Combining Tinyhouses and Vanlife, These Housetruckers Were Popularized in the 1970s_lag

Housetruckers are individuals, families and groups who convert old trucks and school buses into mobile homes and live in them, preferring an unattached and transient lifestyle to more conventional housing. These vehicles began appearing around New Zealand during the mid-1970s and even though there are fewer today they continue to travel New Zealand roads.

The idea of the nomadic styled mobile home was spawned from the international 1960s and 1970s counterculture movements, New Zealand with its unique Kiwi experience was fashioned from the early American and British hippie crusades and the then alternative music revolution. In the 1960s and 1970s hippie culture spread worldwide through a fusion of rock music, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock; it also found expression in the arts, specifically in literature, the dramatic arts and the creative arts. The early and modern housetruckers essentially derived their cultures and belief systems from these original influences.
Most 1970s mobile homes were constructed from the chassis upwards utilising predominantly cheap recycled materials. Throughout this era house-truck rigs were constructed on the decks of old ex farm trucks which could then be purchased for $500 to $2500. House-buses were either stripped down to the chassis in preparation for construction or just added onto, to facilitate increased living areas. As opposed to the bright colourful American and British versions of the 1960s, many of the early Kiwi rigs were finished in earthy colored timber exteriors. This was due in part to the fact that in the 1970s the Toyota Motor company imported their new vehicles from Japan in car-crates which were constructed from reasonable quality marine grade plywood. The crates came with good quality framed floors. These were the perfect material in which to construct and clad a house truck.

New York housetruckers in the 1970s.


A shingled housetruck in New York state, 1970s.


A mobile home at Nambassa, 1981.


Housetruckers at Nambassa, 1981.


Customized housetruck with chimney and reclaimed window panes, New York, 1970s.

A riverside housetruck encampment in New Zealand, 1981.


1977 housetruck under construction for the Roadshow.


A very early ’70s housetruck at Nambassa, 1978.


Housetruck with chimney and Craftsman style windows and siding.


Mobile housetruck parked curbside, New York, 1970s.


Housebus at Nambassa, 1981.


Converted bus housetruck rigged for electricity, New York, 1970s.


“Mahana Roadshow” at Nambassa, 1979.


“Gas producer” house-truck at Nambassa, 1981.

(via Timeline)