I’m fascinated by the idea of small homes. My parents always had large houses and condos, and Clara and I now live in a studio that would have fit in my bedroom growing up in Singapore. There’s something about making super efficient use of space, having just a few treasured possessions, and taking advantage of lower power costs, rent, and maintenance.
I also love watching small home engineering videos, such as people living in a converted shipping container out in the tundra somewhere. But now I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of looking at camper vans and mobile homes; nothing I’d buy personally, but I love seeing the design process and the owners get excited building their dream rigs. Is that the right word, rigs?
This episode of Exceptional Engineering followed teams in Germany building two very different camper vans: a brand new one for a prince in Qatar, and the other from a reconditioned 1980s German firetruck. One of the engineers on the latter explained why they use thirty-year old engines:
Although it’s nearly thirty years old, this beauty runs like it did on the first day. No matter where I am; in China, in the Balkans, or Africa; this truck is no stranger. You can get it repaired everywhere. That’s not the case with the new trucks which contain a lot of electronics […] that doesn’t apply to the old models, they always work. And if something snaps, a blacksmith will repair it and off you go again.
I could appreciate the Qatari prince’s gigantic setup from an engineering perspective, but I’d go for this cozy home on the reconditioned firetruck: