The Neverwas Haul

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The Neverwas Haul is a three-story, self-propelled mobile art vehicle built to resemble a Victorian house on wheels.[1] Inspired by the fantastical stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the Haul was designed by Shannon O’Hare and built by a crew of volunteers at the Shipyard[2] art space in Berkeley, CA, in 2006. Originally intended to be a ‘mutant vehicle’ for the Burning Man art festival in Nevada, the Haul is made from 75% recycled materials, and measures 24 feet long, 24 feet high, and 12 feet wide. It is built on the base of a fifth-wheel trailer, and the second and third story of the structure pack down into the first for highway towing.[3] When fully built and decked out for exhibition at Burning Man, the Haul is able to propel itself at a top speed of 5 miles per hour and requires a crew of ten people to operate safely (since Victorian houses are notoriously lacking in side- and rear-view mirrors). Currently, the Neverwas Haul makes her home at Obtainium Works, an “art car factory” in Vallejo, CA, owned by O’Hare and home to several other self-styled “contraptionists.” [4]

Steampunk fiction and art[edit]

The Haul is often associated with steampunk, a sub-cultural movement that draws its inspiration from a fusion of Victorian-era science fiction and contemporary technology. True to the alternative histories that are a staple of the steampunk genre, the Neverwas Haul has its origin story in a history that never was, a history in which the Hibernian Empire (not the British Empire) dominated the sociopolitical landscape of the nineteenth century—Hibernia being an obscure name for Ireland. In this mythology, the Neverwas Haul is the greatest of all the Hauls – Romani vardo-like vehicles driven by "Track Banshees" – itinerant women who use their preternatural mechanical skills to keep their families on the move. The Haul is the primary mode of transport for the ″Traveling Academy of Unnatural Science,″ who seek to acculturate the heathens of the Black Rock Desert (where the Burning Man festival is held) by sharing such cultural staples as Gin and Tonics, and High Tea.[5]


The Neverwas Haul consists of three major sections: engine room, command deck, and parlor. The engine room stores extra cargo and seats up to six people. The command deck is dominated by a full size ship's wheel for steering. The controls are a throttle for hydraulic control, and a dead man switch for emergency stops.[6] The parlor is well apportioned: it has a bar, library, veranda, vintage stuffed chairs, and a camera obscura.[7] There are even stairs to the "widows walk" which has a rooftop view. While many media sources cite the Neverwas Haul as an unusual RV or Winnebago,[8][9][10] it is primarily a large overly detailed kinetic art piece.

Media appearances[edit]

Outside of Burning Man, the Neverwas Haul is featured in books, TV and several music videos:


  1. ^ "Maker Faire: The Neverwas Haul". Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  2. ^ "Berkeley Shuts Down Amazing Art Space, The Shipyard". 11 May 2007. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  3. ^ Torrone, Phillip. "Maker Faire: The Neverwas". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Crew". Obtainium Works. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  5. ^ Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. "There Goes the Neighborhood: Mobile Victorian House Sets Sail for the Desert". Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Aether Emporium / Neverwas Haul". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  7. ^ "How one man travels in style in his hand-built Victorian Winnebago (Wired UK)". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  8. ^ "Neverwas Haul: The Word Custom Doesn't Really Capture It". RV Mods - RV Guides - RV Tips | DoItYourselfRV. 29 December 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  9. ^ Coop, Austin. "This Victorian house on wheels brings new meaning to "mobile home"". Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  10. ^ "Roaming Homes: 15 DIY RVs, Converted Buses & Tiny Houses". WebUrbanist. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
  11. ^ Johnson, Brian David; Carrott, James (2013). Vintage Tomorrows. Maker Media, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4493-3799-5.
  12. ^ "Vintage Tomorrows". 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-01.

External links[edit]