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GM’s Camper Special is the square-body you’ve always needed

My morning ritual begins like many of my car-obsessed ilk—with internet auction listings. As I was sipping my coffee last week, I ran across this awesome 1979 GMC K2500 on Bring a Trailer. I could barely contain my excitement, because it is not only an unrestored truck, but it is also a Camper Special. My family has owned a couple of these, one being a two-wheel drive doppelganger of the one up for sale on BaT.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/03/16/gm-camper-special-is-square-body-you-always-needed

Wow, that thing looks clean. Nice-looking GM SQ.

I think I just saw a dually camper special in texas. 4 door and driving. maybe it was a 3+3?

My father bought one of these brand new, even the same color combo. It also had duel fuel tanks added. with the 454 ci. Pulled (at that time) a huge camper coast to coast with it. This one says unrestored? They must have changed the wheels on occasion because those in the photo dont look right. Ours came with H.D. steal wheels with large center caps. Brings back memories. Thank you!

Absolutely immaculate truck! I remember the days of slide-on campers well. The design made them able to fit a lot into a small space - rear entry door, kitchen on the left, bed in the cabover section. The descendant of the slide-on was the truck mounted camper, a much more stable design in which an enlarged camper section was bolted directly to the frame of a cab and chassis pick-up (no bed involved). Some people still think it was the best configuration for a small RV.

Amazing truck. Great pics except my pet peeve are so many close up angle shots, but no nice, simple pics of the truck from a distance, like a nice side profile pic so you can see the longer bed, for instance. And how about a pic without the front wheels turned? (Yes, I’m nitpicking!) But again, amazing truck extremely well preserved.

I had a 1972 Chevrolet 3/4 ton called a Longhorn with an 8 1/2’ bed and a 402ci big block.
Great truck.

I bought a gold/white C20 Camper Special with the 454 in 1973 with the idea of going to Alaska (from NJ). Of course, within weeks of taking delivery of the special ordered truck, the gas crisis arrived. The price of gas going from, as I recall, 37.9 to over a dollar, put paid to my 10,000 mile, 8 mpg trip plans. The truck was shortly after sold to the owner of a construction company (he could write of operating expense). It was replaced by a Toyota pickup; great mileage but it began rusting the day I picked it up and lasted only a couple of years.

Didn’t some of the camper specials have a longer wheelbase? My great uncle had a mid 70’s F250 camper special and I swear if memory serves me it had a longer wheelbase. Maybe an optical illusion. I think it’s still in a pole barn in northern Michigan. Last I saw it it was in great shape being always stored inside.

Chevrolet did the Long Horn with an 8-1/2 foot bed for the 67-72 style pickups, but I believe that was merely extending the bed, not the wheelbase. I am unaware if Ford did something similar, I have found no indications one way or another.

@thefourfergs - You are thinking of the Ford Super Camper Special. We talked about them during 2018, and the article is worthy of a review if for the photos alone.

I saw one in person a few years ago in Kansas and it stopped me in my tracks because it was just weird enough to make me pause but took me longer than it should have for me to figure out why.

Hey thanks Kyle! I knew my eyes weren’t deceiving me but…here I go again. I could swear my great uncle had a super cab camper special. They had a family of 4 and I can’t imagine them allowing the kids to ride in the camper all the time. If it wasn’t 4.5 hrs north, straight across the state from Hagery HQ, I’d have a look. Might have to make contact with a long lost cuz to find out.

After a little research I’ve concluded that it was a super cab with an 8’ bed. Wheelbase might have been extended but looked normal, not set back much like this one.
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But in my 59 years on this earth, camping all over this state I know I’ve laid eyes on those with the extended wheelbase.

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