I went to war on sky-high rents by turning a military truck into a tiny HOME…now I can live completely off-grid

A former engineer turned a military truck into a tiny house – to become a desert dweller.

The American Nicholas Bauer created the so-called “Franken-Truck” so that he could travel and live outside of the “crazy” housing market.

Nicholas built a house out of junk vehicles - to avoid it "crazy" real estate market


Nicholas built a house out of junk cars – to escape the “crazy” housing marketPhoto credit: TikTok/startupslick
The dragon chariot consists of three different vehicles, including parts of military trucks


The dragon chariot consists of three different vehicles, including parts of military trucksPhoto credit: TikTok/startupslick
Nicholas celebrates his desert lifestyle by customizing vehicles online


Nicholas celebrates his desert lifestyle by customizing vehicles onlinePhoto credit: TikTok/startupslick

The former automotive engineer and self-proclaimed “full-time desert dweller” began building his tiny truck-shaped home in 2016.

Split filming Nicholas confessed about the project, which goes by the name Dragon Wagon: “Being a millennial in 2016, property prices were crazy back then.”

“I didn’t want to buy a house and invest a lot of money in anything – so I decided that a cheap campervan that I could buy on Craigslist would be the best option.”

But Nicholas, who goes by the online username @startupslick, wasn’t content with buying the 1987 Fleetwood Prowler RV.

Instead, he acquired parts of a five-ton M932A2 – a heavy-duty tractor that formed the basis of the vehicle.

He then modeled the vehicle’s cabin on an all-terrain military vehicle known by the US Marines as the “Dragon Wagon” and bought the modified MK48 avalanche transceiver from an online seller.

In a YouTube video, Nicholas reveals: “All in all, I paid about 11,000 euros for the truck.”

“I wanted to build a house – a vehicle on wheels so I could go anywhere, anytime.”

And Nicholas, who says he lives off the grid, adds: “I quit my job and that would be the beginning of the Dragon Wagon journey, which has been going on for about seven years.”

He recently claimed his bohemian home cost him about $14,000.

In a recent Instagram post, he wrote, “After spending ten years saving half your income, you got out of debt, built an off-grid home transporter, and now you raise chickens.”

He rounded it all off the post with the caption, “I was crazy enough to do it.”

But while viewers have been begging Nicholas to reveal the inside of his intrepid little home, he hasn’t shown it on camera just yet.

One commented: “Really nice work, looking forward to a full tour.”

While another wrote: “C’mon Manyou can’t share something that cool without taking an inside tour.”

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Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing edmund@ustimespost.com.

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