A World Conquering 6×6 Home On Wheels
This massive machine is what you get when you combine German engineering and a globe-trotting family’s daily needs. This MAN TGA 26.480 6×6-based overland expedition camper isn’t your typical weekend warrior overland machine, but instead a rugged self-contained home on wheels meant for big multi-year multi-continent adventures. Over the few last years, it has traversed much of the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America with a family of five and a dog.
The first questions you have to ask about such a rig is how big is it really and how much does it cost? This overland machine is 32 feet long (35 feet with motorcycle lift), 8.1 feet wide and 12.9 feet tall. A vehicle like this costs upwards of $700,000 to build. No, not inexpensive, but remember that this is a fully outfitted high quality house on a fully up-fitted off-road vehicle. Think hi-end yacht versus cheap RV.
“With a 32-speed manual transmission with air-supported clutch, three differential lockers and a selectable low-range transfer case that powers all six wheels, this rig is ready to tackle anything in its way.”
The second question is always, where can you actually take it? The answer is surprisingly more places than you’d think. While you do have to plan out your route a bit, and it’s never going to go rock crawling, this big machine can drive over and through a wide range of terrain. Bridge weight limits, overhanging tree heights, shelf road wash outs and turning radius considerations are the main limiting factors. The upside is that it is crazy comfortable home for the whole family. It literally has everything you’d ever want, even a dishwasher and clothes washer.
You’d also be correct in assuming that this is not the easiest vehicle to get serviced in North America. MAN has a wide spread dealer network around the globe, which is a major reason why they are extremely popular for big overland vehicles, but none in the U.S. or Canada. While most diesel and truck repair shops in the U.S. can work on this machine without an issue, getting parts is a bit more of a hassle. Plenty of spare parts are carried on board because of this, and any needed part can be ordered and had within three days.
This machine is owned by Andreas Bruckner, an Austrian that has been traveling the globe in vans and expedition vehicles since 1988. He even spent five years in the Middle East before creating a home base in Henderson, Nevada, for his wife and three kids. He is an owner at Boxmanufaktur in Germany and RRE-Global in the USA. Boxmanufaktur manufactures its own FRP and aluminum composite panels for the production of custom camper boxes for a wide range of overland vehicles of all sizes. RRE-Global is the U.S. distributor for top quality European brands used to complete overland vehicle builds; like LED lighting, windows, doors, water filtration, tire inflation systems, crash tested seating solutions and van pop tops.
6×6 MAN Truck
This massive overland vehicle was built in 2004. The chassis and composite camper box have been constantly refurbished and upgraded by Boxmanufaktur in Sottrum, Germany since then. It features a 480hp, 1,700 lb-ft of torque, 12.4L diesel engine. With a 32-speed manual transmission with air-supported clutch, three differential lockers and a selectable low-range transfer case that powers all six wheels, this rig is ready to tackle anything in its way. The rear axles and driver’s cabin ride on air suspension for comfort and control.
“This MAN TGA 26.480 6×6-based overland expedition camper isn’t your typical weekend warrior overland machine, but instead a rugged self-contained home on wheels meant for big multi-year multi-continent adventures.”
This ‘04 MAN TGA 26.480 6×6 chassis is super capable and comfortable right out of the factory. While little is needed in terms of upgrades and improvements, this one has specifically been modified for long-range self-supported global overland travel.
Inside the truck cab, you’ll find five super comfortable and supportive Isringhausen seats, with 3-point harnesses. A carbon steering wheel and an Alcantara headliner help wrap up the interior look and feel. This truck also comes with factory A/C and a tropical engine cooler upgrade, so you and the engine stay cool in even the most hot and inhospitable climates.
Outside this truck, the biggest upgrade is the use of 16R20 off-road tires, which are 54 inches tall and 16 inches wide. These beasts are mounted on 20-inch Fuchs military rims. No lift or suspension modification was needed to accommodate these huge tires.
“This machine is adventure proven, adventure ready and adventure is exactly what Bruckner and his family plan to do. ”
Airing up those tires after some off-road excursions is super easy with the built-in ti.systems tire-inflation system. On the front of the truck, you’ll find a custom roof rack/brush guard. On the back, you’ll find a custom lift gate platform, which not only makes carrying and accessing the spare tire easy, it also can accommodate motorcycles, spare parts and bicycles. To round off the exterior upgrades a full host of off-road driving and area lights are mounted around the truck.
Even though all on this vehicle weighs over 18.5 tons going down the road, the chassis GVWR is a massive 26 tons. Most overland vehicles you see in North America are way over GVWR, which causes lots of parts failures and accidents. This chassis might be overkill for this application, but in the end, it creates a super reliable and durable vehicle package.
