Saturday, August 4, 2012

The First Motorhome

From: Dan N.
Sent: August 4, 2012
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: The First Motorhome
I will bet you have never seen one of these before.
I never knew they even existed.
The Ford House-Car

This is one of only six Ford House-cars said to have been made per year in the mid-30's at the Ford plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to an article in a 1993 "Old Cars" magazine. Very few others--perhaps none--remain on the road and certainly not in such amazing original condition! When discovered in a garage under a heavy cover in northern Minnesota in August of 2001, it had only 19,000 miles on the odometer and the owner's manual was still in the glove box in like-new condition!

The RV had always been garaged and treated with much 'TLC' as a collector vehicle.

The all wood lined interior was still the way it appeared in the '30's complete with framed photos of the original owner on his travels, mainly to Florida , and his cabin in the North Woods. It also had other memorabilia from that era. The Ford House-car was built on a '37 Ford Pickup frame and cowling and was powered by a 60 horse power, flathead V-8 with aluminum heads. The rear framing is all wood, with the metal skin wrapped around it. The roof structure is all wood over which the heavy, waterproofed canvas top is still very securely fitted. The structure of the body is solid, appearing to be all oak hardwood and it's still in a remarkably unaltered, undamaged condition! The door frames are thick, solid oak as are the window frames although those have been painted over.

This House-car was a big hit at this campground once we got that great old 'flattie' V-8 hummin'! Note the expanding roof (it's that 'extra' roof piece barely visible in the picture) and the original dark green color, which has been repainted. All four side windows open while the back one tilts out in three positions. The windshield also tilts open at the bottom for 'natural' AC while driving. Here are a few shots of the Ford House-car on the road...

Here's a look at the interior. It's a slice right out of 1930's just as the original owner had it. All the windows have curtains for privacy and there are pull-down shades on the back window, as well as on the driver's and passenger door windows. Note the wide storage cabinet under the bed.

The wood headliner gives the 'cabin' a warm and inviting rustic feel. You can also see it has a ceiling vent and the canvas expanding roof portion visible in this picture. Four wood pieces securely support the expansion when it's in the 'up' position, while clamps secure it when it's down while traveling.

Note the cedar branches hanging in the corners to give the cabin a natural, north woods aroma. Cabinets and the aluminum sink, that includes a wooden cover insert, are visible on the left. All the antiques inside, as well as on the walls, came along for the ride. Also note the collapsible table behind the driver's seat.

It's amazing how simple vehicles were back then! No computerization to be concerned about, eh?
Smile, it gives your face something to do!

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