(first posted 4/10/2013)
Notice anything different or unusual about this Ford pickup?
Maybe this will help, especially if you direct your eyes to the rear wheels, or more specifically, their relative location compared to the regular version above it. Yes, they’re further back, thanks to an extended wheelbase. It was the only American pickup of its kind, and still keep an eight foot bed. Here’s why:
Ok, that’s a bit of an extreme case, but during the Great Pickup Camper Craze (1950-1973), slide-in campers got bigger and bigger.
Here’s a more typical example: awesome, especially for keeping the kids out of the driver’s hair, up there in the penthouse (I got to ride in one once, and what an improvement compared to sitting in a cramped sedan). The slide-in pickup was a splendid invention; it gave Dad a truck to drive to work during the week while Mom kept the Ranch Wagon. On weekends and vacations, the camper was mounted, turning it into a rolling Holiday Inn/rec room.
But Americans are prone to overloading, and these rigs became famous for their proclivity to end upside down in the ditch. That usually didn’t end so well for Sally, Dick and Jane up there; Mom and Dad’s odds of surviving were probably somewhat better. Although these many sad foreshortened vacation trips didn’t exactly trigger the kind of rampant flood of lawsuits they undoubtedly would today, the manufacturers knew that this was only going to get worse, as the campers got ever bigger and the loads ever heavier. I once got picked up hitchiking by one of these; there were two combined families aboard, with lots of kids and dogs stuffed everywhere.
Of course, one was supposed to only use a 3/4 ton pickup, but even that was asking too much, especially as the “rear porches” kept getting longer. Something had to be done.
GM did it first, with the 1968 Chevy C30 Longhorn (CC here) (I assume there was a GMC version too). It used the 133″ wheelbase frame from the C30 heavy-duty Stepside with nine-foot bed (rarely seen), with a spliced-in six-inch extension in the front of the bed, for an 8½’ bed. The seam is quite visible here. The Longorn allowed 12′ long campers to be mounted with the GM Legal Department’s blessing. But it turned out to be a fairly rare bird, produced in miniscule numbers. GM dropped it after 1972.
That must have been the cue for Ford to get in the game, which they did with their 1973 pickups. And they even had their own camper they wanted to sell you along with it. Note that it’s not as tall and excessive as the ones from the sixties. All fiberglass too; pretty nice rig; I’d take it.
Ford did the bed differently than Chevy. The left it at eight foot long, but extended the wheelbase to a whopping 140″, putting the rear wheels well back for better weight distribution.
Of course, that ate up the space behind the rear axle where the spare is normally hung underneath. So Ford took advantage of the longer front part of the bed to build in a storage compartment for the spare. That explains the hump on the inside of the bed on the right. Lots of new tooling.
It was common to see these with big , fat high-floatation tires on the rear back then. These were essentially the equivalent of duallys today.
Ford made the F-350 Super Camper Special through 1979. The Great Pickup Camper Craze was already winding down by then, if not mostly over, having been usurped by the Great Wallowing Winnebago Wave (CC here). From my own observations at the time, I’d say the Ford SCS sold a bit better than the Longhorn, but they still weren’t exactly common. And now, they’ve become genuine Curbside Classics. I hadn’t seen one in some time.
No different on the inside. This one has a C6 automatic, and I think the owner told me that it had a 360 FE under the hood. The 390 was optional, and starting in 1974, the mighty 460 was available. Now that would move a big camper effortlessly.
Even without a camper aboard, these make a fine heavy-duty hauler. One of these, with a dumping mechanism for the bed, would serve me very well. But I’ll take the 300 six and a stick, please.
P.S.: Non “Super” Camper Special versions of the F-100/150 and F-250 were also available (and very popular), but did not use an extended wheelbase.
Next-door neighbor was also enamored with the 300-6. I got to drive his a couple times…amazing pull virtually from idle, and all in all a very durable powerplant
Love the 300-6 too
I feel like I’ve seen more than a few of these around over the years, but I had never heard of (or noticed) the Chevy Longhorn. Thanks for this interesting look into pickup history. I had always assumed the access panel on the right was for storing camper paraphernalia like leveling pads or hookup hoses. It never occurred to me that the spare had to move there.
The regular bed versions did have an optional storage compartment, but much smaller. Those were quite common too.
Wow – I never knew that the extended-wheelbase Fords even existed, and 1970s Fords with campers were very common in the town that I grew up in.
Did the ‘super’ over the ‘camper special’ denote the unusual wheelbase? I’d say at least 50% of the pickups I remember seeing had the ‘camper special’ package on them.
The 360/390 or the 460 was the way to go in these for hauling loads. Although the 400 engine in our 1971 LTD lasted about 225K miles with only a timing chain replacement, the 400s used in these trucks in the late 70s didn’t hold up well, with valve problems common at well under 100K miles (our high school auto shop saw several).
