Ford Skoolie Looks Like a Prisoner Transport, Is Actually a Mobile Home for Non-Criminals

Because of its versatility, there are few things the Ford E450 platform can't be used for. In its factory guise, the vehicle, just like the entire E-Series, can be seen moving from place to place anything from cargo to students and inmates. In modified form, they are favorites of the mobile home scene.
Ford E450 motorhome 9 photos
Photo: Micah Thomas/Skoolie Livin
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It is such an E450, converted into a motorhome, we're here to have a look at now. We're talking about a build so dark and menacing on the outside it looks more like some sort of prisoner transport from a post-apocalyptic world than a mobile dwelling one can enjoy in the great outdoors, with family around.

We're not officially told what the purpose of the E450 was before it was converted, but it kind of looks like it served as a school bus somewhere. It no longer wears the tell-tale yellow, of course, but a dirty gray that's bound to scare wildlife away. Given how the metallic gray paint job comes with a sort of satin finish, and is enhanced by black liner, the effect is even more dramatic.

Before getting into what makes this Ford a suitable mobile home for someone, it's important to note that there are upgrades of the mechanical nature on this thing as well, and quite extensive ones, if we are to judge by what we're told.

The bus packs at the front the range's Powerstroke diesel engine. With a displacement of 6.0 liters, it received $ 15,000 worth of upgrades at some point in the past, with the list of modifications comprising anything from new rockers to glow plugs. A tune-up of the engine was performed as well, bringing the diesel powerplant's output to a total of 455 hp and 760 ft-lb of torque.

The body of the E450 is classic for a transport bus of this size (the length is 24 feet/7.3 meters). We get a small overhang up front, over the windshield, large and tall body panels ending in decently-sized windows, and two access doors, one at the front and a handicap one at the rear.

Ford E450 motorhome
Photo: Micah Thomas/Skoolie Livin
The Ford rides on a 4-inch lift kit, making it a tad more capable of handling potentially difficult terrain. The connection to the road is made by black aluminum wheels (of the dually variety at the rear), behind which new braking hardware and Fox shocks have been installed.

Once you step inside, the E450 reveals perhaps the simplest interior possible for a skoolie conversion. At the back of the bus, an elevated queen size bed can be seen. Leading up to it, we get on one side a series of locking cabinets that also support the sink, the dual burner induction cooktop, and hide the Summit fridge.

On the opposite side of the cabinet line there's a rather large couch, and a table. And that's it. No pretentious sleeping areas, no hidden doors and storage areas, no fancy shower and toilet. Just the basic elements one would need for a nice time in the wild.

There are, however, a series of safety elements that have been taken into consideration. For privacy, for instance, the windows on both sides of the bus have been fitted with roll-down shades. To ensure light during the dark wild nights, the series of factory lights have been enhanced – they now come as xenon projectors at the front, and halo LED lights at the rear.

On top of that, the bus comes with a camera and digital rear-view mirror, which can turn out to be useful both on the road and when parked. For entertainment, you won't get any fancy and large TV screen, only a 10-inch head unit compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Ford E450 motorhome
Photo: Micah Thomas/Skoolie Livin
Since living for a number of days in the wild does require a bit of logistics, the skoolie is equipped with lithium iron phosphate batteries, a DC/AC charger, and an inverter. Power can be generated by means of two 300 W solar panels.

As far as water is concerned, a 26-gallon (98-liter) tank is included. A diesel heater is also on-board for when things get chilly. If there is no phone coverage in a certain area, comms are still possible thanks to a roof-mounted cellular antenna.

The bus shows at the time of writing a total of 110,000 miles (177,000 km) on the clock, and it's registered as a motorhome in the state of Tennessee. We stumbled upon it on specialized Skoolie Livin, where it's listed for sale for $48,000.

That's right, just $48,000, and that goes to show that you don't have to break the bank to get yourself a home on wheels. And it also shows that, if you're willing to cut back on some things, a nomadic lifestyle could be a lot easier to sustain, financially and otherwise, than our current way of doing things.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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