By Alex Lauer / June 25, 2019

Three of These Porsche-Powered Campers Exist. One Is Up for Auction.

The history behind Mecum Auction’s 1955 Porsche Tempo Mikafa Sport

Porsche Camper Auctions Mecum Monterey
This is one of three Porsche Tempo Mikafa Sport Campers. In August, it's up for auction.
Mecum Auctions

The rise of the #VanLife trend and overall growing interest in the RV, camper and trailer industry among young people have led to some truly innovative, one-of-a-kind adventure vehicles. (Think less Winnebago, more “where’d the weight go?”)

But the most intriguing recreational vehicle we’ve seen in the last five years wasn’t built by some YouTuber. In fact, it’s almost 65 years old.

We’re talking about the 1955 Porsche Tempo Mikafa Sport Camper. You’re not dreaming. Porsche campers are real. This particular model is currently listed on Mecum Auctions’ website and slated to sell at Monterey this August. And no, we didn’t know this existed until now either.

Of course, the idea of a “Porsche camper” sounds sexy, but how much of the German marque is actually inside this beast? Let’s start by unpacking the name.

1955 Porsche Tempo Mikafa Sport Camper Auction
A Porsche badge on the front of the 1955 Tempo Mikafa Sport Camper. (Mecum Auctions)

As the listing states, this is an aluminum-bodied Mikafa camper built on a Tempo chassis. We’re not talking about the Ford Tempo, but a now-defunct German vehicle manufacturer, and Mikafa is a former coachbuilder, according to Silodrome. The publication goes on to describe how those companies teamed up with Porsche: basically, they pivoted to the camper business during the post-WWII disarmament, and when Tempo and Volkswagen (which provided engines) had a contract dispute, engines from other motor companies were used, including Porsche. (Doesn’t this leviathan remind you of an old VW bus?)

When this particular camper left the factory, it packed the Porsche 356’s flat-four engine in a front-wheel drive setup and featured Porsche badging front and back. According to the listing, it’s believed to be one of only three Porsche Sport models ever built, and the only one Stateside.

Now, the bad news. Yes, it’s got the Porsche logo. Yes, it’s titled as a “1955 Porsche.” But before you bid, collect your winnings and pop open the hatch to the engine, you should know: the Porsche motor is gone. In the end, VW had the last laugh, as somewhere along the line one of the company’s four-cylinder “boxer” engines was swapped in.

Porsche Camper Auction Mecum Monterey
A peek inside the “unrestored” interior of the Porsche camper. Just look at that steering wheel. (Mecum Auctions)

Does that still give you the right to call this a Porsche, or Mecum the right to sell it as such? Certainly. But once your road-trip buddies get a look at the “cosmetically unrestored” interior, you may have to break out the history books to prove you didn’t just slap Porsche decals on the ends.