Ultra Van: The Corvair Motorhome

This page was established in 1996 by the late Dr. Kenneth N. Wildman.
The entire Ultra Van community owes him a great debt for his tireless support.
Rest in peace UltraKen.

The Ultra Van Page

The Official Website of the Ultra Van Motor Coach Club (UVMCC)

1968 Ultra Van

Ultra Van, The World's Largest Production Corvair!


  • General Description of the Ultra Van
  • The Sales Brochure - 1966 - From Owen Strawn
  • The Prescolite Travalon Brochure (The first licensee manufacturer) - From Graham Dell
  • History of the Ultra Van - From Norm Helmkay
  • Pictures of Ultra Vans - From Scott Pilkington
  • Betsy's Ultra Van pages - From Betsy Senn
  • The UVMCC Club devoted to the Ultra Van
  • The Tech-Tips A compilation and index to technical tips published in club newsletters
  • Specifications
  • Cross-links
  • Does Santa Claus Drive an Ultra?
  • 30th Anniversary Rally
  • Upcoming Rallies
  • Coaches for sale

    General Description

    The Ultra Van is a unique motorhome. Powered by a Corvair engine and transaxle, it was designed by David Peterson (a professional aircraft designer) in the early sixties. These units were produced in limited quantities by Ultra, Inc. of Hutchinson, Kansas until June of 1970.

    As a true monococque structure, the Ultra Van has no chassis. It is constructed like an airplane with aluminum ribs covered with riveted sheet aluminum on the top and sides. Compound curved areas (front and back corners) are fiberglass. All wheels are independently sprung with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers.

    These units cruise easily at 60 mph and deliver 15 plus mpg. More than 100 of about 376 units produced are still on the road, many with between 100,000 and 500,000 miles of use.

    The Corvair Society of America (CORSA) recognizes the Ultra Van as a true Corvair marque.

    Interior Layout

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    A club for all who are interested in Ultra Vans. Chapter #008 of CORSA. Officers of the club for 2016-2017 Ultra Year: President: Jerry Mello Vice-president: Chris Brown Secretary: Kim Yocum Treasurer: Owen Strawn Western Directors: Gale Pfueller, Jerry Mello, Ron Adams Eastern Directors: Jim Davis, Gary Anderson, Kevin Coykendall Newsletter Editor: Brenda Standal Technical Advisor: Chuck Hanson Dues are $15 a year for hardcopy delivery of the quarterly Whales On Wheels newsletter, or $5 a year for email delivery. Sample copies are available on request, from the club treasurer. To join, send your check payable to UVMCC to the Treasurer: Owen Strawn 434 South Lexington Road Wichita KS 67218 Email: UVMCC_Membership@yahoo.com back to topics

    Length: 22 feet Wheelbase: 152 inches
    Height: 8 feet Width: 8 feet
    Price (New): $8,500 - $12,500 Dry Weight 3-4,000 Ibs
    Price (2009) $5,000 - $15,000 Touring Weight:4,500 Ibs-5800 lbs

    Cross-Links with other web-sites

    CORSA - The Corvair Society of America Homepage

    Hemmings Motor News - "The bible" of the collector car hobby

    The RV Zone - The InterNet RV & Camping Guide

    The Chevrolet Corvair Page - A Great Car At Any Speed

    Vintage Vacations A site devoted to the restoration and preservation of pre 1960 RVs.

    Ken Hand is an well-known Corvair Mechanic in Michigan and can work on Ultra Vans

    Gary Aube's Corvair Page - A very comprehensive Corvair page

    Unique RVs - Just what the name suggests... back to topics

    30th Anniversary "Home to Hutchinson" Rally

    September 24-29, 1996. Kansas State Fairgrounds

    The Ultra Van Motor Coach Club celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the start of production of Ultra Vans at Hutchinson, Kansas. By week's end, 38 coaches had gathered for the occasion.

    One of the highlights of our rally was the convoy from Cheney State Park to Hutchinson for a parade of 27 coaches through town. Hundreds of people took thousands of photos, and television stations from Wichita and other cities recorded the event. The photo below is a panoramic view of the coaches forming up for our convoy.

    During the week long encampment at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, hundreds of former Ultra employees and local citizens took the opportunity to visit with us, look at the coaches, talk to owners (both original and recent purchasers), and learn more about these unique vehicles.

    A group of about 20 Cushman Scooter owners rode down from Topeka to visit with us and share the nostalgia of old, classic vehicles.

    Norm Helmkay's coach typifies the fond memories we have of our rally.

    Upcoming Rallies

    Each year the UVMCC sponsors several Rallies in different parts of the country. The following list gives the date, location and a phone number for more information. Join us!

  • March 6-9, 2017 UltraVan Eastern Spring Rally - North Fort Meyers FL Info: Brenda Standal, 239-656-3075
  • March 24-30, 2017 GMC Motorhomes International Vintage Motorhome Celebration - Shawnee OK Info: Owen Strawn, 316-208-4885 Note: Ultra mini rally cancelled
  • May 5-7, 2017 Ultras in the Route 66 Fun Run - Kingman AZ Info: Betsy Senn, 928-565-1298
  • May 18-21, 2017 UltraVan Western Spring Rally - Yosemite Park CA Info: Rosie Walker, 916-421-2130
  • June 30-July 5, 2017 UltraVan Pod at the All American Vintage Trailer Rally - Brooks OR Info: Bob Gallagher, 503-999-6626
  • September 19-22, 2017 UVMCC National Rally - Hutchinson KS Lighthouse Landing RV Park Info: Gary Anderson, 507-289-2084
  • A Typical Rally

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    Well, he's not really Santa - but with a Helmkay-style smiley on the front of his Ultra Van and his bushy white beard, Ron Adams sure has surprized alot of kids along the highway! Read about Ron's experiences in acquiring his Ultra, straight from the pages of his weekly newspaper column. To find the 6 additional columns scroll to the bottom of HIS page.

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    A Thai Odyssey via Ultra Van

    In March of 1998, a Thai artist living in the U.S. arranged for a group of 5 art students from Thailand to tour the country. For some unknown reason they purchased the "demonstrator" Ultra Van (#200) and set off on their journey. Unfortunately the Ultra was struck in the rear and totaled. No one was seriously injured and the group continued on using more conventional transportation. The story of their adventure is located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art website.

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