Expedition motorhome builder Earthcruiser Australia is a leader in go-anywhere campers, four-wheel drive trucks and utes with mobile home tucked away in the tray.
The Wollongong firm, with a North American branch in Oregon, has for some time designed and built vehicles to tackle the far back country and still offer up a hot shower and cold beer at the end of a day while rolling through isolated parts of the world.
The first Earthcruiser was trialled across Australia’s Great Sandy Desert before a 27,000km test through Russia and Mongolia. Subsequent Earthcruisers have arrived in a number of different shapes and sizes, built on the likes of four-wheel drive Fuso, Isuzu, Iveco and Toyotas.
For the latest and greatest, the Earthcruiser Extreme 330 XTR6x6 is based on the Landcruiser 79, with six-wheel drive by conversion experts 6×6 Australia. It started out as a one-off, custom-build for a special customer, but word got out and demand grew.
Developed over a year, the Extreme machine features mechanical specifications and travelling gear to drive through the toughest country with safety and comfort. Much of that go-anywhere confidence is thanks to the six-wheel drive – on bitumen the third axle remains undriven but once traction starts to break a power divider locks up 100 per cent drive to all wheels.
Helping out is a 127mm chassis lift, a coil spring and airbag set-up for the back axles, low-range transfer case and, unlike standard 79 Cruisers, equal track width front and back. If it all gets too serious, there are in-cabin switches to lock the Extreme’s three differentials. For added go-anywhere confidence there are heavy-duty winches front and back.
Ground clearance is a substantial 610mm, tyres can be inflated or deflated on the move and the airbag suspension has three height modes for easier access, driving height or extra lift when needed. Four hydraulic rams can be used for vehicle maintenance or changing the 17-inch mud terrain tyres.
All this gear, plus camper body and the strengthening of axles and the like, takes the Extreme’s Gross Vehicle Mass out to 7000kg. This leaves a payload of 3000kg.
The Extreme 330 XTR6x6 is not all about one tough truck. Earthcruiser has tarted up the LandCruiser cabin and the crawl-through access to the camper where there’s an extra two passenger seats.
The camper will sleep three and back here there’s leather dinette seats, stainless steel sink, immediate hot water, inside and outside showers plus central heating.
Then there’s split-cycle air conditioning, microwave oven, cook top, two fridges, washing machine, dryer and toilet. Solar panels and lithium batteries help out with power supplies. There’s a UHF radio, Starlink Satellite system for internet access plus plenty of storage spots.
So, off to see the world in the Extreme 330 XTR6x6? Allow 12-18 months for the build. Cost? How long’s a piece of string?
Some builds, depending on what’s added, could cost $500,000 to $900,000 – cheap compared with some cruising yachts, while Earthcruisers’ re-sale value will get a good chunk of that back at the end of the adventures.