A recent YouTube video is taking the online RV community by storm. This video portrays an “End of the World RV” suited for all kinds of weather, off-grid conditions, and both recreational and practical use.
The vehicle is a self-contained workshop and living space. It even has its own crane! The RV’s owner, Gordo Clement, is a jack of all trades who redesigned this former school bus to suit his every whim.
But is Gordo’s RV truly capable of weathering the end of the world?
Let’s find out!
From School Bus to End of the World RV
Gordon “Gordo” Clement purchased his 2003 International Blue Bird school bus in 2019. The bus came from a local school district that had over-maintained its fleet and had too many vehicles.
Clement’s vehicle was a standard 36-foot bus that initially transported kids to and from school. It was the perfect template for Clement’s highly personalized skoolie project.
Over three years, Clement used his extensive electrical, engineering, and fabrication skills to customize the bus to his every need. The initial transformation began with many coats of black paint to cover the standard school bus yellow. Once his chosen aesthetic was in place, Clement began rebuilding the bus from the inside out.
Once Clement finished the project, the bus was transformed into a completely new creation, featuring a crane, mobile welding shop, customized sleeping quarters, and more. This incredible multi-use vehicle has garnered praise from all corners of the internet, with some calling it an “end-of-the-world RV.”
What Makes This End of the World RV Unique?
This End of the World RV is an auto rehabber’s dream. In a video tour posted on YouTube by the Mobile Dwellings channel, Clement says: “This bus is not quite my house, it’s not quite my shop…it’s everything, but also nothing. It’s a paradox.”
Our interest is piqued! Let’s explore this “paradoxical” custom vehicle together.
One of Clement’s first steps was to paint the bus a matte black color. But the exterior work didn’t stop there. To make his dream a reality, Clement had to reconfigure and move fuel tanks, batteries, and all kinds of machinery to new locations.
He also gutted the back half of the vehicle’s original seating zone, creating a flatbed area capable of hauling supplies or acting as a screened-in porch for camping.
Clement wanted to ensure he would always have enough power for the bus and his various projects. He installed multiple gel batteries, a portable generator, and solar panels to optimize the vehicle’s power sources. Because of this, the bus conversion can function “off-grid,” removed from external power sources for days at a time.
He also hoped to retain as many original details as possible. Clement kept the bus’s existing door. However, he moved it to the mid-point of what was originally the seating area and outfitted it with a hydraulic system. He also painted the original fleet number, 599, on the roof. These touches give the bus a feel of familiarity despite its numerous transformations.
This RV rehabber didn’t stop at exterior customization. The inside of this skoolie project is just as impressive as the outside!
Clement gutted and redesigned the bus’s existing dashboard controls to suit his needs. The custom displays allow Clement to control various systems, such as air conditioning, power, and even the position of the bus door. Plus, it gives the vehicle an otherworldly spaceship-like vibe.
He also removed the original seats and installed four from a Toyota Sienna SUV sourced from salvage yards.
After clearing much of the bus’s interior space, Clement focused on a “sleeping system” that accommodates up to four people and adjusts for headroom. There’s a small kitchen area built into one side of the vehicle containing a prep space (which Clement says will eventually feature a sink) and an under-counter spring-loaded cooler for perishable food.
The vehicle also boasts custom upholstery, shades, and other textiles. These were collaborations between Clement and his mother, whom he refers to as the “sewing sensei” of the family. Much of this upholstery displays Clement’s colorful trademark logo.
Clement wanted to maximize storage in his custom RV. He installed numerous storage boxes into the interior walls of the bus conversion, allowing him to travel with tools and gadgets that come in handy on the road.
He even created snap-on cloth storage compartments that hang from other areas of the vehicle, such as the beams supporting the bed system. Clement doesn’t waste an inch of potential storage space in this RV.
The vehicle’s exterior also contains numerous storage containers and drawers. The flatbed area of the bus serves as extra storage space and can accommodate hundreds of pounds worth of gear to suit Clement’s needs. He even installed a large custom rack on the top of the bus.
This rack can support strapped-down cargo and even a custom crane system for lifting heavy materials.
Pro Tip: Want to build your own end of the world bus? Check out this story on the process of renovating an old school bus.
Does This End of the World RV Include a Portable Workshop?
Clement isn’t just an engineer and RV rehabber. He also does welding and fabrication work. Because some of his adventures call for special large-scale projects, he decided to build a portable workshop into the back of his custom bus.
While the vehicle’s flatbed is used for hauling and recreation, one of its primary purposes is housing Clement’s mobile welding rig. Clement installed a portable shop table and custom storage bins to house his tools, equipment, and parts. The bus’s customized power system allows him to use his power tools and welder nearly anywhere.
This workshop can be moved from the flatbed to ground level using Clement’s proprietary crane system. The system is heavy. But, the bus can haul more than two tons, allowing this RV enthusiast to bring his projects anywhere he likes.
Why Do Some People Choose Bus Conversions Over Buying an RV?
Gordo Clement’s RV transformation is nothing short of incredible. It’s clear that customizing a vehicle to your every whim can be enjoyable. But for those without engineering and fabrication experience, could there be other reasons to choose a bus conversion project instead of buying a conventional ready-made RV?
One major plus to bus conversion projects is cost. According to DblDkr.com, used buses are frequently available at relatively low mileage for anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. By comparison, even used conventional RVs can start in the $100,000 range.
Buses also tend to be quite durable. DblDkr.com points out that while traditional RVs are designed primarily for stationary use, buses are made to travel hundreds of thousands of miles. A bus may be a wiser investment if you’re hoping to get more mileage out of your RV and travel frequently.
Finally, buses are often much safer vehicles than RVs. NWBus.com points out that buses “are commercial vehicles specifically constructed with built-in safety measures to protect a larger number of passengers in the event of a collision.”
Given this information, it’s easy to see why some people decide to convert a bus rather than purchase a conventional RV.
Pro Tip: Do you prefer van life over bus life? Check out these 5 Best Van Conversion Companies.
A Perfect Paradox
Gordo Clement put it perfectly when he described his converted bus as “a perfect paradox.” This one-of-a-kind RV is a simple vehicle, a combination dwelling and workshop, and everything in between.
Clement’s electrical and design skills ensure that this bus will always fit his needs, no matter what kind of adventure he pursues. And if any custom RV could survive an end-of-the-world situation, we think it’d be this one!
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: