Caddy Camper: 1957 Cadillac Series 62

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it wasn’t unusual to see Cadillacs, Pontiacs and Oldsmobile’s converted for other uses. Like ambulances, hearses and even campers. This conversion looks like it may have gone through two iterations. Because of the raised roofline, it could have been a carrier of people at first, alive or dead. Then later having had the back cut off and a camper body added that looks like ones found on pickup trucks. Regardless how this one was built, it’s not in bad condition for what it is, but it’s missing its drivetrain. Situated in Las Vegas, Nevada, the starting bid here on eBay has been set for $3,000, but no takers so far. Thanks, Larry D., for “camping out” to find this one for us!

The basis for this camper is a 1957 Cadillac, probably a Series 62 model, that has been relieved of its sheet metal behind the front doors. It would have been powered by a 365 cubic inch V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor that was rated at 300 hp. That and the automatic transmission that would have accompanied it have flown the coop. What remains is a Cadillac shell with rust at the bottoms of the doors, fenders and hood closure. Perhaps not terminal, but something that would have to be tended to if a restoration is planned.

Inside the pilot’s portion of the car, the interior has been customized with some tuck and roll type of fabric and colors that are quite reminiscent of the 1970s, which may have been when this conversion took place. The front portion of the cabin may be passable once cleaned if the colors and shag carpeting don’t bother you. The bench seat has been replaced by a couple of buckets of unknown origin.

The camper body has a few dents and dings with the worst we can see in the rear where it got tapped on the driver’s side. There is an emblem that says Honorbuilt on it, which was a company out of Minneapolis that once built camping equipment. They’re no longer in business and there’s not much about them to be found online now. The interior of the camper itself looks good overall with no obvious signs of leaks or critter activity that would have damaged anything.

Restoring the Cadillac part of this equation is probably going to be easier than sourcing parts to repair anything amiss with the camper. Not being an expert on the camper conversion market, I don’t know how readily available parts are for the dwelling component of this vehicle given that the conversion may very well be 50 years old. If you’re longing for a camper that you can drive without going the whole RV route, something like this might be quite interesting once restored. But would you end up have far more invested in it than if you bought a more recent, nice Ford F150 with a camper on back?

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Comments

  1. Jcs

    What an odd creation.

    Like 7
  2. Freddy

    roof line of caddy makes me think it was a service vehicle before used for this creation

    • Freddy

      I guess me mentioned that. Just call me ‘Captain Obvious’

  3. Mutt

    I have lusted after one of these ever since my labotomy.

    Like 71
    • Jcs

      I’d rather a bottle in front of me…..

      Like 15
    • Jcs

      …than a frontal lobotomy.

      Like 12
  4. Will Fox

    I’m sure that camper was cutting edge. Back about 1962…….The turquoise stove and worn out cabinets are a dead give-away.

    Like 3
  5. Steve Clinton

    I think I spotted this in a homeless camp under the freeway.

    Like 6
  6. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    I like it but would have to find out if the tin for the bad panels for the camper could be found. Is so, I’d drop a 472-500 cu inch Caddy drivetrain from a newer one and go from there. There are RV restorers that could tell you what you’re in for before losing your shirt…which you may do anyway if taking it on.

    Like 4
    • stu

      Glenn C. Schwass….

      Not a chance would I tackle on this project! You would need a bank manager to finance your outings for the amount of gas it will cost to drive this thing…..Also…a loan would be needed to bring this masterpiece back up to speed with reality!

  7. M. Kieffer

    Around 1964 I knew a young guy that built these in Minneapolis, Kansas. They took used Caddie ambulances and hearses because they were heavier duty than regular sedans and cut the back body off. Then set the camper on. This was before class C motor homes. It was a good business until the Mini Winnies came along.

  8. nlpnt

    This wouldn’t be a Series 62, the extended wheelbase professional-car chassis was part of the Series 75 line. Would’ve made for a nice camper in its’ day, everything was beefed-up compared to a standard Caddy or basically any other passenger car. Likely rode better than any other RV, at least until the GMC MotorHome came along which would’ve been a LOT more money than an old hearse and slide-in kitbash.

    Like 3
    • 1313

      The Eureka sill plate gives it away that this was built off some Eureka professional car – hearse or ambulance.

