Build | December 2, 2021

Gas Town Motor Co.

Written by Niel Stender, Photography by Gas Town Motor Co.

Dan Collins and his partner, Emily McKenzie, of Gas Town Motor Co. have a thing for camping, as evidenced by the striking green Mercedes G500 they are auctioning here at ShiftGate that was fully outfitted for this pursuit. In fact, they formed Gastown a couple months ago in order to create luxury SUV-based overland adventurers full time.

Based in Ontario, between Listowel and Elmira, the pair decided to create a whole lot of social distance, as the pandemic cranked up, by hitting the road in their custom-built campers. Converting vans and buses into off-grid vehicles started as a hobby. There was a camping adventure to the West Coast in a bus as well as an East Coast jaunt in a van, both of which they outfitted accordingly

While out in British Columbia, they saw plenty of other conversion campers with rooftop racks and tents. This was in line with the wide array of social media content illustrating the allure of this lifestyle, which got Dan and Emily thinking about using their skills to turn that hobby into income. Thanks to the time spent prepping and operating their converted campers, they had already done all the product development, testing and fine tuning needed to kick off this business venture – with a  twist.

Rather than focus on the typical vans and buses used to create rolling campgrounds, they decided to start with luxury SUVs. Looking at the interior photos of their G500 conversion, the reasoning is clear. All this road tripping requires quite a bit of time in the saddle, so a bit of comfort goes a long way. The Geländewagen, with its heated leather seats, heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control more than accomplishes this.

As sharp as the G500 looks, the original mission here is camping. To that end, Gastown fitted a Front Runner roof rack and 4-person iKamper pop-up tent that features an 8-foot integrated telescoping ladder. Additional modifications like a propane-powered stove, camping table, heavy-duty storage boxes and even a shower are all dedicated to a life lived outdoors.

Dan and the team at Gastown Motor are already hard at work on the next build, a Land Rover Defender 110 overland adventure truck. Exciting features include a gullwing window, solar power, a built-in fridge and of course a rooftop tent. Further down the road, they plan to create customer commissions and offer a 4×4 camper rental experience. We’re already looking forward to what they turn out!