4×4 Camper: 1976 Chevrolet K-20

Believe it or not, winter is my favorite time to camp! Things are nice and clean and cold… So, if you have the right gear, it can actually be a lot of fun. I’m not as young as I once was though so this 4×4 camper looks tempting. It’s very seventies, but the truck is in great shape and looks ready for adventure. The reserve has been met here on eBay, but the auction is ending soon though so you’d better hurry before this winter camping rig drives away!

With a big V8 under the hood and power going to all four wheels, this thing should be able to go just about anywhere. Well, at least until you run out of gasoline. The automatic tranny, power steering, and comfy bench seat should make the journey relativity comfortable too. The auction listing has the mileage pegged at 73k and from the looks of things, that may be correct. No mention is made of any work done though so you may want to budget a little to replace all the consumables before taking any back country trips.

There’s a lot of wood grain back there, but the camper actually appears to be in good shape too. There’s a lot crammed in there too! I can see a sink, stove, table, and even a bathroom! The accommodations may not be five stars, but it sure beats laying on the cold hard ground. Just think, after driving to your camp site you wouldn’t even need to pop your tent before climbing into your bed for a long winter’s nap. You could turn on the heater, listen to some tunes, and even take a warm shower in the morning. See, winter camping doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

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Comments

  1. Horse Radish

    This thing is dead in California.
    Smog check (minimum 50$ /or more if the person testing will try to milk you for more money) plus registration would run $200 or more PER YEAR !!(P/u truck get weight fee etc.).
    Funny that it is in Simi Valley.
    I don’t think he could get half that in CA.

    • Rodent

      If you never operate the truck without the camper, it can be registered as a “house car” and run a normal passenger car plate (or that used to be the case anyway). I was surprised that it has a commercial tag on it.

      • Bill

        In Canada it’s just a good old truck with a camper that’s a normal truck plate she’s a beaut

  2. redsresto

    Better hurry…1 hour 38 minutes left to bid!

  3. Dean

    I’ve loved campers like these since I was a child. My uncle had one and my cousins and I would lay in the bed and peer out the window over the cab as we sight-see’d through Yellowstone. Decent ones are hard to find

  4. carsofchaos

    I’m with you on the winter thing Jesse, it also means less hordes of people and less traffic. We do a lot of “summer” things in the winter: road trips, camping, 6 Flags (shhh, yes they are open on weekends and there’s no lines at the rides!). Just know how to layer up and you’re good to go.

  5. sluggo

    Love this thing, most had duel tanks (mine did). Of course fuel is an issue and when over $4.00 a gallon you cant give trucks like this away. (We tried on my 83 GMC). But this is a Bad-A&& Camping machine. fire up the CB radio and 8 track and take a trip back in time. These also make awesome donors for really vintage old cars and trucks. Set a prewar truck body on this chassis and retain the title for the early vehicle and solves a lot of issues. Another hint is that typically many of the motors for trucks like this, either Small block or big block tended to have the heavy duty parts like the good cranks, HD rods, High nickel blocks. After many heat cycles the blocks are seasoned and with a full rebuild and blue printing you have an excellent motor.

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    While I somewhat indifferent about the camper, I do like the truck. The 400 isn’t as well built as a 350 but they do last a long time. My own (’79) went 330K miles and the motor was still going strong while the suspension and drive line were worn to the point that it was dangerous to drive. The dealership I worked at had some 400’s come in with bad bottom ends but for the most part they were OK. I had one that cracked a rod cap while I was road-testing after the PDI. The customer was there expecting to drive it home that day. When I told him that he wouldn’t be getting his truck he had to see for himself. He was a rather arrogant jerk. He jumped in and started it up then promptly put the pedal to the metal. #6 rod came out the side, breaking the starter off. He was expecting a complete engine but the General supplied enough parts to fix what was there. He wasn’t happy; even less happy when I told him that the stunt he pulled could’ve cost him his warranty.

    • glen

      You are being very kind simply calling him a jerk!

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi glen. Believe me I was tempted to tell you all what I really thought of the guy but I might have gotten censored. Let’s just say that I saw a Bud Light ad some time ago. It was about a guy, his girl and a sleigh ride. Think about the horse…..

  7. Dave Mc

    I love camping in winter…As long as I drive to Florida. Here now as a matter of fact, 82 today.

    • glen

      I was in Algonquin Park Saturday, I was talking to a guy that was camping there for the weekend. The temperature that night was around -25C,that’s -13F,no thanks!

  8. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    It sold for $8,014!

  9. Mark S. Member

    This was when trucks were trucks when they could haul a big camper like that. When I was a kid these were everywhere and they bring back fond memories. Funny thing is this was not a long box as the add described, the long box had an additional section added to it that made the box 9′ if I’m not mistaken they were called long horns and were special order. You don’t see to many campers these days because they don’t make trucks that can haul them, to bad too this truck could work all week long and double as an RV on the weekend. The trucks today are just big SUV’s as four the camper if it has the bath room then it’s probably a 10’er and would sit right out on the tailgate great find?

