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Old 12-19-2016, 11:32 PM   #1
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Ford Cutaway 4x4 With Full Height Hardtop Prototype Planned

I put a $2k deposit on a Classic today. In talking to Brian at SMB-W, I learned that they now plan to build a Ford Cutaway 4x4 with a high hardtop roof. They are negotiating with a German company for the cabin, which will have vertical walls that do not curve in, interior width of 73". The prototype is probably at least two years away and will be followed by extensive testing. He said that following an extensive evaluation period they will decide whether to scrap the project or to go into production with it. The vehicle would have all the off road modifications: articulating axles, lockers, dual range, the works.

I will be going down to Fresno in a few weeks to talk about the layout. I will try to get more info. on this vehicle at that time. One thing I am unclear on is whether the cab and cabin will mate with a full opening, have a bellows pass through, or exist as independent enclosures on the frame. If anyone else has additional info., please share.

The first production model of the Classic (this is not the prototype) should roll off the line next month and will undergo extensive testing for a few months before they continue the line. There are around 20 Classics orders on the books right now. My build would begin Jan. 2018 and take about 4 months to complete

If you have been wanting the tall roof of a Sprinter, but the off road capability of the E series, please call Fresno and let them know. Hearing from potential customers could help them decide to move this along. I may decide to wait for this model if they can speed things up, or even buy the prototype after testing if it performs well.

Will update after I go see them.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:02 AM   #2
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So you went with a classic?? It'll be a pretty nice ride with the V-10 and 6 speed in it for sure. You will also get a full float axle and no RSC. Or are you going in for the german made cab high top??

I am not surprised to here about it, but certainly curious. If done right, it would sure be one heck of a cool adventure rig. My own thought was something utilitarian, between an ambulance and a retro rv. Straight walls are pretty desireable for insulating and furnishing.

My own thought was a steel framed drop on that would be mated to the cab. Slightly higher and wider than a van body but with about 76" between the walls for sleeping properly sideways. I'd want a good amount of window options for passengers. From what I recall, the cutaway body is almost 80" at it's widest. I like sleek so a pop top would be crucial for me personally, but the high tops are amazing as well.

Best of luck with your layout etc. If you are all in for a classic, then surely consider looking at used vans in the interim. Sportsmobile will convert a 2010+ V-10 with 60k or less miles on it. I found one but am choosing a different 4x4, having them do the top, and he interior and systems are up to me. Trying to save a little cash if I can.
Cheers.

Oh and I am sure the german made body will have full pass through. no way they would limit that and it's not necessary. Many cutaways have a pass through but it's usually has a door for cargo safety.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:15 AM   #3
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:28 AM   #4
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If you have been wanting the tall roof of a Sprinter, but the off road capability of the E series
That's what I want!

Right now, I'm seriously considering a Turtle Top body. QuadVan has been cranking them out, and they look good. Same size as a Sprinter EB, with one more size about the same as the LB. Body is 82" wide I think. Just barely wider than the cab, and with less curve.

I've been waiting for SMB to come out with a hard-top classic, but it seems like everything they tease us with is always "2 years out". Turtle top offers custom window layouts and mild camper builds. I'd love to have a slightly bigger van than what I have now, and still maintain the flexibility of a Transformer style van.
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:52 PM   #5
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I am sure the german made body will have full pass through. no way they would limit that and it's not necessary. Many cutaways have a pass through but it's usually has a door for cargo safety.
The cargo safety wall is an option when you order the cutaway from Ford. That's obviously an advantage if you are hauling cargo. (Imagine a plumber who has steel pipes aligned directly at the back of his seat being in a head-on collision.) With limited area and seating in a SMB however, one of its advantages is being able to swivel the seats and utilize the driving area also as living area. That is one of the disadvantages of EarthRoamer, Tiger, GEV, etc.
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:36 PM   #6
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I wonder if it is possible to put an ATW or Earth Cruiser box on the back of an E450 van. That might be less expensive and the V10 has more torque that the noisy Fuso diesel. Seems like the overall length wouldn't be much more than the Fuso cab vehicles.
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:40 PM   #7
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I wonder if it is possible to put an ATW or Earth Cruiser box on the back of an E450 van. That might be less expensive and the V10 has more torque that the noisy Fuso diesel. Seems like the overall length wouldn't be much more than the Fuso cab vehicles.
E450 is DRW. Dual rear wheels are not optimum for offroading. Rocks get stuck between the tires and rupture them.
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:24 PM   #8
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The Fuso is DRW too. Until you convert it.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:08 PM   #9
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I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for sportsmobile! They have been promising their new e series body for years. I love the idea but maybe I'm just way too impatient.
But having a brand new v10, 6 speed, converted to 4x4 sounds nice. I'm still waiting for someone to come up with funds (and the desire) to buy a new e350 cutaway and swap a van cab onto it. I know I was damn tempted to try it when I was searching for a late model lower mileage van.
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:19 AM   #10
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Me too. I was seriously thinking about a body swap or cutting away an older rear and dropping it on. Folly I know, but the search was frustrating.

Another nice thing about the cutaway is no RSC and a full float rear, not to mention the 6 speed. Oh, and a 40 gallon tank too. When I settled in on my 2013, I had little idea about axles and RSC nanny stuff etc. But I did get most of the stuff on my list.

Here's some folly based on the Ford Builder's book. Concept is a body bolted to the frame and welded and sealed to the cutaway cab. Frame would be steel like a roll cage with a thin skin. Straight walls and good insulation. Lots of places to bolt stuff down. One could easily picture a high top with or without a cabover. I wouldn't mind an extra six inches in height over a normal van and have a pop top over that. Again, folly, but I have a way to build it in my head with pretty simple methods. Utilitarian for sure. I tried for a 4" lift with 33" tires. Dark Green is the floor line, so you have storage under that area. I do like barn doors. SOmething about being able to open up the van to the outside world is very appealing to me.

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