Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.52.28 AM

Ford is working with MAKE to profile owners of the Transit Connect, a vehicle that offers creative types a small, modifiable vehicle to suit their passions and personal pursuits. In this series, we’ll be profiling Transit Connect owners and looking at how they’ve customized their rides.

As a boy growing up in Germany, Christian Wohlfahrt lived a highly mobile life. He and his family traveled around Europe in a truck that had a modified shipping container mounted on the rear. They bought and sold furniture at flea markets by day and slept in the homemade RV at night.-1

“That’s how we lived,” remembers Christian, 35. “We were sort of like gypsies.”

He moved to Killeen, Texas in 1990 when his stepfather, a U.S. serviceman, was transferred to the Fort Hood army base. After adjusting to the culture shock of central Texas, he settled into his new life and he now works as a TV producer for a public television station. But he still longed for the road.

“That never left my blood,” he said. “I’ve always got itchy feet.”

To satisfy his travel bug, he and his wife went shopping for the right transportation. He has a 1972 VW bus, a vehicle he calls his “get out of town camper.” But the aging bus can be temperamental and makes him nervous on long trips to remote locations far from auto repair shops. Because of its affordability, good mileage, and warranty, he said he chose a Ford Transit Connect.

“We decided to get the Transit Connect to venture out a little further,” he said. “The first thing I did when I went to the dealer was lay down in the back to see if I could sleep in it.”

He was sold.

His first big trip was Big Bend National Park, a rugged, 800,000-acre dessert wilderness in far west Texas that borders Mexico.

At first, he just brought a pair of cots and set them up inside to sleep. Since then he has created a tri-sectional, folding bed with room for storage underneath. For creature comforts, he mounted 8-feet of black PVC pipe on the roof to create a solar shower.  He also added a window-mounted air conditioning unit and door-mounted generator for when they drop anchor and settle in.

“We actually have pretty posh accommodations when we’re camping,” he said.

Christian has even brought his Transit Connect to a VW bus rally.

“Of course I thought I was going to get tarred and feathered,” he said. “But they actually thought it was a pretty good alternative.”

Here are scenes from Christian’s trip to Big Bend National Park:

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Food
*Sustainable/green design
*Science
*Young Makers
*Action sports


Related

Comments

  1. cromag says:

    Ahh, the Ford Transit Connect. interesting vehicle. built by Ford in Turkey (close to the EU, cheap labor) and used in Europe, and elsewhere, where a full size cargo van (Econoline) would be used here. Interesting note, due to an obscure 1963 tariff law, all the units imported to America arrive with seats and full interior in the back. They are imported as passenger vehicles but most of them have the seats removed and shipped back to Turkey and the interior panels shredded so they can be sold as cargo vehicles (light trucks) without incurring a 25% tariff. Google “Chicken Tax” for the sordid details.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Hi this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code
    with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

In the Maker Shed