Land And Sea Camper: 1971 Shipashore Combo Cruiser

Boats are a big part of the lifestyle around where I live in the aptly named Ocean State. Of course, on hot days when you just want to dive head-first into the ocean but the beaches are packed, a boat seems immensely appealing. But then you get into the logistics of towing a boat, storing a boat, and maintaining it for open water conditions, and the appeal fades away. However, a boat that you take to a local lake and just enjoy some low-speed cruising seems more reasonable to me, which is why I love this one-of-150 made Shipashore Combo Cruiser, offered here on eBay with bidding up over $16,000 and no reserve.

The concept is essentially this: it acts like a houseboat on the water, or you can just leave it on the trailer and park it at the local campsite like any other R/V. The more appealing use, to me anyway, is as a houseboat, as it looks like a comfortable way to cruise, especially with access to the roof that makes sunbathing a breeze or jumping off the top level into the cool lake waters below. The seller notes he purchased it from the longtime original owner and has owned it for just one year. The overall condition looks quite sound, and issues are seemingly limited to an inactive water pump that is necessary for having water in the toilet and the sink.

The interior is still stuck in the 70s, but the overall condition looks quite decent. Of course, the way an interior feels is just as important as how it looks when we’re talking about a water craft, as long periods of dampness can leave things feeling a tad musty. Given the long period of one-owner ownership, I’ll go out on a limb and guess they wouldn’t leave it a moldy mess when not in use. To me, even though I value preservation, this is still begging for a refresh using period-correct upholstery and patterns, along with possibly yanking out the carpet for some fake wood laminate flooring to give it some additional style points (and feel better under wet feet.)

The picture of the original brochure showing a period muscle car towing the Combo Cruiser captures pretty perfectly how the original designer likely envisioned his craft being used. The scene also demonstrates how, when not in the water, you could park it in your backyard and just hang out in it, like a giant tent on wheels. The seller notes the Crusader V6 recently underwent a carb rebuild, and the gas tank was also cleaned out. Some of the camping equipment is an unknown in terms of operation, like the propane water heater, so the next owner will have some work to do to bring the living accommodations up to snuff. Still, a very cool cruiser that you likely won’t see another one anytime soon.


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  1. jerry z

    OMG! I’m not a boat person but this camper boat is the s###! How can someone not like this retro camper and I would not change a thing except for maybe a engine upgrade. Restore this thing and you will be the talk on the lake! This is the ultimate house boat!

    Like 26
  2. Tempo Matador Ray

    Nice feature. I love the idea of this ’70’s hybrid. I am an ocean waterman and appreciate the design concept. I agree with your thoughts on freshening up the interior. Personally I wood use repurposed exotic woods and lots of brass hardware to bring it up to its nautical appeal. Too cool 🚣🏻…

    Like 8
  3. Joe Haska

    WOW! I love it, If I was going to have a “Boat” this is it.

    Like 2
  4. john

    that thing is cool

    Like 4
  5. RexFox

    What a cool vessel. I bet that big Dodge dually with the Cummins pulls it better than the Road Runner or Coronet in the brochure.

    Like 3
  6. Marko

    This style of small boathouse RV has been becoming popular in Australia for the last couple of years.

    I think its time to sell my fifth wheel and get me one of these. Wife wanted a boat, and we don’t have room in the driveway for both. Win / Win by my books.

    Like 7
  7. Dickie F.

    I really like this.
    I have spent a couple of weekends on one of these, absolutely fun on the local inland lakes.

    But I was inexperienced enough to try and take it out to sea with just 30 hp, not a good idea.

    Like 1
  8. MattR Member

    Love it. I’ve never seen one quite like this. The RV/house-boat blend is quite brilliant and executed well.

    The draft on this looks shallow so you could go in all sorts of waterways.

    I restored a 70’s sailboat with a gas ‘atomic 4’ engine – this engines have a horrible rep with the snooty boat crowd, but after I went through electrical and gas lines on it, it ran like a top. The gas ones don’t sit as well as diesel and can be dangerous if your are stupid and let it go, but they can be maintained if you make the initial efforts and stay on them.

    Like 4
  9. Leman

    what are the dimensions of this houseboat? length- height- width engine c i gas or diesel ok

  10. TimM

    I have never seen anything like this and boy it’s got my attention!!! Really cool and I’m certainly surprised there aren’t more of these around!! After all why camp by the lake when you can camp in it!!!

    Like 6
  11. blake

    Thats actually a 71 dodge charger in the brochure. But I’m sure that the dually pulls it much better. Especially if the charger had the 318. They would barely move the body itself

    Like 1
    • Slantasaurus

      Actually its a 72 Charger SE, see the small quarter window and sidemarker lights.

      Like 3
  12. Michael LaBeau

    I’ve been watching this on eBay. I want it for my 1971 Mercury Colony Park real bad…

    Like 1
  13. Walker

    There was a similar thing in the 60’s here in the UK called caraboat caravan boat.
    There’s even film on YouTube of one in period.

    Like 2
  14. Dave Rhodes

    needs a super long video !!!!

  15. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Very cool. I can’t believe the selling price though. Ended:Jul 14, 2020 , 7:45PM
    Winning bid:US $22,650.00
    [ 44 bids ]

    Like 2
    • MattR Member

      Wow. I am with you on that. I think it’s a seller’s market with boats and RVs right now with the virus.

      Like 1
  16. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Another wow….and I’ll take the Charger as well !

  17. carbuzzard Member

    Where do you build the campfire? You’ll need a raft to go with this if you want to make s’mores.

  18. Dickie F.

    I did use one of these over a few weekends. I loved it, feeling very much like an explorer covering large lakes and wide rivers, slowly.
    However, I tried taking it to sea, but with a 30hp motor, not a good idea !

    Like 2
    • MattR Member

      How cool. Was it a Universal motor Dickie? Did you happen to notice?

  19. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Doesn’t seem as though the 12V water pump issue deterred bidding much. They are inexpensive, and relatively easy to install. Put one in my Class A last fall. Surprised that the seller didn’t do it before listing. I prefer a “no apologies” unit when selling, if at all possible.

    Kudos for BF for listing this neat item. Love it!

    Like 3

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