1937 Ford Housecar

Susan Kunze brought this little gem to my attention. This is the forerunner of the Class B motor home we discussed last week. Here is a little history about this interesting housecar.

One of only six said to have been made per year in the mid-’30s at the Ford Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to an article on this car in a 1993 “Old Cars” magazine article.

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When discovered in a garage (under a heavy cover) in Northern Minnesota in August 2001, she had only 19,000 miles, and the owner’s manual was actually still the glove box in like-new condition! She had always been garaged and treated with much TLC as a collector vehicle.

The interior, all wood lined, was still the way it appeared in the ’30s and ’40s, complete with framed photos of the original owner on his travels (mainly to Florida) and his cabin in the North Woods, plus and other memorabilia from the era.

Built on the ’37 Ford Pickup frame and cowling (powered by a 60-hp flathead V8 with aluminum heads), the rear framing is all wood, with the metal skin wrapped around it. The roof structure, too, is all wood, over which the heavy, waterproofed canvas top is still very securely fitted. The structure of the body is solid, appearing from underneath to be all oak, and still in a remarkably unaltered, undamaged condition. The door frames are thick, solid oak, and oak is visible around the window openings (as on the four side windows in back) — though it is painted over. Check out this website

to learn more.

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mike - December 23, 2009 Reply

That is wild. Wonder what the value of that is…

Lucas - December 23, 2009 Reply

There was a similar model on the Ken Burn National Parks Documentary. It was shown during the part of the series where car travel started to make visiting a National Park more accessible, etc. Episode 4 or 5 I believe. It belonged to a couple from Nebraska who made annual visits to the mountains. Really neat. Quite a contrast to the modern versions of motorized campers!

seth - December 23, 2009 Reply

UNBELIEVABLE!! i would have loved to have been there when they uncovered that for the first time in who knows how long.

Matt - December 23, 2009 Reply

LOVE IT !!!

…just neat, simple and basic.

Julia Janzen - December 26, 2009 Reply

Wouldn’t it be fun to have one of these? So cool!

Dave Campbell - December 28, 2009 Reply

So cool!

Ace - March 30, 2010 Reply

I don’t think that aluminum heads were period correct, but what a neat find.

    Michael - March 2, 2012 Reply

    The flathead fords of the roughly 36/37 vintage came with aluminum heads. Most were replaced with cast iron as they rotted out. My 1936 ford has cast iron flame sprayed with aluminum in order to simulate the original, but have the more durable iron. I am sure the author pointed that out because the 193* collectors know it is rare to find a car that still has the original aluminum heads.

House Car - Amphicar Lover's Message Board / Forum - September 15, 2010 Reply

[…] Car I wonder if you could tow an Amphicar behind this thing??? 1937 Ford Housecar […]

Schneb - February 10, 2011 Reply

Great to see this–made my day.

But I wish there’d been a pic of the stove/sink/etc. set-up. Just curious what people’s expectations were for such back then.

Vincent - April 30, 2012 Reply

I was at a classic vehicle auction, April 28, 2012 on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul and that very vehicle sold for $23,500.00

james e. goss - August 5, 2012 Reply

If my memory serves me correctly (and for that era, it’s pretty good) the V-8s did have aluminum heads, and they were a booger to get off, because the aluminum would corrode arround the steel studs. But I can’t imagine them using the 60 HP engine (instead of the more common 85) in a heavy duty application such as this. JEG

Jamie M - February 25, 2014 Reply

I believe I see a covered sink but no stove. I would guess they would simply mak a camp fire outside.

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