The American Road camper was built specifically to compliment Ford’s new Super Camper Special 1 ton pickup. It is only fair to have a page for them, as well.
We now own 2 Super Camper Specials, both 1973 models. My dad special ordered the red one in the fall of ’72. I just purchased the blue one (10-2014).
Even by today’s standards, these hold their own when it comes to hauling a massive camper or towing a large trailer. Not just a 3/4 ton pickup with heavier springs, here. This truck really was a 1 ton pickup that had a slightly narrower frame than the 1/2 and 3/4 ton Fords. I believe the frame was like this to accommodate the dual rear wheels on the non-pickup F350. The frame rails were constructed of a heavier steel stamping that was around 8″ deep, from top to bottom. The wheelbase was stretched another 7″ to 140″ Rear axle was a stout Dana 70. Front and rear anti-sway bars. HD shocks. Massive drum brakes in the rear and 4 piston calipers up front. Huge radiator, dual batteries, pre-wired for a camper, were a few more standard features. Ford also introduced a very sturdy frame mounted camper tie-down system that used large, spring-loaded turnbuckles.
Here’s my opinion.
Having recently, personally driven each of my old trucks loaded with 2900# American Road Campers + cargo on each, a combined trip of over 2200 miles, I can confidently say that Ford did their homework when they designed these trucks. The red truck picked up the first camper in southern California and brought us 750 miles back to Albuqerque in the middle of summer. Right through the Mojave Desert. Brutally hot and lots of incredibly long hills. The truck ran as cool as a cucumber. Cruised along much of the way at 70mph. We still managed 9 mpg with the old 460. The blue truck and camper just got me home from a 1400 mile journey. No drama with trying to hold it on the road. Pulled the mountain grades effortlessly. Same cruising speed as the other truck, and still managed slightly better than 8mpg. You really don’t notice the huge camper on the back. It’s like driving a passenger car, it’s so well-balanced. Yes, a new turbo diesel is awesome. Also, a new loaded Ford Diesel pickup will set you back more than I paid for my first house. And if you break after the warranty runs out, the cost of the repair alone would pay for several 460s. You’d have to drive a LOT of miles to justify the fuel savings. And as far as a V10 goes, I’ve owned them. Less power than the 460 and the same fuel economy.
Not too many of these SCS trucks were produced. I haven’t been able to find solid production numbers, but from what I have been able to come up with is a total production of 3500-4000 units built from 1973-1979.
if you find one and you want a truck that really can get the job done in a cool, retro 70’s style, you’d better grab it! there can’t be many left. Super easy to identify by the long wheelbase and spare tire carried in the bedside compartment on the passenger side.
#supercamperspecial #f350 #SCS