With a massive 224-gallon diesel tank, and getting on average 7 to 9 mpg, this big truck has a range of over 1,500 miles. With a cruising speed of 55 mph, this home on wheels isn’t going anywhere fast, but it isn’t exactly slow either.
The camper box was actually made in 1999 and originally found itself on a Mercedes SK 8×8 chassis. Over the years, the living habitat got a full exterior and interior makeover when it was fitted to the MAN 6×6 chassis, which was extended just over 3 feet to accommodate the camper box. That extension gives the truck a massive 14.11- foot wheelbase to the first axle.
“This massive overland vehicle was built in 2004. The chassis and composite camper box have been constantly refurbished and upgraded by Boxmanufaktur in Sottrum, Germany since then.”
The camper sleeps six: two in the master, two in the converted dinette and two in the bunk beds. The box is 23.7-feet long and 8.1-feet wide. That is a massive 180 square-feet of living/storage space. It is completely made of 2.4-inch thick FRP sandwich panels. Even parts of the interior are made from these light weight and stiff panels, with Corian countertops and some furniture in poplar wood with HPL laminates.
Inside and out this rig has every creature comfort of home.In order to escape the elements, this camper features an 10 KW Espar diesel-powered water-based heating system with radiators and floor heating, 230V powered central Truma A/C system and a huge awning on the entry door side. KCT double pane glass windows and roof hatches throughout, with built-in privacy shades and bug screens, keep out the elements and the climate-controlled air inside.
This camper is self-supported and ready for extended remote travel. To power the electric systems there is 1,000 watts of solar on the roof and an 800 AH AGM battery bank / 24V system. The solar system is using two independent Victron Energy MPPT solar converters. A 6 KW backup diesel generator is also on board. All systems are connected and controlled with Siemens Logo digital relay and breaker system, and operated from a central electric panel. The system is based on a worldwide available Victron Energy set up with an 8000W inverter/charger combo Quattro and an additional charger from 90-265V for redundancy and to operate the vehicle in 120V systems.
There is also a 230-gallon fresh water tank, with multi-level filtration and UV treatment onboard. Of course there is a big fresh water pump with variable speed (up to 13 gallons per minute) and a 16-gallon hot water heater from Rheinstrom (known for its sophisticated products for super yachts) for the ultimate extravagance on any adventure—a long, hot shower.
As you walk into this behemoth, you are greeted with a clean bright interior with plenty of windows. To your right is a large dinette. Across from you and to the left is a large kitchen area, which also has a hidden clothes washing machine/dryer unit in it. As you move back into the camper through the kitchen, there are two bunk beds on your left for the kids. Just past this bunk bed/kitchen area you come to a large bathroom, with full shower and separate ceramic toilet and sink area. Through a big hatch in the back wall of the bathroom, you find the master bedroom. It features lots of storage, a huge skylight and a queen-size bed.
Besides the basics, this home on wheels also has an automatic dishwasher, steam oven induction cook top and a 52-gallon stainless steel fridge/freezer combo.
The Little Things
It’s the little things that add up to make life day in and day out with a rolling home so much easier. A great example of this is the steps up into the cab. It is made of a double motorcycle chain. This allows it to flex up and down if it hits an obstacle while driving off road, but not in and out or side to side much, making it easy to climb. A hard lower rung would break when going off road and a rope or webbing system would move all over when trying to enter the vehicle.
While Bruckner will continue to upgrade and refine his adventure machine with the latest and greatest, there are no big upgrades on the horizon. The systems he’s using now have been proven and tested worldwide and there is no need to fix something that isn’t broken.
“While little is needed in terms of upgrades and improvements, this one has specifically been modified for long-range self-supported global overland travel.”
This machine is adventure proven, adventure ready and adventure is exactly what Bruckner and his family plan to do. The next big adventure is a trip from Las Vegas down to Guatemala. From there they are undecided—maybe South America is calling.
Platform: 2004 MAN TGA 26.480 6×6, w/extended frame (3600 to 4550 mm)
Engine: 12.4L Diesel Engine
Suspension: Air suspension
Wheels & Tires: 16R20 Tires on Fuchs military rims
Accessories: Cab Roof Rack/Brush Guard, Rear Lift Gate/Moto Carrier, Isringhausen Seats, Alcantara Ceiling, Carbon Steering Wheel,1999 model year Camper Box
Camper Systems: Sleeps 6, Stove, Oven, Dishwasher, Washing Machine, Shower, Toilet, Solar Power, A/C, Heat, Heated Floors, Awning