Articles

How Fast Can You Make A McLaren 720S?

By Mark Riccioni | January 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Remember when a 10-second street car seemed like a massive deal? It was around the same time overnight parts from Japan became a thing, and the quality of tuna sandwiches would drive some individuals to turn violent. Over the past decade, I feel we’ve become normalised to seeing quarter mile and lap records tumble on …

Track-Spec, Street-Driven: A 600hp Twin-Turbo Porsche 912

By Stefan Kotze | January 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

I’ve got great respect for people that restore old classics back to factory, or better-than-factory condition. Restorations can easily consume hundreds if not thousands of hours, and not just in physical labour, but research and parts-hunting time, too. And then there’s the actual cost, which can be eye-watering depending on the scope of the project. Being passion-driven, the end results …

JDM Tuning Is Alive & Awesome At Garage Yamago

By Dino Dalle Carbonare | January 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

Is the end near? Is JDM tuning as we’ve come to know and love over? Are we all destined to be forced into an electric world? Probably not, this is just me overreacting. But it’s these nightmare scenarios that keep me up at night, forcing me to hunt out tuning shops and reestablish a sense of …

Drifting Down The Uncharted Road In An 850hp Mercedes-Benz CLK

By Brad Lord | January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

Back in 2013, we took a quick look at a Mercedes-Benz 190 E after seeing it in action at Gatebil Mantorp in Sweden. Being Gatebil (and Scandinavia), of course it wasn’t your average W201 – this one had been set up to go sideways. The unique Team Lovetap drift machine grabbed a lot of attention wherever its owner Mårten Stångber …

7 Things We Love About Tokyo Auto Salon

By Mark Riccioni | January 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

Right about now we’d typically be sleep deprived and eating a frankly alarming number of Lawson egg sandwiches. Through the medium of Speedhunters, we’d justify this madness as content creation or words to that effect. But the reality is much simpler than that: We bloody love Japan. And not just Japan, but Tokyo Auto Salon too. Which …

Exploring Watahiki Custom Build & Restoration

By Toby Thyer | January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

Many people choose to ignore the path of their parents and go their own way into the sweet comfort of success. Others choose to follow in the footsteps of their parents and fit the role with such complete comfort that doing anything else would seem alien. It’s safe to say that Watahiki-san of is firmly part of …

2021 Toyota Innova: order books open now, from 112k

By MT Digital | January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

2021 Toyota Innova available in three trim levels The 2021 Toyota Innova range has updated styling and features and additional safety systems as standard. Customers can place bookings for the new Innova now. The MPV will be available in three variants: Toyota Innova 2.0X – from RM129,677.00 Toyota Innova 2.0G – from RM121,483.00 Toyota Innova …

New Toyota Fortuner 2021, from RM172k

By MT Digital | January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Toyota Fortuner 2021 order books open now Bookings are now being accepted for the Toyota Fortuner 2021 at all authorised UMW Toyota dealerships nationwide. Two variants will be available: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 VRZ 4×4 A/T – RM203,183.00 Toyota Fortuner 2.7 SRZ 4×4 A/T – RM172,244.00 The Toyota Fortuner 2.8 VRZ 4×4 A/T is the new …

GoCar Subs 2021: 50% off

By MT Digital | January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

GoCar Subs reductions up to 50 per cent exclusively through the GoCar Official Store on Shopee Until 31 January 2021, GoCar is offering 50 percent reductions on selected GoCar Subs monthly plans. This is exclusively through the GoCar Official Store on Shopee. Additionally, first time users of GoCar Sharing can also enjoy savings of up …

How Lance Camper builds trailers and truck campers from start to finish

By Brandan Gillogly | March 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

The travel trailer market in the United States has been growing almost every year since the economy started rebounding back in 2010, with more than a million sold since 2016. Lance Camper makes up a small portion of that market, building as many as 12 ultralight trailers every day at its facility where it employs about 600 people. Though the market for truck campers is much smaller, Lance is a bigger player there, churning out as many as six each day before buyers drop them into the beds of half-ton or heavy-duty pickups for weekend getaways to places where a normal RV might not be able to venture.
Lance invited us to its facility, grouped in a few buildings in the same light industrial area in Lancaster, California, to see how the company builds trailers and campers. Here’s how it turns fiberglass, wood, aluminum, and steel into vacation homes on wheels.  

