This is a Dodge Frank Motor Home from 1963 and surprisingly it remains in largely original condition throughout. Many of these older motorhomes have either been completely refurbished in a more modern style or scrapped altogether – so finding survivors like this is rare.
This line of motorhomes would later become famous on The Donna Reed Show as the Stone family’s “House Bus,” they would also be used by Charles Kurault in the “On the Road” segments of CBS News, then later another would be used in the TV series “Midnight, Texas.”
Fast Facts – The Dodge Frank Motor Home
- The Dodge Frank motorhome was developed by Ray Frank of Frank Motor Home Inc. of Brown City, Michigan based on a Dodge chassis with an aerodynamic fiberglass body. The use of a rust-proof composite body helped ensure the survival of many Dodge Frank motorhomes.
- The beautiful styling of the Dodge Frank motorhomes, which were offered in wheelbase lengths from 21 to 32 feet, resulted in strong sales. The use of a Dodge chassis and drivetrain also helped ensure the vehicles could be maintained by any truck or bus mechanic.
- In 1964 the Travco Corporation (a contraction of “Travelers Company”) took over the Frank Motor Home Inc. Manufacturing continued with changes to the designs over time, and the resulting Travco Motorhomes become a common sight on the highways and camping grounds of North America.
- The Dodge Frank Motor Home you see here is a 1963 model, it remains largely original throughout but does benefit from some more recent upgrades – like air-conditioning, new upholstery, and new flooring.
Ray Frank And The Dodge Frank Motor Home
Ray Frank would become one of the most important figures in RV history, he’s credited with coining the word “motorhome,” he helped develop the core design of the motorhome that’s still in use today, and he has been inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
The first Dodge Frank Motor Homes appeared in 1961, they used Dodge truck chassis and drivetrains, with new fiberglass bodies built and fitted out by Frank Motor Home Inc. The designs changed relatively rapidly, becoming more aerodynamic and more beautiful, offered in wheelbase lengths from 21 to 32 feet.
131 were made in the first year, an impressive number given the not insignificant starting cost of $9,000 in 1961 dollars, the equivalent to approximately $89,600 USD in 2022 dollars.
The popularity of the Dodge Frank Motor Home grew rapidly, the use of Dodge running gear made it easy to repair and maintain the vehicles, and the rust-free fiberglass bodies were lightweight and easy to look after.
The Travco Corporation took over Dodge Frank Motor Home production in 1964, investing further into rapid design developments and continuing the product line well into the 1970s.
Ray Frank went and founded Xplorer Motorhomes, which built smaller and more affordable motorhomes based on Dodge vans and the company remains in operation to the current day.
The 1963 Dodge Frank Motor Home Shown Here
The camper you see here is an original 1963 Dodge Frank Motor Home, the final year of production before the company was taken over by Travco.
This is a 26 foot model finished in turquoise and white with turquoise cloth upholstery. Inside you’ll find a kitchenette with a full oven with three burners, an exhaust vent, a double-basin sink with running water, a fridge, and plenty of storage cabinets.
There’s also a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a shower, and there’s a sitting area, dining area, and a double bed in the rear. The dinette table can be lowered and combined with the two dining seats to form an additional bed when required.
Power is provided by a 318 cubic inch (5.2 liter) V8 paired with a 3-speed automatic transmission. It’s been fitted with a Duo-Therm roof-mounted air conditioner, a 6,600 watt Generac remote-start generator, and the current owner had the seats reupholstered, new flooring laid, and the plumbing repaired.
This RV is currently being offered for sale out of Sheridan, Wyoming with manufacturer’s literature, service records, and a clean Wyoming title. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here on Bring a Trailer.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.