20,370 Miles!: 1966 Ford F-100 Camper Special

050116 Barn Finds - 1966 Ford F-100 Camper Special - 1

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What a great-looking truck! This 1966 Ford F-100 Camper Special with Riviera camper is on eBay with an ambitious and unmet opening bid of $10,000. And, even when that first $10,000 bid does come in the reserve won’t be met. I’m not sure what to think about that, but this rig sure is nice. Whether it’s $10,000+ nice is up to the bidders, if there are any. Thanks to Jim S. for sending this tip in to us.

050116 Barn Finds - 1966 Ford F-100 Camper Special - 2

The Ford F-100 is only a half-ton capacity, but supposedly the Camper Special models were built a little more heavy-duty to account for the popularity of slide-in campers that were becoming increasingly popular at this time. In 1969 my parents bought the only new vehicle that they would ever buy: a 1969 Ford F-250 Camper Special Ranger. The Ranger was a high-end full-sized pickup, not the smaller pickup that Ford came out with later. They also bought a new 1969 Winnebago pickup camper. And, even with our truck being an F-250 it didn’t seem heavy-duty enough so I’m not sure how this F-100 is beefy enough to haul this Riviera camper around. And, this pickup only did haul it around for 20,370 miles.

050116 Barn Finds - 1966 Ford F-100 Camper Special - 3

Supposedly this is all-original so it must have been stored indoors somewhere to have lasted for 50 years and be in this great shape. The seller says that the tires are even original and they have flat spots, but those will obviously have to be changed anyway after being on there since LBJ was in office. I think that the tires may be split rims? That’s what we had on our truck and the guys at Firestone hated them.

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There are no engine photos, which is unfortunate, but it’s a 352 V8 and as you can see here, it has a four-speed manual transmission! I can’t imagine a pickup with a camper and manually shifting, it seems like everything would jostle around in the back, not to mention not being able to fit four people in the cab like we used to do with our ’69 pickup with an automatic. The seller mentions that this rig made some trips to Alaska so at the very least, the front bumper has to have been repainted since the Alaskan Highway was mostly gravel (or, class-5, or whatever the official name is) in those days. The interior looks pretty much perfect. And, it has the all-important “boot“, or that’s what we called ours; the piece that connects the pickup cab to the camper so you can crawl back and forth as you’re cruising at 75 mph down the highway. Yeah, not too safe, but somehow we lived through that era.

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The Riviera Camper is in great shape, too. I still can’t imagine a camper this heavy on a half-ton pickup without there being some sort of problem with broken leaf springs or something. It looks like it’s sitting pretty low in the back. The colors inside go pretty well with the pickup color, which has to be why they selected this one, I’m guessing. The plates and cups even match! And, it has a specific room for specific functions; pretty handy; again, as you’re speeding down the freeway and someone has to go. This rig looks pretty nice; no, it looks really nice! Are any of you into this sort of vintage camping setup or do you prefer newer RVs?

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  1. JW454

    Very nice looking truck and camper. However, I don’t think you’d have enough truck for the amount of camper you have. I’d be wanting at least an F250. Even with the wide wheels on the rear I think you’ll have a lot of sway in the wind on the highway.
    Very nice condition on both units.

    Like 1
    • grant

      Can’t believe they mounted this on a half ton…

      Like 1
    • Ray

      I had one similar but F250. The 1/2 tons had the small axel bearings and there lay the main problem. You can always install heavy duty springs but that won’t help small bearings

      Like 1
      • Texas Tea


        Like 0
  2. JW

    I wouldn’t mind the truck but they could keep the camper, I’m older and enjoy the comforts of a hotel room and a hot tub with a Crown & Coke on the side.

    Like 0
    • St. Ramone de V8

      I’m with you, JW! My days of plying our highways with a pickup truck laden with WAY too much weight are over. Done that. But with 3/4 ton trucks. Still, I’m with you, drive a classic to a hotel, and head to the tub!

