Cool One-Off! 1960 International Camper Conversion

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From Barn Finds reader Harlan B–Guys, this is kind of on the theme of the Cadillac camper–COOL! I’d have to agree with Harlan, this is not only a cool camper, it’s a camper with a story and history. The International is located in Fremont, California and is being sold here on craigslist. The asking price is $20,000.

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Here’s the story per the seller: “It’s a 1960 International Harvester B110 Series. It’s a 1-1/2 ton heavy duty truck. The first owner, John Erickson, is from Longview, Washington. He had the truck special ordered from International Harvester Company and exported to Longview, Washington in 1960. John is a boat builder and he does that for a living. The I.H. truck was his personal hobby. He custom build the camper by his hard working hands and it took him three years to finish the camper. After he finished building the camper, he took the truck camper on a road trip to Alaska and Canada.” So this certainly isn’t an average homebuilt camper (or motor home, depending on the terminology you choose to use). You can see that Mr. Erickson did a lot to integrate the camper’s lines with the truck styling.

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Here’s one of the coolest things of all: the camper has been engineered by the current owner to open up and essentially provide a mini campsite environment once you get there. You can see how much thought went into the design, including the hinged, raising roof (that was done by the original designer).

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The driver’s environment isn’t bad, and it’s certainly in nice shape, reflecting the 48,000 original miles. Does anyone know if that center console is a air conditioning unit?

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The real star, though, is the interior shown here. It’s very apparent that Mr. Erickson must have built some really nice boats! There are so many neat little features in the interior, and it sounds like the current owner has actually enhanced what was there before. If you are interested so far, I really suggest you look over the listing to see some of the fabulous details.

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Underhood, the original engine is still in place, as it should be with such low mileage. The seller has had some recent work done and, apart from having to hold the transmission in park with a bungee cord (the seller’s explanation of that is priceless!) there really is no reason not to make your next vacation in this great machine!

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Comments

  1. JW

    Very nice !!!

  2. Eric Hare

    OK, I’m in love (don’t worry, it happens alot). If it had a/c the seller would have commented on it (it works, doesn’t work, blows cold, recently gone through, etc.). The seller did an excellent job of describing/documenting the vehicle, but missed the part that interested me the most, there was very little said about the 3rd axel ( how is it mounted, does it drop down for better stability) and there is only one picture that doesn’t give much detail. Otherwise it is a beautiful camper that looks to be well thought out and executed. Unfortunately it is more than I can afford right now, it’s to far away, and I don’t have enough space for it so someone else will have to take it home and be the next caretaker.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Agreed, Eric (on both counts). I was hoping!

    • Mel

      Back in the day, Sears offered a console mounted A/C that plugged into the cig lighter. You put ice in the back of the unit in a watertight built in tray and the fans drew air across the ice to provide cooling. Man. I am showing my age here!

  3. PaulG

    A lot of thought and hard work went into this, and it’s likely worth the asking price. The unit at the center of the seats looks like an A/C unit, but there’s no mention of it, and there doesn’t appear to be any A/C components under the hood.
    Nice find!

  4. Howard A Member

    I believe, that unit by the seat was called a “swamp cooler”. It used tap water and a fan and cooler air came out ( supposedly) I don’t see any provisions under the hood to support an a/c unit. Great piece, although, once again, I’d take the in-line 6. One of the few examples of stacked head lights I like, probably because they are on this truck, and they were just the best trucks. Fuel mileage may be an issue with that motor. My experience with them is they are thirsty to begin with, much less, hauling a box around. Totally worth it. You priced campers lately? Through the roof. Great find and build.

  5. Brad

    Crazy cool. Feels very Steinbeck-like, a la ‘Travels With Charley’. There’s a far less expensive – and more rough – version on the Grand Rapids Craigslist:

    http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/cto/5668900169.html

  6. Dan Farrell

    I have owned a couple I.H. Travelalls and a Traveler, mechanically, the engines are very strong but things like carbeurators and distributors might be whatever was on the shelf at the time, Ford, G.M., Holley, Carter. Front suspension may also be solid axle with leaf springs, torsion bars or coil springs, 2 or 4 wheel drive. Owning one is an adventure in itself.

