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Adventure Stories

Old Camper, New Tricks

Bill Cramer took a 45 year old Tiltin’ Hiltin truck camper, gutted the unit, restored the interior with a 50’s-style, and then flipped the script with a state-of-the-art computer sensor and cellular communication system.  Old camper, new tricks.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin truck camper restoration

When I got the 1972 Tiltin’ Hiltin in 2013, I knew I was facing an uphill battle. It had been sitting in someone’s backyard and looked like it had been used as a kid’s playhouse. The interior was a complete wreck. The windows and roof vents had been left open for years and the wall paneling was pretty much history.

Fortunately, the exterior was in good shape except for some faded paint and a few small dings in the aluminum siding. More importantly, the roof had no leaks.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin Exterior

Before bringing it home, I did a ton of web research to find out if restoring the camper was even a good idea. During that research I discovered Truck Camper Magazine. From reading camper restoration articles on TCM, along with various other internet sources, I learned that the potential cons of such a restoration far outweighed the possible pros.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin truck camper set up

In spite of everything I read about how the restoration was a bad idea, I decided, “I can do this!” and brought the camper home.

After gutting the interior, I found that the wood frame was in surprisingly good condition. With the walls open, I added wiring for additional lights, an audio/video system, backup camera, and an alarm system. The walls and roof were then insulated and covered with fresh 1/8-inch wood paneling.

The original cabinets, double sink, and stove were then re-installed with a new counter top. The seating area was changed as you will see and the bathroom was enlarged by about eight inches to accommodate a porta-potty.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin cabover

In the cabover the flat panel television is now on a swivel mount and can be seen from the bed or seating area. The LED light strip is on a dimmer as are the lights over the seating.

The black and white 50’s theme for the interior was my girlfriend’s idea. Wanda did all of the interior decorating.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin bed shelf storage

I added a shelf with storage in the sleeping area. The doors on either side of the center panel flip up for access to the storage area. It also holds the pillows and one’s back at just the right angle to watch television or read.

1972 Tiltin Hiltin kitchen

The stove, sink and cabinets are original. The cabinets were sprayed black. The oven still works well after all these years. I did add electronic ignition to the burners. It’s the black push button to the left of the controls.

If you look to the far left you can see my one of a kind canisters. They are Folgers coffee containers with labels held to the backsplash with industrial velcro.

Tiltin Hiltin icebox

I kept the original icebox and propane lamp. After adding insulation to the icebox, a 20 pound bag of ice will last about three days.

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