When Aircraft Design Met Van Life: 1966 Ultra Van
This next car comes as a tip from ME who writes: I got curious about Corvair campers, found this site with a few for sale. Oh boy. What did we just find. The UltraVan (aka Travalon, Ultra Coach, and Tiara) was a series of motor home conversions built on the Corvair chassis. Why the Corvair? Well..the long story is here on the Ultra Van website, but the short version is that the flat-rear engine setup allowed for a standup motorhome interior without becoming huge and the designer was a Boeing engineer who used a spar-and-skin style construction to keep the weight down (like an old airplane). The result was that you didn’t need a heavy duty giant engine or anything bigger than 14-inch wheels to get these adorably cute things up to highway speeds and around the country. Find this 1966 Ultra Van offered for $3,500 in Southwestern Michigan via ultravan.org.
From the seller:
1966 Corvair Ultra Van #218 – $3,500 (southwestern Michigan)
Ultra Van #218 had a brush with Mother Nature and will need some work to the roof to get it back on the road. It has been stored inside. The interior cabinets are partially removed. It comes with with all known parts, etc.
It will need to be transported
See a better way to drive something streamlined? firstname.lastname@example.org
Dang, I have never heard of these vehicles and that website sent me down quite the rabbit hole. At least now if I ever have to set up one of those online dating profiles I’ll have my personal statement:
“No major mechanical or body problems, Wear is consistent with age, May not look new, but looks good, Good tires, Clean title.”
So is “ Good tires “ the new “Nice shoes” ?
Wow. Having seen the exposed struts, now I’m wondering if it would be possible to retro-mod this beast so it looks like a VW 23-window Microbus.
Only make the entire lid clear…?
I’m guessing yes. Most likely with additional bracing and something like polycarbonate.
A labor of love… or insanity?
Most likely both.
-Stan (who would rather just tow a classic trailer with a newer truck, but appreciates how much fun this would be as a winter project…).
Cool vehicle, but likely even more underpowered than the Toyota RV posted a few days ago.
So off I went in search of engine swap ideas. In addition to the Ultra Van site, I went down another rabbit hole to the Wikipedia “Flat engines” article. It educated me on the topic, but I was also pleased to see it also confirms what we all know: Daily Turismo is a respected, world famous resource for all things automotive.
Well, sort of.
Footnote 15 links to DT post from a few years ago highlighting a Subaru Legacy boxer 6 cylinder engine swapped into a1993 Impreza.
A modern fuel-injected Subaru engine sounds great compared to a Corvair engine, but one of the other Ultras listed has a FWD 454 swapped in, presumably from a Toronado or Eldorado. That’s the one I would want.
Whoa. I thought the only DT article was an AMC Concord article. NICE FIND!! WE MADE IT BOYS!!
A quick search on wackypedia confirms that DT is cited at least 7 times.
These are the articles:
BMW 5 Series (E12)
Lotus 900 Series
The bummer is that there is no mention on the El Camino article or the K-Car article. Dreamers have dreams.
8. I can’t count.
Well, 8 is at least 7 so you’re safe
With a little elbow grease, this again is definitely better than some of the hotels/motels I’ve had the pleasure of staying in.