Revolutionary RV: 1967 Clark Cortez

As American as Corn Flakes, this decidedly European-looking 1967 Clark Cortez shares its birthplace of Battle Creek, Michigan with that famous Kellogg’s breakfast cereal. Frosted Flakes might be a better comparison because this sweet home on wheels offers revolutionary design including front-wheel drive and other innovations. This 1967 Clark Cortez in Great Falls, Montana measures 18.5 long x 8 ft wide (5.6 x 2.4 m) and fits in a normal parking spot, according to the listing here on eBay. Last registered in 1985, the unit needs hydraulic brake work and other repairs, but the Chrysler V8 runs and the transmission and clutch work, according to the seller. That’s right; this is a four-speed manual transmission motor home! At least 10 bidders have lifted the rig’s market value above $3800.

The avocado interior shows well, and we might hope in a vehicle with 56,000 miles on the odometer. The floor shifter stands poised to entangle the legs of your favorite toddler. Check out the metal shifter gate, though – just like a Ferrari! The fancy metal grate adds decorative flair while making sure loose items don’t incapacitate the driver in a panic stop. A detachable engine cradle makes mechanical work easier than it may seem.

The Clark Material Handling company of fork lift fame decided to handle materials like families, retired folks, and adventurers of all sorts, bringing the Cortez to market in 1963. Like a forklift, the Cortez features front-wheel drive and a low center of gravity, the latter thanks to the lack of a drivetrain tunnel. Made of patriotic American steel, the Cortez weighs about 9000 lb, which seems heavy for a vehicle the length of a Lincoln Navigator L, but think of it as “road-holding weight.”  Welded construction eliminates creaking and the de-lamination that plagues modern RVs.

Rich-looking wood compliments the Avocado upholstery. Sitting neglected so long has spared this RV from painful remodeling like box-store cabinets and Formica countertops that often ruin vintage RVs. One look at a salmon or sage interior from the ’80s or ’90s will send you running back in time to the funky palette of this Cortez. Would you consider vacationing in this four-speed front-wheel-drive RV?

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Comments

  1. Slantasaurus

    This doesn’t have a Chrysler V8, it has the world famous Slant Six.

    Like 1
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hello Slantasaurus. According to the seller, “The original 6-cylinder Chrysler has been replaced with what looks like a 318 Chrysler V-8 by the original owner…”

      Like 8
    • Claudio

      Wow, wow
      I would definitely love to have this beauty
      Too bad the shipping is sooo high and being canadian , i cant drive across the border 😫
      A new injected engine would greatly improve this rv , this would be a labor of love …

      Like 2
  2. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    A friend of mine had one of these in Naples, Florida back in the 90’s. His had a Ford 6 cylinder engine.
    God bless America

  3. Allan

    So. Much. Avocado.
    Holy guacamole I love this thing!

    Like 2
  4. HadTwo

    Avocado upholstery !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 2
  5. Allan

    Watch the promotional video. At 1:18, the Cortez is shown passing a sporty looking car. Can anyone identify the car?

    • Mike

      An early Pantera?

      Like 2
  6. Claudio

    Yessss, thats a pantera

    Its much easier to get in and out of the cortez !

    I always suffer when i have to fold in to my brothers 74

    Like 2
  7. chrlsful

    like em due to sz. Never knew the 170/225 was oe. 318 might get same or better mileage (consideration for some?) but able to move better. A 45RFE (not a mopar guy) swap togeda auto w/OD?

    Fella in town has one. Now I know the inside a lill, mechanicals, and more, I like it even more ! Thnx Todd, we gota Clark on pane in the garage, this is a lill different !

  8. Dlegeai

    I like the idea of FWD allowing for roomier inside and better handling; question though: Cortez was not a car builder, so what FWD drivetrain did they use? K car?

  9. Rick

    When I worked for Clark, we were told that they had 4 cylinder engines.

  10. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Why doesn’t it run on propane?

  11. Rick

    Charles Kuralt and a CBS news crew drove a couple of Cortez motor homes during the early years of the On The Road feature show. Potential buyers might want to read some of his stories of the “adventures” they experienced with those vehicles.

    Like 2
  12. steve

    From Wikipedia “A modified Clark-Cortez motorhome was used to transport Apollo-era crews to the launch pad, beginning with Apollo 7 in 1967 and continuing through the Apollo-Soyuz launch in 1975.”
    I knew I’d seen one of these before…

  13. GOM

    I believe the transaxle was manufactured in-house by Clark. Considering the variety of industrial lift trucks, etc. that they manufactured, it makes sense that this would be the case. It also makes the repair parts for the transaxle a fairly scarce commodity, I understand.

  14. Claudio

    So , from the article
    It’s better to get a 1971 and up as it has a gm engine and auto trans from the front wheel drive olds /eldo era
    This set up was sturdy but gas mileage was weak but poor mileage is better than being broken dow

    Does anyone know wich new engine trans combo could be swapped in this
    Fuel injection with an 8 speed auto would change this box !

    Like 1

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