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Ever See a 1970s-Era Chevy Caprice with a Roof-Mounted Gooseneck Hitch Pull a Vintage Camper?

We’re gonna need a wider lens… (Image/OnAllCylinders)

We’re guessing no.

And that’s the biggest reason why we love going to large regional shows like the Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals, because they bring in a lot of vehicular exotica you don’t see at your neighborhood cruise-in.

Case in point: A Chevy Caprice with a frickin’ hitch attached to its roof.

Suffice it to say, we had to get the skinny on this duo, so we tracked down its owner.

The roof-mounted setup offers great low-speed maneuverability. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

“It’s a 1972 Chevy Caprice, with a ’72 Shadow camper,” Colton Graham says. “They were purchased brand new together.”

Graham goes on to tell us that, while he certainly wasn’t in the market for a vintage camping setup, when he spotted the combo for sale in an online ad about a year ago, he knew he had to act. “I thought about it for five minutes,” he chuckles, “then I went and bought it.”

Extraordinarily well preserved, this camper/Caprice setup should be listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Vehicle Register. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Cash in hand, he drove a few hours, met the seller and struck a deal, then pulled the pair out of a barn and onto his trailer. “The camper was in great shape. All I did was clean it up and put new tires on it,” he says. The Caprice was a runner too, needing just some fluid changes and basic maintenance.

“I trailered it home, but I’ve driven it everywhere since,” Graham states proudly. And while he admits he’s never slept in it, he’s taken it to shows all over the region. He says it’s fun just to watch people’s faces when he pulls up to an event.

“Yeah, you hear it creak a little bit.” (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Our conversation quickly shifted to the logistics of the hitch setup. “It only puts 300 pounds of pressure on the roof,” Graham explains. “It drives perfectly, you don’t even feel it at all.” Though he does reveal that you can notice the trailer weight a little bit when starting and stopping. In his words: “The first time’s a little scary, but then you get used to all the noises.”

The neat part is that the gooseneck hitch allows for excellent low speed maneuverability, so Graham can get the camper and full-size Chevy nestled into a tight spot with ease. (That probably helps a bit when navigating a Goodguys event that’s crammed with jillion-dollar show cars. Graham clearly has nerves of steel.)

Anybody else got a hankerin’ for some Hamburger Helper? (Image/OnAllCylinders)

A gracious host, Graham lets us walk around inside the trailer. We’re greeted with the aroma only a 50-year-old camper can provide, yet it’s impeccably clean and organized. “Everything works, the air conditioning, fridge, everything,” Graham assures us. With its avocado green and lemon yellow color scheme, the décor is delightfully 70s, and the CB radio and eight-track player are nice touches. It’s got a kitchenette and eating nook, with room up front to sleep at least two people.

We like it. A lot.

So, just when you think you’ve seen it all in the automotive hobby, look around—someone may show up with 40-odd feet of retro camping awesomeness. Check out more pictures below.

If you could condense the 1970s down into a single picture, this is one pet rock away from being it. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Looks like you could sleep a few people up here, depending on how open-minded you are. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Hey, anybody want to play the “Welcome Back, Kotter” Board Game? And yes, that’s a real thing. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
With the purchase, Graham got a trove of original documentation. We’ve uploaded this as a high-res image, so you can click on the pic above, then zoom-in and read it all—if reading 50-year old camper literature is your thing. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

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4 Comments

  1. Mike+Brown says:

    I’ve never seen a full size car with that kind of setup but, I’ve seen a couple VW Beetles set up that way…pulling smaller trailers of course.

  2. Justus Lillie says:

    Actually my grandpa looked at this setup when he retired in 1974. He was going to use a Dodge Monico with a 440. He went with an Airstream trailer instead. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Willard Galery says:

    I owned the 1966 Caprice! The best stylish and performing car even! It was a Cadillac with Caprice label! All the bells and whistles 326 cu,automatic with positive traction rear! Miss it now!

  4. I wonder how it (the rooftop hitch) would work with my 2005 Crown Vic?

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