CAP PELE, N.B. — Don’t let anybody tell you big trucks don’t make good RVs.
Paul Landry of Landry Truck Bodies in Cap Pele, N.B., gets better mileage in his RV than his son Mario gets with his. And Paul’s is actually a converted 2006 Pete 379. Mario’s camper of choice is a pickup with a 25-ft trailer.
“My brother only gets seven or eight miles to the gallon when he’s towing a trailer,” Jean-Paul Landry told us.
Other benefits of using an RV made from a class-8 tractor? You can always get parts, no matter where you are.
“With a regular RV, if you break down in the middle of nowhere, you might have to wait for parts,” says Landry, 26, and the youngest member of the clan to work at the family-run trailer-building and repair company. “But there’s always a Peterbilt or Freightliner dealer. They’re everywhere.”
Truck engines are built for easy access. You don’t have to crawl underneath the back of the RV to change a filter. So far, there’s only one such truck around and it’s parked at the Landry’s house. But according to Jean-Paul, it’s an attention-getter and he’s pretty sure that the family will be approached to build more in the future.
Also, when his mom (Roberte) and dad drove to Florida, the shutterbugs flocked around wherever they parked the thing and the questions came fast.
“He was never alone. Everybody wanted to know where it came from,” he says.
The answer is it came from their 30-year-old business. Paul started building wooden boxes for straight trucks. According to Jean-Marc, “believe it or not there are still a few of the original ones out there.”
Wood eventually gave way to aluminum, and after a relative who was a truck driver asked if they could build him a wing for his cab, the Landrys soon started producing all types of customized stainless-steel accessories, such as light bars, breather lights, grills, bumpers, mud-flap weights, visors, battery-box covers and even parts for cars and motorcycles.
“We had orders from Newfoundland to the other side of Quebec,” he says. “We’re not a big shop but we’re busy and we build it the way the customer wants it.”
When we talked to Jean-Marc, Paul and Mario were in the shop insulating and changing the rear doors on an aluminum trailer so it could be used for lobster hauling. In the yard sat a Landry-made 24-ft. flatbed with two 10,000-lb axles that would be used for bringing fish bait to market.
“Down in Moncton a little while back somebody wanted a drop-deck aluminum trailer that they could set up in a field and use as a stage for shows.” he says.
For the last 10 years or so, Paul was musing about building an RV. He took the first step in 2006 when they bought the Peterbilt. It was a daycab and the frame was already long enough to accommodate the box that would become the platform for the motorhome.
Jean-Marc says he has yet to get behind the wheel but thinks the vehicle is probably the first of many. His dad has a low-key approach to growing his business; but Jean-Marc is somewhat more aggressive and thinks the vehicle will be its own best advertisement.
It might be the first Landrybilt, but it probably won’t be the last.
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