What this site is all about

Michelle enjoying the cool mountain air in the Gila National Forest. This was our first official camping trip in an American Road Camper.


Same camper (but our other truck) as above after a little TLC. Still have a long list of things to do, but it’s very functional at this point. Be sure to ZOOM in on the street sign! šŸ™‚


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My wife Michelle, Ā and I, are the proud owners of a 1973 Ford F350Ā Super Camper Special truckĀ thatĀ has been in our family since new.Ā  My dad special ordered it in the fall of ’72 to replace his ’69 C20Ā Chevrolet which couldn’t handle the weight or massĀ 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-containedĀ 11 1/2 foot Franklin, and thenĀ sell the FranklinĀ when he bought a class A motorhome. When he gave me the F350Ā in 1994, it only had around 30,000 miles. IĀ 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 ’73Ā Ford truck brochures. I did a little research and took a hard look at the old camperĀ 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.Ā  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. AnotherĀ suggested possibility was that the American Road may haveĀ had an issue with off-gassing from the fiberglass shell, which made them unpleasant to be in on a hot day and thereforeĀ unpopular. Another probable scenario was the factĀ they were a premium camper which carried a premium price. (around $4800-5000 in 1973)Ā Whatever the reason,Ā Ford pulled the plug and theirĀ originalĀ goal of selling a few thousand units was cut short and that was that. My nextĀ determination was to find one of these campers forĀ 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 builtĀ  still existed. IĀ heard/read horror storiesĀ of campersĀ being sent to the landfill. Being turned into storage sheds.Ā It seemed likely that most of them had no doubt ended in a similar way.Ā  I finally managed to locate one for sale, so Michelle,Ā our 5 dogs, and IĀ drove the F350 on a 1500 mile round trip to collect our “new” camper.Ā That was a misadventure story for another time. Ā I’ve posted pictures in the Owner’s Gallery. Ā Our camper, like thisĀ Ā site, will be a work in progress. This website is dedicated toĀ all of theĀ American Road campers.Ā  Ours, and the few that remain.Ā  I hope to hear from anyone who may have any interest or information regarding the American Road Camper.

I can be reachedĀ at tonyt@americanroadcamper.com

Happy Camping!

Tony & Michelle

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!




43 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? šŸ™‚

  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! šŸ™‚


  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! šŸ™‚
      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 of you!

  3. Does anyone know where some of the parts can be purchased, searching for rear tail lights for my 1973 American Road Camper, as mine were cracked and damaged? Has anyone converted the interior/ exterior bulbs to LED LIghts?


    1. Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, tail light lenses are unobtainable. I hope to have them reproduced at some point. Almost everyone needs them.
      As far as LED lamps, the exact marker lamps are available in the original version and in LED. Grote is the manufacturer and the part numbers should be listed on the site under the parts available section. I’ve been thinking about changing all of our interior lamps with LED replacement bulbs, but haven’t done so, yet.
      You may want to
      Take a peek at Jimmy’s camper page. He has converted his tail lamps to LED.

    2. Just wanted to let you know that we have a Facebook page for American Road Camper owner and enthusiast group. Look us up please. Thanks.

  4. I owned a 1974 American Road Camper and had it on a 1976 Chevrolet Dually Crew Cab Pick Up with a 454. I can send you a photo of it if you like. It was very heavy but with my wife and two daughters, we did a lot of fun camping trips in it while living in Tucson and El Paso from 1977 until I sold it in 1983 in Chula Vista, CA. As most campers do, I moved on to bigger (and allegedly better) rigs, 5th wheel toyhaulers. The biggest issue I had with the American Road was the refrigerator. I had to replace the cooling unit two or three times, otherwise no other issues. After six years of use I sold it for more than I paid for it originally, of course I bought it from a very good friend.

    1. Arne, we have a Facebook group for American Road Camper owners and enthusiast. If you would connect with us we would love to hear some stories. And see your pictures.

      1. Thank you for the invitation John, unfortunately I don’t do Facebook. But I will continue to monitor this website.

    1. Hi Matt,
      Thank you for contacting us!
      You should be able to copy and paste them to an email and send to tony@americanroadcamper.com, or send me a link to the ad and I’ll take it from there. Let me know if I can help. Thanks again!

      1. Hi thank you, Found your website a week ago. I am a ford fan but I love the 67-72 ford camper special is my gig. I also love the 73-79 and the super camper special. I currently have a 71 camper special ranger xlt with 60000 original miles but I am searching for a 69-72 super camper truck that was built and sold in placentia ca. which is the idea for ford to get on the ball and build a one ton truck with 8 ft bed. Seen one a year ago on craigslist but had no idea or the guy that owned it what it was. I just bought a collection of camper coachmen’s and they did a feature article on the man who built them. I would love to own one but cant find one. They are very rare. I would also love to now how you tune and maintain your old ford with the stuff we have to day as the oil with no zinc and low octaine gas. Just curious how other ford owners maintain there trucks. One idea I use that I will pass on…use one quart powerpunch in your oil beats everything out there and will lower the temp in engine I use in all trucks that I own. Love your website will be looking forward to your reply.

