Expedition Portal Classifieds :: 1964 Clark Cortez Coach

In 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts were transported to their spaceship in a modified Clark Cortez RV emblazoned with NASA logos. It was a historic moment in a historic vehicle. Clark Equipment, the manufacturer of the Cortez, built fewer than 4,000 vehicles between 1963 and the late 1970s, making this unique vehicle a bit of a collector’s item which, over the years, has developed a cult following. Sadly, most of the Cortez RVs that previously cruised the expansive highways and byways of North America have met a rusty demise, forgotten in backyards or driveways where many have deteriorated beyond repair. But there are a few hundred of these vehicles still cruising around the country. Perhaps you’ve even seen one yourself, rolling down the highway at a cool top speed of 55 mph.

 

Here’s your chance to own a piece of history. I am selling my very own 1964 Clark Cortez RV that I purchased in 2016 from a retired diesel railroad mechanic in Woodland, Washington. The exterior of this classic screams 1960s, but the interior has been completely remodeled to offer a more modern road tripping experience.

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

The Remodel of a Classic 1964 Clark Cortez RV

I wanted to make this Cortez livable for full-time travel, and the original 1964 interior needed some TLC. I began by replacing the headliner, with the intention of keeping the interior of our Cortez original. But after pulling down the ceiling and finding a massive amount of rodent damage to the underlying insulation, it became obvious that a complete tear-down of the interior, all the way to the sheet metal walls, was necessary. After removing everything and cleaning thoroughly, I began the remodel by installing new, rigid foam insulation.

 

 

I opened up the interior by removing the rigid bathroom walls (replaced with a cloth curtain) and original closet/refrigerator housing. I installed tongue-and-groove pine on the walls and ceiling and installed a new composite floor. I rebuilt all the overhead storage out of pine and built custom cabinet faces with steel sheet-metal fronts. Recessed rare-earth magnets keep the cabinets closed. I rebuilt the kitchen cabinetry around a new 30-gallon water tank with a two-basin sink and DC water pump. All the plumbed water (for toilet and sink) drains to a single 30-gallon black-water tank.

 

 

I installed an on-demand LPG-powered water heater that provides hot water for the sink and the exterior shower head (which stows in the water heater compartment, accessible on the exterior driver’s side of the vehicle). A stand-alone solar system is comprised of 200 watts of roof-mounted solar panels that power 200 amp hours of AGM batteries via the Tracer 40-amp MPPT charge controller. A 1,500-watt PSW AC inverter from Cotek produces electricity for AC devices, and built-in USB outlets provide charging for devices.

 

A few things that could be addressed by the next owner: The fuel gauge is currently not functional but only needs a new wire run. Some body panel rust could be dealt with to improve curb appeal and extend the life of this classic.

 

 

 

 

SPECS

  • Vehicle #230, manufactured on April 30, 1964
  • Approximately 18 feet long
  • Original Chrysler Slant 6, 225 cubic-inch, inline 6-cylinder gas engine (82,000 miles)
  • Front-wheel drive, 4 on-the-floor (manual)

Custom Additions

  • Larger radiator installed
  • Custom 19.5-inch rims w/heavy-duty truck tires
  • Custom front receiver added (with capacity for two bicycles)

Amenities

  • 2-basin sink w/DC water pump
  • Camp Chef 2-burner countertop LPG range (removable)
  • 30-gallon freshwater tank
  • 30-gallon black-water tank
  • Camplux on-demand LPG water heater
  • 200-watt, roof-mounted solar panels w/200 amp-hour AGM battery bank and 1,500-watt AC inverter
  • MaxxAir fan
  • Flush toilet
  • LOTS of storage
  • Queen-sized bed platform w/memory foam mattress
  • Lockable, hidden storage compartment for valuables
  • Built-in USB charging ports
  • Recessed LED lighting
  • Tongue and groove wood finishes
  • Custom cabinetry
  • Weboost cellphone boosting antenna and boom pole

Mechanical Work Completed (during three years of ownership/travel)

  • New brake cylinders (front and rear)
  • New fuel pump
  • Clutch rebuilt (w/less than 100 miles of driving)
  • New clutch master and slave cylinders
  • New belts, hoses, spark plugs, wires
  • New distributor
  • New front shocks
  • New ignition switch
  • New starter motor

 

 

Additional video and press links:

https://www.doityourselfrv.com/clark-cortez-rv/

https://www.vanlife.com.au/vanlife-diaries/van-project

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZSCdh7_obg

 

Matt’s 1964 Clark Cortez RV is listed for sale at $16,995. To inquire, please contact Matt or Amanda at thevanprojectco@gmail.com.


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Matthew Swartz is originally from Connecticut and currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he passionately pursues rock climbing, trail running, and skiing. Matt’s love of travel has inspired him to through-hike the JMT and part of the PCT, bike across the United States, and explore the West coast of South America from Ecuador to Patagonia. Matt and his partner Amanda have also travelled across much of the Western US in their 1964 Clark Cortez RV, which they lived in, on the road for the better part of three years. Matt has worked for the USFS as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and Matt's photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.