Camper Specials were also available on the F-100 and F-250, with conventional beds, and were very common. They had springs and shocks somewhat uprated for the job. But the F-350 CS was essentially a one ton-plus job, on an extended wheelbase. I rather suspect it rides a bit firm empty.
it did but boy could it pull with the 390 V-8 and H_D 4 speed granny low trans, as my Gramps said to my Dad, Sam this thing goes up hill as fast as it does down hill
They changed the heads in 1975, so that may have been part of the problem. That said, generally the 400 was a decent truck engine. It was essentially a stroked, tall deck larged bearing 351 Cleveland. The old 360’s were pretty weak engines (in terms of power), the 390 would be a minimum for hauling.
“But Americans are prone to overloading, and these rigs became famous for their proclivity to end upside down in the ditch.”
Maybe that helped cause the Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy to grow larger.
Great writeup. These look weird with the rear wheels pushed so far back, but I can see how that enhances stability.
Neat, if I’ve ever seen seen one of these before I never noticed it and didn’t know they existed.
Like Redmond I too have seen plenty of 70s F-series with the Camper Special badge but never knew it was only the Super that came with the long wheelbase.
This was good coffee morning reading. A little test, a little remembering and a little learning. Thanks Paul!
I was going to ask about that, because I remember seeing an F100 CS (might have been an F250) and I couldn’t remember whether it had a relocated axle as per this SCS.
I’m not sure whether Ford built the CS here in Australia or whether this was a privately imported (& converted to RHD) truck.
They did but very few .
In 1978, all 350’s marked as a Camper Special were the longer wheelbase. It didn’t matter if it was camper or camper special.
It is a common misconception.
Back in ’73 – ’75 I worked as carpenter’s assistant to a general contractor (happened to be my neighbour) who bought one of these trucks. Had the 460 I think, and the big fat rear tires mentioned in the article.
And he did install a dumping mechanism. Back in the day there were two lines to the downtown located dump, one for trucks with dumping ability, one for regular trucks. Yes, a dumping facility downtown (Victoria BC). Old red brick buildings on the side of the water (just where the inner harbour ended and the gorge began. Originally the refuse would be dumped into barges and taken out to sea… By the 70’s the barges were replaced by trucks and the refuse taken to landfill. BTW, the area now is quite gentrified.
Anyhoo, old Gordon had his truck modified and just was bursting to take it to the dump. He had an ongoing, mostly good humoured, battle with the foreman in charge of the place and really could not wait to drive the pick-up into the “dumping truck” line.
I was with him when he finally did it. The foreman, big, barrel chested man (btw, his family history would make great reading), came storming over when he saw Gordon pull in to the “wrong line up”. Yeah, it was sweet when the dumping feature was demonstrated.
I learned then that It’s the little things that get you through the day
It is incredible how much money Ford spent on the SCS trucks, about the only pieces that were common to the other trucks behind the cab was the tail gate, front bed panel and floor.
Another reason for the extended wheel base, was the available tires in sizes they were willing to put on at the factory level, this put more of the weight on the otherwise lightly loaded front axle eliminating the need for dual rear wheels. Of course the big benefit was the better ride and handling when you had 5,000lbs of camper, people and their stuff in the back.
It might not have cost that much actually, they could have used modular stamping dies to move the wheel arch in the panel, same for the bed floor or maybe get away with just some different trimming.
As for the frame, could it have been common with the larger trucks? Surely the easiest way to do it.
In addition to the bed changes there was a unique frame, gas tanks, drive shaft springs, brake lines and cables.
As much as weird vehicles appeal to me, the Ford Super Camper just leaves me cold.
Now that red 4WD late ’60’s Ford, that’s a different story. Lose the camper though.
That camper is a 1963 Del Ray. It’s all original and unrestored. The gentleman that owns it bought it from the original owners grandson and displays it on that F250.
It’s very unique and very cool. My wife and I met him camping in it at a campground that’s local to us.
Took me a minute to figure out, but then… Ohhhh, the axle is set way the hell back. I was trying to work out the irony of the camper behind it pointed the wrong way then it hit me 😉
Awesome truck! I love 1970s trucks, they’re the image of all things masculine and utilitarian.
Thanks for that Paul Ive seen one of these and couldnt see any welds where it had been altered now I see why, It must have cost Ford a bit to make these what with nearly a complete inner structure for the pickup bed. It would be a right bastard in parking lots but a nice ride laden.
Heh. My Dad got around this by dropping a pick-em-up camper on the back of his F350 stakebody and holding it down with turnbuckles. He made some custom storage compartments to tuck in the empty space where the bedrails were meant to go. it was a dually in the back, so it soaked up the extra weight easily, but tended to ride a lot harder than a standard pickup. We drove that rig to and from the Jersey Shore for five years, and one epic August across the country and back.
I’d bet it was quite topheavy, but he seemed to drive it with ease. My sister and I spent most of those trips stretched out on the king-sized bed above the cab with the best view on the whole highway. The DOT/state authorities would have us all in lockup if we tried that today.
