Who doesn’t like a quirked-up cab-over truck? Just a few days ago, EarthCruiser unveiled a four-door version of its CORE commercial vehicle that seems to roll many things that we love into one vehicle. Going off-road, cab-over trucks, proper four-wheel-drive systems, weird commercial vehicles, all that awesome stuff. Let’s dive into this unusual off-roader to see exactly what makes it so cool.
You might be wondering why we’re covering this random commercial vehicle. Well, mostly because it’s cool. Hands up, how many of us played with Tonka trucks as a kid? While an enormous commercial dump truck is another level of impractical, there’s still something cool about a tall, fit-for-purpose commercial vehicle that delights the little bit of childishness inside every vehicle enthusiast. Okay, maybe it’s more than just a little bit of childishness, since we never really grew out of playing with cars.
If you’re not familiar with EarthCruiser, it’s a small Oregon-based company that builds some of the coolest high-dollar overlanding rigs around. From unique four-wheel-drive systems to RV-style interiors, EarthCruiser does everything necessary to make its rigs turn-key alternatives to chalets, cabins, and the like. In addition to overlanding rigs, EarthCruiser builds commercial vehicles for proper rough-and-tumble use.
Based on the Isuzu NPR, the EarthCruiser CORE Dual-Cab Chassis looks to be everything you need to start a big off-road build. While 350 horsepower may sound a bit low for a 6.6-liter V8, the Core cranks out a strong 425 lb-ft of torque and puts it through a six-speed automatic gearbox. From there, torque can be split through a two-speed transfer case to both axles, both the front and rear differentials are of a locking design, and the front hubs are manually-locking. Of course, tires are the real points of traction, so EarthCruiser has equipped this thing with massive 37-inch E-rated mud terrains on 17-inch wheels to offer plenty of sidewall.
As articulation is the name of the game when it comes to getting over really uneven terrain, the CORE gets solid axles front and rear with unique leaf springs and dampers. While EarthCruiser doesn’t list ground clearance on this thing, it looks pretty damn good. The cab-over form should also help with approach angle as the front overhang is short and the bumper is way up in the air.
Despite looking formidable in press photos, the CORE Dual-Cab Chassis isn’t that massive compared to a half-ton pickup truck. Figure a width of 81 inches, or roughly an inch wider than a standard Ford F-150. However, width isn’t everything as the CORE Dual Cab is a long vehicle on a long wheelbase. EarthCruiser figures 241.5 inches in length excluding the rear bumper and a wheelbase of 150 inches. While that surely isn’t the best thing in the world for breakover angle, it does allow for 88 inches of room behind the cab to mount whatever you might want.
Granted, EarthCruiser doesn’t aim for the CORE Dual-Cab Chassis to be a mass-market vehicle. It’s a commercial rig through and through, with focus on remote operations from UAV deployment and recovery to wildland firefighting. Still, wouldn’t this make for a sweet mobile concert rig? Imagine a fold-down stage on the back with a sound system and lighting that could all be powered by the combustion engine. Sure, it probably wouldn’t fit every member of Broken Social Scene, but such a platform might be big enough for a DJ or two. Alternatively, you could build your own overlanding rig on the back of the CORE Dual Cab, something that’s a bit more specialized than the pre-built Dual-Cab overlanding RVs offered by EarthCruiser. Plus, think of all the friends you can bring along for the ride.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the EarthCruiser CORE Dual Cab, but don’t expect it to be cheap. The standard two-door version starts at $105,000, which is proper luxury car money. Remember, the whole process for this thing is to buy a brand new Isuzu NPR and re-do almost everything that isn’t body or emissions-related. Still, we love a good cab-over truck, even if it’s pricey.
All photos courtesy of EarthCruiser
Yeah just buy an LMTV, plenty of parts and cheaper.
4×4 cabovers look cool, and I have no issues with EarthCruiser or any other upfitters of these things. Take a drive in these on various surfaces before you sign a purchase agreement. In my limited experience driving a modern Isuzu NPR, the NVH levels were not acceptable for any long distance driving. Maybe EarthCruiser figured out how to tune the suspension for comfort — I would hope so for the price.
