Gloria Tells All: Here's What It Takes for a Camper Van To Handle Over Two Tours of Africa

Gloria 20 photos
Photo: Radu Tudoroiu
It's true; campervans are some of the most versatile motorhomes you can get your hands on and even build. As for what makes them so dang special, let's let Gloria tell her story. Oh, and just between you and me, this one's even up for grabs.
Ladies and gents and lovers of all things outdoors, lend me your eyes for the next few minutes so that you can get a feel for why the campervan lifestyle is growing and growing in popularity. This is Gloria, a heavily modified 2010 Mercedes Sprinter expedition campervan with so much attention and history under its belt that I just couldn't help but bring it to light. Oh, and if by the end of this so-called piece of literature, you've fallen in love, guess what? This one's up for grabs, but the catch is that you'll just have to travel over to Europe to get your hands on one.

Now, Gloria's story begins with a man, in this case, Radu Tudoroiu. All you really need to know is that he can be considered one of the godfathers of Eastern Europe's current camper and outdoor living movements, and to do that, Gloria served the purpose of not only showcasing what's possible with such a machine but was also called home since 2018 and across two tours of Africa. That's what I like to call a successful build.

As I mentioned, Gloria is a 2010 Mercedes Benz Sprinter, but the 4x4 variation and rocking a manual transmission and 150 hp. All that's then supported by AT tires, an air suspension, and a SuperWinch Tiger Shark capable of handling up to 12,500 lbs of load. Locking differentials? Yup, all good here. There's a snorkel in there, too, so drive on, brothers and sisters, no matter the water level.

Photo: Radu Tudoroiu
But is that enough to handle two tours of Africa? Maybe, but off-grid life often requires a tad more, and so Gloria is decked out to the brim with the off-grid features necessary to keep its occupants alive and well for up to four days in unfavorable weather.

How is this possible? First off, we need to explore the electrical setup this unit has in place. Let's start off with two 160 Ah batteries. These are then recharged by either roof-mounted solar panels, shore power (including EV recharge stations), or while driving by switching over to a custom 260 A alternator that supports 6 kW of power draw. That last one has me buzzing, literally. This is all controlled and monitored via a Victron Multiplus, so you can even control and monitor what your vehicle is doing from any smart device.

As for the all-precious and life-giving water, Gloria offers 200 liters (53 gals) of clean water, and 100 liters (26.5 gals) are also available for grey water. Best of all, this RV has been built with a heated underbelly, dual pane windows, and up to 10 cm of closed-cell insulation to handle four-season use. A water filtration system is also a must if you plan 20,000 km (12,427 mi) - a distance achieved with Gloria during one adventure - or longer trips, and this unit has one.

Photo: Radu Tudoroiu
With some of the more rugged and life-giving features this motorhome has in store, let's dive a tad deeper and check out the sort of living it's built for. To do that, let's open up the side and rear doors and get a feel for what sort of lifestyle Gloria's only owners may have led.

As we find ourselves at the rear of Gloria, it soon becomes apparent that Radu is the sort of human who just loves to explore. Why? Simply because of the gear garage installed in this unit. It's here that we find space for tools, systems, and toys, but the dual e-bike stand tells us that cycling is a pastime favorite for this owner. Be sure to check out the outdoor shower and roof-mounted kayak, too. That garage is also shaped by the bed above it, so let's head inside.

Entry into the living space is to be made directly via the side door, and once we do, we get to witness the work that Sfinx Camper & Conversion has achieved for Radu. That's right; what we see is the work of Romania's own Sfinx, a crew that even has the know-how and ability to craft expedition vehicles, all by hand and in-house. We've even featured their works before, so check them out.

For Gloria, the starboard side of the unit is reserved for a complete galley block fitted with a two-burner gas top, a sink with a tap and flush countertop, and a 130-liter fridge. The port wall, on the other hand, is all about storage, completed with ground-level cabinetry and an elongated countertop that's perfect for a tad of work or just unfurling your cooking skills.

Photo: Radu Tudoroiu
Last but not least, Gloria is also fitted with a neat little "half bathroom." Half is an understatement because hidden behind the driver seat, that cubicle we see can be transformed into a full shower room. Just prop up a shower curtain, and you're good to go with drainage integrated right into the stall's floor.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that Gloria is also up for grabs, and if you're interested in getting your hands on this puppy, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, it's currently listed as being up for grabs at €85K ($92,300 at current exchange rates), but that number seems to be negotiable. Secondly, you'll either have to head over to Europe for this one or, at best, get it shipped to wherever you are, assuming it's road-legal in your country. Although you may need a VPN to access RV Bazar's listing for this puppy, it'll all be worth it in the end.

In the worst-case scenario, you can use Gloria as nothing more than inspiration for what it takes to create a unit capable of handling transcontinental excursions into the wildest of places. Be sure to check out that neat little presentation video below.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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