    • Jim

      What do you mean they don’t make them today I just seen one last week.trucks today will still haul those no problem no issue get educate

    • Steve

      I have a 70 Longhorn. They have a 6″ longer wheelbase (for 133″ total) than the standard long bed. The last longhorn was built in 1972.

  10. Francisco

    Anybody who has a vintage motor home knows; you are not going to go winter camping and use the plumbing on this rig at the same time.

  11. sluggo

    There is still a LOT of crappy campers and RVs made with the flimsy sticks and thin sheeting with some minimal insulation wedged inside. I still have a 1972 Open Road camper built like this, Here on the west coast US lots of people are buying old RVs and campers and living in them which beats under a bridge but they have become a real problem and many burst into flames. IMHO most are the propane powered fridges but some are just bad practices like heaters and smoking.

    But my inlaws got an Arctic Fox camper a few years ago,. Dang! That thing is nice! Complete fiberglass shell and THICK, then totally insulated and quality windows and doors. Snug as a bug in a rug. I know a lot of guys who use their campers and RVs up in the snow for elk hunting, and a bunch of guys up in Canada and Alaska. So quality campers are out there.

    Personally,, I have never liked having a bathroom in camper or RV myself. I have seen enough accident scenes & not a pretty sight, not to mention I was taught a long time ago dont poop upstream of your campsite and pooping inside your micro living quarters is not my idea of appealing.

    Another hint,, try NOT to cook much INSIDE.. We sold one of our previous RVs and explained to people we rarely ever used the inside stove. People thought it was a important feature and I always pointed out,, Salmon and trout fishing gonna leave all your clothes and bedding pretty Rank & Ripe,, Need I say more?

  12. Rube Goldberg Member

    Another great truck from the era, and still is. These were terrible rusters in the midwest, and few survived.Today, as equipped, this is a short haul vehicle, and unless you know what it’s like driving a vehicle that gets single digit gas mileage in a stiff head wind, it’s not much fun, especially out west here, where you finally come up on a gas station, only to find it’s abandoned. This should remain a motorhome, as separated, there are better pickups ( and campers, I suppose) today. Being a 4×4, people would be tempted to take this places it probably shouldn’t go. Very unstable ( rear dual tires would help) Still, a very nice vintage camping unit.

  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I can’t remember the last time I saw a camper on pickup. And I don’t think I ever saw one on a newer truck. And by newer I mean 2000 and up. I do see a lot of large pull behind campers though. It seems to me everything is supersized now anyway. Myself, I would be happy with a 4 by 4 van to camp out of.

    • sluggo

      Must be a regional thing if you dont see them (Campers on trucks) But I agree its more of a tendency to have pull behind trailers and many go for super size “Toy haulers” are also very popular around the west coast. In the back,, Load up your ATVs, sand rail, or dune buggy, or dirt bikes and luxury camping in the front half. Also super large regular trailers. My inlaws had one for a while but its a pain in the A** to tow and navigate.

      But we had the solar eclipse last summer and the interstate and secondary roads were clogged with campers, RVs and family trucksters of every shape and size. But I also live on the outskirts of Portland Oregon and all year long I see campers on trucks, new-old,, all shapes and sizes. From the homeless parked on side streets in town living in them, to the wealthy going “GLAMPING” and everything in between. State and federal parks now run on reservations and shortly after the new year they open up reservations and most of the parks sell out for the year in a matter of hours.
      Hunting and fishing is year round here, something is ALWAYS in season. Then with all the Agriculture harvests, there is that too. (Xmas tree harvest is winding down,, my area is XMAS tree capital of the world, The ship to China, and all over from here) so, no lack of campers.

    • Roger

      In the late sixties and early seventies we camped with our postmistress and her husband who hauled a big camper similar to this on first a ’68 Dodge 200 2wd pickup then later a ’71 Dodge Camper Special in the same color,we even went to Florida with them and Dad towing our little Nimrod pop up trailer behind our ’68 International 1100 half ton pickup.good memories!!

  14. Steve

    The 400 sbc engine was sort of a “stop gap” means to give a little more torque than the 350, without the added fuel consumption (and weight) of the 454 bbc. Unfortunately, the main drawback to the design of the 400 sbc was the added bore size meant that the cylinders were “siamesed” ,with no coolant passage between the cylinders. If they ever overheated, the operator wasn’t as fortunate as he would have been with a 350, in that the repair would usually only involve replacement of the head gaskets only. In an overheating situation, he heads usually cracked as well. This opened a whole can of worms. While a set of non 400 sbc cylinder heads would physically bolt up, they did not have steam holes drilled in their mating surface to match the 400 block steam holes, resulting in another meltdown in even shorter order. This usually spelled the end of the bottom end. If Chevy only had the foresight to have used the 400 crank in a 350 block, such as they did with by using a 283 crank in a small journal 327 block (“destroker”?) to create the 302, they could have claimed the famed 383 (“stroker”) as their own idea. I have owned a few of those over the years. It’s an awesome little package. You don’t hear as much about them anymore, with the “LS” craze now.

    I have to wonder why GM didn’t bring back the 396/400 bbc engine, or even offer the 427 standard deck height engine in the 1 ton and lighter trucks. These were a much better design than the 400sbc. It must have had something to do with emissions or fuel economy ratings…

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