  9. Howard A Member

    Now, if this thing was in nice shape, it would be fun, but as is, Monster truck show material. For the heck of it, I tuned in a Monster truck program, and 20 years later, the same guys are still crushing motorhomes.

    Like 6
  10. Steve R

    Honorbuilt was started in 1960, they went through several owners and names. Finally settling under the name ElDorado National, which has a Wikipedia page and covers its history extensively.

    Steve R

    Like 8
  11. Ben T. Spanner

    Back in the 1960’s, Vaughn Motors, a used car dealer in Columbus, Ohio specialized in these. There were at least 2 hearse makers in Ohio and a used hearse had little value as funeral homes always wanted a current model. Vaughn bought the trade ins.
    They were also a Vogue tire dealer. Vogue had a textured goldish side wall instead of a whitewall. The were often seen on hearses.

    Like 4
    • stu

      Who you gonna call…
      GOST BUSTERS!

  12. Gerard Frederick

    why???????

    Like 2
  13. Bunky

    In no particular order:
    1) It’s diamond tuck, not tuck and roll.
    2) It’s very cool to those of us with the
    proper degree of warpage.
    3) Not a cheap way to end up with a
    serviceable camper. You gotta wanna.

    Like 12
  14. SDJames

    There was one of these for sale in Sioux Falls, SD a few years ago. Same year I believe.

  15. John Traylor

    I typed the word ugly into google and this is picture I got.

    Like 1
  16. Jost

    Luxury motor home!

    • stu

      Luxury motor home…..as in till death do us part?

  17. Tennis Tim

    One ugly Cadillac

  18. Mark

    I have seen much worse than this old Cad on this site.

    Like 1
  19. B.A. Schoen

    The Hearse and ambulance chassis also was available with a 4 speed (Granny) transmission.
    Value and profit have nothing to do with any pleasurable pursuit.
    Think about any other hobby: fine dining?
    What is that wonderful meal worth six hours after you ate it?
    The $200 Green Fee to play that round of golf?
    You get the idea.
    I think it could be great if you removed the camper and replaced it with an Airstream like body or, make a ramp truck to haul a light race car.
    You wouldn’t have to feel guilty about sacrificing a car that should have been restored.

    Like 3
  20. Bob Mck Member

    Could be fun to go camping in.

    Like 1
  21. Wilburn Shook

    I noticed the gas stove right off! I don’t believe I have ever seen one that color. It is actually rather pretty in my book. When I showed my wife the picture of the interior then the exterior, she told me the hair on the back of her head stood up. She is part American Indian and some funeral homes tend to freak her out.
    The damage was done to this ole girl a long time ago. With deep pockets, it could be made to look better than new, as a conversion.

  22. Wally

    There is another one of these on I-10 east of San Antonio, souh side of I-10. Wally

  23. mountainwoodie

    It would be a heck of a fun project. Get your shots before tackling the carpet

  24. George Mattar

    Why waste your time writing about a POS that will end up as 2022 Honda? Sad waste of a great 50s Caddy.

  25. Ronnie dilallo

    I love it. If i had the money to do it justice i would be all over it for sure

  26. Bill McCoskey

    In the early 1980s I bought a 1956 Honorbuilt Superior Cadillac Ambulance that looked almost identical to this vehicle. I lived in the camper for almost 4 years while I built my new home. [But also spent a lot of time at my girlfriend’s home!]

    Take a close look at the paneling on the right rear section of the rear wall behind the dinette. Note the water damage. This is as a result of the outside damage to the left rear of the camper body.

    The body frame on the Honorbuilt campers was made of 2 X 2 pine framing members, covered on the inside with 3/8″ 3 ply panels, and the ribbed aluminum sheets on the outside. Someone with basic carpentry skills can repair the damage, but it’s important to check the entire wood frame starting at the top, to make sure there isn’t more rot. The ribbed exterior panels are basically the same for most of the travel trailers made in the early 1960s, so finding used pieces will take a bit of work, but it is possible to find matching panels.

    If I was going to use this as a regular camper, I would replace all the old copper plumbing with modern PVC, and the 3 water tanks with modern plastic tanks, as the old tanks are galvanized steel & prone to develop pinholes.

    And just so potential buyers know, if this was built based on a former ambulance, there would be a selection of lighting and siren switches mounted on an aluminum housing, in the center of the dashboard top. I don’t see the switch housing on this vehicle, so It likely began life as a hearse.

    Like 1

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