We love homebuilt motorhomes because each one is different and expresses the owner's personality. For example, Ryan Bell built a Ford Transit into a stealthy camper and has lived in it full-time for over a year. He gave the rig an unassuming exterior but outfitted the interior with an impressive entertainment setup.
Bell calls this rig Megalodon in reference to the prehistoric giant shark. This is his second build after selling everything he owned and building a Ford E-Series called Great White for $3,000.
Megalodon is a work in progress. Bell tells Motor1 that he expects the total build to cost around $35,000 when it’s complete. That’s a fraction of the price for factory-built rigs like the Transit-based offering from AEONrv for $219,000.
There are some subtle tweaks to the Megalodon’s exterior, like covering the side window with a decal that allows occupants to see out of the van, but strangers can't see inside. The roof holds 800 watts of solar panels and fans for ventilating the cabin.
Opening the door reveals the interior transformation. The tiny kitchenette is fully featured with a three-burner cooktop and an appliance that combines a microwave, convection oven, and an air fryer. There's a metal sink, but Bell doesn't have a faucet yet. He plans to add a pantry for storage as part of future upgrades.
The combination of the sleeping space and entertainment center takes up most of the van's rear section. Bell mounts a screen to the wall, and the desk has two settings to raise it so he can comfortably work from bed.
"My favorite part about the van is how comfortable it is to sleep," Bell told Motor1. "It's blacked out inside overnight and quiet due to all the insulation added. In my last van, highway noise had me annoyed at night. This is no issue in Megalodon."
Bell is a musician and manages to fit a tiny recording setup in Megalodon. A custom cabinet holds a guitar amp, and there's a nearby microphone on a stand. For enjoying music, he has a pair of speakers and a subwoofer that’s big for a van this size. When it's time to play video games, Bell has a Steam Deck that can hook up to the TV. The setup allows him to play various modern and vintage titles from bed.
Bell has an ambitious idea to build a sliding closet as a future expansion for Megalodon. Pulling it away from the wall would reveal a shower and toilet, which are amenities the van currently lacks.
He offered Motor1 a tip for anyone looking to build their own motorhome. "Insulation is the most important part of a build to make it comfortable like a house," Bell said. "My five-inch walls are not overkill like many people in the video comments believe."