Some artists spend years, decades even, working on their “piece de resistance” if you will. The finished product might be a statue, a painting, or in the case of John Driscoll, a most unique gypsy wagon. He calls it the “Big Maroon” and it all began in 1971 when he paid $125 for a 1959 Federal truck that was originally a flatbed farm truck. Ever since then he’s been working on it, converting it into the one of a kind masterpiece you see here.
No detail went overlooked in the construction of this custom home on wheels, from the exterior to the interior and everything in between. He had plenty of help along the way, and the exterior shell was finished in 1975. It clocks in at 11′ tall, 25′ long, and weighs 1,500 lbs. including water, fuel, a boat, motorcycle, groceries, and one dog.
You need a serious engine to power a home like this, especially with the added weight of the build. At one point he swapped the Pontiac 2-barrel 389 for a 455 cubic inch Edelbrock with aluminum heads, custom intake, and a 650 carburetor. There’s certainly no shortage of power now, and along with the engine he also customized the power steering, transmission, brakes, and rear axle to ensure all that power gets put to good use.
The most impressive features don’t live under the hood however, but rather in the custom living space he built on the flatbed. A true craftsman, John created a vintage living space that’s efficient and stylish, incorporating beautiful vintage lighting and custom cabinetry into the finish. He even made the stained glass on his own.
photos courtesy Timeattackmanila
John has racked up more than 40k miles traveling around the US and Canada for more than 40 years and during that time he’s gradually maintained and enhanced the build. His is a story of perseverance and determination, of completely realizing one’s dream not to mention pure American DIY craftsmanship on a level few of us will ever achieve. Yet we can admire his effort and draw inspiration for our own projects.