Coming back to Spain at the end of 2013, after our return form holidays, a trip of more than one year across Africa, he had in mind the idea of creating a small travel agency specialized in overland adventure trips in Western Africa for the reason that is one of our favorite parts of the planet.
The seemingly simple idea consisted in finding a truck with some very specific characteristics, we needed a truck on which we could construct the back side, allowing to travel comfortably a group of 16 travelers, with their respective baggages, and the whole necessary equipment to have autonomy for several days, as camping and kitchen equipment, tank of drinking water, electrical installation of 12v, 24v and 220v, luggage compartments, canopy, roof rack and others.
We knew that the truck had to be a brand Mercedes, specifically models SK/NG and if possible 4×4. It would not be not easy at all to find a truck that satisfied us. The most part of these Mercedes trucks NG/SK that existed in Spain have been exported to Western Africa. There are a few models very valued in this part of Africa and in general in any part of the world where the roads and climatic conditions are extremely hard and there are no “modern” mechanic workshops to repair electronic vehicles. In those years, Mercedes constructed very hard engines, capable of withstanding hardest conditions, easy to repair and with no electronic component.
After several months of search, by mid July 2014, finally we found in Girona the truck we needed. Girona is 700 km away from Madrid where we live. A lightning trip, a sign, and our project was taking the first steps.
We had the Mercedes 1928 4X4, with the characteristics we were looking for, powerful engine V8 with no turbo, all-wheel drive, differential block, ZF 8×2 manual gearbox, chassis height prepared for bush, and in a very acceptable condition for its age. Certainly there would be necessary to adjust mechanic settings and try it, but it would be later.
It was not easy task to find the one who built the back side of the truck, mistrust and disbelief in view of our project is what we found among the vehicles builders we asked.
Weeks went by and finally we met the right person, he delivered us a construction project and a budget that satisfied us, finally we found the one who was constructing our truck to realize trips across Africa, we were moving forward.
We constructed a solid metal framework resistant to dirt tracks and to the hardest situations that we would find in our trips in Western Africa and that endured the passage of time.
The exterior and interior completions have been done in polyester, with corners reinforced in aluminium, easier to repair in case a “fat” branch or a rock projection us was laying buoys the auto body. In addition the whole box was covered of insulating thermal, to make the temperature of the cockpit more agreeable in the trips. A priority matter for us is the visibility of the passengers, because of it we have put 7 windows of one more considerable size one in the door, to have a few good conference during the route. All the windows perform safety and are approved.
To take full advantage the space inside we had to use all the chassis hollows and even the space under the seats. In the chassis we incorporated two made-to-measure tanks of drinking water in stainless steel of 250 liters each. In the remaining space we did compartments, some of them from one side to the other side. We needed a big compartment for baggage so we decided to place it on the back side of the truck, and it is also used inside for the hand-luggage.
For electricity, we have installed an electrical panel system with independent lines that allows us to plug on the outside or to electricity from our generator (220v). Furthermore with power transformers we have 12v current along the way, so you can charge your electrical devices. We have light points with led inside, outside and in the porters.
We finished the work of our truck designed specially to do adventure trips in Africa, with two resistant holders for spare wheels, a roof rack in stainless steel as big as the whole truck perimeter which allows us to do a good stockpile of food and firewood when we enter remote areas, stairs of access to the inside, support integrated for canopy and a few more accessories.