By Frazer Randalls

CAR ENTHUSIAST John Ortlieb, from Nevada, is the proud owner of not one, but two ‘Boaterhomes’ – a spectacular half boat, half van hybrid

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Videographer / director: Jessica Sherry
Producer: Frazer Randalls, Ruby Coote   
Editor: Ciara Cecil

One he inherited from his father and one he purchased nearly ten years ago.

His father’s, which stands at 36 feet-long, can travel up to 40mph on water and over 100mph on land.

John told Barcroft TV: “It’s really convenient. It’s fun, it’s unique – like an RV but it floats. It’s amazing.”

The limited-edition hybrid is not just used as a boat, home and vehicle, but also as a unique party venue that you can often see cruising down the Las Vegas strip.

John said: “Everyone loves a Boaterhome – it’s good times, good energy, good fun.”

His ‘floating RV’ is somewhat of a family heirloom, after his father saw one being advertised in an eighties’ edition of Popular Science magazine.

John explained: “I was about ten years old when my dad told my mum to bring us outside and see what he was coming home in – I didn’t know what it was at the time.”

Only 21 of these unique vehicles exist, and John’s, built in the eighties was based on a Ford Econoline Van.

Over the years, he has maintained the original design. You can see the classic fiberglass towards the back and the point where the van was cut off to make the seamless boat connection.

However, he has added some bells and whistles.

He said: “Almost 75% of the Boaterhome is original but I’ve done a little work to it and made it a little bigger inside.”

The interior is mostly wooden, decorated with paraphernalia resembling ocean life, such as mermaids, starfish and seashells.

It boasts a nifty kitchen – comprised of a stove, conventional oven, microwave and fridge. There’s also a compact dining table area that can fold down to create extra room.

At the helm station, you will find the Captain chair and sofas that pull out to make a bed bigger than a king-size.

John has travelled his Boaterhome far and wide.

“It’s been all over the country with my dad,” John said. “I’ve taken it to California and camped in it in Dumont Dunes.”

Despite assumptions that a home of this size is hard work, John insists that controlling the Boaterhome is a one-man job.

He said: “It’s very easy – you don’t have to tow the boat and you never get wet – that’s the great part.”

Not content with owning with just one Boaterhome, John found another advertised online almost ten years ago.

He said: “The guy was asking almost $30,000 for it and this thing wasn’t how he described it. It belonged in a junkyard.”

John purchased the Boaterhome for roughly $11,000 and has since turned it into a project – remodelling it the way he wants whilst maintaining the classic eighties aesthetic.

This will include a second seating area to make it a double-decker, as well as fitting it with the right technology to transform it into a smart boat.

For John, these two Boaterhomes are entirely different and will serve him different purposes down the line.

“The first one is definitely my dad’s and it always will be – it’s a family heirloom.”

“The second one,” he continued, “is a blank slate that I get to build from the ground up.”