        1. Hi Matt,

          I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. Suggestions from our followers are always welcome and appreciated! The truck you mention sounds interesting. I’d like to learn more about them. I’ll do some googling and see what i can find. I wasn’t aware of them. I do remember the Chevy Longhorn, though. I believe they were available in either a 3/4 or 1 ton configuration.
          So far, the old 460s have done fine with the current oils and lead free fuel. If i ever need to do a valve job, ill have hardened seats installed. But right now, i’ll just keep my fingers crossed and the oil clean. I’ll check out your additive. I ‘ve used Lucas products, but not Power Punch.

          Thanks for writing !


    1. Hi Craig,
      It was great to meet you! I’m happy to know we have you in the neighborhood!
      Thank you for the print of our camper. šŸ˜„ I’ll need to frame it and hang it in the camper.
      Let’s plan a šŸŒ²campingšŸŒ²tripšŸŒ² this spring.

  5. Just to let everyone know about American road camper tail light lenses. I am getting an itch to make a mold of my tail and reverse lenses and may make a few sets. It’s more of a labor of love than a money maker. Flat lenses are simple to make but the wrap around lights are a real bugger. I will let you know of my progress.

    Jimmy Erbe
    Pawleys island

  6. Hi Jimmy,

    That’s great! And much appreciated. Keep us posted on your progress. Almost every camper out there needs at least a lense or two…
    Our camper could use all six.



  7. Read the great story on Truck Camper Magazine. Sure would like to check out the camper in person. Who knows, we may cross paths at some point down the road. Thanks for keeping the history going on these classic campers.

    1. Hi Rich!

      Thank you for your kind words, both here, and on FB! Possibly one of the best parts of this entire camper adventure has been the super nice folks we’ve met along the way. We’re hoping we can have an AR camper get together somewhere in the country at some point. If we do, maybe you’ll be able to join in on the fun! Please stay in touch, and thanks again for writing.

      Best regards,

  8. Great article in Truck Camper Magazine. You did an awesome restoration job. Hoping to cross paths and get to have the “tour” in person. I promise not to drool too bad! Take time to go enjoy it now that it’s finished, life is way too short!

    1. Thanks so much! We can’t wait to get out as many times this summer as possible. Yes, it would be fun to meet up! A great side effect of this project has been meeting so many terrific people. Drooling is ok. We have 6 dogs. It wipes up. šŸ˜„
      All the best!


  9. I am looking forward to picking up one of these campers this weekend that I found hidden away in a quarry. It has been out of the public eye for years. It will need a total rework inside. Can’t wait to get a project started for this coming winter. Planning a long trip beginning of next summer for our 25 wedding anniversary.

  10. We’ll the project has started. I brought home my 10/73 American Road today. I need to know where to post pictures. I’m still trying to get the serial numbers written down to post them.

  11. I had a thought on a good time to plan a tour with the American Road Campers. A friend goes on the power tour every year. They are a group of motor heads that do a road trip every year. My plan is that for the 50 year anniversary of the camper to go along with my friend. That gives me five years to put mine back to it’s glory days! This could be a good fit for some others to get in on. I think they get so photo ops that may get the camper the attention it deserves. That year is also my 50th birthday. Guess this is the birthday I’ll plan for myself!

  12. Tony: This is Vikki Carpenter. Can you print me off a copy of your camper manual ? I am kind of old school and me and my Computer don’t get along sometimes . Let me know how much you want for it I’ll send you some money. Vikki J Carpenter po box 809 Wright Wy 82732 (307) 532-6521

    1. Vikki, I know the thought going through your head. I am soon at the point of removing the entire wooden floor. Then I will measure and remake all the underbelly parts out of new plywood. I will be using FRP truck bed side. This is like fiberglass covered plywood if you are not familiar with it. I have the shell propped up while I remove all of this.
      So the answer is yes you can, but be ready for a very dirty tear out. Mine looked bad when I started, but looked worse the further I went. I feel fortunate that it didn’t collapse on the trip home. You will need to remove everything inside. Some of it is almost impossible to salvage. That my be because someone made major repairs inside at some point.
      Tony is a great guy. He probably got tied of me the first couple weeks. We email back and forth quite a bit. Hats off to Tony and all he has accomplished! If you like you can email me at john.bennetch@gmail.com

  13. Iā€™m looking to replace by refrigerator in the standard opening I need to have it of course a propane electric refrigerator does anyone have suggestions on what would fit without doing any alterations

    1. Jimmy that is a good question. I need to get some measurements and do some checking. I have a newer taller fridge from another camper that I thought of using when I put my interior back together. I do know that the fridge is sitting on the bed side offset. So you can’t go any lower. It is my understanding that there should be a new one that should fit the same opening. I will try to get back to you after I make some measurements.
      Please post pictures of your camper. I am looking all over the internet to see if I can find pictures of people using their campers. But these things are scarce. Can’t wait to complete mine. If you want you can email john.bennetch@gmail.com.

  14. Jimmy, I got measurements. The fridge is 22″ wide, 37″ tall , 20″ deep. The closest replacement. Is only a little deeper by 2″s.
    The model number is RM 2451, or RM 2454

    1. Jimmy I donā€™t think I see a serial number with your name in the list. Iā€™m hoping to get more of them listed if you would be able to get it for us. Just trying to keep the history alive. Thanks

  15. Just a heads up – we have an active new group on Facebook now. Just search for American Road Camper under Groups and you’ll find it.

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