When Ford introduced the Flathead V8 for the 1932 model year, it ushered in a new era of affordable motoring – one that we’re celebrating throughout the month of September as the V8 swansong. This Ford-based RV known as the Kamp Kar deserves its place in our unofficial V8 hall of fame.
September 2022 is V8 Month here on autoevolution: a month-long celebration of the iconic engine, as it’s preparing for its curtain call after a glorious run. Today’s episode of Blast From the Past brings a V8-powered RV, which also happens to be one of the first with this powerplant produced, an impeccable time capsule, and a slice of RV history.
It’s called the Ford Kamp Kar or the 1933 Ford Runkle Housecar, with the latter name offering some insight into its origin, and the former erroneously leading you to think it had some kind of connection with the Kardashian family, aka the world’s most famous klan for their love of names and words that start with the letter K. Jokes aside, this self-sufficient housecar is on permanent display at the famous Recreational Vehicle / Motor Home (RV/MH) Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, which also hosts Ford’s first production-series RV and the first-ever motorhomes built.
Walter Runkle of Macomb, Illinois, was a house builder but, for about ten years of his life, he did low-volume production of custom motorhomes. People would bring him automobiles and he’d convert them into tiny houses on wheels using his experience in construction. This unit is a good example in this sense, if not the best, since it was for his personal use: a converted Ford V8 that he’d use between 1933 and 1947 for his yearly winter trips to Florida.
I just came across all these parts stripped out of a 1933 Dodge Brothers DP Six. Presumably, that’s a sign that the body and frame are in the process of being street rodded. These parts are hardly useless, however, as they’ve got plenty of life left in them. Yes, you could set them aside planning to find and restore another ’33 Dodge, but I think they’d make the perfect basis for that rarest of creatures: a non-Ford speedster.
Early (i.e. pre-1949) Fords are neat. I love them. That said, there are a lot of them out there. Go to a prewar car event and Model T’s, Model A’s, and early V-8s are everywhere. People loved them and saved them and a whole industry (Hemmings included) grew up around keeping them alive long after the point when Ford Motor Company had moved on to more complicated and profitable designs.
Of course, even in the 1920s, when at times the Model T represented roughly half of the new-car market, Ford wasn’t alone in producing capable, affordable cars. One of its biggest rivals was Dodge Brothers, which had started life as a supplier to many of Detroit’s early players and was especially important to the eventual success of Henry Ford’s operation.
The brothers themselves, John and Horace, died in 1920, only six years after debuting their eponymous automobile. Dodge (which didn’t drop “Brothers” until 1938 or so) continued along after their demise, controlled by heirs and financial backers, especially investment bank Dillon, Read & Company, which acquired the Hamtramck-based automaker in 1925 and then sold it to Chrysler Corporation in 1928.
The volume features poems written by the outlaw duo during their Depression-era crime spree, like it or not Bonnie and Clyde are intrinsically linked to cars and particularly the Ford Flathead V8
Bonnie Parker’s poetry has long provided a portal into the fleeting lives of Depression-era America’s most notorious pair of outlaws. But as Alison Flood reports for the Guardian, a newly revealed notebook once owned by the couple suggests Parker wasn’t the only one to try her hand at creative writing. The volume, set to go on auction this April alongside a trove of photographs, includes a poem ostensibly written in Clyde Barrow’s spelling error-filled scrawl