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American Road Camper: 1973 Ford F350 Pickup

In the pickup truck-turned-camper world, the Chevrolet Blazer Chalet has always been the top of the heap, both in terms of recognition and value. There was no real mystery to it in terms of why it has become a bit of an item, as it looked tough and ready for a road trip at a moment’s notice, and the availability of camper shell that was seemingly perfectly married to the truck bed made it far more handsome than it had any right to be. Did you know Ford had a camper special of its own called the American Road Camper? I didn’t, and there’s one listed here on Facebook Marketplace.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Lee for the find. The seller is asking $8,000 for the truck which resides in Idaho. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Lee for sending this in, and to be fair, kudos to his eagle eyes for spotting this Ford as being a camper conversion special edition. I wouldn’t have thought twice looking at this listing from afar that it was anything other than an old truck with a camper shell thrown in the back, but clearly, Ford had a special edition camper of its own. The old-school press photos the seller includes show a man and a woman with plenty of personal space between them, along with all of the comforts of home inside the camper shell.

The seller includes a good bit of biographical information about this specific model, noting that Ford partnered with Starcraft RV to create the pickup/camper combo. He claims this design was light-years ahead of the competition, highlighting the interior layout of the camper shell along with novel design features like basement holding tanks. The seller sadly doesn’t provide any photos of the inside of the fiberglass shell for us to assess whether it’s in livable condition, but the driver compartment is at least encouraging with a clean, unripped bench seat. By the seller’s estimate, only about 100 of these American Road conversions are left out of 1,000 made.

It’s a shame there aren’t more photos because the truck generally looks pretty good. The colors are pretty great, too, for a period-correct rig like this and the paint seems like it may be original. There’s just one issue: the paint job on the truck in the top photo doesn’t match this one! A minor detail, I’m sure. The truck has all the heavy-duty features that come with a Camper Special model, so even if you don’t use the camper shell, you’ve got a pretty burly rig underneath. The Ford will also come with what has to be a very rare King Air Conditioner unit that I would be shocked actually works. Overall, this looks like a deserving project if the details all check out and the camper shell itself is salvageable.

Comments

  1. Connecticut mark

    Almost looks longer than an 8 foot bed. But I am blind in one eye

  2. Tony T

    The truck in the top picture is definitely a different truck than the one below. Top = 77-79 and the lower is a 73-76. The f350 Super Camper Special still had an 8’ bed but the wheelbase was stretched almost 8” to 140”.
    These campers are great, having owned 3 of them. We use ours year round and love it.
    Extremely aerodynamic. No drama going down the highway in the wind or when passing big trucks. Great piece of history and a great truck/camper combination.

    Like 4
    • M.Black

      The add states there’s another truck for sale besides this one.

      Like 1
  3. Kurt Member

    Rocinante!

    Like 2
  4. Dave S

    Just gotta read the ad. Price is for shell and both trucks. Seems the one under the camper is a non-runner, and the other Camper Special is the potential solution.

    Like 3
  5. CenturyTurboCoupe

    I’m strangely attracted to the brown and yellow two tone painted truck…Ford also had custom made truck caps in these years as well. My truck had it ordered and installed when sold new. Fits like a glove and weighs ALOT! Just took mine off today so it looks WAY better (the truck) and I will proceed this weekend to flatten it down with the dozer.

  6. Russell C

    I wouldn’t put this in the same category as the Blazer Chalet, which was a joint venture between GM and the Chinook company to create a mini-motorhome that was intended to be a one-piece vehicle featuring a wide-open pass through area from the cab to the camper area. While Ford may have partnered in some way with the camper maker here, it is still an entirely removable, stand-alone enclosed camper unit you could safely store outdoors without it turning into a raccoon hotel, and where you can use the pickup like an ordinary extended-bed pickup. Chalet camper units can be laboriously removed from the Blazers, but then you’d have to concoct a plywood partition to close in the front, and engineer a framework to hold up the front of the unit. Meanwhile, the back of your Blazer cab would be open to the weather unless you install an aftermarket half-cab back wall.

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