Happy to be contradicted by EarthCruiser owners.
This is a slight departure for Earthcruiser since their cabover rigs are usually on Mitsubishi Fuso chassis because they are available with factory 4×4 in the US, but Fuso doesn’t sell a crew cab here which is probably why they went Isuzu.
I thought I had heard that Fuso was pulling out of the US market a few year ago, that may have factored into it as well.
Those Stewart & Stevenson LMTVs always looked like the thing to build an overlander on.
I did some work for S&S back in the day when the LMTVs first came out. I remember the oval “race track” at their Houston site. I REALLY wanted to take one out there and let it rip, but, sadly, no dice (liability and all that legal shite…).
So it’s a 4×4 Isuzu NPS (not an NPR) with a single wheel conversion and the big diesel (which I don’t think is available in Oz in this combination..). What else does it have over the factory offering that justifies that quite hellacious cost?
https://www.trucksales.com.au/items/details/2022-isuzu-n-series-nps-75-45-155/SSE-AD-13754620?pageSource=details&id=SSE-AD-13754620 because this fully setup dual cab with the single wheels and suspension upgrade (and the 5.2 litre turbo diesel) is AU$160,000 plus on road costs. That’s US$108,000…for the dual cab.
Yeah, but you can’t buy one in ‘murrica, land of freedumb. These guys down in Orygun are building NPS
Pretty sure this is a gasoline engine. Not what I would want in an overland rig that is supposed to get me far from civilization.
No manual is a no for me. Also I think roof racks suck and external roll cages suck.
That standard Isuzu cab takes my thoughs back to the time, where truck caps were not particularly designed, just a thing you bought and stuck on. So A Renault cab on a Ford truck was absolutely normal. Or was it the other way around?
I’ve also always liked that MAN used the VW LT cab for some of their smaller trucks.
And those cool european brands, that I never saw marketed anywhere, but I saw everywhere on the roads, Magirus, Saviem, Berliet, Iveco, Pegaso and such (coming from Scandinavia, Scania and Volvo were just too common and boring) Now I almost miss that thick smell of warm diesel exhaust on the Autobahn…
France did have some cool truck brands. Saviem and Berliet were absorbed into Renault Trucks in 1978. There were still some Saviem-Renault branded trucks; Berliet-branded trucks kept being sold for a couple years after the merger and the brand was then phased-out. I also love Pegaso. Last summer I went to Torremolinos on vacation and snapped a very cool picture of an old blue and white Pegaso parasol with a couple of empty beach chairs against the ocean, and it was one of my favourite pictures from the entire vacation: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ch9pm4pMr9N/
I wish Hyunda/kai i would import the Porter and Bango to the US. Would make great little work trucks…
Can get them in 4×4, 4 dr, 2dr extra cab…
For something as stripped down as this, I don’t understand why someone just doesn’t buy an NPR directly from Isuzu. Some aftermarket leaf springs, long-travel dampers, and taller tires. Done. Save $40k or so.
I don’t think the NPR comes in 4wd. I may be wrong but a brief search didn’t find anything referencing a factory 4×4 NPR. I imagine those heavy duty truck axles are not cheap so it’s probably pretty expensive to convert. Not like throwing a Dana 60 and transfer case under a ford van.
Factory 4×4 Isuzu trucks are a pretty common sight in rural Australia for commercial and industrial use, and there are a few companies making offroad camper conversions:
That’s fair. I feel like a 4WD N-Series Isuzu was on offer at least at some point in their recent history, but maybe that was for different markets?
There is. It’s the NPS.
You’re probably right. I don’t know much about commercial vehicles.
I just checked some prices… NPR looks to start at 40k. No way they are increasing the value of this thing by 2.5x! Also, their other prices are outrageous. Half a mil for a commercial truck with an rv strapped to the back. Would not be surprised if you could have one of these built elsewhere for less money. Or just buy a military surplus truck for a fraction of the cost.