Champion Camper: 1972 Dodge Tradesman

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Guaranteeing admiring glances is one way to entice folks to take on a big project like this 1972 Dodge Tradesman camper conversion by Champion. Vintage R/Vs are likely very easy sells with folks who can dream big, especially with visions of sleeping trackside in their period-correct cruiser, or hitting some of America’s most well-known national parks. Still, there’s a long way between this Dodge and any road trips – would you take it on? Find it here on craigslist for $1,500.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rocco B. for the find. The seller does as admirable job of making this Dodge look almost tempting, despite the destroyed interior and non-running motor. Fortunately, the exterior looks pretty good with no major damage or signs of rust. The Arizona location of the van makes it likely rust has never been a serious issue, but like most vintage R/Vs, water intrusion into the living spaces is likely given the trashed ceiling inside.

Some see a blank canvas; others see a mildew- and rodent-filled hotel. The good news is looks like most of the interior fixtures have already been gutted, so some of the more unpleasant work has already been done. There is still an original Coleman stove inside, along with a commode. There’s a sleeping deck above the cockpit, and plenty of windows to keep the insides nice and bright. Regardless, you’ll still likely need to tear of the walls and flooring and start fresh if you want to live in here.

The remnants of occupants past is one of my favorite details of old R/Vs, provided we’re not talking about stale food and bags of laundry. This vintage porcelain hot plate makes me think of some sweet retired couple, snowbirds in Scottsdale, seeing the great wilderness of the southwest while staying cozy and warm in their Dodge camper van. Or, maybe it’s just been a rolling meth house for the past decade. Who knows! Now, this sweet camper van deserves a proper restoration so it can once again make the open roads your home.

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  1. Mark

    An interior that even Mother Theresa would have avoided.
    Gonna need a drum of Kilz to get rid of the smell……

    Like 3
  2. Jack M.

    A full hazmat suit complete with breathing apparatus would probably be a good idea.

    Like 3
  3. Mike

    That top design is laughable. All sorts of weird angles and curves. Rip it off and start over.

    Like 1
  4. canadainmarkseh

    It could be made into something, but a full mechanical check would have to come first. It would be very disappointing to rebuild the interior only to run into mechanical issues later. In my mind mechanics come first then rust repair and paint then the interior. In this one’s case you’d really have to want this project to take it on. I think it’s to much work for the end result, not worth it.

    Like 1
  5. angliagt angliagtMember

    They should haul it out into the mountains,then
    maybe someone might steal it & restore it (“Wild Cherry”).

    Like 3
  6. donald mullikin

    i love a challange but 1500 is too much money for this this could be a head turner if it was fully restored

    Like 0
  7. Nate

    It we as actually mine a while back. I rescued it but had to move . It’s actually mechanicaly pretty solid looking. Engine was out at some point and has signs of a possible rebuild ie:silicone between front covers oil pan etc. Newer paint on heads etc. It is a 360. It was parked due to radiator in mid 90’s and yes roof due to broke skylight etc and wood damage. It’s actually really solid that add was one my buddy had posted for me. It’s still sitting in Tucson . Zero rust and could be had for alot less now as that add was atleast 6 months ago. It’s a big project however any decent mechanic could do the basics because all the bones and chassis and even alluminum paneling etc is still in tact. If a serious interest is had you can contact my please keep trolling or bs to yourself. I’m a busy guy . I rescued it because it has alot of potential for right person and is only one I had ever seen. I cannot even find a picture of one like it. Doors shut and open nice . Yes huge project youd have a one off rig when done though.

    Like 0

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