Another project, OH NO!

Posted: September 13, 2011 in GMC truck

The last thing I need is another project, but this one seems have started.   Almost 30 years ago,  Kim and I went in with my folks and bought this, a 1963 “Diamond Reo” truck camper, mounted on a then almost new ’76 GMC dually truck.  We drove it all over, my folks took it to Florida twice (gas was cheap then but it was still staggeringly thirsty), but it popped a brake line in ’91, and we drove it in the shed and there it’s been ever since.

I’ve had the thought for a long time that I’d like to pull the camper body off, shorten the chassis, and put a box on it.  The truck has 17,000 actual miles, the original tires, and while it’s in need of a new hood and there’s a blister on a door (remember the 70’s, when cars rusted out practically on the showroom floor?), it’s kinda cool.

It had a brake hung up, I couldn’t pull it out of the barn with the wagon (believe me, I tried!), so the obvious thing to do was fire it up, hope the massive torque from the 454 would break the rusted brake free, and just drive it out.  That’s exactly what happened.

After a frustrating day trying to start it with the battery from my (now sold) 2000 Chevy pickup, I bought a new battery, dumped some fresh gas in the carb, and it fired right up as if it’d been driven in there last week, not 20 years ago.  Granted, the exhaust smells AWFUL (evidently, bad things happen to gasoline in twenty years), but it seems to run just fine.  The brake lines are history, but they all have to be replaced anyway.  I’ve got a pretty nice dually box I have to go get today, and it’s soon to be a pickup for hauling heavy stuff.

Getting rid of the camper body will the hard part, I’ll probably just disassemble it and sell the rind for scrap unless somebody buys it from the ebay or Craigs list ad.

Late entry:  Wow.  Somebody actually bid on this thing on the ebay listing.  The other items she’d recently bought included romance novels, and antique watches.  Hmmm, something tells me this may not be a serious buyer…

  1. now, that is a new one to me! It’s an RV………, it’s a pickup with a camper…… the wheel base really as long as it looks?!!!

  2. flynbrian48 says:

    Yes, it may be big, but it sure is ugly! Yes, the wheelbase IS as long as it looks, the chassis is extended by about 5 feet. I’m going to whack the extra out, weld it back together so it’s pickup length again. I’ll have plenty of material to filch plate the frame! It’s also lengthened out back of the springs as well. Plenty of material. We’ll see how my measuring skills are!

  3. Matt says:

    That’s neat! If I thought there was a way it would fit on my 18 ft car hauler I would think about biding and turning it into a tagalong. Oh well, I don’t have time to use the camper I’ve got, let alone take on another project. Good luck with the transfer of ownership. Hope it doesn’t turn into a huge headache.

  4. Craig McCool says:

    Ah, memories! many trips to Yankee Springs and a few to the UP.

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Lots of happy memories lumbering around it that thing! Making Bisquick cookies in the rain at Tequamenon, Northern lights at Mackinaw, and the increduluous looks on other campers faces as that brute rumbled into a campgound.


  5. paul mcclain says:

    My ’78 crew cab dually was stolen a couple of years ago. I didn’t know it for about a month so the cops didn’t want to take the report. You are right about it being “staggeringly thirsty”. Cost nearly 200 dollars to fill up. The 454 got a whole 9 mpg. So i just let it go. Piece of junk anyway.

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