      Like 0
      • boxdin

        Too many bedbugs and who knows what else…
        I’m more comfortable in my camper anyway.

        Like 0
  3. z1rider

    Those wheels do look to be something other than one piece. Would they likely be 16.5’s? If so good luck sourcing those. Very hard to find.

    Like 0
  4. ed the welder

    that poor truck is squatting under all that weight just standing still. i can’t imagine how that would work under power on even the most smooth , uncrowded highway in ideal weather. two great pieces that are better off sold separately but that’s just me …

    Like 0
  5. John Leonard

    I remember a similar set up from my childhood. A mix of vague memories and old photos actually. Ours was a ’65 Ford pickup and the camper was shorter – it didn’t extend out of the back like this one does. I remember riding in the part that overhangs the cab. I’m sure that wouldn’t go over well these days!

    Our truck was an F100 – I distinctly remember the F100 logo. No idea how well it drove with the camper loaded up, but I know we took it on several long trips. I also know my Mom drove that truck a lot, which must have been unusual at the time. I remember strangers making comments. I don’t remember if she ever drove with the camper on the back, but I wouldn’t be surprised. So I imagine it wasn’t too bad even for just a half ton pickup. I wonder how much these old slide-in campers weighed.

    This thing is pretty cool. Not something I’m looking for, but for the right buyer that $10k probably isn’t too bad. Particularly if the condition is as good as it looks.

    – John

    Like 0
  6. Matt Tritt

    Looks like the weight has de-arced the springs. Nice truck, iffy camper and way too much money. Those appear to be “super-singles” on the back. New ones in 16.5 run around $1,200 a pop for the top of the line.

    Like 0
  7. Texas Tea

    Dangerous. Way to much weight for this light truck.

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  8. HoA Howard AMember

    I agree, this setup, with gear and grandma probably exceeds the 1000 lb. truck capacity. However, we did a lot of camping around this time, and there weren’t a lot of options and I’m sure many put campers on 1/2 ton pickups. Motorhomes were still years away, and if you didn’t want to pull a trailer, this was it. These were extremely top heavy, and I’m sure Scotty has many memories of dad hanging on to the wheel in stiff cross winds, or that turn dad misjudged. Not to mention, fuel mileage was probably in the single digits ( about as aerodynamic as a box) Generally, as in our case, aside from the Wis. to Fla. trips, most were local camping, and this probably did ok. The big disadvantage was, when going somewhere, you had to take the whole unit with you, unlike a trailer, where you could leave it at the campsite. Sure had an aqua theme going, very popular color now, especially in Cal. for some reason. Camping, especially for units like this, have fallen out of favor, and visit any campground today, and mostly all units are motorhomes that make some of our houses look cheap. I’d separate this, as the pickup is just an amazing example, and ditch the camper. And above all, get rid of the front wheels, aside from having a hard time getting anyone to work on them, they had tubes in them. Great find.

    Like 0
  9. racer99

    I’m not sure what the camper is worth but there are lots of folks trying to get large sums of money for these trucks that aren’t anywhere near as nice as this one. A ’66 Camper Special with those options, miles and condition might be worth the $10K price all by itself. I’d be more confident if there were some underneath pics but if it’s as nice as the top then you’d have an extremely nice survivor.

    Like 0
  10. Puhnto

    Our family had a 1964 Ford pickup in that same hospital-scrubs-green color, only ours was a 3/4 ton with split rims, and a four speed with compound low. No padded dash on ours and no A.C. Heavy duty “Barden” bumper on the rear.

    We took a big camper similar to that one (an “Eldorado,” with the door on the side, in that little space hanging over the back, for curbside disembarking) from California up into B.C. all the way across Canada to New Brunswick, down into New England, down to the NYWorld’s Fair, on down to Tennessee, and back home.

    One month and ten thousand miles. That was a great trip. It was a great truck. The only comfort option was an AM radio. Ours never sat low, even with the camper fully loaded.

