What this site is all about

Michelle
Michelle

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My wife Michelle,  and I, are the proud owners of a 1973 Ford F350 Super Camper Special truck that has been in our family since new.  My dad special ordered it in the fall of ’72 to replace his ’69 C20 Chevrolet which couldn’t handle the weight or mass of his 11 1/2′ Travel Queen camper. The difference between the two trucks was nothing short of amazing. The Ford barely squatted when the camper was lowered into the bed. This was just one of the better features of the new truck. Later, my dad would replace the Travel Queen with a self-contained 11 1/2 foot Franklin, and then sell the Franklin when he bought a class A motorhome. When he gave me the F350 in 1994, it only had around 30,000 miles. I knew that one day, I would want another slide in camper for the F350. I recalled seeing a really cool and modern looking camper in the original ’73 Ford truck brochures. I did a little research and took a hard look at the old camper literature and discovered that the cool camper I remembered was none other than Ford’s own American Road camper, designed and built for Ford by Starcraft.  I started searching for anything I could find about the American Road camper and soon realized they were not much more than a flash in the pan. From what I was able to find out, only 825-850 were produced in 1973-74. That was it. Rumors were that the energy crisis of ’74 killed people’s desire for the RV. Another suggested possibility was that the American Road may have had an issue with off-gassing from the fiberglass shell, which made them unpleasant to be in on a hot day and therefore unpopular. Another probable scenario was the fact they were a premium camper which carried a premium price. (around $4800-5000 in 1973) Whatever the reason, Ford pulled the plug and their original goal of selling a few thousand units was cut short and that was that. My next determination was to find one of these campers for our truck. I didn’t want anything else. It didn’t take long before I realized that after 40 years, very few of the 800+ campers built  still existed. I heard/read horror stories of campers being sent to the landfill. Being turned into storage sheds. It seemed likely that most of them had no doubt ended in a similar way.  I finally managed to locate one for sale, so Michelle, our 5 dogs, and I drove the F350 on a 1500 mile round trip to collect our “new” camper. That was a misadventure story for another time.  I’ve posted pictures in the Owner’s Gallery.  Our camper, like this  site, will be a work in progress. This website is dedicated to all of the American Road campers.  Ours, and the few that remain.  I hope to hear from anyone who may have any interest or information regarding the American Road Camper.

I can be reached at tonyt@americanroadcamper.com

Happy Camping!

Tony & Michelle

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I know my sweet wife. She’s thinking, “If he tells me he’s found ANOTHER camper, I’ll kill him!” Sounds like she knows me!

 

 

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12 thoughts on “What this site is all about”

    1. Thanks, Mike!
      I’m just sad that this stuff is all do obsolete and I can’t be bugging you to order parts for me!
      By the way, can you still get a grille shell for the 73? :)
      Tony

  1. What a darling picture of you and your adorable wife! Oh and the truck and camper are nice too. I am not introducing Tony to my husband. He would move in with you and do Ford truck stuff forever. Kidding. Let’s go camping!

    1. Hi, Josanne,
      Thank you for checking out our site, and for the kind note!
      Come warm weather, grab your husband and heck yeah, LET’S GO CAMPING! Or why wait? The camper’s furnace rocks! :)

      Tony

  2. Cute couple, Michelle and Tony. Enjoyed your camper update. Thinking I should have just bought a camper when I came to Texas!! Would be better than all the moving around I have managed so far. Guess I just didn’t want to downsize to that extent!! Ya’ll have a super Christmas!!

    1. Thank you, Sylvia!
      We’re really looking forward to our next camping trip. Get a camper for your F150 and join us!
      Check out http://www.truckcampermagazine.com
      It’s a wonderful resource for anyone interested in all shapes and sizes of truck campers. Ford just announced a line of campers specifically designed for the F150. I believe it will be available in the spring.
      Thank you for checking out our site.
      Tony & Michelle

    1. Hi Tom!
      Thanks for checking out the site! :)
      No, this is our second old F350. Pretty much identical to the red one, which we still have. I’m in the process of repainting it right now. I think we’ve lost our minds. We have 2 trucks and 3 campers. And 6 dogs. Think we could be considered hoarders?
      Merry Christmas to all if you!
      Tony

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