BBS Motorhomes' Mitsubishi Fuso

By: Steve Vermeulen, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen


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BBS Motorhomes in Tauranga has just completed a Mitsubishi Fuso 9m bus conversion and the result is a carefully planned and innovative motorhome

BBS Motorhomes' Mitsubishi Fuso
BBS Motorhomes' Mitsubishi Fuso
  • Quality build with a focus on durability
  • Powerful and refined base vehicle
  • Flawless fit and finish
  • Raft of unique solutions to common frustrations
  • Set up for long-term living

BBS Motorhomes is a boutique, but well-established and respected, business owned and operated by Bill Geary.

Bill appreciates the classics. Within seconds of setting foot in his spacious workshop facility I spy two ‘60s Vespa scooters, an old Bedford Department of Justice periodic detention bus converted as a dependable motorhome, and another stripped and primered CA Bedford. Additionally, he’s an auto electrician, having been in business in Tauranga for 25 years. Somewhat of a pioneer in solar installation and alternative energy, Bill made a move into the specialist area of motorhome electrics and electronics and has been servicing the needs of locals for years.

Bill also specialises in bus conversions and is more than adequately set up to build custom interior components in-house.

This is where the green machine comes in. The bus itself is a 1995 Mitsubishi 8.2-litre Bill sourced about three years ago in near new order.

"It only has 33,000km on the clock, which is nothing really," he says. "I always hunt out low mileage buses for conversions, for obvious reasons. It’s a lot harder to come by good buses now and the body and mechanicals were the perfect starting point for a conversion, so I was lucky to nab this one."

As we head down the highway the bus is almost silent. I haven’t reviewed many buses before, admittedly, but I’m struck by the refinement this one shows.

"Yeah, these are great. Of course the engine’s down the back, so there’s no intrusive noise up front and you have plenty of space to create a living area out of the cab," says Bill. "This is the newer generation, 210 horsepower engine, which is unstoppable; this will sit on 110km all day long if you want to."

There is a flawless fit and finish throughout, from the granite bench top to the quality home-grade bathroom fixtures, soft-close cabinetry and richly stained marine ply. But at the same time Bill has incorporated a raft of unique solutions to common frustrations of motorhome ownership.

There is some overhead storage in the kitchen along with three deep and long drawers and a stack of four drawers for tinned food, cutlery, etc, in the kitchen. All the hinge and slide hardware is high-end Norwegian specialty items you’d find in luxury houses. Bill selected these for their durability and seamless action. But the real party piece is the central locking system Bill devised himself.

Instead of needing to pop ‘n’ lock all the drawers individually like most motorhome hardware, Bill has repurposed a fuel shut-off solenoid to throw a locking pin to secure all the kitchen drawers as soon as the vehicle’s engine starts. The same circuit also retracts the top-of-the-line 65cm Teleco auto tracking satellite dish and the electric step.

Between the bedroom and living quarters there is a bi-fold door, another simple but effective Bill Geary innovation. At rest it sits flush with the wall to grant access to the separate loo and washroom and can be pulled to close this off independently or, bi-folding the opposite way the door clips into place so the bedroom is closed off with the en suite all in one.

Bill created all the lighting in-house using strip LEDs that bathe the interior in a warm glow from under each pelmet. Additional vertical strips run down the side of the shower door for a contemporary touch.

"There are 360 watts of solar charging a 240ah battery bank and a 2000-watt sine wave inverter plus a massive 3.5kva Onan on board genset, so you’re absolutely sorted for consistent power," Bill says. "There’s also a sealed maintenance-free starting battery bank, so there’s really no reason for anyone to get stuck."

Inside there is a dual LCD television set-up – one in the bedroom, one in the living area – but they can be linked to the same satellite signal or central DVD entertainment system, or independently of each other. It’s all controlled by an entertainment hub hidden in a drawer but has sensors that enable its control via a remote anywhere in the bus. All the wiring has been specially routed behind removable panels.

Long-term living is easy in this bus; you have dual Fiamma awnings (3.5m on the right-hand side, 4.5m on the left); an outdoor shower; and 300 and 330-litre stainless steel fresh and waste (respectively) water tanks. Central heating comes by way of an excellent Eberspacher diesel system and there’s a Truma stainless gas/230-volt hot water cupboard.

The bedroom is spacious, beautifully finished and there’s a real feeling of opulence throughout the whole interior. The living area doesn’t feel cramped, with a permanent table corner booth and couch that flips out as a double bed.

Bill has done a sterling job with this build, and given the level of innovation and quality it offers the asking price of $245,000 seems fair for a vehicle of these dimensions.

For more information about the bus contact Bill Geary at BBS Motorhomes, ph 07 571 0271.

Specifications

Engine 8.2L diesel
Berths 2 + 2
Cooker Four-burner stove and oven
Microwave 1200-watt
Fridge Dometic 175-litre
Power supply 3.5kva genset, 2000w sine wave inverter, 360 watt solar, three-stage smart charger, 240ah battery bank
Heating Eberspacer diesel central heating, Truma hot water
Fresh water 300L
Grey water 330L

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