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MATILDA the Overland Truck

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Matilda arrived on the 6th May 2016. Gary, Tina and I had taken the day off work to receive the girls. Gary and Tina named their truck Puddles, and I named mine Matilda. Matilda in aboriginal means, A small collection of personal belongings. And in old Germanic, Brave Warrior.

Matilda is a 1991 Leyland Daf T244 general utility truck with a maximum weight of 10,800kg. The T244 was designed and built for the British army. It has a 145 HP 5.9L turbo, 6 cylinder Cummins 6BT engine. It has permanent 4 wheel drive, with a centre diff lock and a 6 speed gear box with a Hi and Low ratio transfer box. Most importantly, the T244 has no engine management. This makes it simple and easy to work on.

Some of you are thinking :-o 145 hp. Yes its low, but it does have plenty of torque. On the subject of power there is a simple fix to this. An increase in 30 hp makes a world of difference and i would highly recommend the upgrade for many reasons including a financial one.

As well a the truck we purchased a deployable box. Previously an army mobile workshop equipped with lathe, pillar drill and other essential tools. Originally designed to fit the Bedford military truck which the T244 replaced. The main reason driving this decision was that it was proven to work. As the truck travels on uneven terrain, the chassis twists. This is part of the design. By keeping the flat bed, and using this box we did not have to worry about the box, Herein called the Habitation Module, twisting and self destructing, or causing damage to the chassis.

The day 2 Leyland Daf T244's arrive.

The habitation module is well built consisting of aluminium channel and sections ranging from 1.5mm - 5mm in thickness and a 1.5mm aluminium skin all glued and riveted together. It's incredibly tough and an ideal start for an overland conversion.


Matilda is a fully equipped overlander for extended travel and comfortable living.

• 4 stage water filtration system

• In line water pump for filling water tanks

• 355 litres of water

• 24V Surflow water pump

• 2 x 220 Ah Exide Gel batteries

• Victron Easy Solar 24v 1600 w

• 520w grade A solar panels

• 12V, 24V and 240V electrics

• 144 litre fridge Freezer

• 2 x double beds

• 12v LED lighting

• 43" 4k TV

• 2 Ring LPG burner

• 240v washing machine

• 2000 Watt Honda Generator

• 360˚ perimeter LED lighting

• 1200 litre cargo hold

• Heavy duty roof rack with crane

• Webasto Air top STC 2000 air heater

• Webasto Thermo Pro 90, 9.1 kw heater

• 22 litre hot water calorifier

• Maxair extractor

• Dometic toilet

• Sonos Play 5 stereo

Work began immediately. The first job was to strip out the existing workshop and establish how the box was constructed. Once its construction was known I was able to plan any structural modifications. One must have was a large opening side window by the dinning area.

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