For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (2024)

Reading time: about 6 minutes |Written by Ben Branch|June 3rd 2024

This combination is about as close to the perfect vintage camper set up that we’ve ever seen, consisting of a 1968 Chevrolet C20 pickup truck and a 1966 Del Rey “Sky Lounge” Camper that has three levels including a rooftop observation deck.

Del Rey was the largest producer of truck campers in the USA by the late 1960s and it’s not hard to see why. They came out with some of the most innovative designs the world had ever seen, and left the competition looking a little boring by comparison.

Fast Facts – A Chevrolet Pickup + Del Rey “Sky Lounge”

  • This combination includes both a 1968 Chevrolet C20 CST with a 396 cubic inch V8 and a 1966 Del Rey Sky Lounge Camper. The truck, originally gold with off-white accents, was repainted in its factory colors in 1991 and includes dual fuel tanks, chrome bumpers, running boards, and some camper-specific accessories.
  • Founded by Bill Overhulser in 1957, Del Rey Industries quickly became the largest producer of truck campers in the USA by the late 1960s. Overhulser, who started his career at Richardson Homes, pioneered many technologies, including the camper jack, a safer new camper attachment method, and an independent trailer braking system.
  • The Sky Lounge was a notable high-point from Del Rey, featuring an elevated double bed and panoramic perspex windows above the truck cab. These models often included a rooftop observation deck accessed by a rear ladder, allowing for a unique camping experience with expansive views and a sense of luxury when compared to the other truck bed campers of the time.
  • The featured camper setup, offered for sale with no reserve price, includes ample amenities including a double bed, convertible dinette for a second bed, a toilet, shower, stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, and propane heater. The sale also includes manufacturer literature, maps, and a clean Montana title.

The Del Rey “Sky Lounge” Camper

Del Rey Industries was founded by William (Bill) Overhulser in 1957, it as originally named Lil’ Sport Coach and it was based out of his own suburban garage in Elkhart Indiana. Within just a single decade Overhulser would have become the largest manufacturer of truck campers in the USA, and almost certainly in the world, pioneering many technologies that are still in use today.

For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (2)As you can see from the caption in this image, people regularly would ride in the Sky Lounge in the camper up above the cab of the truck. Image courtesy of Del Rey Industries.

The Origins Of Del Rey

Overhulser had started in the camper and trailer industry in 1952, working at Richardson Homes, a leading manufacturer of camper trailers. He wasn’t there with a view to working for the company until retirement however, he had a plan – a plan to learn everything he could and then start his own company.

He started Lil’ Sport Coach in 1957 but quickly found the name limiting, so he changed it to Le Safari. This new name was quickly nixed by a cease and desist letter from Airstream who had already registered Le Safari as a trademark, and so Overhulser switched to the new name Del Rey, meaning “Of the King” in Spanish.

It would be under the name Del Rey Industries that Overhulser would make his mark on the camper and RV world, building a series of camper trailers, pickup truck bed campers, and chassis mount campers that would take the industry by storm.

The Arrival Of The Del Rey Sky Lounge

One of the most famous design innovations from Del Rey was the “Sky Lounge,” an elevated double bed above the cab of the pickup truck, with wrap around perspex windows and a lounge area offering panoramic views of the road ahead. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, before safety legislation banned it, many families would holiday with the kids up top in the Sky Lounge, and the parents in the truck enjoying the peace and quiet with the AM radio on.

Many of these Sky Lounge models also came with a rear ladder and a platform on the roof designed for people to stand or sit in folding chairs as an “observation deck,” essentially making them the kings of the campground.

For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (4)This somewhat low-resolution image shows a page from an original Del Rey Sky Lounge brochure. If you click the image it will load in a larger size in a new window to make it a little easier to read. Image courtesy of Del Rey Industries.

Other innovations from Del Rey would include the camper jack which changed the way truck campers were handled and remains in common use today. They also developed a new and safer way to attach campers to pickup truck beds, and an automatic emergency braking system for trailers that operated independently of the standard braking system, using compressed air tanks on the trailer itself.

Overhulser was one of the founding board members of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), a major entity that is still in operation today. In 1969 he decided to sell his company to Gladding Industries, he remained on as a manager and product designer for a handful of years, before taking an early retirement in 1976 at the age of just 42.

The Chevrolet Pickup + Del Rey “Sky Lounge” Shown Here

The ensemble you see here consists of a 1968 Chevrolet C20 CST and a 1966 Del Rey Sky Lounge Camper. The truck is powered by a 396 cubic inch gasoline V8 sending powered back through a three-speed automatic transmission. This engine was originally rated at 235 bhp and 345 lb ft of torque, and this truck is fitted with dual fuel tanks to increase range.

The truck was originally painted in Gold with an Off-White roof and lower bodywork. It was then repainted at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet in Aurora, Colorado, in 1991, and it still wears this paint today. It has a chrome front bumper, a diamond-plate rear bumper, running boards, front and rear receiver hitches, as well as camper mirrors and tie-downs.

The camper is a tri-level 1966 Del Rey Sky Lounge, and yes you read that right, it has three levels. There is the primary entrance area level, the elevated Sky Lounge bed above the truck cab, and the rooftop observation deck.

For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (6)This is one of the best surviving examples of the Del Rey Sky Lounge that we’ve seen come up for sale in recent memory, remaining in remarkably original condition throughout.

There is both a double bed and a dinette set that can convert into another small double bed. It also has a toilet, shower, stove, oven, table, refrigerator, and sink along with water tanks, and a propane heater and lantern.

This pickup truck and camper combination is now being offered for sale out of Durham, California with no reserve price, some manufacturer’s literature, a collection of maps, and a clean Montana title in the name of the seller’s LLC. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (36)

Ben Branch

Articles that Ben has written have been covered onCNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine,Road & Track Magazine,the official Pinterest blog, theofficialeBay Motorsblog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.

Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.

Published by Ben Branch - June 3rd 2024

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For Sale: A 1968 Chevrolet C20 + Del Rey "Sky Lounge" Camper (2024)


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