The 1960s were just the early days of mobile homes, but interest in pieces from this era is growing in importance. Some of the best were produced by the Dodge Motor Company at the time – and the genius designer (and perhaps visionary) Ray Frank, whose name this camper officially bears, had a hand in this. We’ll talk about why in a moment. The brand name was Dodge Frank Motorhome.
Beautiful and timeless, these campers were produced for their time in many variants with wheelbases from 21 to 32 feet, that is, from 6.4 to 9.75 metres. Their main advantage was the proven, undemanding technology taken from Dodge trucks, so there was no problem finding parts and the maintenance itself was actually relatively easy.
This, along with an aerodynamic, virtually maintenance-free body, and last but not least, made Dodge campers a sales blockbuster—a respectable 131 units were sold in the first year. At the time, each Dodge Frank motorhome sold for a relatively whopping $9,000, which, when converted into CZK including inflation, comes out to nearly $2 million!
The lion’s share of the concept’s success was largely due to designer Ray Frank of Frank Motor Home. Frank can in fact be considered a visionary – it is believed that he was the first to use the English term “caravan”. In addition, the original design idea, which he proposed in the early 1960s, is still used today.
He sold his Frank Motor Home company in 1964 to the Travco Corporation, which gradually improved his designs, thanks to which they lasted into the 1970s. A little interesting fact – Frank then founded a new company called Xplorer Motorhomes, specializing in affordable motorhomes, which surprisingly is still in business today.
This particular camper dates back to 1963 so is one of the last examples produced under the original owner. It is remarkable that it is one of the few pieces in its original condition – most of the others have either undergone a complete restoration or have not survived to this day.
It is a wheelbase version of 26 feet, less than 8 meters, in a body painted in the original combination of turquoise blue and white. Over the years there have been only minor modifications, such as a new floor, air conditioning, and the previous owner took care of re-upholstering the car, but made sure it looked as similar to the original as possible.
From the onboard equipment, we can find everything you need here – kitchen with three burner stove, double bottom sink and running water, hood, fridge and plenty of useful storage. There is a double bed in the back, behind the bathroom.
In front of the kitchen is a small bathroom with basin, shower and toilet. Nearby we see a small dining room, the table of which can be lowered and attached to the benches, creating a temporary second bed, for example for children. Next to it is a relaxation area with two comfortable armchairs.
Finally, for the sake of interest, let’s mention that the drive is handled by an honest 318-cubic-inch (5.2-liter) eight-cylinder, mated to a 3-speed automatic. There is a DuoTherm air conditioner on the roof, and a 6,600-watt Generac generator with remote control takes care of the power supply. This gorgeous residence from 1963 was auctioned for $37,000 USD, which is about CZK 814,000 at the current exchange rate.
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