Here is an example of pure American Ingenuity! Put two things together:
A 1952 Chevrolet 2 ton and an ambitious top quality retired carpenter that wants to travel. These qualifications fit Richard Howe of Trinidad California. (About 300 miles north of San Francisco, California) He built another similar house and truck combination several years ago on a Cab over Engine 2 ton chassis. What he learned on that project will be used to make this unit even better.
He is the only builder of his one of a kind “Caravan “and he had no extra help. After all, Richard has been a professional carpenter all his life!
His current unit is made much of recycled redwood from boards used years ago in other prior construction purposes. Richard lives near redwood country and he suspects the wood is from trees that are 1,000 to 2,000 years old! He has been on this project about 6 years as money and time allows.
A little less than a year is remaining in this project because Richard’s goal is to have his unit completed and roadworthy by the summer of 2016. That will be the time for his high school 50th graduation in Minnesota. This personally built “Caravan” will be his transportation for this over 1,500 miles one way trip.
Even though Richard is a great carpenter, when it came to the mechanicals he needed help. He got the assistance he needed from two excellent skilled workers at Bill’s Repair Shop in Redding, California. Their names are Bill Tuschen and Ed Demoll. Richard would recommend them to anyone needing early truck repairs!
With the help of these friends the “house” may possibly come off once more to restore the truck cab!
The drive-train will include the original 4 speed transmission plus an optional Brownie 3 speed attached at the rear. This rare overdrive unit will provide him a top speed of almost 55 miles per hour. Yes, he will certainly have time to better see the USA. The original differential gears will give the correct ratio to support the speed of this heavy home he has built.
Oh yes! Richard decided to install a Chevrolet 350 V-8 as the power source. With a V-8 bell housing, it perfectly fit the original 4 speed transmission! It just needed some side motor mounts to fit it in correctly. (Available from many suppliers) He feels it will be the best for his long trips, the heavy Caravan weight, and higher speed demands of modern highways.
The enclosed photos show some of the under construction views of Richard’s Caravan. It’s great what one can do with ambition. The finished project will certainly be a “one of a kind”. You can contact Richard Howe at 1-707-273-2742.
We hope to receive photos of the completed unit next year at Richard’s school reunion time. We will post them here!
1952 Cab and Chassis after the frame is extended 4 feet
350 Chevy V-8 replaces the inline six cylinder engine
Stock setup for the carrier bearing needed lowering with the 4’ lengthen
frame. The first trial run quickly wore out the bearing! See next photo!
A 3″ channel is needed to lower carrier bearing due to the lengthen frame.
Hand built new doors before redwood siding
New top almost completed. Just before siding added.
These 5″ redwood planks were on an old construction job and are from trees
1,000 to 2,000 years old.
Lap siding is from the 5″ scrap redwood. 17 operations in each board before
ready to install.
Start of installation of front cab-over windows
Frames for front cab-over finished
Front cab-over almost complete
1/4″ welded steel support brackets on both sides of “cab-over” windows
Corner cab-over brackets in place plus 1,000 to 2,000 year old lap siding
NOTE: The window frames were made from scratch and are to appear as those
from an old hotel transom used in room ventilation.