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13 Great Centennial RVs – 6 of 13

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July 6, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Chassis Mounts

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Open Road Bel Air

Open Road Bel Air

While Class A motorhomes were simply “born big” at the turn of the ’60s, Class C coaches display a progression that would make Charles Darwin smile. Class C motorhomes — first known as “housecars” — didn’t simply happen. They evolved. In fact, a case could probably be made that they owe their life to their travel trailer siblings.

This form of motorized camping is thought to have originated from Traveleze Industries, and its founder, Kenneth Dixon. A trailer manufacturer since the early 1930s, the company made a lasting impression when, in 1948, it decided to see what would happen if a trailer could be carried as easily as it was towed.

Called chassis mounts, the earliest of these production-based motorhomes were little more than existing travel trailers bolted down to the chassis of heavy-duty pickup trucks. By affixing a trailer solidly to the chassis, these coaches offered the same single-vehicle maneuverability enjoyed by trucks fitted with traditional slide-in camper shells — but a dramatic increase in interior room and creature comforts.

Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, chassis-mount campers were a popular alternative for outdoor enthusiasts — but as Class A coaches took hold, the evolution of the truck-based camper into a legitimate motorhome was virtually certain.

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