One platform I’m surprised I don’t see more of in the expedition and full-time, live-in vehicle ranks is the humble ambulance. After checking out a few of these rigs in person, I think it’s fair to say that the unassuming, boxy silhouette doesn’t convey this platform’s potential. This particular ambulance was found in Denver, Colorado, with low mileage by designer and builder Zach. He purchased it and brought it back to Reno, Nevada, where he and his team performed this fantastic conversion.
This rig is based on a 2003 Ford F450 Super Duty chassis with a 6-liter Powerstroke diesel engine that was just rebuilt by McDiesels of Reno and Tuned By Desert Diesel of Phoenix. The rebuilt engine comes with a 30,000-mile, 3-year warranty on all internal work (currently 3,000 miles on the new engine and a total of 90,000 miles on the vehicle).
This single-cab ambulance conversion comes fully insulated for four-season use and has 5 feet, 10 inches of interior headroom. It comes outfitted with a fridge/freezer, induction cooktop, shower stall, toilet, and a slightly larger than queen-sized bed. The interior of this build is immaculate and finished in a mix of bamboo, aluminum, maple, birch, and teak. A robust solar electrical system with a 3,000-watt AC inverter and a 300 amp-hour lithium Battle Born battery bank with 640 watts of roof-mounted solar round out the cabin of this home on wheels.
Performance upgrades to this vehicle are plentiful, and some of the highlights include:
- Atlas 4 inches over stock Expedition Pack custom-built Leaf Springs, front and rear
- Dana 60 front axle with Dana 130 rear
- Buckstop Designs super single lift components
- Icon 2.0 custom valved shocks
- 20-inch 1st Attack Engineering “Super Single” wheels
- 41-inch Continental MPT tires
- Custom-fabricated rear sway bar from Peavine Motorsports
- Front Hellwig sway bar with extended links
For a complete vehicle spec sheet, visit the original Expedition Forum post here.
“In 2017, I decided to leave my 9 to 5 job to seek adventure. Diving headfirst into the world of expedition vehicles (an outlet from my monotonous Monday-Friday work routine), it didn’t take long before I procured my first base vehicle and started building. My goals were simple:
- 4-season comfort (insulation)
- Redundant heating and cooling systems
- Enough onboard water for long extended stays in primitive locations
- Rugged marine quality components
- Redundant power systems
- A refined, modern interior layout that supports full-time travel
- A globally-proven 4WD off-road platform
Each build I have created continues to evolve in its reliability and overall ease of functionality. Every build begins in CAD, being meticulously designed from the frame up to be the ultimate off-road travel machine. Only top-grade components are seen throughout an Autarky expedition vehicle. We design, draft, and build every interior component in-house. From the lightweight birch cabinetry to the fully CAD-designed aluminum wall and bed frame components, everything is custom designed for the rigorous applications surrounding off-grid expeditions.
Lithium-powered, vibration-resistant, solar mounting solutions and European manufactured marine appliances are standard. A team of aluminum fabricators, professional cabinetry woodworkers, solar design experts, and many more skilled tradesmen help to make each vehicle a reality. Everything from our kitchen cabinetry to our shower pans and bed frame systems is designed, fabricated, and assembled locally in Reno. We are preparing for a new shop space this summer and are excited to be able to continue building, traveling, and doing everything overland.”
Zach’s 2003 F450 custom ambulance conversion is currently located in Reno, Nevada, and the asking price is $155,000 OBO. You can contact Zach with questions or offers via the Expedition Portal Forum.
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