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Super-luxury Mongolian mega-campers
These specially-bodied Mercedes trucks lend entirely new meaning to "going in style".
IOL mot pic mar28 Merc 6x6 Camper


This Mercedes mega-camper has every conceivable luxury and is mounted on a 25-ton 6x6 all-terrain Zetros truck chassis.


Wherever the brief call for all-terrain capability and serious payload, you'll find the all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz Zetros 6x6 - not only as a commercial vehicle, but also as the basis for recreational and expedition vehicles. Few, however, are as radical as the two that were recently delivered to Ulan-Bator, the capital of Mongolia.

They were built for (very wealthy) businessmen friends as mobile hunting lodges for excursions into the Altai mountains; in addition to difficult terrain, the conversions had to take into account the extreme climatic conditions - especially temperature fluctuations - in the Gobi desert, where the vehicles are to be used, and particular attention was paid to insulation.

The bodies of the two mega-campers are substantially the same, although one also has a rear vehicle bay for a quad. The windows of the living area are double-glazed, can all be opened and are fitted with mosquito nets and roller blinds.

The bedroom is at the back and a comfortable, leather-upholstered seating area for four to six people in front, with a table that can be electrically lowered to form a second double bed.

There's also a marble-floored bathroom with underfloor heating, a separate shower cubicle, a toilet/bidet combination, washbasin and three-door vanity unit.

The galley has a ceramic hob, a microwave with grill, refrigerator/freezer, bar and coffee machine, sink with hot and cold running water, and crockery and cutlery for eight place settings. For outdoor use each vehicle has mobile twin-burner gas braai with two 11kg gas bottles.

The bedroom is separated from the living area by a partition wall with built-in flatscreen TVs - a 101cm screen for the bedroom and a 115cm screen in the living area - fed by an electrically self-aligning satellite dish, a DVD, an MP3 player, a Bose hi-fi sound system and a Mac Mini plus W-LAN router. There's also a rifle-safe and a separate, 48-litre safe for other valuables.

A liquid-cooled diesel generator and two 80-watt solar panels ensure independence from the power grid, with power stored in four 220 Ah batteries. All the electrical equipment is connected to a 230V network supplied by an automatic inverter.

Separate water systems supply drinking and washing water and a 20-litre water heater provides hot showers.

The cab of each truck has a berth for the driver, air conditioning, a 24V audio system with six-CD shuttle, a Bluetooth hands-free system and a 180mm touchscreen with a reversing camera.

A rack on the cab roof carries four auxiliary spotlights and a dual air horn and dual fuel tanks carry a total of 500 litres of diesel.

All of which is mounted on a three-axle chassis with a 7.2-litre, straight-six diesel that churns out 240 kW and an awe-inspiring 1300 Nm from 1200-1600 rpm.

The standard transmission is a hydraulic/pneumatic nine-speeder (eight forward gears and a crawler) with a direct-ratio top gear, but these two have six-speed Allison 3000 fully-automatic transmissions and transfer cases for permanent all-wheel drive.

Each also has three mechanical differential locks, selected by the driver using a rotary control, that shows the logical sequence in which the locks should be engaged as the terrain becomes more difficult: first inter-axle, then inter-wheel at the rear and finally inter-wheel at the front.

Sadly, there are no photos of the interiors available.


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