RVs of the Apocalypse, Part 4: Dodge A100’s
In the course of researching “Re-Deanimator”, I took special interest in a fairly unique line of vehicles, the Dodge A100 van and related vehicles. The A100 can be considered one of the more versatile vehicles to be produced, or at any rate one which was put through more variations than most. What put it on my radar was that it was put through a number of camper conversions, including some by the Travco division of Dodge, best known for producing the first commercial RVs. Known as the “Family Wagon”, these vans came in two versions, one with a retractable top and another with a solid roof extension. An even more interesting conversion, the Xplorer 21, lacked a roof extension but had a module built into the original rear of the van. The website “Old Dodges” features brochures for both lines.
Unsurprisingly, there were additional variations whose origins are subject to some uncertainty, clearly different from known “factory” versions but with enough similarity and overall quality that it seems conceivable they were produced as variants by the same manufacturers. One such example, featured courtesy of California Streets, is clearly in the style of a Travco “camp wagon”, but based on the A108 variant of the A100. In my opinion, it is consistent with a Travco variant, but could be the work of another manufacturer or especially skilled homebuilder:
An especially radical variation of the A100 design is an Xplorer with 6 wheels, featured at Vannin and also on Flickr. The view of the rear wheels leaves no serious doubt that this was a professional job, but without further documentation there is no way to know whether it was produced as an Xplorer variant or (further!) modified at a later date. It is also not entirely clear whether the available photos, which show two paint jobs but the same caption in the rear window, represent one or two vehicles.
Then, for a truly post-apocalyptic twist, there is the L-series “medium tonnage” trucks that Dodge managed to build from the base A100 design. The result was the L600 and L700 trucks, which proved versatile enough for many confirmed variants, and are represented in further variations from custom model builders. These creations have varying degrees of plausibility as genuine variants. A water tank truck, for example, is reasonably convincing given the known frequency with which L700s were converted to fire engines; I had no qualms using the model as the basis for Gunga Dodge in Re-Deanimator. On the other hand, there is the “Hunting Lodge”, a clearly fanciful creation but equally clearly an irresistible example of a post-apocalyptic RV.
I say, if this doesn’t bear any resemblance to any actual vehicle that was ever built, it just mean someone missed out on a good idea!