Trivia/Interesting Details

Wind tunnel testing done by Ford

I recently found another article (in the magazine shown below) regarding the AR camper that was published in 1973.  Much went into the design process, including extensive wind tunnel testing. According to the article, the 73 F350 had a better drag coefficient WITH the camper installed, than it did when empty. I can attest to the fact that on a 1500 mile round trip to pick up one of our campers, we achieved almost the same fuel economy empty as we did on the return trip, fully loaded. We averaged 10 MPG for the first 750 miles, empty. With the camper loaded on the truck, the return trip averaged 9 MPG.  We cruised at 70 MPH the entire trip.


At the risk of coming across like a total geek, I noticed some differences between our campers. On our very early production unit (#58), several things are different from the two latter units. The valances above the kitchen window and rear window are plain, like a box. On both of our later units, (316 & 676), the valances are”scalloped”, adding to that great 70’s mobile home feel. 🙂
Another difference I found between early and late was the inner rear wall surrounding the door and rear window. On the early camper, it’s wood paneling. On the later campers, it was carpeted. I found remnants of the original shag carpeting on both later units. All three of our campers were the self-contained models with shag carpeting. Can you imagine camping in the forest with shag carpeting? It must’ve been filthy in no time.



On our first camper, it was apparent that the rear and side doors were not the same gelcoat as the main body of the camper. Both had been finished or refinished with what seemed to be acrylic lacquer. I figured they had been repainted. Everything else on the poor thing had been messed with.  I have discovered that our new camper is exactly the same way. Acrylic lacquer on both doors. When I was stripping the blue off the original woodgrain, some of the woodgrain  peeled off the rear door it was obvious  that  there never was a white gelcoat underneath, but a gray colored finish. I’m inclined to think that both doors may have been finished in lacquer originally, rather than finished in Wimbledon white gelcoat.


Unfortunately, all 3 of our campers have wood rot in the forward upper bunk area. It was interesting to note that #58 was constructed using 1/4″ particle board, whereas the later campers were built using  1/4″ plywood.



Since our oldest camper is #58 and built in 8-73, our middle camper #317  was built  09-73, and our  newer camper was built 10-73 and is already #676, and because only 825-850* were supposed to have been built, when was the last camper produced?  Anyone out there have one with a 01-74 or newer production date?  Please send in any data you may have and  I’ll  add it to the registry.


As I am gathering more VINs from people, it is becoming apparent that there were possibly (likely) more than the rumored 850 campers built. Assuming the serial numbers are consecutive, we’re up to number 1072. It will be interesting to see what the highest number is that we eventually collect.

Have an  interesting  detail or story regarding the AR Camper?  Please send it in and I’ll post it here.

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