    • Brad

      It would be awfully neat to see this upgraded with a small Cummins diesel, wouldn’t it? I know a lot of people are anti-heart transplant, but it seems like it would add the perfect blend of fuel efficiency… and long distance peace of mind, to let you concentrate on enjoying your throwback glamping experience.

  7. Chebby

    This things a beauty, but it’s been for sale a looong time. Maybe it’s that price.

    • Brad

      Certainly a smaller buyer’s pool than the 911 crowd, that’s for sure.

  8. William H

    Yeah, that 3rd axle is odd. I wonder if it’s actually an axle or just the easiest way to mount spare tires. The other things I find odd are an actual wood burning stove and ice box. Propane stoves and refrigerators were available back then. Honestly not even sure where you’d find block ice for it now.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      William, I agree with you on the refrigerator; I think I’d replace that. The wood-burning stove, I’m not so sure. At least you wouldn’t have to find a nearby propane selling station.

      • Salvatore Scolaro

        Wood burning stove was to use for cooking and heating the camper.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi William, I thought that about the alleged “3rd axle” too. I think it is a place for the spare tires. On the front underside shot, I can’t see anything that resembles an axle. I’d think if stability was a concern, he’d have put dual wheels on the drive axle.

      • Salvatore Scolaro

        Here are two photos of the third axle with spare wheels.

    • Salvatore Scolaro

      I still use 3 ice blocks and they are found at any super market. :)

    • Chebby

      There are still commercial ice houses where you can get block ice cut to size, dry ice, sheet ice, etc. but whether they are nearby is the question. Even though we have one right in SF (and they are super nice guys) it’s still an hourlong trip across the city to get there and back. Kind of a PITA to get dry ice for the ole Coleman cooler, but it really keeps the beer cold on a hot camping weekend.

      • William H

        We can get dry ice here in Texas at the supermarkets and Walmart but I don’t know of any “ice houses” in the area (gonna have to research that now). There used to be one in Waco when I was very young. I fondly remember going there with my grandfather to get a block of ice about 3″ thick that fit perfectly in his old metal Coleman cooler before going fishing.

  9. Badnikl

    Such a great write up on this camper. The attractive design and the overall look
    says craftsman built. I love the whole deal. Add a solar panel, small generator-& update the fridge and go. Needs a dirt bike holder for the front bumper and a 60’s
    175 bike on the front.

  10. Leroy

    A buddy of mine had an old camper mounted on a Chevy. He put in an A/C unit and mounted the compressor under the truck and drove it off the back of the transmission. It was used mainly on the highway. He told me it worked great.

  11. macvaugh

    I don’t know about “exporting” a truck to Longview, Washington :)

  12. Bill McCoskey

    Howard A is correct, it’s a swamp cooler, I sold an identical one last year at the Hershey AACA meet. These worked well in dry climates, but tended to put out so much humidity that bare metal parts behind the dash would rust terribly, including electrical switches, bowdon cables for vents & heating would seize, and of course nuts & bolts rusted together!

    I bought a ’56 Cadillac sedan with a Sears “Evaporative Air Conditioner” [swamp cooler], and every piece of metal on the inside of the car was rusty. Even the plated ones! The power seat tracks were frozen solid! The instructions on the side of the case said to remove the 2 smaller tubs from the inside, fill them with water, then freeze. Once frozen, the ice could be removed from the tubs and placed in the main cooler tub. Plugging the fan wiring into the cigar liter, allowed air to be blown across the ice blocks, and out the 4 round air nozzles.

    Tried to use it once, and found out why the front floors were gone: There was a rubber drain tube on either side of the unit [like the one in the IH camper, it sat over the trans hump], and the drain tubes had failed, leaving the carpets & padding soaked with each use!

  13. duaney

    B-110 is a 1/2 ton.

  14. Dustin

    I love old camper conversions like this. Beautiful looking Binder!

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