For some reason it reminds me of the long bed F-150’s that came out for 1997, as they seemed to have the rear wheels set rather far back.
Not “seemed–” they did (or rather, do). Beginning with the ’97 “aero” style (AKA “jellybean”), the rear axle was set back in the beds so that the Reg Cab with 8′ bed and SuperCab with 6.5′ bed were on the same wheelbase: 139″, one inch less than this F-350. And they still do that today.
The upside was that it saved FoMoCo a fair bit of cash when making frames and driveshafts and such, as well as making a load slightly more stable (more of the load is between the axles rather than just over the back). The downside is that it looks really weird, especially on a SuperCab. “Aero” SuperCab longbeds have a 157″ wheelbase; add 6″ for any F-150 made after 2004 and that becomes a whopping 163″ wheelbase. Good thing most of those come with the Heavy-Duty Payload Package (7-lug wheels in all their glory).
A friend’s dad had one of these trucks. It was a plain, white, F350 Camper Special with that longer wheelbase that they used to haul around a camper. When it was parked in the driveway we used the camper as a beer hall since he tended to leave six packs of Old Milwaukee in there.
You just about made my eyes cross until I realized that you were swapping trucks in the first three pictures. Would like to find something cheap and light for my 7′ bed (S 10) but think I will have to make one.
I remember looking at one of these a few years back. Neat truck, but way overkill for what I wanted. The 73-79 Ford trucks have always been my favourite style. My father had a 1979 F-150 (that’s the heavy half-ton) with the Ford “Free Wheelin'” package. It had a 460 with dual exahaust and dual fuel tanks (it needed them). Even with it’s short wheel base, it hauled a slide in camper alright. Although, it wasn’t a massive unit that hung way out the back.
GM went way for the long wheelbase “Long horn” in 1973 due to the new dually trucks (also available with the 6+6 cab’s and the 454 big block). These offered great stability and was more cost effective to produce. Ford would eventually follow suit and abondon the camper specails for dually’s as well.
I had never noticed that – and I thought I knew everything about that era’s trucks.
I always assumed the Camper Special package was a way to save the nincompoops the trouble of figuring out what they needed to overload a 3/4 ton truck. An overpriced package, IOW. Never, EVER noticed that – and one beef I had on the second-generation Japanese trucks was, that the rear-axle was too far FORWARD, not in the center of the bed. So I was attuned; but never did I notice.
Nice package; and nice way to use a one-ton chassis for a retail user. Everyone would win with that.
Ford, FWIW, did go in for odd combos in the first year of their refreshed pickup…we had a Ford dealer a block from my house; that dealer ordered a 4×4 pickup for a shop truck to plow snow…and danged if it didn’t have a gas tank BEHIND THE SEAT. Just like the previous model. This was a new truck and obviously a 1973; yet the tank neck was right behind the driver’s door. And there was a rubber plug where it was on essentially every other pickup that year.
Never saw that setup anywhere else.
We had a 68 Mercury M100 and the tank was behind the seat–you could pay extra to have it mounted in back of the frame.
Great article Paul on the super camper special. Only thing I have to add is that the frame width is also different then the normal trucks, several inches narrower in fact, IIRC the same width as the F-250 Highboys. The gas tanks are also different then the normal trucks. How do I know? I have one, sadly its been sitting for several years due to the price of gas and other projects. Its a ’78 with a 460, its got power all right, and a thirst to match it. And yes, its a really bumpy ride when empty, a ton of hay will make it ride like a Cadillac, so much so that you’ll forget its back there. According to the internet experts, there is only one known that is a stick shift. Enjoy the beauty shot, it makes it look much better then it actually is. Random note on the truck you spotted, its got hubcaps from a ’90’s E-250/350.
Hey have scs 75 no wheels this have huge roters on the front what size wheels did they come with
Sorry, I think you’re incorrect, Ford went back to the original rail dimension in 78. I know, I have one. 77, the rails were narrower, I know, I had one of those also.
Actually, you are incorrect, ALL 73-79 f350 140″ wb trucks used the 34″ frame, no exceptions, this was basically a tow truck chassis, the trucks used a dream rear axle, but, with single rear wheels.
Right after my father opened his scrapyard in Alabama in the early 90’s someone drove a medium metallic brown ’79 F350 Custom across the scales. It was very beat up, but the 400-2/C6 still worked and he bought it despite the suspicious lack of paperwork.
We had it for years & I drove it quite a bit. It had a unique plastic gas tank that would have lasted forever had my father not thrown a tantrum & moved the truck out of his way with the forklift one day. A behind-the-seat unit from a ’72 was the only replacement solution.
It was a stripper truck all the way and had power steering and brakes as its only options. No amount of crap in the bed affected its tail-high stance. We got a lot of use out of it but it eventually got “processed” due to my father’s lack of maintenance/care.
