Dodge Vantastic! 1969 Xplorer 21

Am I the only one who dreams of selling everything and hitting the open road? I’ve dreamed about that my whole life and I have always wanted to do that in something like this 1969 Xplorer 21. Of course, this would have been brand new when I started dreaming about it, but I’d still love to do that. This cool camper is listed on eBay with a $13,500 buy it now price, or you can make an offer. It’s located in Temple, Georgia, 40 miles west of Atlanta.

Xplorer made motorhomes and van campers like this modified van, which is known as a Class B motorhome or RV, and they had a deal with Dodge for them to supply the chassis. The Xplorer 21 was based on Dodge’s A108 van and they had a pretty cool hook: part of the floor was recessed 10-inches to give headroom without raising the roof so it would fit in a standard-sized garage. At around 18-feet in length that should be a reality for most of us. It’s shorter than a certain ’66 Lincoln Continental Coupe was; I should have gotten this van instead.

This Xplorer looks really, really cool. Another benefit of not having a raised roof is a little better MPG, although I wouldn’t expect too much of a bump in MPG. These rigs used the front cab portion of the Dodge A-108 forward-control van and the rear section was fiberglass. The rear window was from a 1969-1970 Mustang Coupe. No, really! The inventor of these fine RVs was a gentleman named Ray Frank. After selling his motorhome company, which would become known as Travco, he wanted to create a self-contained camping vehicle that would fit into a regular garage. They were built in 1969 and 1970 with the A-108 chassis as that was the last year for the A-Series vans. In 1971, they switched to the Dodge B-Series vans.

Hey, this view looks familiar from the Travco Family Wagon post from a couple of days ago, speaking of Travco! The seller says that this van runs, rides, and drives flawless. It sure looks good and solid. I’d want to check it out in person before throwing down 135 $100 bills. The cab looks like it’s in fantastic condition and all gauges, lights, horn, wipers, and signals work. You can see some surface rust in a few cracks and crevasses but overall it looks really good for being almost as old as I am.

There are no engine photos but this one has Dodge’s 318 cubic-inch V8 with a freshly-rebuilt carburetor, master cylinder, brake lines, and a lot more. That padded doghouse cover, like on the Travco Family Wagon from a few days ago, can double as a small bed or a seat.  You can see that the interior is pretty much a time machine and in this case, that isn’t a good thing. Old is cool, we all know that, but when it comes to old RV interiors it can be not a good thing sometimes. I would do some updating here for sure. You can see the interesting 10-inch dropped floor in these photos. Yes, it even has a bathroom, although the next owner will want to upgrade that for sure. Have any of you hit the road in a Class-B van camper?

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Comments

  1. grant

    I just don’t see 13 grand for an old camper van…

  2. Chebby Staff

    Neat van, but the exterior is shabby and interior is gross. Would need to have the living area remodeled to get that price. At least replace the carpet, yeesh!

    For old campers to strike the proper “vintage” note, they need to be in exceptionally good condition or remodeled with kitsch. Otherwise you just look homeless.

  3. GearHead Engineer

    Scotty, I have shared your dream for many years. It varies though – sometimes I envision a fully loaded bicycle tour across the country, other times a powered trip. My latest incarnation involves my 4.6l DOHC ’65 Galaxie ragtop, two jet skis, and a bike rack holding my road and mountain bikes.

    Then I wake up and realize I still have a mortgage, two kids to put through college, and a wife who considers a Marriott to be roughing it.

    Cool van/camper! I might have to come up with a new dream.

    – John

  4. OIL SLICK

    I can smell it from here

  5. EHide Behind

    My old Lab and I need this rig to see what parts of USA are still US of A.
    OLD enough and simple enough for this old shade tree mechanic to keep running

  6. Elmer Fudd

    I can dig it! I think I would rebadge it to say XPLODER, but other than that and a vintage “Love In” paint scheme I would be Groovin’ on down the road.

  7. Rustytech Member

    I love the concept, as as one who has been an active camper for decades, I can understand the attraction. But the more I look at this thing, the less I like what I see. The inside is trashed, but what worries me the most is the rust. The back end isn’t going to show rust because it’s fiberglass, but what about the floors? Just the appearance inside the gas cabinet scares me. It might be a worthwhile project, but not without a through inspection, and not for anywhere near $13.5k!

  8. ccrvtt

    After graduation from college a friend and I loaded our dirt bikes into a ’69 Chevy van and headed to California. We rode in places we weren’t supposed to even then and the environmentalists wouldn’t let us within 20 miles of now. It delayed starting a real career by about 3 years, but it was totally worth it, right down to having to break up with the girl who would’ve been my first wife.

