Corvair Camper: 1966 Ultra Van

When it comes to vintage motorhomes, the sky is seemingly the limit in terms of the choices available. This does not necessarily translate into making ownership an idea one should go into lightly, as these rigs are often cheap to buy and costly to restore. However, there’s very little that is cooler than an old-school RV parked trackside at your favorite road course or oval track, and classic campers like this Corvair-powered Ultra Van blow modern motorhomes out of the water when it comes to looking the part in the paddock or campground. Find this one-of-400 Ultra Van here on Facebook Marketplace for $4,500.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader James B. for the find. The Ultra Van is capable of doing yard drives at the moment, but should obviously be fully reconditioned before attempting any road trips. That’s the challenge with these old land cruisers, as they’re built to drive across the country but very few are ever maintained to the level that allows you to hop in and make such a drive. This Ultra Van has some period details that suggest it was used for exactly the purpose I have described, of being a home away from home while at the track: the old NHRA logo at the very least points to an enthusiast being the former caretaker.

And despite having been off the road for some time, the interior is not a total disaster. It is in need of full restoration, yes, but it is not so bad that you’d need a hazmat suit just to climb inside. Many project-grade motor homes have reached this level of decay where it’s hard to fathom working inside much less living in it, so the interior photos of the Ultra Van are encouraging. The seller doesn’t let on about any water damage or other issues that could be facing the next owner, but it’s best to assume at least a partial gut will be necessary before you’re sleeping comfortably in the Ultra Van.

A few weeks ago, I heard a great story from two brothers who previously raced Honda Civics and CRXs at road course and autocross events across the country with their father. He had an old Pierce-Arrow motorhome that became their home away from home, enabling them to take off at the drop of a hat for an event at Mid-Ohio, or Watkins Glen. If you don’t need to find a hotel, it suddenly becomes very easy to see the world whenever time and money allows. This Ultra Van may be a few years away from doing that, but with its dirt-simple Corvair powerplant out back, getting it to be a reliable runner shouldn’t prove too challenging.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Oh, this a rare one indeed and have been featured before.
    https://barnfinds.com/another-ultravan/
    The American Pickers came across one and the guy wanted a fortune, even IF he decided to sell. I think it’s pretty cool, not sure about the Corvair part for todays roads, but the streamlining would help in driving it. I could never figure out why RV’s turned into big boxes, when these slipped through the air, like the old 30’s buses. I highly doubt you’ll see another.

    Like 8
  2. Somer

    A friend had one and carried a motorcycle in the back. He never had any issues.

    Like 2
  3. Hoiman

    There is a group of dedicated owners – they have a FaceBook page, etc. There is also a website specifically showing Ultravans for sale. For a few more $ one can buy a road-worthy Ultravan and not be stuck with this project: http://www.corvair.org/chapters/ultravan/used.html

    Like 5
  4. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    @Jeff Lavery, I believe you meant to write Pace Arrow motor home. It would be unique indeed if Honda CRX racers would travel in a Pierce Arrow RV (we may have seen a few of these on Barn Finds converted from old sedans). Much less want to be caught dead in one, considering what it was they were racing.

  5. Randy

    My Dad had one #419 Drove it All over the country Never had a problem with it
    The guy he bought it from had a Huge porch on the back that he would Fill with Sponges when he came back from Florida
    I don’t know Why
    But that was His deal

    Like 2
  6. BruceB

    Not something I would want to tackle at this stsge in my life, but it is so cool.

  7. Jonathan Q Higgins

    These are cool but I think I would prefer a gmc motorhome due to being able to source parts. You are out of luck if the body needs work. Isn’t there something rare and funky with the front suspension as well? If I had time and money, but I don’t.

    • Rick

      Club site is https://ultravan.org/
      Bodywork is nothing more than flat aluminum and fiberglass, all easily fixed. Front suspensions have a bespoke lower A arm; rears are modified Corvair. Many folks have modded their suspensions to accept more modern components. I’m personally in the middle of setting in Corvette C5 front and rear subframes with the associated components.

      Like 4
  8. Larry Creech

    I used to build a bunch of the big fiberglass pieces for these in 1966/67 at Stuckey Marine in Hutchinson Kansas while attending Hutch JUCO. They are cool!

  9. Dwight

    Given the proximity to Three Mile Island…this one may even glow in the dark.

  10. xrotaryguy

    These are fantastic! Well appointed when restored. The floor is low since there’s no drivetrain underneath. The headroom is excellent, I’m 6’1 and I can stand up just fine.

  11. PatrickM

    This thing looks disastrous,IMHO. Plus, it looks like a rolling death trap: there is not much on the front end in case of an accident. I’ll have to pass on this one, thank you.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.