David Peterson was an aviation engineer who had worked for Boeing and other aircraft makers. He also was an avid fisherman and camper – which presented him with a dilemma: tow his travel trailer and go camping or tow his boat and go fishing. He couldn’t tow both, so he started to design a self-contained motorhome so he could tow his boat with his travel trailer, so to speak. When Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in 1959, he realized that the compact and low powertrain was ideal for his project, if a bit underpowered. Using the Corvair six under the rear end wouldn’t intrude into interior space and would also allow for a flat floor. Peterson designed a monocoque body along the lines of aircraft construction, with aluminum spars reinforced by load bearing exterior aluminum panels. The front and rear ends were molded from GFRP. In time, Peterson licensed what became known as the Ultra Van and about 330 Corvair powered motor homes were made. Production ended in 1970 in part because GM stopped making the Corvair and it’s unique powertrain, and also because Winnebago started mass producing truck chassis based RVs that were much cheaper than the Ultra Van. About 200 Ultra Vans still exist.
What folks are saying:
"...I've been over to Cars In Depth on many occasions. Barring the whole 3D thing which drives me up the wall (that's a personal thing, though), I like the content, the writing, and the simple formatting. You do a great job over there, and I am impressed."
Latest Bring-A-Trailer Listings
On the Cars In Depth Bookshelf:
At the Drive-In
Welcome to Cars In Depth:
- Cars In Depth
A realistic perspective on cars and car culture.
The original 3D car site.
- When a Gold American Express Card Isn’t Veblen Enough: The Gold DeLorean
- Did BMW Crib Rolls-Royce’s Vision Next 100 From Gordon Buehrig’s 1948 Tasco Concept?
- Koenigsegg Regera – 3D Photos
- The Path to Fiat Chrysler’s Future Doesn’t Lead Through This Door
- No, Jalopnik, Electric Cars Weren’t Ruling the Road in 1916
Find Us On Facebook