It never had any sort of camper emblems on it. I did cut out the left “blank” where the a/c register would go and installed a digital clock donated by a mid ’70’s LTD scrapyard victim. It looked factory and was very handy as I never wore a watch and seldom went into the office for anything.
Sounds like it was a regular F-350. Only the SCS F-350 had the extended wheelbase.
Nope: it definitely had the extended wheelbase with side compartment for the spare tire. I’m 100% sure of that because I distinctly remember the very long right-hand intrusive wheelwell. The outside panel didn’t have any sort of handle on it so I don’t know how it was supposed to open. Looking up from the bottom one could see that a large tire could fit in that cavity.
Too bad I never got any pics of it: it was a real workhorse of a truck.
Our “family truck” purchased while we still lived in Illinois was a LWB orange ’79 F150 Ranger SuperCab. As it aged & rusted, it eventually got demoted to “yard truck” and was abused right along with the F350. Both eventually succumbed to the same awful fate thanks to rage-induced temper tantrums, lack of maintenance, and general stupidity.
It was such a waste to me…those trucks left me with a fondness for the ’73-’79 Fords and I think they were better built than their Chevrolet competition. They certainly rusted less! One would think I’d have a driveway full of these things instead of all these Chevrolets.
I would very much like to enjoy an original 2WD green, blue, 2-tone, etc. F100 or F150 with any displacement V8 and automatic transmission
Some Aussie F100s had a galvanised cab no rust ever, its just a shame the steering assembly on 70 F100s is so weak annual drag link replacement for inspections wears thin after a while but good utes if cared for.
“It had a unique plastic gas tank that would have lasted forever had my father not thrown a tantrum & moved the truck out of his way with the forklift one day.”
I’m sure that wasn’t funny at the time, but…wow! Still looking forward to a Junqueboi “Tales from the Scales” series. 🙂
Ha! That 5-year period of my life was the most exciting, that’s for sure! Most of my car knowledge came from the experiences of that yard. My father and ex-nutcase-stepmother were ornery, angry, vengeful people to live and work with…so as a result, there are very few pictures of the place.
If I found some pictures and a way to scan them in (printer/scanner currently FUBAR) I’d probably write about it but this is coming from the ADD King of Unfinished Projects so it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
I very much appreciate your interest though! Cars have sadly been a lifelong passion for me and it’s nice to be able to share some of these experiences with people who understand. 🙂
Junqueboi, I am the ADD King of Unfinished Projects, and I still manage to be a contributor for CC. If you are unsure of your writing, Paul & our copy editor, Tony LaHood will edit your writing & Paul will give you tips on how to improve your writing for the future.
Now comes the real question: Did this come in a 4×4 model? That would be exactly what I would want, despite no real pressing need.
I’m 99% certain it didn’t. 4x4s back then were not as common, and it would have meant additional changes.
Apparently the F-350 wasn’t available in 4×4 in 1976:
There’s several other truck brochures which picture this guy, but looks like any F-350 of this generation was rear wheel drive only.
Page from the 1970 Pickup model brochure shows no 4×4 in the F350 Lineup then either. The entire brochure is at:
I scanned this in years ago when I found a mint copy of the brochure under the seat of an F250 I purchased.
I don’t have it with me at the moment, but I believe the 1980 brochure was the first to show an F-350 4×4. Said F-350 was also the same 133″ WB as the F-100/150/250.
I owned a ’73 F-350 Super Camper Special for almost 15yrs. Mine was brown & white, and was also a Ranger XLT optioned truck. It came loaded with virtually every option apparently available. Mine had the 390 4bbl,C-6 trans.,A/C,P/S,P/Disc Brakes,Cruise Control,Power Windows,PDL,Sliding Rear Window(with Ford Logo on the glass),Front Bucket Seats and Center Console,Carpet,towing Mirrors,HD Cooling Package,HD Alt.,12v Power port in the bed for camper,etc…
Mine did not however have the spare located in the compartment you showed in the trucks you pictured above. Mine had a storage compartment there, that was larger than the storage compartments on the F-250 Camper Special (I know because I tried replacing the interior of mine with one from a doner truck…), mine also had an outside latch on it, something the ones you showed did not. Mine came equipped with a spare tire holder located on the front of the truck, and was factory original, as it had a Ford part number stamped into it. I am assuming that they could have had both bed types available as an option. I’ve seen one other truck with a storage compartment like mine (which also had the spare riding in front of the front bumper), and two with beds like the one you showed.
I would love to find and purchase a good one of these to restore. I’m a big fan of the F-100 thru F-350 trucks from 1970 thru 1979.
I love mine! Rebuilt 390, Ranger XLT package!
Looking for the plastic 19 gallon fuel tank that came on my 1973 F350 Camper Special. Any help?
