Handbuilt Gypsy Camper Dream Home

buddy caravan

I’ve been a custom furniture builder for over 15 years and I started to become unfulfilled in just creating high-end furniture. At heart, I always enjoyed the simple things and when I built my first tiny cabin home for my daughter to live in I felt like I found my niche in creating handmade simple dwellings.

Last winter, my fiance and I dreamed of building a gypsy-style camper on the back of an old truck. A month later we found “Buddy” a 4×4 1960 Dodge Power wagon with the perfect faded patina and we started to work on this unique project.

buddy caravan

It became a fun challenge with all of the curves and angles we incorporated to accomplish the traditional gypsy vardo style we were inspired by. We used as many reclaimed materials as possible in the construction of it. Most of the wood was hand-scraped and not sanded which adds its own level of character.

The truck we started with has only 52,000 miles on the original flathead six engine that runs and drives great. We have been on three long distance trips in Buddy creating smiles everywhere we go.

We are offering up this unique traveling tiny home for sale at $14,500.

Check out our video and learn more about Buddy:

My passion is building handmade alternative structures from nails and wood to straw and mud. I would love to help make people’s simple living dreams a reality. Please contact me for custom tiny home projects or alternative dwelling construction. We are in Idaho planning to relocate to Southern Oregon this summer, but can travel for custom orders.

Phone: 208-280-4570
Email: naturalbuilder.jp@gmail.com

buddy side view

buddy porch


bunk and living space

entry door

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Tom - May 6, 2014 Reply

absolutely fantastic. Furniture builder myself, turned tiny home builder. Reminds me of my builds! Beautiful job!

Neva - May 6, 2014 Reply

I LOVE this! Buddy is terrific. I love the antique look of it all and the idea that it was made mostly from reclaimed materials. I’m wondering… I bet Buddy is a stick-shift right? If he was automatic, this might be my dream gypsy home.

    winnie - May 6, 2014 Reply

    Yup, looks to be shift on the column. Come to Virginia. I’ll teach you to drive standard.

Cece DuBois - May 6, 2014 Reply

Guys, that is so awesome! Beautiful! I shared your video on Facebook. If I was in a position to do so, I’d buy that rig TODAY!!

Kari - May 6, 2014 Reply

Please may I live there now? Please?

curt - May 6, 2014 Reply

love it…

Deedee - May 6, 2014 Reply

Exquisite! Love the colors and the Gypsy vibe! I would love to park Buddy in my driveway and take him to the mountains and beach from time to time! Thank you for sharing!

Carol Stahl - May 6, 2014 Reply

I do love Buddy too. What backs me off about mobile tiny home living is the extra care and worry about the vehicle. Chicken that I am, the challenge of managing a new form of shelter seems enough, at least at first until the owners’ adjustment switch is firmly in the ON position. From growing up in Detroit, first jobs in the automotive industry, want to remind everyone that the vehicle manufacturers do not make replacement/repair parts after 7 yrs has elapsed from model year. A lot more to think about than only the true beauty of the craftsmanship and thrill of such a unique living space.

    LouAnn - May 6, 2014 Reply

    David is right. You can still find parts for a flathead engine. My son inherited an old truck with a flathead in it. You just have to do some internet searching and check salvage yards. There are some that specialize in old cars and trucks.

    Cecile Lusby - May 6, 2014 Reply

    When I got ready to build my gypsy vardo I made the decision to build it on a trailer base I found in my back pasture. I chose not to drop it in the bed of a pickup truck and instead buildta freestanding unit because I wanted to separate the issue of mechanical repairs from that of housing.

    David Remus - May 7, 2014 Reply

    I know a lot of people here in CA that restore vehicles back to the 50’s that have little problem getting most mechanical parts. You can get new parts for a Model T if it’s a later model. What is getting harder to replace is the glass. If you get something that was common in it’s day it is more likely to be able to replace broken windows. 6 cylinders are generally easier to work on yourself.

    Talk to old car buffs, go to car shows, and learn what vehicles were dependable. The Dodge trucks with the slant 6 for instance, were known for their dogged persistence.

david head - May 6, 2014 Reply

You can always buy replacement parts as they continue to be made in other countries. And if you want it cheaper then there’s the wreckers.

David Butler - May 6, 2014 Reply

The flathead 6 parts are not a problem…we stock one of the largest inventories anywhere in the world…This 1960 Dodge W300 is quite rare…

sc - May 12, 2014 Reply

I wouldn’t want to live in something so small, but i have always loved gypsy style caravans/campers. Ever since I have seen your camper on this blog I have having dreams and fantasies about what it would be like to live it. I cant seem to forget it. I will be jealous of whoever buys it.

Jed Petterson - May 24, 2014 Reply

Thank you guys for all of your comments. It is really encouraging. We actually just reduced the price down to $10,900.

Kelly - March 1, 2015 Reply

Looks amazing & beautiful! love love! Is he still for sale?

    Kent Griswold - March 1, 2015 Reply

    Kelly you will need to call the number above to see if it is still available.

The Artful Cowgirl - January 6, 2017 Reply

Love your Vardo! I am looking to build one for my Nissan Frontier pickup bed. My ex and I converted an old school bus into a custom coach back in the late 70’s, lived in it for 2 years, and sold it in 1982. I then renovated, by myself, a little 1964 single axle canned ham. Now I have a 1983 24′ self-contained that is almost completely redone, again all by myself. I am an artist, and would like to just get in and go, paint outdoors and sleep where ever, and not worry about hooking up electric, water, and campgrounds. I want the freedom the Gypsies had.
Any information or advice? Thanks!

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