Function Over Form: 1935 Graham Housecar

It seems the age-old problem of not being able to drive your house is nothing new, and that for generations, we’ve been trying to find ways to have our cake and eat it, too. This unusual Graham Housecar is indeed an oddball, but it also hails from an era where the unconventional had as much of a chance at being produced as anything else. Find this oddball camper car here on eBay where the reserve has just about been met. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Peter R. for spotting the Graham, which has built up some level of internet fame due to being sold once before in the last five years. The seller includes some archival photos of what this Graham may have been born from in terms of creative vision, but it doesn’t help us sort out the history. Supposedly, the Housecar was built with Chrysler power, but the mechanical bits were clearly stripped long ago – so we don’t have any easy hints as to what would constitute “numbers matching” details.

The last time it appeared on eBay, it was supposedly offered by the junkyard where it had been sitting for years. The seller bought it, stripped out the insides for restoration, and has now lost interest in the project. I suspect this would be a massive undertaking if you wanted to restore it to OEM condition, but given the limited amount of information available, I’d say a blank slate is the best way to approach rebuilding this Graham. The seller will include the Chevy Stovebolt 6 and 3-speed transmission he intended to install.

Attractive, it ain’t. But for a project that no one will see coming, and that you can sleep in whenever you tire of cruising the USA for vanning events, this Graham looks like it has the potential to offer heaps of fun for not a lot of money up front. Some of the commentary indicates this Graham rode on a Chrysler chassis, so perhaps some of the parts sourcing won’t be as difficult as we’d expect. If any of our readers have more insights into the history of this unusual Graham, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. BronzeGiant

    The B/W picture looks like something out of a Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers movie serial. And I like it!

    Like 1
  2. Dan

    They left a word out on the eBay ad. “Buy it now” should say “PLEASE Buy it now”.

  3. 68 custom

    if a guy was ambitious he may slap the body on a late model GM 3/4 or 1 ton chassis and build up his dream RV, but it is an odd looking duck.

  4. jeff

    Looks like a bear to drive. You’d have a tough time just seeing around the A-pillar.

  5. Howard A Member

    The “Rat Rod” of motor homes. Pretty sure, this is a “one off” on a Graham chassis. Graham was quite the car at the time. I thought Graham (Paige) made their own engines.

  6. Rock On

    Start hunting for a 392 Hemi to drop into this!

  7. Nova Scotian

    Pull into a campground ⛺️ with this and watch the locals having their minds blown!
    “Woa, What the hey….Sharon! Sharon! Come look 👀 what just pulled into the Burnstiens lot!” “…What the hell is it?” 😂

    • Howard A Member

      HA! All kinds of camping spaces now.

  8. Ed P

    Put a few machine gun ports on this and call it an urban assault vehicle.

  9. Fred W.

    Or you can chase tornados and have your own reality show.

    • Dave Wright

      3 of those guys were killed last eeek………..2 vehicle t bone chasing a storm.

  10. Joe Nose

    Horseshoe crap. Oops meant crab. No, wait, I got it right.

  11. Chebby

    I lost interest in the project just from the pictures.

  12. Healeymonster

    If you need replacement body parts all you need is a torch and some old washing machines to cut panels out of..

    • Al

      Just put the saw blade on backwards on your skill-saw, put on some ear protection to get those panels.

  13. RJ

    Toaster on wheels. Like Jeff, I could never imagine driving it safely in today’s traffic.

  14. Alan (Michigan)

    The word that springs to mind is “Dorky”.

    Dunno why, it just seems to fit.

  15. John

    Looks like a Horta.

  16. mark

    This wasn’t just hit with an Ugly Stick, it was beaten to death with one.

  17. john

    A one ugly duck , all the cements about beer and drugs all in one…off now to bleach me eyes…

  18. Keith

    I’d imagine it gets just a bit warm in there on sunny days

  19. Mark S

    This would be a blast to restore I’d put it on a dodge truck chassie 3/4 ton 2 wheel drive with Cumins diesel. It’s basically a shell so I’d find a wrecked truck and strip it down to the frame. I’d then build a floor on the chassie the idea would be to mount this shell onto the floor, you’d have a solid platform at this point. The next thing to do is build a full on luxury RV on the inside with all the whistles and bells, as for the out side I’d leave it in all its ugliness with a satin clear coat to preserve and maintain its ugliness. People would not want to park by you when you arrive at the camp ground and they would be confused when you pass them on the hill on the way to the campground. By the end of the weekend every body in the camp ground will have stopped by for a closer look. As for car shows with a modern chassie under this rig you could tow your car to the shows and have somewhere to stay during your time there without having to rough it. Just one mans opinion.

  20. glen

    It’s what the Dalek go camping in!

  21. Bob C.

    Kind of looks like a Yogi Bear trailer, hey Boo Boo!

  22. PudenzGmbH PudenzGmbH

    This is actually a “Curtiss Aerocar Company” trailer. They partnered with Graham Brothers Automotive in the 1930s and sold the truck/trailer as the “Graham Housetruck”. Glenn Curtiss, who hailed from Buffalo NY, was an early proponent of motor travel, and developed one of the nation’s first travel trailers which was followed by his famous luxury fifth-wheel Aerocar trailers constructed along aeroframe principles. His final project was a modular fwd automobile constructed using a pneumatic suspension he had developed for use as a fifth-wheel trailer hitch.

    Of the estimated 300 Aerocar trailers thought to have been constructed by the Michigan and Florida factories, twelve are known to remain. Most feature standard wood and wire-frame construction with nitrite-coated Masonite exterior panels, although antique motorcycle and trailer collector Vince Martinico of Auburn, California currently owns an unrestored cupola-equipped, steel-paneled survivor (steel paneling was a factory option).

    One 1937 Aerocar is on permanent display at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York while a second resides in the collection of the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles, California.

    More info:
    http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/c/curtiss/curtiss.htm

    • Kevin Lake

      Thanks for the info as I love a good story… Any idea where this falls into line at? Prototype? Is it original at all? I have a 53 33′ Vagabond trailer we are refitting now and this construction reminds more of work done later than 35 and also quite rudimentary.

      Living East of Buffalo and NW of Hammondsport :)

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