I have a 1973 F350 super camper apical XLT Ranger. 390 motor automatic 33,000 actual miles long wheal base with tire carer in bed compartment
I’ve got a 1973 F350 blue and white that is not running. needs engine rebuild, some minor body work and paint job. no rust rot and no wrecks. do you know who might want one or can you direct me best place to sell? I’d love to restore but don’t have the room. I love this truck and they are VERY difficult to find.
Looking for the plastic 19 gallon fuel tank that came on my 1973 F350 Camper Special. Any help?
Love these Trucks and have two of them –One with Dualls and Wrecker in the back. I work at Ford Motor Company and worked at Norfolk Truck Plant [Norfolk Assembly Plant, Norfolk, Va. –Now Closed!! ] where these Trucks were built ! My Grandfather and Father and Uncles worked there also. They told me these Trucks were special order and they only built a handful each day. I have heard total production 1973 -1979 is about 3500. The Duall wheel Trucks have a heavy rubber fender lip and for the rear fenders. I have seen one other duall wheel version here in norfolk exactly like mine!! Rare Trucks and can haul whatever you can throw on them!!
Philip –Virginia Beach/Norfolk Va.
Another pic 1973 F350 Super Camper Special with 79 grille , 390 4V C6 AC, tilt wheel PDB, PS, Holmes 220 Wrecker w/ 8000lb warn winch, Tows awesome !! [Towed a 36 ft long F900 School Bus no problem !!
Another 73 Super Camper Special –Needs a little TLC but Runs and Hauls Great !! 390 Holley 850 Edelbrock intake Lunati Cam Headers!! Sets off car alarms in parking lots!
Hey Philip! Sounds like you got two sweet trucks! I didn’t realize how rare these were, I picked one up about a week ago. It’s a 74′ f-250 C/S ranger xlt package, with the 390. I wanted to put headers on it, but ALL headers I’ve found don’t fit the C/S. Would you happen to know which headers will fit? I’m asking YOU because it looks like you put headers on the red C/S you have, plus you worked AT the factory! If not you must of custom fabbed em, or had them done, which is the route I may unfortunately have to take
Hi Travis ! Sweeeet Truck ! My Truck already had headers on it when I got it but I believe the guy said they were Hedman headers and he had to take a hammer and dimple the left one to clear the shifter linkage. Good luck !! Philip.
My grandfather had a 1977 Ford Camper Special pickup truck. I don’t know whether it was a Super Camper Special, or just a Camper Special, but I do know that Camper Special was part of its designation.
It’s great to see something about these unusual trucks. I own a 73 that my father ordered new in the fall of 72. I also recently acquired a 73 Ford American Road camper which was built by Starcraft and sold exclusively through Ford. It was a perfect match for the Super Camper Special.
My intention is to restore both the truck and camper to original condition.
My grandparents had a 1976 or 1977 Ford F350 pickup. I can’t remember whether it was a Camper Special or a Super Camper Special. But I do remember that it was a huge truck. Everything is huge when you’re 5 yrs old. They didn’t have a camper that I know of, but I do remember they had a travel trailer they would tow behind it. Although the trailer wasn’t very attractive, I thought the truck was beautiful. A truck I wanted to drive when I grew up.
What size engine does a original F350 from the year 1973 have? I have a F350 – 1973 with a cleveland 351M/400 engine. Is this original?
The 335 series engines didn’t appear until ’77, so it would be a 360 or 390 FE.
What is the PSI on the original motor?
Does anyone know what the PSI on th Cleveland 351/400 motor that is now in my Ford? I live in the netherlands and cannot find enough information.
I’d love to have a 1976-77 Ford F350 Super Camper Special. My grandparents, on my father’s side, had one when I was a boy, of perhaps 4 or 5 yrs old, I can’t remember how old I was. But I remember it had a distinctive grille that I found the most attractive. Nicer looking than that of the 1978-79 Ford, and even nicer than the Chevrolet/GMC truck grilles of the same years. I don’t know what kind of engine it had, probably a 7.5 litre gasoline engine. I do remember my grandparents had a behemoth (by a 5 yr old’s standards) 5th wheeler travel trailer they would tow behind their truck whenever they came to visit from Phillipsburg, Montana. I don’t know what the fuel economy was, nor do I care. When you buy a truck, who cares about such things? If you want better fuel economy, buy a smaller truck or buy one with a diesel engine. A truck is a utility vehicle made for hauling stuff or towing a trailer. It’s not meant for light work like a car. Quit your whining and enjoy the drive!
The 73 F350 SCS came standard with a 360 2V V8 and the 390 2V was the only option. The following year it changed slightly. 360 2V was still standard, with the 390 or 460 being optional. Both optional engines now had 4V carburetors. The 351M/400 replaced the 360/390FE engines in 1977. The 351C engine, although similar to the M engines, was a different animal and was only available in passenger cars from 1970 through 1974.
