The Pick of the Day is a vintage camping van with quirky appeal
As hordes of Boomers reach retirement age and prepare to hit the open road, sales of campers and motorhomes have boomed, so to speak. For classic car fans who are retiring, this could represent yet another opportunity to indulge in the hobby in a new way.
The Pick of the Day should hit the spot for those folks, a 1968 Corvair Ultra Van motor coach with a fabulously quirky mid-century look and all the comforts of home, plus a reasonable price tag. This is one of about 375 of these camping vans produced by the Ultra Company of Hutchinson, Kansas, from the mid-1960s through 1970.
Powered by Chevrolet’s workhorse air-cooled, 110-horserpower Corvair engine, the Ultra Van is a smoothly aerodynamic vehicle designed by an aircraft engineer, who used monocoque chassis-less construction similar to an aircraft for strength and light weight. The body is made from riveted sheet aluminum and fiberglass.
Ultra Van casts a big shadow, at 22 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8.8 feet tall. But even when loaded up with the kitchen, cabinets, beds, restroom and other necessary gear, it weighs less than 6,000 pounds, and is said to drive competently at highway speeds.
This Ultra Van was restored in the late 1990s with 94,000 miles put on it since, although the engine was rebuilt 36,000 miles ago, according to the Troy, Michigan, dealer advertising the motorhome on ClassicCars.com. Flaws indicated include a crack in the passenger-side windshield and a busted gas gauge, both of which would need to be fixed right away.
Otherwise, it’s ready to go on its next adventure, having been cared for with regular upkeep and replacement parts as needed, the seller says.
The Ultra Van is fully equipped with fully functioning motorhome gear for a low-stress campsite experience, including full kitchen and bathroom facilities. The seller presents in the ad a complete list of what’s on board.
More than 100 of these distinctive vans are still on the road, according to the website maintained by the Ultra Van Motor Coach Club. So yes, there would seem to be decent club support for the cheerful baby whales, including rallies and get-togethers to spread the joy. The Ultra Van is also recognized as a full-fledged member of the Corvair community by that large group of nationwide enthusiasts.
Photos in the ad are sparse, but they show that the van seems to be in nice condition on the outside and that the living quarters look like they are also in good condition.
The price tag is a reasonable $21,900 for what appears to be a well-loved Ultra Van that can be taken on those long-anticipated road trips, and with lots of thumbs up from other drivers along the way.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.1 comment