Caddy Camper: 1958 Cadillac Superior House Car

One of my favorite things about writing for Barn Finds is receiving tips about vehicles like this 1958 Cadillac Superior House Car that is available here on eBay. Despite just a few photos and a sentence or two of detail about it, this oddball Cadillac is extremely intriguing, and it must have been an amazing machine in its heyday.

Some people say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that sentiment certainly applies to this Caddy, which is available in Lubbock, TX with a clean title. This example most likely began its life as either a hearse or an ambulance, but at some point, it received the conversion that you currently see.

As you can expect, the built-on camper is in poor shape. The exterior of the camper looks fairly repairable, but I can almost guarantee the interior needs to be completely redone. This is a shame, because I really enjoy the period-correct theme that is present.

In the engine bay, there’s a 365 cu.-in. V8 engine. An automatic transmission pairs to the engine to drive the rear wheels.  The seller notes that the engine does not run.

At the time of writing this article, pricing begins at $3,250 with no bids yet. Do you think this unique Caddy is worth saving, or is it too far gone?

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Comments

  1. TimS

    Maybe somebody saw them as a good or cheap alternative to a trailer at the time? I love most old campers but have never found one of these to be even remotely attractive, unless the interior finishings were very well preserved and even that was just for the history/novelty.

    Like 3
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    The problem with these conversions is there was no attempt to match up the exterior styling to the car. This thing is just plain fugly and I’ll bet it’s a real treat to drive especially in a cross wind. My other concern is the possibility that this has been a flood car at some point which would mean a real mess when restoring it. For me this would be a big pass. JMO.

    Like 9
  3. Paris Trout

    We’ve been seeing quite a few of this type of vehicle come through lately. Maybe some of the owners are finally coming to the realization that these will never have the value they once hoped.

    It is tough to say what one should do with a vehicle like this. There is no value in rebuilding most of these “motorhomes”. They make terrible cars, are inherently unsafe on modern highways, and would cost WAY too much to bring up to modern standards.

    Maybe we need to combine the new with the old in a new way.

    Airbnb is a thing now, and has opened up the market for boutique hotels.

    Maybe a good little business would be to buy a couple different motorhomes like this from the 40’s through the 70’s, rehab the interiors to full on nostalgia spec, and rent them out has motel rooms.

    They would not need to be roadworthy, and you could get them almost anywhere. A secluded spot in the mountains with solar power and fresh spring water? along a beach? get creative.

    I hate to see things like this destroyed, but I also don’t want to see them barreling down the freeway at me either.

    Like 15
  4. Evan

    In the 50s and 60s, the Cadillac Commercial Car (the basis for ambulances/hearses/etc) was as stout as any 1/2 ton pickup and had a MUCH better ride. Pickup trucks were for farmers and tradesmen and the kind of folks who could afford a fancy RV neither wanted to ride in a pickup nor be seen in one.

    Like 3
    • J.T. WILSON

      I have seen this same vehicle several times throughout the years. I do not believe that they were ever mass produced or even often produced Please point me to the place or facility that this happened

      Like 1
      • Evan

        Wait, you think there’s only one and it keeps popping up over and over?

        Like 3
      • local_sheriff

        Yes, in THEORY you could order the Commercial Chassis from most automobile manufacturers and build whatever body on it.They wore much beefier suspensions than their car siblings, and consisted of a streched frame including the front sheetmetal from the bumper to the A-pillars with windshield. These were obviously intended for the hearse/ambulance conversion industry.
        It’s stated in the ad this 58 is off a Superior ambulance. Considering the desirability of ANY winged ambulance this camper conversion screwed up any potential value it could possibly have in the pro-car society…!

        Like 3
      • Bill McCoskey

        J.T.,
        This looks almost identical to a 1956 Cadillac commercial chassis [ex ambulance] that I owned many years ago. These were made by a company in Florida called Cabin Craft. They bought hearse and ambulance vehicles that were retired from service, and carried out the conversions.