I have a ’73 F350 SCS Ranger XLT. My parents bought this truck in Feb. of ’73 as a ’73 model year. I keep reading that these trucks were not available with the 460ci until ’74. This is not true, my parents (now mine) F350 came with a factory installed 460 and C6 with AC. A year after the purchase of the new truck, my folks added a ’73 Chinook camper. These two precious family heirlooms have been recently passed on to me. Both need a little TLC. Planning to fully restore both. These trucks are awesome and becoming quite rare.
Yes, you are right, and I stand corrected. 🙂
Initially, you couldn’t order a ’73 with a 460. It did become available as a mid year option on the ’73s. I converted mine from a 390 to a 460 in 1982. Good luck with your project. I’m right in the middle of my truck’s restoration and as soon as it’s completed, I’ll start on the camper. Can’t wait to get to hit the mountains with it. Possibly some car shows, too.
The sales brochure said the 460 would be available in Feb. 1973.
Was the SCS available for all model years of the sixth generation of the F350, or was it only available for the 1973 through the 1975 years?
Ford made the 140″ wheelbase F350 73-79 but dropped the “super” designation supposedly due to to some confusion people were having with these and the super cab extended cab pickup.
The SCS whether it was called that or not (depending upon the model year) came with the 140″ extended wheelbase, narrower 8″ deep heavy duty 1 ton frame, single rear wheel Dana 70 full floating axle, side-mounted spare tire, regular cab only, and 2WD only. I understand there were slight variations with between the F350 140″ camper and trailer special versions, with differences in the sway bars, dual batteries, camper wiring harnesses, etc.
So then how does one tell a Camper Special from a Super Camper Special? When did Ford drop the “Super” from the Super Camper Special?
“So then how does one tell a Camper Special from a Super Camper Special?” I think it would be the red cape. 🙂
Internet rumor is that they dropped the “Super” part of the name to avoid confusion with the Super Cabs that came out at that time.
It’s possible. I’m afraid I’ve never owned or driven a 70s Ford F series truck. My favourite F series trucks were always the F250 and the F350. My favourite years for the F series truck were from 1970 through 72, and from 1973 through 1977
I believe the “super” emblem was used 73-76. They no longer called the 140″ wheelbase F350 a super camper special from 77-79, but it was fundamentally the same truck. Just a slight name change.
Or maybe the easiest way to tell would be the side mounted spare tire. If it doesn’t have that, it isn’t a SCS.
My grandparents had a 77 Ford F350. I can’t remember whether it had the spare tire on the side or not. I do remember it had the tire attached to the front of the grille.
I have a classic camper also in near perfect condition, on a f250 powerstroke 7.3 and 4 wheel drive w air bags. I pull my flyfishing flats boat around fl.keys and the ny catskills
My 73 F350 SCS Ranger XLT with ’73 Chinook camper
Has any one have any info on a 1973 FORD F350 HORNI EDISION 2 WHEEL DRIVE WITH A 390
I recently purchased a ’73 F350 Super Camper Special with 27,700 ORIGINAL miles. A one owner vehicle with thev460 engine option wi\h original paint, currently being transported via enclosed transportation..
I have a 1970 camper special 1 ton dually
1741 YES 1741 original miles…. interesting story with a hard headed grandpa.
Should it stay or Go? Im attached more the the person than the truck, but it is cool.
If you have the room to store it indoors (to avoid deterioration in the weather) then go for it, otherwise ???
It would be interesting to hear the story as to how it managed to only see 1741 miles in 33 years!
Agreed – this truck is begging for you to do a “My Curbside Classic” piece. Sounds like it would be quite an interesting story.
Low mileage pickups were actually quite common in the ’70s extending into the mid ’80s or so. Many were simply bought to haul the camper, or tow the travel trailer. Hence, they only got used when family went on vacation. Pickups back then were not viewed as daily drivers,( probably due to the lack of vinyl roofs, opera windows and Landau bars) like they are now. And I’m sure the ’73 Arab oil embargo probably canceled more than a few peoples travel plans.
The rear wheel arches are also over an inch higher then the fronts on the long wheelbase Camper Specials from ’73-’79, which accentuates their strange proportions.
Hi .I’m new to CC and from Sydney Australia .I have just bought a 1978 lwb f350 .It measures 163 inches from centre of front axle to centre of back axle .It is a dually but I may fit fatty singles on the rear .it came with a flat tray back 142 inches [3.6 metres].This is my first f truck after lusting for too long for one. My dad had a Ford 1948 jail grill long bed truck with a side valve V8 great work truck. we are restoring this truck and have fitted a beaut 1972 Canadian part galvanized single cab from a f100 as we live on the coast and the 78 cab was rusted badly.
Can we fit a lwb super camper special tub on the above rear chassis .It measures
86.5 inches from rear of cab to centre of the rear axle. That’s if I can source one from the U.S.
Just found your forum and it has been both interesting and very helpful. Hope somebody out there can fill me in .
Looking forward to more stuff on F trucks and f350 especially .
