House Trucks from the Early 1970s

Rolling homes go back almost as far as rolling vehicles and the modern era of motor driven cars is not an exception.  If you have followed this blog at all you may have seen some great contraptions, especially from the 1920s and 30s.  The counter-culture of the 1960s lead to a generation of rolling home builders and dwellers ready to hit the road.

Luckily…

Photographer Paul Herzoff took a series of photos of some of the interesting, home-built, house trucks between 1971 and 1973 on the American West Coast. Many of these images are now housed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Since I save a LOT of reference images, I sometimes forget what is even there.  I picked a few from my files to share here since they gave me many ideas since I first encountered them many years ago.

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Paul Byrd’s Old West-themed truck is among my favorites and has a lot of charm in the details. I hope it survives somewhere today.

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This thing looks like a mid-century sheep wagon mated with and early Airstream (its descendant) and gave birth to a little COE camper. The giant drop down porch looks like a precursor of a modern day Toy Hauler camper.

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The interior of Bob’s Bus. It appears to have a lot of great storage space and utilizes a loft for added room.  You have to love the plants as well.

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This one is called “Cab, Craftsman’s Van.” Again, I just love the homeyness of the plants on board.

David

Not much information about this other than the title “David.” It is a very utilitarian door that appears to be made from a recycled packing crate and a re-purposed window. I wouldn’t put a hasp on the outside unless it could be locked in the open position. I think there would be too much chance of mischief.

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Here’s another pragmatic interior with a guy named George. Small bed, maybe it folded out?

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Here’s another bus interior decorated with recycled cloth. Very Bohemian.

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Craig’s house truck really speaks to me. It has a great form with the compound curve of the roof and a mollycroft. You’ll notice the water barrel on top and the ever important stove pipe poking up.

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Another view of Craig’s home. Not only does it have a mollycroft, but it has a sunroof as well.

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Here’s a pragmatic plywood beauty. Maybe not very aerodynamic but it sure looks spacious.

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And finally, probably my favorite from the set. I suspect it is ridiculously heavy but I think this truck can handle it. There are a lot fine details to note with this one.

If you are preparing to build a rolling home, there has never been a better time to find pertinent examples to learn from on the web.  Enjoy the views.

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A 1926 Home Built Camper Truck

An early tiny house on wheels… and a family selfie.

W.M. O'Donnell & family of Detroit in bungalow auto, 2/1/26.

W.M. O’Donnell & family of Detroit in bungalow auto, 2/1/26.

The Library of Congress has some pretty amazing stuff.  I rarely find what I came for but I always find something pretty spectacular.  This house (click to enlarge) is quite a piece of woodworking.  Shingle siding all glass door, sturdy balcony, beautiful windows, under storage, and what I think is a pull out pan box on the back.  The O’Donnell’s were certainly traveling in style.

The amount of joinery that went into the door and windows is probably more than found in most houses today.

W.M. O’Donnell & family of Detroit in bungalow auto, 2/1/26

The amount of joinery that went into the door and windows is probably more than is found in most houses today.  I really like the old basement windows used as storage access underneath.  As usual, I could find no interior photos but I suspect it was well appointed.

Original files can be found: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/npc2008007978/and http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/npc2008007936/

If this isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.

Oh, and nearby photo caught my eye in the Library:

Mlle. Rae with garter flask, 1/26/26.

Mlle. Rae with garter flask, 1/26/26.

I’ve never known a woman with a garter flask before…

A Steampunk Teardrop Camper

34viewSome of you Teardrop aficionados out there have undoubtedly seen photos of Dave Moult’s spectacular build.  The best write-up I’ve come across is from the Living in a Shoebox blog.  This is not Mr. Moult’s first build and it clearly shows.  This one has a retro-futuristic Steampunk theme and uses a lot of copper and recycled wood to create a real eye-catching look.  The gizmos and do-dads are not merely for show and that’s something I can truly appreciate.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”  William Morris.

vwntearMr. Moult has created something that is not only useful, but beautiful and interesting with this camper; and his tow-rig isn’t too shabby either.  The trailer comes in at about 400 kilos loaded (just under a thousand pounds) so it will not be a chore to tow for most vehicles.

steampunk-teardrop-dave-moult-9I think the genius here is in the details like the copper tubing for both water and conduit.  Like most of the finer teardrops, he uses the outside of the trailer for many functions.  (If you aren’t familiar with this design, I think the best way to describe them is a large outside kitchen area and a box to sleep in).  Don’t worry, this nifty sink folds away for travel.  The kitchen proper holds many amenities including running water, lots of storage and surfaces, and even a propane refrigerator (the mechanism and vent are exposed on the starboard side of the camper adding to the Steampunk look).

The interior is well lighted from the dormer-ended mollycroft and portholes on three sides.  Supplemental lighting is in the form of well-placed LEDs; there’s even a small chandelier in the sleeping compartment.  I think they travel in style; in the words of George Washington Sears, “not roughing it but smoothing it.”

Finally, a great and whimsical illusion adds to the interior ambiance with the use of library wallpaper.

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View looking aft through the front porthole. The interior leather is salvaged from an old leather couch.

Small enough to be pulled by a classic Mini? Now that's cool.

Small enough to be pulled by a classic Mini? Now that’s cool.

More photos of Mr. Moult’s projects can be found on his Facebook page and HERE.

Peugot

1925 Peugeot Motorboat Car.

1925 Peugeot Motorboat Car.

As found on Tumblr, seemingly the ultimate source for all images these days.  This vehicle is probably not practical as either boat or car but would sure be a lot of fun to have.  I can imagine this pulling an amphibious caravan; the ultimate traveler.

Hmmm, I wonder how crazy would that be?…

 How do we get some crowd-funding for this insanity?

Prius House

Experimental house on a Prius from Australia.

priusWhat an odd combination.  I like it indeed.  The short article is HERE.

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“It provided a stylish place to sleep at the Meredith Music Festival in Victoria earlier this month while his fellow campers were forced to rough it in tents.

“It’s quite well insulated in there. It’s more comfortable than a tent,” he said.”

Blast Off with this Homemade Atomic Age Rocket Camper

Home-built camper fans will probably really appreciate this remarkable future-retro monstrosity. Conceived, designed, and built by Bill Guernsey while recovering from a broken back, it took two years to complete. Follow the link below to the short write-up on the Makezine Blog or click here to straight to the Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Rocket-Camper-Revealed/

Camper Bicycle

I would love a human-powered world with creatures like this filling our highways, quietly and without belching exhaust into the air.  Maybe we wouldn’t need to expend all our resources and youth expanding the empire to secure our ever-growing need for oil overseas.

bikecamperAs things stand today, there are few roads you could safely travel with this beast. But I’m just a dreamer.  Is that window a subtle Oregon “O”?

Found here: http://mooiefietsennicebikes.tumblr.com/post/87924151197/camperbike

Awesome House-Car of the 1920s

There just might be a few blind-spots with this one.

There just might be a few blind-spots with this one.

Found on the Vintage Everyday blog.  It is thought to be from circa 1926 and is a real beauty.  It has some nice details as well.  The sign on the roof, lightning rods, and even a little chimney.  A great solution of one facing homelessness but still had the car.  Possibly a nightmare to drive?