    Like 0
    • Jeffrey Duddles

      What a great trip! We had some similar regional trips in the Pacific NW. We never had a full size camper, just a shell on a relatively new 77 1/2 ton Ford. Tent camping with canvas and white gas appliances. Here is my dad with a similar era truck that we used at work on the tree farm where he was a forester. https://goo.gl/photos/pz9Jzir91EHTJSpt9

      Like 0
      • Puhnto

        Wow, those be some serious trees!

        Like 0
  11. racer99

    I can’t imagine stopping one of these in a hurry with a camper on the back and the standard drum brakes. Nice thing about the ’65’s and ’66’s is you can retrofit the disk brake system from trucks up through ’84 (any of the trucks with the twin I-beam suspension) with minimal effort. Bidding is picking up and is at $10,200 so someone thinks it’s worth $10K+.

    Like 0
    • Bobsmyuncle

      The truck’s braking ability was designed with loads in mind. Drum or not if in good repair they should be capable.

      Like 0
  12. hotrod

    I bought a 63 4 wheel drive back in the early 80s that had a camper on it like this one since it was new it was all that truck could handle it had bowed the rear axle a little bit the rearend was out when I got it too much camper for a half ton

    Like 0
  13. Texas Tea

    One more comment from myself.

    I absolutely admire how nice this set up is. I don’t think a person could fine a better slide in camper or half ton pickup anywhere of this vintage. This combination could be managed by a common sense person, but up grades would be nice.

    I hate the split rim wheels and they would be the first thing to go. I’m old enough to have been there, and done that, and I did. They are scary. I always did the ones (air up) I worked on in a cage (or chain them) to confine any mishaps. Thanks to a smart and careful employer.

    If you’ve never seen one of these come apart under pressure, you just don’t know.

    Like 0
  14. Bryan Cohn

    My wife and I really want an older pick up/camper combo like this or an older RV but every time we test one out the main thing that comes back to us is the complete lack of safety. We werethisclose to buying a ’77 VW Westfalia with the pop top and full kit but my wife just could not get past how our knees where the crushable structure! That and NO rear seat belt (we’d have had to have mounts fabricated and installed, not a deal breaker because race car). Then we drove it. SLOW. Knew it’d be slow but icarumba! not that slow. It had A/C, a rare aftermarket item which didn’t help. In the end we passed.

    I suspect one of these days we’ll break down and buy a 10 yr old or so van type RV and get the best of all worlds: modern safety, maneuverability, ability to have it serviced most anyplace. It will totally lack the charm we desire though.

    Like 0
  15. Roger

    Over the years I’ve had about a dozen or so old Ford pickups ( 73-79 ). 2 were f-350 wreckers , the reat were all half tons. I love these trucks but I always used them all as work trucks. The half tons were true workhorses, and no attention hoe much I loaded them down they always took it all and asked for more. Point is while maybe not the best idear, they could easily handle WAY over their listed weight limit. I know this is a 60’s Era Ford not a 70′ but I suspect they are probably just as tough and while she’s a squatin, I think this truck can handle the weight of the camper. Now keeping her straight going down the road at 65 is a different story lol. I do have to say though I love this truck, it’s in great condition and you just don’t see survivors like this pretty much ever. Don’t know how much more I’d go but I’d definitely have no problem at all giving the $10k for this one!

    Like 0
  16. guggie

    I didn’t know there was an f100 camper special , I had a1973 f250 camper special and and a 1976 extended cab f250 camper special both had the 390 with c6 trannys and they were used to haul my 11.5 foot Coachman camper plus tow either my bass boat or my two snow machines , both very capable vehicles ,this truck is sweet has a great engine and tranny , the early campers with auto fried the transmissions before they figured out transmission cooling with the camper special option which also had 2 battries and a high output alternator , larger radiator 10 /100 16.5 10 ply tires . put on dual exhaust and roll .put over 100 k on both trucks no major problems

    Like 0

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