Caddy With A Kitchen Sink! 1956 Cadillac Camper

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This great desert find was sent in by Barn Finds reader Marc N. — thanks, Marc! Remember, you can send us your finds at tips@barnfinds.com! I think this is one of the more successful Cadillac camper conversions I’ve seen, although I can’t imagine what driving it in a strong crosswind would be like! It’s out in sunny and dry Deming, New Mexico and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $9,500.

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Yup, it’s tall! There’s no telling what this weighs. I’m guessing it was a flower car or hearse to begin with; it seems that is the basis for most of the camper conversions like this I’ve seen. This one does seem to be executed pretty well, and the base vehicle starts and runs well according to the seller (nothing is said about driving down the road, though).

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That’s a pretty skinny door to access the camper part, but functional nonetheless. I honestly think the only thing I’d do cosmetically other than a good wash and polish is install the wheel covers that are on the driver’s seat!

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Somehow, the worn look fits the interior, and I like the fact that someone added extra gauges to keep an eye on the engine (originality is hardly an issue here!) Can you imagine showing up at a meet of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club with this camper? I’d love to!

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One of the neat things about this design is the little pass through visible in this picture. You also see the stove and sink, and the seller tells us there’s a refrigerator as well. Again, this seems a step above the usual camper conversions I’ve seen.

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The standard V8 in 1956 had 285 horsepower and oodles of torque. However, gas mileage wasn’t a strong point, and I’m sure the additional weight and aerodynamic drag of the camper body isn’t going to help. I’m betting we’re in single digits. But–who else has one? Would you like it to be yours?

 

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Comments

  1. Streatch

    Campillac

  2. KO

    Way cooler than my pop-up tent trailer!

  3. ronebee

    MANY of these where commissioned by Cadillac or the coach builder after the cars where decommissioned from Funeral or ambulance duty. MANY of these are very well done. I’d love to own one of these

    • Bill McCoskey

      The Cadillac factory & the coachbuilders had nothing to do with making all but a couple of these. Most of them were created by a local RV trailer manufacturer in Lakeland Florida, using the Cadillac commercial hearse/ambulance chassis, after the rear section of the body was cut off. Most of them were created around 1960 to 1966, when the shop started having difficulties finding low mileage vehicles to convert.

      I’ve had 2 of them, a 1955 & 1956, and lived in the ’56 version for several years while I built my house. Compared to modern RV’s, these are a bit cramped, but well laid out for their size. Sleeps 4 [2 over the cab, 2 on the dinette seats].

      When the ’57 Cadillac commercial chassis cars came out, now equipped with the X frame, once the solid body was cut off, there wasn’t enough support for the flexible wooden framed RV body, covered in very thin aluminum panels. I spoke with the retired manager of the Florida RV shop years ago, and he said they built only 1 1957 version, but the body was so flexible the door would pop open and the windows cracked.

      Like 2
      • RonEBee

        fantastic! this is one of my “must have” vehicles, along with a San Remo Seville and a El Mirage Pickup

  4. Gregory

    I have a friend in sw Pennsylvania who had this identical model at his body shop for 10-15yrs waiting like a lot of other personal projects that never happen. When the scrap prices were high his went to the crusher along with about 75 others at the shop.

  5. paul

    Thats just cool ugly

  6. Howard A Member

    Probably the coolest camper yet! I’m sure you’d be the talk of the campground,,,once you got there, that is. I’d bet it would be a chore to drive, especially in a stiff cross wind. Dual rear wheels would help. I’m sure this would suck the gas, but no camper gets decent mileage. At least with this, you’d have some class getting 7 mpg, and not driving a box with mirrors. Perfect for the modern day nomad.

  7. David

    Perhaps swap out the 1970s camper with its fake wood paneling for a period correct rounded camper. This one is a 1959 Deville, for example.

  8. PaulG

    Cool, but the boxy shape of the camper is too modern for the roundness of the Caddie…A nice conversation piece at a show though.

  9. JW454

    Technically, wouldn’t this be a class B or C “Motor Home” and not a “Camper”? Just sayn’

  10. Car Guy

    “It’s the Cadillac of RV’s”

    Like 1
  11. Frankie

    If only, if only I were a cowboy in Wyoming, I could park out underneath the moon and the stars with the birds and the bees. Give me land lots of land and the heavens above…. Don’t fence me in.

  12. DrinkinGasoline

    No different in a cross wind than say….a Sprinter Van ??
    In fact the Caddy might fair better as it is heavier, much heavier.

    • Brad

      Yup – arguably lower center of gravity, too, which can’t hurt.

  13. Brad

    Here’s one made from a ’52 Caddy. I prefer this to the one for sale (which is like most of ’em) because it retains those beautiful rear quarters. I’m sure that comes at the cost of interior storage… but what good is a vintage Caddy if you can’t keep the fins??

    • Andy

      Oh no, I’m in love! Couldn’t agree more about the fins , either. Where is this, and is it for sale?

  14. geezerglide85

    I think some of these conversions were done by a company called Eureka when these cars were new. Cadillac supplied the commercial chassis and Eureka did the camper conversion. I don’t know if this is one of them or not, but I have seen a few of these for sale over the years.

    • jaygryph

      Eureka built hearses and ambulances. They may also have done camper conversions but that was likely only done in very small numbers. I’d be surprised if they actually did build these themselves.

      They’re neat, but I’ve seen em built on Superior, Miller Meteor, and Eureka alike, old hearses were pretty cheap back in the day. Heck, they’re still not all that expensive.

  15. Chebby

    Pretty cool for sure, and seems nicely done, but $10k? Not even if it was mint. Not long ago this would have been $700 desert rat backyard junk.

    I like it though, and I agree it needs to be an older camper that works with the Caddy’s lines.

  16. G 1

    When I was a kid, there were a lot of this type of conversions done to big old cars for a cheep camper.

  17. Keldog

    Some of these were built in Lima,Ohio by a man who owned a vending machine company.They were called Caddy Campers.My father did some of the work on these as he was friends of the owner.Also he worked at a local Hearse Ambulance company here in Lima called Superior Coach which is still in business today.The owner of the vending company passed away at a fairly young age and so went the Caddy Campers.His children ran the vending company until I believe the late 80’s or early 90’s.I’m not sure if this is one of them as I have Somewhere,a copy of the original sales brocure.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      We’d love to see a scan of that brochure Keldog!

  18. ronebee

    cool

  19. Ben T Spanner

    I believe some were converted in Columbus, Ohio by or for the Vaughn Motor Company. They were a used car lot specializing in Cadillacs. Maybe they were converted in Lima and sold in Columbus.
    I remember Vaughn was also a Vouge Tire dealer. These were the large tires found on hearses which had embossed sidewalls and often gold stripes.

  20. Steve

    Personally, I would either find some repro rear quarter panels, or some good used ones from the Southwest, and graft them onto the quarters of the camper. This would serve two purposes: 1. Get those cool caddy “fins” and tail lights back, AND 2. Allow dual rear wheels to be installed for more stability.

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