We’ve seen motorhomes of all shapes and sizes, but this one refurbished by customizer Art Himsl has to be one of the sweetest rides we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Could you imagine the double takes this thing would get rolling down the road?
Now dubbed the 1937 Himsl Zeppelin Roadliner, this whimsical vehicle was originally built by a mechanic in San Francisco as a prototype house car.
A San Francisco doctor had commissioned the vehicle, with high hopes of manufacturing thousands of them once they became popular. But World War II hit, and materials fell short, so the project was called off. Records show it was first registered in 1942 as a Plymouth house car.
Himsl discovered the prototype in 1968, when him and his friend, Ed Green, spotted it sticking out of a barn in Napa Valley, California. They used it together as an office for many years, but it wasn’t until years later when they decided to do a serious restoration.
They started by completely refurbishing the drive components. Air bags were installed, a 350 cubic inch V8 Chevy engine replaced the old flathead engine, along with a push button automatic transmission.
Here’s a look at the motorhome’s chassis. It was originally constructed with an aluminum framing underneath.
The vehicle was initially covered with a “Grade A” linen aircraft fabric skin. But Himsl ripped it all off, and replaced it with a modern, durable Stitz Poly-Fiber.
Inside, the original ice box & Coleman stove were upgraded to a fridge & microwave oven, and the table drops down to access a queen bed. He also installed a rear-view camera, and even a little propeller on the back.
Front fenders were additionally added (it didn’t originally have any), the vehicle’s nose was reconstructed, and Himsl finished it off with a quirky Art Deco theme. The whole restoration was finally completed by 2002 and given its new name, the “1937 Himsl Zeppelin Roadliner”.
You can even see the Zeppelin Roadliner in action – and Art Himsl himself – in this short, 3-minute video from The Travel Channel.