U.K. Motorhome Thefts Decline; Wrecks Up 40%

November 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thefts of and from motorhomes in the United Kingdom have fallen for the first nine months of the year, new figures show. Research from insurance specialist Caravan Guard show that claims for theft of and from motorhomes fell by almost 50% between January and September when compared to the same period last year, according to a news release. The company attributes the fall to increasingly vigilant and security conscious motorhome owners as well as ever improving security products available... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In observance of the RV Centennial, RV Business, the industry’s leading trade journal, reviewed some of the more interesting design concepts generated by North America’s recreational vehicle industry between 1910-2010. Airstream GMAC Ultra Van Dodge/Travco Discoverer Chassis Mounts Lear Coachome Li’l Bugger The ‘Eyebrow’ Winnebago Hertz RV Rentals Bounder Toy(ota) Motorhomes The Amphibious ‘Thing’  Read More →

13 Great Centennial RVs – 13 of 13

July 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Amphibious ‘Thing’ Back 13 of 13 | View All "The Thing" While the term “land yacht” has been used to describe a rather opulently equipped RV, there was a time when it could be taken quite literally. In the summer of ’73, the Waterland Corp., Belmont, Calif., built the world’s first amphibious motorhome, nicknamed “The Thing.” Mechanically, the craft sported all the requisite accouterments for highway cruising — essentially, wheels and tires... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 12 of 13

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Toy(ota) Motorhomes Back Next 12 of 13 | View All Toyota motorhome Backyard mechanics had been fitting the miniscule Toyota pickup with an array of homebuilt campers almost from the time the truck debuted in the U.S. in 1964. So it wasn’t surprising when in ’73 the company finally introduced an “RV” version — and created the world’s first micro mini-motorhome in the process. The new Toyota-Chinook sported a chassis that was built specifically for RV use; the truck’s... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 11 of 13

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Bounder Back Next 11 of 13 | View All Fleetwood Bounder While the evolution of Fleetwood Enterprises can be traced back to the ‘50s and a small company in Paramount, Calif., by the name of Coach Specialties Mfg. Co. — the Fleetwood name began as one of the firm’s travel trailer models — it wasn’t until 1968, when company founder John Crean bought Pace Arrow, that the manufacturer known for its motorhomes finally went motorized. The Pace Arrow acquisition proved to be an... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 10 of 13

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Hertz RV Rentals Back Next 10 of 13 | View All Hertz Rentals Imagine walking up to the counter of a car rental facility, paying your fare and picking up the keys to a race car in drag. It happened. For one memorable year, Ford Motor Co. and Hertz Rent-A-Car got together to create an offer that’s firmly entrenched in hot-rod heaven: the 1966 Hertz Shelby Mustang. Hertz only offered the Shelby Mustangs for one year, but that didn’t stop the company from experimenting in other venues.... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 9 of 13

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The ‘Eyebrow’ Winnebago Back Next 9 of 13 | View All Winnebago Few RV enthusiasts today know that Winnebago — the exclusively motorized brand that has become so firmly lodged into the lexicon that it’s used to generically describe recreational vehicles in general — actually began life as a travel trailer manufacturer. It wasn’t until 1966 that the first Winnebago to move under its own power left the assembly line. By January 1967, Winnebago was advertising “America’s... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 8 of 13

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Li’l Bugger Back Next 8 of 13 | View All Li'l Bugger While an assortment of chassis have been used to support motorhome designs through the years, the Li’l Bugger stands as the only class C-style limited production motorhome ever built on a car sedan frame. Bellflower, Calif.-based Travelon Industries offered the $2,795 modification, utilizing a cutaway VW sedan chassis; the only acknowledgement of a higher (2,400-pound) wet weight was the need for more supportive tires... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 7 of 13

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Lear Coachome Back Next 7 of 13 | View All Lear William Powell “Bill” Lear was an inventor par excellance. He developed the first workable radio for automobiles and founded Motorola, as well as the “endless loop-tape cartridge” — otherwise known as the 8-track tape — and a corporate-sized jet that still bears his name. In 1968, Lear established Lear Motors Corp. and began working on his idea for a low-pollution engine that could work on steam. Similar in form and function... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 6 of 13

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Chassis Mounts Back Next 6 of 13 | View All 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... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 5 of 13

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Discoverer Back Next 5 of 13 | View All Discoverer From the mid-1960s until the oil embargo of 1973-’74, the motorhome industry was riding an unprecedented wave of popularity. And, with a few notable exceptions, all vehicles boasted the aerodynamics of a brick. Then a couple of “car guys” got involved. The son of William S. Knudsen, president of General Motors in the late ‘30s, Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen seemed destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. However, after... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 4 of 13

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Dodge/Travco Back Next 4 of 13 | View All Dodge Travco The roots of the Travco coach — considered to be the world’s first production-line motorhome and the first built of fiberglass — can be traced back to the mid-‘50s and a farmer/engineer by the name of Ray Frank. At the time, travel trailers were the rage and many self-propelled “house cars” tended to be ugly, homebuilt affairs. However, the vehicle that emerged from the Frank barn outside Brown City, Mich., drew accolades... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 3 of 13

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Ultra Van Back Next 3 of 13 | View All Ultra Van While Ralph Nader may have peered into the rear-engine compartment of the Chevrolet Corvair and seen fire and brimstone, Dave Peterson saw opportunity — and within a year of the Corvair’s 1959 introduction, Peterson had rented a garage, drafted a dream and began selling lightweight machines that, if nothing else, were initially blessed with one of the classic motorhome monickers of all time — the Go-Home — before the designer... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 2 of 13

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

GMAC Back Next 2 of 13 | View All GMAC Low floors, high ceilings, aerodynamically designed fiberglass front and rear end caps, good handling and ride quality, airy interiors — it’s hard to imagine a time when these most basic of modern motorhome amenities didn’t exist. Prior to the GMC, however, motorhomes were unwieldy, dimly lit tubes. Arguably the first vehicle built as a motorhome from the tires up, the 1973-’78 GMC quite literally brought the industry out of the Dark... Read more

13 Great Centennial RVs – 1 of 13

July 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Airstream Next 1 of 13 | View All Bob Wheeler, president of Airstream According to Airstream Inc. President and CEO Bob Wheeler, “A monocoque shell is a perfect design to build a long-lasting travel trailer.” It is also, apparently, a perfect design with which to build a long-lasting travel trailer company. The Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary has in fact been in business since 1936, making it the oldest continually active manufacturer in the RV industry. Not surprisingly, the... Read more