Encinitas, California, United States
1973 Dodge Sportsman B-300 Balboa Motorhome
1973 Dodge Balboa Motorhome
This very rare 18ft Fiberglass Motorhome was built onto a very common 1973 Dodge B-300 Sportsman Van chassis. You get a classic unique camper without the trouble of hard to find parts. You can drive it around town/park it easily and still have the motorhome conveniences. The van chassis (Dodge Sportsman B-300) and the engine (v8 360) are very common, it's the fiberglass camper unit that makes this special. Between 1968-74 a boat builder called Jensen Marine made about 1000+ of these Balboa Motorhomes in Costa Mesa, CA. They were cousins to the later-built Chinooks. The 2 large windows and open floor plan make this the largest feeling “mini motorhome” ever built. There is a lot to mention on this, so please read if you're serious. I’m doing my best to explain it all. This is a second owner camper after 50yrs of age and lived in Southern California all its life. It comes with service records, manuals, and paperwork from over the years and remains in its original restored condition for you to enjoy. It's a collector's edition if you ask me. It's a vintage motorhome, and in my opinion the best model camper van ever made.
This van was owned by an older man who kept it very clean and well serviced. He didn't use it too often over the years due to his old age but was very meticulous with the care and upkeep. Paperwork over the years is all here. He had it in storage in Ventura area and his son sold it to me. It has a clean California Title in my wife’s name. I don't think you can find another Balboa in this original condition. This opportunity is unique and if you are remotely considering something like this, you may want to take a serious look at this one! Please remember this vehicle, although it is is excellent condition is 50 yrs old. It is a classic car. It will draw a lot of attention and you will need to care for it and treat it well. If you do you will benefit from the enjoyment. I own one of these van and have been finding them and restoring them for a decade now, you can see many of my campers around, and speak with anyone who owns a Balboa and they will tell you it changed their life! I made a tour video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Hp9SgRuwo
Dodge v8 360 Holly carburetor with 727 transmission -
Mileage on odometer 93,700. Engine was rebuilt (according to receipts/paperwork included) at 84,000 miles in 1993. Transmission was rebuilt at 92,000 miles in 2001. Carburetor was recently rebuilt and installed by my mechanic. tuned up. plugs, cap, rotor, points, wires, ect are all new. It is ready to go. Oil change recommended
Van runs smooth, strong, and quiet and although its old, it feels young.
Rear suspension has air bags you can adjust for a smooth ride
Dashboard AC pump isn't there, but I assume you could buy one and install. Im not sure
Everything else original is there. Heater, wipers, lights, turn signals, high beams, ect.
Heater on dashboard is blowing air but it isn’t warm.
It has cruise control too, but that doesn't seem to work, I think the cable was disconnected, but it seems all there
Original radio on dash and another original radio in rear of camper
Floor mats and carpet all clean and in great shape, belt strap seat belts. Seats have covers on them, but there is nice comfy blue seats that swivel with armrests under the new black seat covers. They are in pretty good shape, but have some tears. The seats swivel too.
Tires have good tread, but are aged - Cooper Discovery 16.5, the spare tire is missing. I would suggest new tires
Power Steering, Power Brakes, e-brake works.
The Camper Unit:
18ft Balboa Motorhome all fiberglass shell fully contained motorhome.
2 Large slider windows on each side make you feel outside, new screens
upper bunk area could be used for storage or could be set up for child sleeping zone 6ft wide 4 ft wide (but would need a cushion up there for sleeping)
dinette with folding table becomes a double bed (45x80)
long couch seat is also a pullout bed (74x32) which is great if you want to sleep more people or leave the dinette setup (need baseplate for dinnette table - Amazon)
refrigerator is a 3 way fridge but I can’t seem to get it to work.
Stove and oven looks never used and works on propane, propane tank 8gal is under the side exterior of the van
All manuals for everything and how to use everything are included
Hot water heater works on 110V when you are plugged in, or it heats the water when you drive from the engine
Auxiliary battery charges when you drive or are plugged in. Outlets all work when you are plugged in.
Interior lights work, rear fan over oven works, …..everything pretty much works, this thing is sweet!
Bathroom - toilet, shower, sink, and vent in bathroom at rear, all drain into tank underneath that can be drained like a normal motorhome at camp facility
Propane Suburban Heater with thermostat will heat the camper if you get cold
40 gallon fresh water tank storage tank and water pump
Upper storage cabinets have new carpet liner and rear storage cabinets/drawers
All vintage plates, silverware, cups, pots and pans included
Curtains are there to create privacy in the front, but are showing age. You can install your own curtains on large windows for privacy
Large windows slide open
Rear door has a lock and there is a ladder to the roof,
Rooftop AC is works its called a DuoTherm, but you would need generator or be plug in for rooftop AC to work, thats how it is in all rv’s.
Upolstery is brand new. Done with a durable waxed canvas similar to Sunbrella
I’m sure there is more to mention but pretty much this is a unicorn and a dream van!
oh, yeah its cable TV ready, it is wired for you to hook up to cable ;)
I removed old carpet and installed vinyl floor (photos/video show old carpet)
What's wrong with it?
Well, let’s be really picky….. considering it is an antique…here is all I can think of to let you know everything I know:
small ding on windshield in lower area by wipers, out of sight
not sure about fridge, you may be able to get it to work, it looks clean but old I noticed the rear pipes heat up when the van is plugged in, and I have tried to ignite it on propane, but didn’t have any luck, but Youtube says the van needs to be very level….based on the rest of the van’s condition, my guess is it could be fixed, but not sure.
cruise control doesn’t work, but I would never personally drive it with cruise control even if it did work. You gotta “feel the van” when you drive it ;)
Dashboard factory AC doesn’t work, air blows but its not cold. Windows go down great.
Original OEM factory radios don’t get lots of stations, they do work but its old school, I just use my portable Bluetooth speaker
As mentioned curtains are kinda faded
There is no seatbelts in the rear, they would need to be installed if you wanted them, but I don’t think they are required by law.
I am selling this van because, I have another Balboa Motorhome and I love them, so I bought and spent time getting this one all dialed in and ready for the new owner. You can see my vans on Instagram @freedomvessel and tour some on FreedomVessel Youtube Channel or www.freedomvessel.com. We also have a Balboa Owners club on Facebook and @balboamotorhomes on Instagram
The vehicle is sold "as is" with no warranty written, expressed or implied. I'm doing my best to answer questions, be honest, and express my excitement for this unique camper. Some of my comments are “opinions”
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