In the world of perfect combinations, this 1971 GMC and matching-year Alaskan Camper Cab Over gives peanut butter and jelly a run for the money. But that wasn’t always the case — this camper’s condition was far from where the nicley restored GMC K20 sat… thankfully, the old camper found it’s way to Reparadise for a new lease on life.
It just so happens that we have a set of original drawings for an early seventies Alaskan Camper (we know some people). As expected for a fifty year old camper, the Alaskan need a full rebuild. This included tearing the whole top down to it’s core and replacing all the rotted wood. The bottom, likewise, contained it’s fair share of the decay, but not nearly as bad as the upper portion. All new wiring and closed-cell insulation make sure that this top will stay working another for another half century.
We completely replaced the aluminum exterior on the upper portion, while the lower received spot repairs and fresh coat of paint. Additionally, the windows received all new gaskets, glass, and bright work. Finishing off the exterior new LED lighting perfectly emulates the originals ensures the Alaskan looks the part on the road.
Like electrical, the H2O systems were replaced with modern components such as plumbing, water pump and holding tank – while the original faucet and sink keep the ’70s vibe alive. Similarly, the original sconce lights were rebuilt, and rewired for modern LED bulbs with a vintage feel.
What makes these campers special compared to other pop-top units is the hydraulic lifting system. We made sure this one will be Raising and Lowering for many more years by completely going through the hydraulics and replacing all o-rings. We also added all new exterior seals to keep the top and bottom sections perfectly insulated.
Finally, our favorite feature of this restoration is the sticker collection on the inside of the upper door… often vintage stickers are lost to a camper restorations for a number of reasons. In this instance we rebuilt the door while working to avoid disturbing the stickers – some of them were very brittle, literately turning to dust before our eyes. Then we preserved this Alaskan Camper’s rich history with two-part UV resistant tabletop epoxy.
What might be the best part about these stickers is they humbly remind us that the #broverland trend is nothing new, and humans have been busy building vehicles to travel to remote parts for a long time.