Friday, August 8, 2014

5k: Travco Conversion: 1963 Ford Econoline Camper

In 1961 Ford introduced the Econoline van as a competitor to Chevy's Corvair Greenbrier and Volkswagen's Type 2 (Bus).  Ford's Econoline was based on the Falcon chassis and wasn't some wacky aircooled rear engined setup.  It was instead configured like a miniature cab-over truck with the engine up front to warm the driver's bottom.  The Falcon chassis used inline-6 and V8 engines, so this means that the Falcon center of gravity is slightly higher compared to the flat engine equipped competition from GM/VW and an engine hump protrudes a bit into the passenger space.  Find this 1963 Ford Econoline Camper currently bidding for $4,619 reserve-not-met on ebay with one day to go, located in Fairport, NY.

The van may have started life as a basic Econoline, but it was sent to Travco in California for a camper conversion.  It was originally a rare Dagenham 4-speed optioned car with a 121 cubic inch inline-6, but it is now powered by a 200 cubic inch engine from a '78 Ford Fairmont.  This might be a downgrade because the late 70s Fairmont engine only puts out 85 horsepower, but it could be opened up with some reduction in smog equipment.

According to the seller, the conversion includes: 7 Jalousie windows & fully paneled in Oak, with closet, storage cabinets and rear seat that folds into a bed.  Cool license plates, although I'm not sure if New York allows the seller to include them in the sale.

See another red van with louver windows for less?


  1. How could you have that plate and not repaint it green?

  2. I Loe this van! 3 things:

    1 - wrong coast

    2 - needs a pop top

    3 - If you were going to pick the lamest engine in Ford history, 1978 Fairmont wins! Why not a 240 Big Six, or at least a pre-smog 200 from a Mustang? The Dagenham 4-speed has a rep for being weak, so if you're going to rebuild it, why not pair it with a worthy rebuilt engine?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. By '78 they were wearing catalysts and the typical Ford engine compartment was so plastered with vacuum hoses running all over the place that you'd have a hard time finding the engine, but the basic 200 was no worse in detail design than any of the earlier 7-main-bearing engines. They all had a good bottom end and they all had a cast-in intake manifold with runners about the size of your urethra.

      If you want to make any HP you either (a) mill off that manifold (b) chuck it in the waste bin and come up with one of the Australian heads or (c) turbocharge it. You still won't make big numbers, but you can do respectably well. And the last Fairmont sixes have the starter moved and enough of an SBF bellhousing pattern to bolt up a T5.

      Don't think the big 240 will fit in those but a 302 will do so comfortably.

  3. ....50 years later.....

    Campervan of the Year 2014 - Wellhouse Ford Terrier motorhome video review

    Some of our best ideas still come from over there you know.

  4. I bought this Van it's now in the UK
    It's a great little van.

    1. That's awesome! You ought to reach out to with your story and some pics. Thanks for the follow up!

      Please tell me you don't drive it year round? I remember the one time I was in the UK for a winter the roads were worse than in New England during the same time.


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