COE semi converted to camper.
Fullsize image: https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/h...r_fullsize.jpg
Vintage motorcycle sidecar camper - photos
Corvette camper - photo
Motorcycle/camper hybrid - photo
A heavy tractor like that with no load to speak of on the tires will tend to do horizontal cartwheels when hard braking on wet pavement. Wet road bobtailing was always white knuckle driving for me and I'd much rather have been hauling a load.
CDL requirement depends on Gross Vehicle Weight, even for non-commercial vehicles. If I remember correctly the cutoff is 26,000#.
Last edited by Crusty; 09-22-2019 at 07:28 AM.
If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.
The beauty of this approach is that unlike a modern van the cab and frame are separate so there is far more flexibility in engineering and constructing the front end of the vehicle to meet your own preferences driver position and power train layouts. The down side is that the prewar COE cabs are getting pretty rare and command stiff prices if in any easy to work with condition. I suppose an ordinary pickup cab up through the mid 50's could be restyled with a short nose and grille and positioned higher up.
If you can do a decent job of styling and building the necessary bodywork it could be a cool looking ride. That's easier said than done. I think if I were contemplating such a build I'd invest in some 1/25 plastic model truck kits and do my preliminary design explorations in that medium.
There is a substantial model builder sub-culture in the western world devoted to building and customizing plastic model kits. One might be able to find images of models just like I suggest. Wouldn't it be neat if you could come up with a body design that could be built with a stock post war pickup using mostly thin cutoff wheel power tools and rivets (rat rod styling). Watch out for the windshield if narrowing the cab is needed. That could be the hardest part of the job in the full size construction effort.
The school bus conversion is pretty easy. This COE has a custom body behind it. Ford built these as cab-chassis units for other manufacturers to add bodies to. This example looks modern; but I wouldn't bet high on that. The beauty of the COE is minimum vehicle length. When you get into camper rigs this is important if you get off paved roads and need room for sleeping quarters plus a little extra for gear, cooking, etc.
Plus the smaller, lighter vehicle keeps costs down. And then there is the advantage of engineering this kind of body on to a conventional pickup with all the common parts that such an approach offers. The extra 2-3 feet of payload space gained by moving the driver forward counts for a lot. So why not just a van conversion and be like everyone else? For a lot of us that question answers itself. I'll never get another van, myself (hard to work on).
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