What do you see in these images? An awesome way to go camping in your first-gen Charger or a classic Dodge muscle car that’s been ruined? Enter the 1966 Dodge Charger Great Dale Housecar, a little-known camper conversion company’s even less famous Mopar effort.
With today’s love of classic muscle and the resurgence of the camping phenomenon, you might imagine this is an YouTube antic aimed at generating [insert favorite social media metric here]. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, as this contraption was put together back in the 1960s.
The machine popped up at a recent car show and it looks to be in great shape inside and out. After all, when you own one of the just two reported to exist, you might want to take good care of the thing.
The below-the-radar Great Dale House Car conversions of the 1960s
Thanks to the camera work of Instagram label ghettorvs, we get to take a look at what is a 1966 Dodge Charger Great Dale House Car. This… hybrid muscle car was built by the Great Dale House Car Co., a Colorado-based operation that used to be run by Dale Wasinger.
Info on these House Cars is scarce, mainly because Dale, an auto body repair man and used vehicle salesman only brewed them for four years of the said decade. As with many interesting machines, the enthusiast ended up converting luxury and muscle cars into campers after a specialist company refused to do it for him back in the day.
While his very first efforts involved quite a bit of experimentation, the man and his wife developed a standard they used for subsequent builds, this Dodge included. As such, the chassis of the original car was cut just after the front seats, while being mated to the rear section of a three-quarter ton Chevy truck frame, pickup rear suspension and all. The resulting base was reinforced with channel iron, so it could sustain the wooden frame and aluminum panels of the upper structure.
It seems that Dale only built a little over 50 of these machines, with many of them being based on already-bulky Buicks and Cadillacs. This meant that the cars’ factory powertrains and brakes could remain unchanged, reducing costs and streamlining production, while the handling was only partially affected.
Nowadays, the surviving examples, whose number remains unknown, stun the crowds at various automotive events, while a few also show up for grabs every now and then.
The first-gen Charger seems like a proper Mopar base
Why a first-gen Dodge Charger? We can’t know what the customer who ordered this conversion was thinking, but we can attest that the OG Charger is a more fitting choice than the second-gen (1968-1970) that normally gets more attention.
You see, while the latter models earned the big coupe its fame thanks to a sportier take, the original Charger was more focused on catering to the need of those who appreciate the good life.
And, peeking inside the Dodge Charger Great Dale Housecar, we notice the original dashboard, with its moon race-inspired dials. We’re not aware of the engine in this example, but we can see this is mated to an automatic, presumably a three-speed from back in the day. And yes, you speed devils, we can sense you lusting for a Hellcat swap like the one in this 1968 Charger R/T.
As far as the accommodation goes, the list of features includes a bed, a stove and some other goodies that happen to be out of frame—who knew that sleeping in your Charger could feel this normal?
And while this Great Dale Housecar gives a whole new meaning to the good old “Mopar or no car” anthem, such efforts have even made their way into the digital realm, as this 2023 Ford Bronco CGI can easily demonstrate.