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.
Design by committee doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean that a large team can’t come together and build something spectacular. In the August 2021 issue we introduced Project Artemis, this 1997 Ford F-250 crew-cab pickup whose ambitious build was undertaken by 41 partners, including Hemmings. Wisely, most of the detail choices were left to the discretion of Crystal and Kurt Lawrance at KTL Restorations in Danville, Virginia. They’re not big on titles at KTL, but Kurt is owner and president of the business that he founded with his late father, and Crystal is his wife and enthusiastic business partner.
KTL is just now expanding into overlanding builds from the muscle-car restoration and restomod field, bringing a fresh sensibility to what has become a rapidly expanding market. Partnering with KTL in this capacity was a decision that paid off, as the company’s vision pioneered not only several technical developments in the off-road/overlanding field but has sown the seeds for an expansion of that field into 1992-’96 (and early ’97) “Old Body Style” (OBS) Ford trucks.
That expansion includes both OE-style reproduction parts, notably from Complete Performance (aka CP Addicts), in Jasper, Texas; and in modified (by Kurt) off-the-shelf pieces from places like KC HiLiTES in Williams, Arizona, and Clackamas, Oregon-based Warn Industries
In case you hadn’t noticed, 1990s-’00s nostalgia is hot—both among the millennials who lived it and the Gen Z kids who wish they had. There was no question that the classic OBS elements had to stay in place among the state-of-the-art overlanding bits. Thankfully, the crew-cab F-250 was found (“on a little bitty car lot in North Carolina”) with almost preternatural speed. The dry, Southwestern truck needed minimal bodywork and was treated to BASF Glasurit paints in pearlescent white and two shades of blue. The underside was sprayed with blue-tinted Lizard Skin for a durable, yet attractive, undercoating. The mountain and stripes graphic package was initially conceived by Crystal’s 16-year-old daughter.
Sometimes all it takes is one photo to tell a vehicle’s story. The seller of this 1972 Chevrolet C10, for sale on Hemmings.com, included plenty of pictures showing its reportedly original green plaid interior, that period camper shell from the outside, even the factory options list. The one photo that encapsulates the pickup, however, shows the interior of the camper shell, still outfitted for the original owner’s last fishing trip. Not everything’s vintage in there–the fisherman obviously upgraded his equipment over time and added little personal touches here and there, but seemed to keep what worked for him, too–which tells us the fisherman wasn’t too precious about keeping it period correct, but he did maintain it well so he could keep using it for his getaways until relatively recently.
Pick of the Day is a vintage coupe, and for $5,000 more, you get the UHaul trailer as well
Pick of the Day is a vintage coupe
If the Pick of the Day captures your attention, you need to know that it comes with more than just the usual challenge of the price its owner expects. The car is a 1949 Plymouth Business Coupe that its private owner is offering for sale on ClassicCars.com for $32,500.
But if you’re willing to cough up another 5 grand, for $37,500 you get not only the Plymouth but a vintage UHaul camping trailer in a matching shade of Solar Yellow paint.
It’s not often you see one of these even in the States..
1959 Edsel Ranger 4-door, 64,000 miles
always stored inside
5 almost new ww radial tires
Edsel OHV 6-cylinder engine. Runs strong.
Torque and power are well balanced.
Handles well with the heavy-duty front and rear springs and sway bars.
Spinner orignal hubcaps
Chrome and stainless are bright and original
Dashboard and steering wheels are excellent.
All gauges work and has an AM radio & a CB radio
Interior is super nice and original. ( Black/Silver/Gray)
Purchased car 9/30/13 fomr a 86 year-old man. Original owner
Clear Kansas title, factory shop manual, service book, owner’s manual
Repainted in the 70s with chrome removed and done right.
If you want attention THIS IS THE PACKAGE FOR YOU!
THE KOZY TRAVELER KAR KAMPER
ITS ONEOF A KIND, 1 OF 24 Manufactured & the only survivor. We researched the internet and the Indiana Motor Home Museum, and they know of them but only have seen pictures of them.
We have complete history of the Wilson Manufacturing INC
ORIGINAL PICTURES, SALES BROCHURES, BUSINESS CARDS ETC
WE PURCHASED THIS LAST UNIT FROM THE ORIGINAL DESIGNER/BUILDER, OWNER & PRESIDENT (GERALD W. KLEMA)
THIS IS A MUSEUM-QUALITY PACKAGE
How does Kozy Kar Kamper work? Much like a pickup truck slide-in camper works. The trunklid of the Edsel is removed from the car. The Kozy Kar Kamper is jacked up (jacks are attached to the sides of the Kozy Kar Kamper) to the proper level. The car is back under the Kozy Kar Kamper and aligned with the trunk space, and is cranked back down to fit in the trunk opening. (The floor of the car’s trunk is now the floor of the Kozy Kar Kamper. The front overhang (bed of the Kozy Kar Kamper) is supported by a left & right side support brackets that attaches to the rain gutter of the car (much like a canoe mount). The body of the Kozy Kar Kamper is resting on the car’s inside frame trunk and body supports, with the trunklid braces securing the Kozy Kar Kamper to the car.
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