Brandan Gillogly
Each Lance camper or trailers begins with a computer model that helps engineers automate several stages of construction. The models include wiring, HVAC, and interior furniture and appliances—even the placement of pocket screws that will hold furniture to the walls.

Brandan Gillogly
While wood is used on the floor and interior, Lance uses synthetic materials on the exterior of its campers and trailers to minimize the potential for water damage and rot. Here, workers are gluing down thin sheets of Azdel, a synthetic sound-deadening and insulating panel, on top of a fiberglass outer layer.

Brandan Gillogly
The material that will comprise the ceiling and walls goes through rollers that squeeze them together before a layer of foam insulation is glued down and the entire thing is rolled again. The open floor plan of the building is maintained at a specific temperature and humidity level to ensure proper curing conditions for the glue.
Here’s what the three layers look like once lamination is complete.

Brandan Gillogly
Wiring harnesses are assembled on panels, each one labeled to correspond with the specific floorplan of the finished product.

Brandan Gillogly
Internal framing and wiring run through the ceiling and wall panels and, to allow these systems to be sandwiched between the outer and inner layers without diminishing the insulation too much, CNC routers cut passages in the foam. The leftover foam is returned to the manufacturer (a third party) to be recycled into the next batch.

The frames of Lance campers and trailers are made of rectangular aluminum tubing. The tubes are bonded to the Azdel and MIG-welded to each other. Some of the tubing ends are filled with wood, where they will be bolted together.

Brandan Gillogly
With the frame and wiring in place, an overhead laser projector shows workers where plywood or aluminum sheets will be installed before the interior walls are laminated. The position of the reinforcing sheets is determined by the placement of the internal cabinetry and furniture. The backing plate you see here is for a speaker in the ceiling.

Brandan Gillogly
An interior wall of marine-grade Lauan plywood with a vinyl wallpaper is bonded on before it heads to another CNC router that cuts all the layers to create openings for the door, windows, slide-out, and access panels. These trailer side walls will soon move next door, where the rest of assembly occurs.

Brandan Gillogly
At the final assembly building just down the street, trailer frames start with open-channel frame rails and crossmembers that are riveted together before torsion axles are bolted on.

Brandan Gillogly
Depending on the size of the travel trailer, tanks for fresh, gray, and black water may be insulated individually or, as is the case for this trailer, insulated along with the whole undercarriage. Either way, heater ducts are routed to the tanks to ensure they never freeze.

Brandan Gillogly
The “basement” of a camper has much less room to work with than a trailer and requires custom-molded water tanks; otherwise, the plumbing is similar.

Brandan Gillogly
Trailer floors are made from an insulated laminate like the roof and walls, but it’s topped with a seamless flooring that’s similar to linoleum.

As the frames and floors are coming together, workers in the upholstery area hand-cut and sew the trim.

Brandan Gillogly
Like the ceiling insulation and walls, cabinets and furniture also get cut using a CNC router. Careful planning makes the most out of each tough, lightweight poplar or maple plywood panel and minimizes waste.

Brandan Gillogly
Workers assemble furniture into sub-assemblies and install hardware before it is placed in the camper or trailer.

Brandan Gillogly
One place where cutouts can be reused is the subfloor for the shower/bathroom. Exterior wall sections initially cut out for doors, windows, or slide-outs come together to make a stand for the bathroom insert.

Brandan Gillogly
Furniture, cabinets, and appliance wiring is installed on the trailer deck before the walls go on.

Brandan Gillogly
The construction process is similar for campers. Most of the interior is installed, including HVAC systems and generators, before the side walls are bolted in place.

Brandan Gillogly
The nose cap on campers is formed as one piece to help prevent water leaks. It’s one of the last pieces to be added.

Brandan Gillogly
While trailer roofs have a slight crown to promote water drainage, camper roofs are flat in profile and slope from front to back. Here, this camper roof gets coated in adhesive before the TPO roofing membrane is placed on it.

Brandan Gillogly
The roof panel is lifted in place by an overhead crane. The roofing membrane wraps over the sidewalls and is heat-formed to maintain its shape. There are no seams to leak.

Slide-outs are the last major step of assembly, as campers and trailers get the slide-out hardware installed and the slide-out, assembled in one of the perpendicular assembly lines, finally meets its camper or trailer.

Brandan Gillogly
Once inside a camper, especially one with a slide-out, it’s easy to forget that its footprint fits in the bed of a pickup.