  5. Rodney - GSM

    “Flushed when parked”

    Like 4
  6. Chris Anderson

    My uncle used to build these up in Spokane Washington. My Dad worked for a Ambulance, Limousine and Funeral Coach distributor in Portland Oregon and when they took a trade in, my uncle would buy it usually for less than $500. The coaches were 1 ton truck chassis that Cadillac would build the front half and the various coach builders would finish the back.

    Like 1
  7. Mountainwoodie

    Judging from the ads’ pictures, the seller has some neat old Caddies and Chevies. I always liked these house car conversions but unfortunately they inevitably end up being neglected and practically infected looking. I’d like to see one in usable condition from the get go.
    I wonder how the seller came up with the ask as it seems like the condition is inconsistent with practically anything more than salvage, which is too bad.

    Like 3
  8. Joe Machado

    The 60 Cadillac couch reminds me of Dooley and Sons in nearby Levelland, Texas.
    I bought 2 1960 Chryslers from them in late 80’s.
    Dooley created the car couch. A 61 Imperial couch was in the showroom.
    I towed each car to Palm Desert, individually behind a 61 Dodge Phoenix convertible.
    When we were on vacation in Yelllowstone, we saw a 62 Imperial motor home.
    If you want more attention than a new Vette, this Caddy is the ticket.

    Like 1
    • PW McCarty

      I know Cam’ron Dooley did there A/C work for many years think they moved to Houston area.

  9. Howard A Member

    It’s tired, but honestly, I’d rather have this than that Ford tractor trailer abomination for traveling. Like canadianmark sez,I’d pay attention to high wind warnings. And mountainwoodie is right too, why are all these conversions always ratty old Cadillacs or Buicks?

    Like 3
  10. Ben T. Spanner

    Vaughn Motors in Columbus, Ohio specialized in late model Cadillacs and Lincolns. In the 1960’s and 70’s, they bought trade ins from the 2 Ohio Hearse makers and converted them into motor homes. There were usually 2 or 3 on their lot.
    The also were a dealer for Vogue tires which had embossed gold sidewalls. They were also sold by the Cadillac dealer as an upgrade.

    Like 1
  11. Eric_13cars Eric_10cars Member

    In the fall of 2002 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway show, I spotted this 55 or 56 Mercury conversion on the way into the speedway (they have acres of vendors all around the exterior of the race track, as well bunches of them inside).

    Like 5
    • Little_Cars Alexander Member

      This Mercury has better lines to match the square body attached behind it. They even carried the trim line and paint all the way past the driver’s door as someone mentioned earlier.

      Like 1
  12. Howard

    There was Dennis Distributors in Flint MI back in the day that specialized in Cadillacs on a commercial chassis. The funeral coaches generally were replaced with new models often and it was common to find one for a few hundred bucks that only 30k miles on them. My buddy would yank the engine and trans out of them and transplant it into 49 Ford. Made for a fun ride.
    My allergies made my sinuses slam shut just looking at the picture of that camper interior tho…. lol

    Like 3
  13. kerry Smith

    I’d like to see Wheeler Dealers tackle this project.

    Like 1
  14. Steve Van Harn

    Saw one every day for 15 years. And then it gone

  15. Keith

    Did you notice in the first picture is the rear of that car made into a couch? Lol

    Like 1
    • Bob

      The couch is a later Cadillac, 60 or 61. I think the couch should go into this one.

  16. the one

    Time and money and you’ll have a real honey!

    Like 2
  17. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Myself, I noticed the 57 Chevy rear fin in the one picture. I’d rather see more on that one.

  18. TimM

    Maybe they feel they can’t be called trailer trash if they drive a Cadillac!!! It still always amazes me of someone’s idea of what’s cool!!

  19. brakeservo

    Would make a great support vehicle for the paddock for a vintage race team

    Like 1

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