Well, the SCS has a 140″ wheelbase, so your wheelbase is 23″ too long. What you need is to find a Super Cab (extended cab), which apparently is 22″ longer than the regular cab. Then you could have a very unique vehicle indeed: the world’s only Super Cab Super Camper Special! Good luck!
Barn kept for the last 25+ years, and now I have to sell it. A 1974 Ford Road America in beautiful condition. If you’re really interested, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact number.
5 minutes west of Batavia, Il. Must sell before the end of the month! (5/30/2014)
Great read Paul, I own a 1977 F-350 SCS 460/C-6 powered. I love the truck and use it to haul my car trailer and race car.
The rear gas tank is different (and plastic) and I’m having trouble finding the hold down straps for mine.
Is it by chance the same tank Ford uses in a full sized Bronco?
Thought I’d share mine…an oddball 1974 ford f-350 w/ 140″ wheelbase custom camper by sun land.
Sweet looking camper.
Considering purchase of a 1976 reg cab f350 460 “trailer special”, not a “camper special” or scs. What is the difference? It does have the longer wheel base and side spare tire compartment with no latch. I want it to tow a bumper pull trailer not a camper topper.
If it has the large side tire compartment and the extended wheelbase, it really is a SCS. Someone may have removed the badging, or??? Anyway, it will make a great trailer tower too.
Hi Paul. Its become my understanding that after 1977, they no longer used the Super Camper Special emblems……during 1973-1979 it was possible to buy the truck just as an f350 or a trailering special. I actually have owned several. The blue and white one in the pics was mine back in 2004-2005
Thanks for the clarification.
The Blue and white truck shown in front of the red barn was my truck at the time. I just noticed it as I looked up ford super camper specials again. That was a neat truck!!! I wish I had not sold it!!! It was a late 73 with the 460 and C-6. It had 14k original miles….yes…true miles……had an11ft camper on it since new…the bed was like new!!! Shinny bed bolt heads!!!! That was back in 2005. This is my replacement……. However it may be sold as I have spotted yet another one I like….this one has 83k miles and is a 78….. Oddly it has the 351M and manual T-18 4 speed manual. Seen here with a classic 1967 Caveman 9WE camper (its for sale now)
What were the name for the original high flotation tires
Ford actually called them super singles in the brochure. They were 12.5 inches wide on a 16.5 diameter rim that if I remember correctly was 10 inches wide.
Just found this website and glad I did. Great story on the SCS. I had bought a F250 Camper Special and needed some parts. Found a “parts truck” a couple of hours away but he only had pics of the front. I asked him if it would make the drive home and he said yeah I think so. He couldn’t tell me much about it as it was a former employee’s. He just said it was good for parts. Anyway, we got there and after looking it I couldn’t buy it quick enough and get out of there. ’75 F350 SCS. 460/C6. 93k miles. NO rust no dents. I sold the Camper Special and am going to keep this one. Found a standard truck with AC that I’m going to put on it. Here it is towing home the ’96 F350 PSD we bought as a non runner.
Does anyone have any info on a 1973 Ford Ranger F 350 Super Camper? NOT A CAMPER SPECIAL OR SUPER CAMPER SPECIAL!!!
I have a 1973 F350 with sound body. engine needs rebuild and restoration but body is solid with no rust rot or wrecks. Needs body work and paint job. Very difficult to find these. 785.845.4833
Tyler, the 1973 Super Camper was indeed a Super Camper Special. The slightly wording of the badges was just an initial Ford design.
I have owned 12 of these 1973 and 1974 F350’models, two very early manufacture models had the Super Camper badges direct from the factory, I have seen one other very early 1973 model with badges that were worded Super Hauler in Texas during the very early 1970’s. I have heard of two with this wording.
Why would a 1973 SCS have a GVWR 9000 instead of 10000 lbs ?
1977 owners manual pic.
And the tire chart.
If anyone knows where to buy a 1974-1975 Ford F350 Super Camper Special please email me
We have a ’75. It’s in the picture a few posts up. 94,xxx miles. 460/C6. Very little rust. Hole in drivers pan where your heel rests. I cut it out and patched it. One other small hole in door jamb. Interior is mostly out. We started redoing it then moved and haven’t done anything lately. Have an AC dash for it but nothing else yet. Great truck. Asking $2500 as is sits. 503-407-5745. Thanks.
I just purchased a 1975 Super Camper Special (California Truck) no rust, it was donated and sold at a Auto Auction, I paid $2500.00 plus $1400.00 to have it shipped to Minnesota. Doesn’t run right now, New gas, filter and plugs should do the trick. If anyone is looking for a great truck I bought it to fix it up and sell it. Make me a offer, I will take as many pictures as you would like. My e-mail address is email@example.com
My uncle used to have one of these – a 390 I think, with a 4-speed manual. The granny first gear was useful when I was driving it around my cousins’ farm collecting hay bales – when travelling, it was used for its intended purpose of carrying around a slide-in camper.
