
Australia already builds many of the most impressive off-road camper trailers and caravans in the world, including the Bruder EXP-6 GT and Patriot X1-N. Now we can add one of the world's most impressive off-road expedition vehicles to the country’s bragging rights. In construction over at SLRV Expedition Vehicles, this massive two-story 8x8 motorhome will roam the Earth as a go-anywhere, apocalypse-grade travel lodge and veritable fallout shelter. It’s definitely in the conversation of most awesome expedition vehicles in the world.
SLRV builds its expedition vehicles on a variety of trucks, and when you look at its primary lineup, they all have one thing in common: 4x4. That said, a shop that fancies itself the leading builder of MAN-based expedition vehicles in Oz doesn’t shy away from the chance to build a custom MAN 8x8-based motorhome to fit a family of eight, even when it comes to the realization that it’ll be “one of the most technically advanced” builds ever attempted.
Called the Commander 8x8, the beastly exploration machine is the type of build for which you usually have to go to Europe. Specifically, you’d be browsing the work of Germany’s Unicat, Austria’s Action Mobil, Holland’s Bliss Mobil and a select few other shops that’ll turn a huge six- or eight-wheeled work/military truck into one of the most capable, expensive motorhomes money can buy. As it happens, the Commander 8x8 is the most expensive motorhome build to ever come out of Australia, falling somewhere between AU$1 million and $2 million (US$670,000 and $1.35 million), according to camper sales and news source Caravancampingsales.com.au.
SLRV took delivery of the MAN base chassis back in May and has been hard at work ever since. In the latest update it released to thirsty social media followers, it showed the full-length second story popped up via the actuator system, a big milestone of the build.
Level #2 is designed to accommodate the buyer’s six children, a sort of kid’s loft bedroom that leaves the parents sleeping peacefully in the downstairs master. Years down the line, when the rolling nest empties, the two parents will be able to travel and live without having to lift the top up because the downstairs also houses a large kitchen and lounge area sized for eight to 10 people. There’s even an electric lift-away spare bed for when the family has a couple guests over.
Off-grid power is virtually a necessity with such a large, equipment-dependent expedition vehicle, and SLRV promises a self-sufficient power supply combining a battery pack, solar panels, diesel-operated components, alternator-based charging and generator, along with 12V, 24V, 48V, 240V and three-phase hardware. No wonder they need 8 km (5 mi) of wire!
For its other builds, SLRV relies on a combination of Mastervolt lithium batteries, full roof-mounted solar arrays capable of keeping the batteries running under normal circumstances, and backup generators ranging from small, portable Hondas to built-in diesel units. It further enhances self-sufficiency with carefully planned multi-tank water systems with available creek pumps and reverse osmosis filtration.
The largest, most advanced expedition vehicles we’ve seen previously were the Action Mobil Desert Challenger (above), another MAN 8x8 build with dual side slide-outs, Asian décor and a professional-grade kitchen complete with walk-in refrigerator, and the more recently detailed Unicat MAN 6x6-based service truck built for the Kazakhstan Raid Rally Team. As you can see in the photo below, the latter works its way into this eight-wheel conversation by pulling an equally rugged, custom-built dual-axle trailer for a total of five axles. Unicat has also built 8x8 off-road motorhomes, as we saw outside the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon.
SLRV has yet to detail the notebook worth of specs that are sure to come along with a build as large and ambitious as the Commander 8x8. We look forward to following the vehicle completion and comparing it to its European contemporaries when all those details are available.
In the meantime, we’ve included a few interior and exterior photos of SLRV’s smaller 4x4 models to highlight some of the features and equipment the company offers.