In an effort to simplify his life and find adventure, Rick Kretschmer from upstate New York moved west after college, and bought a ridiculous custom Geo Metro camper, which he lived in for over a year. Now the car is for sale because the 24-year-old needs a kitchen in his new home: a 1996 Dodge Ram. So if you need an efficient 55 horsepower camper, this is your chance.
Last night, a reader named Charles sent me this Craigslist posting of a hilarious chopped-in-half Geo Metro with a custom cab welded to the back. So naturally, I called the owner expecting an interesting story, and boy did I get one.
A young college graduate named Rick answered the phone telling me he had seen this custom Geo Metro in Washington, owned by a Boeing employee who was really into music.
According to Rick, “[The seller] just wanted to be able to drive around to his gigs, carry his band equipment around, and sleep in [his car] after the show.” So the man decided to cut a Geo Metro in half, and graft a custom frame and cab on the back in a project that Rick said took the man four years.
Rick, who, at that time had been living in his Honda fit for a year as part of some sort of existential soul-searching, decided he was living too fancily, and just wanted to “take it to bare bones.”
He told me his mentality at the time was “fuck materialism,” and that his decisions were usually just based on “whatever [he thought] would make a better story.” That’s why he bought the Metro; it was just too interesting to pass up.
Rick says the car is literally a Metro that has been cut in half, and has had a frame bolted and welded to the back—a frame that could be a trailer frame, but could also be completely custom.
The reason why Rick thinks the frame may be custom is that it contains openings for the secondary tank (which holds 40 additional gallons, and includes a switch-operated pump to transfer the gas to the main tank—Rick has since removed the tank for additional storage space), and for the secondary battery (which can be used to charge various electronics when the car is off, but is set up to be charged by the alternator during driving). There’s also a solar panel that Rick’s college Psychology professor gave him as a gift (this is Rick’s primary method for charging his cell phone).
Other cool features include switch-operated electric blinds for the rear window, a kill switch to make sure nobody steals the thing, and under-floor storage (which you can see in the photo above).
Rick told me that he grew up in the small town of Brewerton, New York (population: about 4,000), and that he’s always had an itch to see what else is out there. Unfortunately, because out-of-state tuition was so expensive, Rick had to remain in-state.
That meant that, by the age of 22, he had lots of pent-up thirst for adventure, so as soon as he graduated from College in May of 2015, Rick drove out west in his Honda Fit, living in it before buying this Metro last year.
Since buying this wacky Metro, Rick says he’s driven from Washington to Oregon to Idaho to Colorado, back to Idaho, then to Burning Man in Nevada, then back to Washington, then south to Nevada again, then to California, and then finally to Oregon, where he’s living now in Portland.
Rick said he works for two companies—one based in Washington, and one in Colorado—as an adventurer/travel guide, saying: “I take kids on crazy trips and teach them about leadership.”
He’s now in Portland because he “figured [he] could find somebody weirder” in Portland who might appreciate his absurd Geo camper. Rick, who admits he’s a slow driver, told me over the phone that the car—despite its 35 mpg fuel economy, slew of recent replacement parts, and acceptable power for flat city conditions—is not without its flaws: it’s got very little ground clearance, and a tiny three-cylinder engine that requires a downshift or two to get up hills.
The little 1991 Americanized Suzuki Cultus also leaks oil, the trunk door doesn’t work, there’s a chip in the windshield, the radiator fan isn’t working, and the suspension is overly stiff.
But the biggest issue with the car is that there’s really no space for a kitchen. Because of that, Rick’s been using a tiny MSR Pocket Rocket propane stove to cook; when I asked what he eats, he told me “lots of ramen, I’ll tell you that for sure.” It’s this issue that prompted Rick to buy a big 1996 Dodge Ram 2500—a vehicle that he plans to throw a camper onto the back of as soon as he gets the money from this sale. He told me:
I think I just really grew sick of not having a kitchen... like a dedicated kitchen...I’m super into vegetables. That’s why I gotta get that kitchen, man. I’ve been thinking about it for two years.
Someone please buy this weird, lovable Geo Metro camper and let this guy have his vegetables. You’ll even get the Instagram account @rollingweenie as part of the deal.