My uncle and aunt are still around, 80 years old, and now driving a massive motor home according to my father.
Enjoyed this feature as not many were to be seen north of the border. My neighbour has an early seventies Ford F-150 ro 250 Camper Special with a large V8. It was his father’s truck and in decent shape. I’ve told him to keep it in the family as more people are restoring these types of pickup trucks. if it wasn’t out at his lake property I would have taken a picture.
And yes, GMC did have their version of a Camper Special. This is a one owner 1970 “Custom Camper” which at one time was converted to run on propane.
Another neat option was a underhood generator on early 70’s Ford trucks
Picture from the brochure showing the “Power Pak”. Very rare option.
Again, the entire brochure is at;
In 1978, all 350’s marked as a Camper Special were the longer wheelbase. It didn’t matter if it was camper or camper special.
It is a common misconception.
My dad had a 73 F350 super camper special. It was canary yellow with brown int and it was powered by the 390/C6 combo. I later swapped in a 4 barrel carb in 1987. I learned to drive and got my license in it. The DMV instructor couldn’t believe how long it was. (Paralleled parked it like a boss). It had an factory installed electric toggle switch next to the a/c, to switch the gas tank fuel gauge, but had a mechanical switch on the floor between the seat and door to switch fuel lines. Ahhh that running out of gas feeling . It came with dual batteries. It also had an expanding rear bumper. There were two tubes mounted on the frame rails, the bumper had two long, smaller diameter tubes that rode inside the ones mounted to the frame. Pull two pins and slide the bumper out even with the back deck.
Also, when unloaded, those HUGE rear leaf springs made that beast bounce over every pot hole and train tracks.
One more thing about my dads 73 SCS. Nobody would give it a second glance. But when the secondaries opened up and the tranny kick-down lever engaged, a mighty roar came through the 3 foot glasspacks. By then, all they saw were tail lights. 👍
I just came across a 79 f350 cs..been sitting for 13 yrs.cant wait for warm whether to pull truck out an try to get running.never heard of these trucks till I came across this truck.more research I’ve done the more excited I’m getting.little rust an nice interior .460 c6 ac all the goodies.
We have this 1974 F350 Super Camper Special. We originally bought it for our son but got it back and then figured out what we had. The original build sheet is still under the seat, it would disintegrate if we tried to remove it so we have pictures. The 460 is a beast, loves gas stations.
I’m currently in the process of purchasing this 1973 F350, 460 engine, with a 4-speed manual. A recent visit to our local mechanic came back with a few minor issues, but nothing major – so that’s promising.
A few things that have been on my mind: it’s a bouncy ride and the cabin’s got a fairly strong, more than typical, fuel smell. Would appreciate any ideas towards addressing these. Thanks!
I have a 1973 Ford F-350 super camper special with a 390 engine for sale. 82,000 miles on it and runs extremely well. It’s in very good shape for its age without ever being restored. I would like someone to purchase it and restore it because I recognize your value.
I like Ford’s idea of extending the wheelbase rearward to accommodate a longer camper. My grandparents on my father’s side had a 1976-77 F350 Camper Special.
My Uncle Bob had an F250 with the regular LWB (one of the last “highboy” 4x4s) in the early ’80s, and a slide-in camper which my dad borrowed to use on his ’79 2wd C-10 (straight 6/3 on the tree, not a “Big 10”)
I remember them lowering the camper on its’ jacks into Dad’s truck…and lowering it and lowering it…it looked iffy to them at first (and to me even at age 8). But not so iffy that my year-younger cousin and I ran in back and as we jumped in, that’s when Dad and Uncle Bob’s misgivings won out. We ended up borrowing the F250 as well. Looking back at having been ordered out of the camper almost immediately, I think we bottomed the C-10’s springs at less than 120lb between us.
He’s at it again….
Yep, AMT kitted the Super Camper Special. Not the regular longbed (much to many modelers’ disappointment), or the short bed, just the SCS, in 2wd or mythical 4wd form.
Somehow from the replies I see you have reposted this (and other posts) a number of times already, and somehow I never remember any of them and it’s all new again. Maybe I was a less consistent reader then?
I guess it was not letting the kids travel in the camper that did them in. I actually also remember seeing a couple of kids looking out the front window in the cab over section while on the interstate. I was probably flopping around on the pads in the way back of the family wagon. Once that was all over all the kids needed real seats and almost all the pickups got back seats and beds too short to be useful for much. Then fifth wheels (I think they are called), pickup trucks with a mini semi trailer thing in the bed and a camper to fit came along.
I haven’t noticed what’s fashionable today other than Ram Promasters fitted out as campers. (FWD and low floor, the obvious best choice unless they suffer from historic Chrysler/Fiat syndromes.) Anyway my cousin and LTR recently went across the US and back in one with no reported problems but lots of scenic photos on FBook.