    Having those memories is great as is the fantasy of spending the summer on a Catalina 25 cruising the northern shore of Lake Michigan, but on balance I’d much rather live with the cute blonde who needs a hair dryer every morning.

    This van would have been palatial compared to that old Chevy, but now it’s pretty derelict. The bones are good, but not $13K good. The cab-forward seating is really very cool when you don’t think about the imminent dismemberment.

    Once again Barn Finds – thanks for the memories.

  9. Maestro1

    Redo the interior and see the Country.

  10. Doug Medeiros

    13.5 No thanks……….Although it is really cool………..and 318……..Good too……….Never saw one on the west coast……….

  11. Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

    I’ve built a motor home out a busset chev van front G 3500 bus back. It worked out great had fridge, stove,sink and bath room slept four work out well for camping and traveling. After I sold that I built a small holiday trailer has all the same amenities light enough to be tow behind a mini van. Easy to store. This van I would gut out the interior front to back and start new after repairing rust of course. Than I’d redo the exterior but to justify all that this would need to be bought for about 3k. Once completed then it might be worth 13 to 15k. It looks like it got good bones but right now that about it.

  12. steve

    Class B, yep. Dodge, yep. Xplorer, yep. 21, nope.
    I have a 228, it’s built on a 1985 B350.
    I don’t use it as much as I would like, but probably more than most. It mostly tows my bike to the track and serves as race weekend lodging there. Also gets used at the gf”s sisters lake front land 5 or 6 weekends every summer.

    It’s a bit tight inside, but it’s small on the outside, so it’s easy to store for an rv. You can stay in tent sites at camp grounds, and at the lake, I can drive it right up to the beach where an a or c would not make it through the trees.

    If it were 4wd, it would be the ultimate zombie apocalypse bug out vehicle

  13. Rube Goldberg Member

    Maybe for 1969, but these’s way better campers to hit the road in. By the time you got somewhere in this, you’d probably feel like punching someone. Miserable vehicles to drive,( and work on) in any form.

  14. Big Mike

    One of the last things I did with Mom and Dad before Dad past last Fall, back in the May 2017 we went to a classic RV Show/ it was held at a Good Sam’s RV Park, near Nevada, Missouri. I pulled Mom and Dads 1976 Airstream out for them to enjoy the week together with us kids, Dad loved the time with all of us, he always enjoyed the family camping trips that we took every summer for 6 weeks, sorry to say it was his last time, but he did have a smile on his face everyday. The 42 year old beast is the easiest pulling bumper pull I have ever towed.
    We saw all kinds of vintage RV there, some that had been restore to the time, Dad would ride around and say if I had done that one I would have painted this color or I would have done it this way, even at 82 he still had his mind on body work.
    There was a couple of these old style Van/campers there also. One was for sale and it had been totally redone, and was pristine, they were asking 12K for it, and I thought it was well worth the price, Dad like it so much he tried to talk Mom into buying it, said it would be easier on him and her to just hop in and go some place, not had to worry about sitting up the Airstream, Mom would just shake her head and say NO.
    But this one would take a lot of work to be that pristine. I would not give that much for it, maybe 5k, but not 13K.
    One of the vintage RV we saw was the 1948 Fixable Chipper used in the movie RV, with Robin Williams, driven by Jeff Daniels in the Movie.
    The picture is Mom and Dad’s 76 Airstream. It still is at Mom and Dad’s she just will not sell it, we will be taking it to Waco, Texas this Summer to visit some family and friends. The reason it was sitting outside I had to pull it there because the shed it normally sat in was being used for a Auction of all of dad’s cars and trucks he had. Many people wanted to buy it but Mom always said no!!

    • Cattoo

      Great family time. Thanks for sharing. My grandpa was a Silver Streak man and his best friend was an Airstream man. They are both nice trailers and they traveled with them often. Sometimes us kids got to go with and we got the front room floor to sleep on because granddad didn’t have the extra sofa bed/table up front.

  15. ross paterson

    We did a cross Canada and around the US tour last year in our 57 chev short bus , anywhere you stop there are people gathering around. Pretty tuff to get any privacy, but met lots of cool people. Traveled from BC to ST Johns Newfoundland then down the east coast Key West FL gets pretty hot down there. Then we crossed over to the west coast before heading home.

    That was a 9 month 32,000 mile trip.
    What a Beautiful thing to Experience.

    Just starting on a new bus , a 1958 GMC

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