We were very proud of our 21' BT; and we are looking forward to living in our 24' BT. Working with Phillip and Matthew has been a totally pleasurably experience. During the first build - over very first caravan - we were definitely newbies and nervous. We visited the factory often and drove everybody nuts!!
This time around we intentionally left the area so a visit was not possible - off to Melbourne to take delivery of our F450 and then off to Thailand (part of the lifestyle!).
In the design stage we worked with Phillip and received lots of great ideas; in the construction phase we have been in communication with Matthew and received regular updates and photos.
Yes, it is a large van; yes, it is a detailed van; and yes, it is our home - we are not going camping. We are caravaning in luxury; that is why we are again building a Bushtracker!
The best place to start is with our floor plan and cabinet layout. This van was designed with several goals: 1) Other than the pantry area immediately opposite the door and to the rear of the cafe seat none of the cabinetry is above counter height. The ensuite is in the rear and we wanted a completely open feel when you entered and lived in the van. 2) Television and movies are a big part of our life - this is our home. We will be installing a 24" TV across from the table; the van is designed for maximum audio/visual entertainment. 3) We wanted the rear ensuite. 4) A front loader washing machine easily accessible in lieu of the washing machine under the bed was high on the requirements list. 5) Because the van is 24', one air conditioner running on high would be insufficient. Two air conditioners running on low utilizing two Honda 2.0 gennies fit the bill. The gennies will live in the F450.
Upon completion of the chassis and frame the inner walls are added:
This image shows the extra-large cargo doors in the front for maximum access to the forward storage area. You can also imagine a large window in the bedroom and the large window at the cafe table above the wheels.
The floor is laid and then in goes the cabinetry:
The two metal boxes on either side are the wheel covers. Attention to detail is simply basic to the building of a BT. Looking at the diamond pattern it is perfectly aligned to the wheel boxes and the wall.
This is the annexe - kitchen side of the van.
Entry to the van is from the rear (left lower corner just outside of the photo); you are able to see the cutouts for the stove and the sink. Next to the cutout for the stove you can see a large hole - an ample pot drawer!
Moving to the front of the van is the bed, storage area in the front of the bed for clothes on the two sides (shelves), and in the center the lower opening is for a proper Pendaflex file drawer for all of our papers etc (it is our home!), and a drawer above for additional "stuff" relating to the business of vanning.
Moving to the rear down the off-side you first see a locker across from the bed and behind the cafe seat. There will be a locker on each side of the van facing the bed for additional clothes storage.
Here you see the two cafe seats and, the overhead cabinets (OHC), and on the far left is the pantry area. The rear is showing the entry to the ensuite.
Under the forward cafe seat are two batteries and the Xantrex 1800W inverter.
Under the rear cafe seat are two batteries and the 60amp battery charger.
We will have four batteries and five solar panels.
This is a more detailed view of the pantry and the ensuite entry. Obviously the fridge is in the center and the large hole to the right of the fridge is for the washing machine. Above the washing machine is the microwave. The left side of the pantry is storage as well as the spaces above the fridge and microwave.
Moving into the ensuite the rear wall will be covered by a mirror, storage to the left where the toilet is located, a neat medicine cabinet to the right of the sink, and significant storage in the shower covered by water tight doors.
The electrical wiring has been completed, backing blocks have been attached to the inner walls where need for items to be attached after the skin in put on the van, and now the van is insulated and skinned.
I have seen the construction of other vans; few, if any, take the time to make sure that the insulation fits neatly and completely inside of each frame.
In the roof image, the rear most hole in the center, you are able to see two layers of insulation. What you do not see is that running the length of the van between the two center rails the insulation is three layers thick. That amount of roof insulation makes the difference between a hot van and a comfortable van.
That is the construction to date. Those of you that have or have ordered a BT you know the level of excitement that Jackie and I are experiencing when we receive a new batch of images; those of you still shopping if you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.
I will post new images as they are made available!