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 on the Shadow camper 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 Shadow camper 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 Shadow camper 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 Shadow camper’s 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 on the Shadow camper 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 Shadow camper. 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 Shadow camper 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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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.