Austin man builds home on top of his car, turns tragedy to positivity

Terry Gonzalez roams around the Austin-area in his mobile home, but it's not what you might imagine when hearing the words "mobile home."

Gonzalez's home sits on top of his sedan, which he fully constructed himself. FOX 7 had the chance to hear his story while he was parked at the corner of Barton Springs Road and Lamar Blvd.

"How I ever thought of this I’ll never know, until I saw that metal frame sitting over there, and I said to myself ‘that looks like that will fit on top of my car,'" Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez says this house was built out of necessity, so his furry friends, like his dog Oliver, have room to lay down inside his vehicle.

Although Gonzalez and his animals have been living in this home for years now, it's still a work in progress. His next project on the home is adding a skylight. 

"Truth be known it’s all pallets, and it’s leftover pallets from a Circle K sign," Gonzalez said. "The chandeliers I might add are a recent addition, and everything is functional."

Gonzalez's living situation has garnered some attention on the streets of Austin, as well as social media. He says he appreciates the attention but most of those showing support for his self-built home aren't aware of the reason behind it.

While it seems like Gonzalez's home may be the result of the current state of the Austin housing market, it's actually a product of creativity and survival after he lost numerous personal belongings.

"It just brings out heavy emotion you know, the attention, the love you’ve given it when for me, it was built out of a tragedy," Gonzalez said. 

He said this all came about after the previous home he had been remodeling and living in caught fire. He claims family of the owners of that home set it ablaze. Shortly after losing his house, Gonzalez says his truck and trailer were towed and disposed of, and he was unable to get his belongings out, which included thousands of dollars in tools.

Gonzalez's famous drivable home was the positive results of hard times. He says the support from Austin residents helps keep him going, and he especially appreciates that Travis County authorities have only pulled him over to compliment his home, not give him a citation. 

"I just would have never thought that I’d have this moment right here to be able to thank everyone personally," Gonzalez said. "Austin- thank you so much, you’ve brought this to life in a way I could’ve never imagined."

He doesn't plan on leaving Austin anytime soon, but he never leaves his home in one spot too long.