The Whale RV
by Alan Wiener (aka RVing Al)
(Editor; Everything About RVing)
The Whale RV
This story was submitted on our Why Do You Love RVing Page
One of the reasons we love RVing is because of some of the interesting things we discover when we travel down the highways and byways. For example while cruising down a highway in the Southern Nevada Desert we stumbled upon "The Whale". No, this whale was not a fossil from some prehistoric Nevada inland sea nor was it Captain Ahab's elusive Moby Dick. Good Sam Extended Service Plan is mechanical breakdown insurance for your RV, 5th Wheel, Trailer, and Tow Vehicle! FREE Quote
The Whale we stumbled upon is a 1969 Corvair powered Ultra Van Class A Motorhome made by Ultra inc. and owned by Chuck and Cyndie Hanson from Mesquite, Nevada. They were displaying their little Whale RV at a car show in Henderson Nevada.
The whale caught our attention because of how unique it looks and also because of its unique history. As you can see by the pictures at the top of this page it does have a resemblance to a white whale. Here are the stats on The Whale.
* One of only 375 units ever built by Ultra Inc.
* Powered by a 190 Cubic Inch air cooled custom port Electronic Fuel Injected Corvair engine.
* 22 feet in length, 8 feet wide with over 6 feet of interior headroom.
* Because of its unique aircraft monocoque fuselage construction it weighs in at less than 4000 pounds.
* Programmable 4 wheel independent air spring suspension
* 12.2" disc brakes with 4 piston calipers.
* Onan Microlite Generator
* 15,000 BTU heat pump/air conditioner
* Full Galley including a 3 way refrigerator
, stove and oven
* Bathroom with a shower.
* A bedroom that includes a full kind sized bed.
As you can tell from the statistics above "The Whale" has been modified by the Hansons since it was originally built in 1969. The original Ultra Vans did not come equipped with Air Suspension, Disc Brakes nor a Heat Pump/Air Conditioner.
The original Ultra Vans were powered by Corvair air cooled engines but a 190 cu. in air cooled custom port Electronic Fuel Injected Corvair engine was not an option. In fact the first Ultra Van Prototypes (called "Go Homes") were powered by 80 horsepower, 140 cubic inch Corvair engines. A little later in production the standard Corvair engine was increased to 110 horsepower with an optional 140 horsepower Corvair engine available.
The Corvair powered Ultra Vans were not the last Ultra Vans ever built in fact before its demise in 1970 Ultra Inc. built 47 "Corvette Ultra Vans" powered by 307 cubic inch small block Chevy engines. As you can imagine that size engine in an RV that weighed less than 4000 pounds gave the "Corvette Ultra Van Motorhome" closer to sports car like acceleration.
So if you are ever traveling down a lonely highway in Nevada and off in the distance through the heat haze you see a little white whale bobbing up and down the dips in the road; no you are not hallucinating it's just the Hansons taking "The Whale" on a road trip.
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