Archive for the ‘Truck camper’ Category

I’ve spent the past two days on the Del-Ray and GMC pickup. New tires on the truck, fender wells and exposed frame sandblasted and painted. Camper cleaned, birch paneling oiled and polished, counters and backsplash scrubbed, stove cleaned, floor scrubbed. We need to make the curtains and wash the windows, but it’s close to getting a big “DONE” stamp!

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IMG_4881 The Del-Ray tuck camper is officially DONE! Well, Kim is going to make curtains , but it’s “campable” now. New cushions , new water system , bathroom re-skinned, toilet working , new mattress, fridge checked, windows and roof re-sealed and caulked. The GMC, designated beast of burden has new dually hubcaps, there’s a complete new stainless exhaust waiting to go under it, so other than the steer horns going on and plow frame coming off, it’s ready to go. We’re ready for adventure!

Ahh, springtime!

Ahh, springtime!

In a desperate attempt to enjoy the outdoors here in Michigan on  March 1st,  the crew here at Cool McCool’s Garage spent a little time yesterday relaxing in the shade of the new canopy for the Tini-Home.   We all agree the canopy is a success, but the surroundings are not what we would have chosen, if we were in charge of weather.

Today, at least it’s sunny, and a balmy 16 degrees.   The truck camper is ready to go, but there was 4″ of new snow last night that had to be plowed.  Who plows with a rig like this?

Look for us next weekend in beautiful downtown Detroit at “Autorama Extreme”, in the basement at

This is how we do it.

This is how we do it.

Who's idea was this long driveway?

Who’s idea was this long driveway?

Cobo Hall.  I promise, no snow inside, the awning will be up, there will be shade, although no palm trees.  We’re bringing the forest with us, so come on out!

DSC05037 (1024x768)In keeping with my policy of causing my own little disasters, yesterdays Fathers Day Fiasco was entirely my own doing.  It was a simple plan: Pull the Spartan into the back yard to turn it around, pull it up alongside the shop to plug it in and begin packing for our trip.  Easy, right?

As I pulled around through back, I thought it’d be fun to pull alongside the ’47 Manor awaiting restoration, and take a picture.  Our own little Spartan trailer sales.  Fun, huh?

I swung the trailer around so it was beside the ’47 and stopped.  Backed up a little to square things up and got out.  The clue there was going to be a problem was apparent  as my feet hit the grass.

Squishy.  Not good.

I got back in truck and pulled ahead a little.  Got about 6 feet, and forward motion came to a halt as the tires spun on the wet grass.

I backed up about the same 6 feet, until the tires spun in that direction.

Obviously, I was stuck.  The trailer tires actually sunk into the soft yard about 6 inches, right to the rim, and I wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Figuring I might as well take my pictures, I did that, then dragged a plank from the shed, some patio tiles, unhitched the truck and placed them in the ruts.  This was a great plan, but when I when I hitched back up, with the trailer tires settled in the sod, it wasn’t going anywhere.  The truck tires spun on the plank and concreted tiles, the trailer didn’t budge.

So, I waited until Kim got home, we hooked the GMC Dually up to a tow strap to the Diamond T and trailer, and with the massive Del-Ray camper in the back for ballast, gently pulled the rig to solid ground.

I did end up getting some pictures, although the “fun” part was lost during the two hours or so it took to rescue the truck and trailer from the bog.

The watchword now is “Careful pulling through the back yard after 5 inches of rain in the past three days.”

Happy Fathers Day!

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DSC04823 (1024x768)You, gentle reader, will recall that we purchased vintage camper #4 recently, a mid 60’s “Del-Ray”.   This behemoth nearly overwhelms our equally gigantic GMC dually pickup, which groaned under the weight of the camper in the box.

Now that we’re owners, we’ve been researching this obscure camper, and while there isn’t a great deal of information out there, there WAS stuff to be had on eBay.  If it exists, it’s on eBay and it’s for sale.  I scored a very nice sales brochure, and could get more if I wanted to immerse myself in collectible stuff for this brute.

Which I could do, but, I don’t want to spend as much on literature as we did for the camper…

At any rate, the brochure has some great color pictures of mid-sixties Ford and Chevrolet trucks groaning under these monsters.  One, the cover shot, shows a happy family touring in the “Skylounge” model, children happily peering out the panoramic windows some 10 or 12 feet in the air as the family pickup teeters over a narrow bridge, father no doubt white knuckling the steering wheel as his bouffont coiffed wife grabs the dash-board in terror.DSC04864 (1024x768)

Ours sadly is not the flagship “Skylounge”, with its forward facing seats way up high, but the mid-level “Imperial Lancer” whose claim to fame is that it’s a full 90″ wide, an industry first (according to the ad writer).  Still, a pretty massive thing, with frontal area that says, “I don’t care how much gas it takes to push through the air, I’m on vacation, DAMMIT!”

These were intended for “…those families who insist upon, no DEMAND the finest in vacation traveling…”.

Obviously, they were talking about the crew here at “Cool McCool’s Garage”, some 45 years after the ad was written and the camper was built, because we are a pretty discerning lot here.  At least we insist on the biggest, if not necessarily the best.

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The photo above, showing the Imperial Skylounge, curiously setting on jacks, not in the truck, and the Imperial Lancer (the model we have), in an idyllic setting lakeside, the owners no doubt relaxing after having herded these monstrosities to this pond without tipping over or sinking into the muck, are shown relaxing under the awning (included with our camper is the original, awning in excellent condition).  This answers my question of how to mount the awning to that lofty rail.  Just take the camper out of the truck, you silly boy, and set it on the ground!

DSC04861 (1024x768)It’s fun to have some of the original literature, both for the information we learned, and to be able to display on the table when the camper is restored (oops, I mean, “refurbished”, this thing is NOT going to be a major project!).  We learned a little, had fun looking at it, and were pleasantly surprised to be able to find it.

Stay tuned, as we get ready, once my shoulder is recovered, to spruce this beast up and hit the road, Cool McCool style!

DSC04821 (1024x768)That’s right.  Uh-huh.  It’s high, wide, and  handsome, and it’s the baddest truck camper around.

This afternoon I made a trip to ALRO steel and got stock to modify the jack mounts on the Del-Ray, and to make “Happijack” style camper hold downs for the truck bed.  I got the jack mounts done, backed the truck under the camper and drove it down to our house just setting in the back of the truck.  Since it weighs as much as the truck, I figured it’d say put.

It did.

One irritating thing, the truck now sets just off the overload springs, and the slightest bump smacks the overloads on to the stops, making a disconcerting “clunk-clunk” noise.   A piece of old tire tread should make a good insulator, something for me to do while I’m off work.

Before I can get Kim to go camping in it, we need to make new dinette cushions, curtains, a new mattress and paint the exterior, but it’s got potential.  We’re both excited about it.

Maybe this fall, it’ll show up at a campground near you.

Watch out.

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