The RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., recently announced that RV industry pioneer Kirwan Elmers will be inducted as a member of the class of 2013 during an induction dinner on Aug. 5.
In a press release, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) noted that Elmers has been a long-time family and commercial member of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based organization, currently marking its 50th anniversary.
He attended the July 1963 FMCA meeting of “house car” owners where the decision was made to form the organization for those who enjoyed traveling by motorized recreation vehicles, now known as motorhomes. Elmers also served as a member of FMCA’s Commercial Council for many years, including as president from 1990 to 1999.
“Kirwan’s induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame is long overdue,” commented FMCA national president Charlie Schrenkel. “He has been a true pioneer in the RV industry whose contributions merited recognition by his peers. We are proud that Kirwan has been associated with FMCA for so many years, and we congratulate him on this honor.”
Two other motorhome industry leaders and FMCA supporters also will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013 – the late C.M. Fore, founder of Foretravel Motorhomes, and the late Mat Perlot, founder of Safari Motorhomes.
In 1955, Elmers and his father, Miles, founded Custom Coach Corp., based in Columbus, Ohio. Custom Coach became a division of Columbus-based Farber Specialty Vehicles in 2002, but Elmers continued to be involved in the operation of the company until his retirement in 2012.
He and his father developed the first commercially converted motor coaches designed for private use. The company’s custom conversions provide celebrities, traveling executives and RV families with permanent or temporary residences.
The company’s many well-known clients brought recognition to the motorhome lifestyle. For instance, the company provided 22 “Big Mac” coaches for Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds, as well as coaches for the late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, among myriad other corporate clients. Custom Coach conversions have even been used as “anchors” for the Goodyear blimps.
Custom Coach’s celebrity clients have included Lee Greenwood, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty, Ray Charles, Clint Eastwood and sportscaster John Madden.
The clientele list also includes true royalty, as the royal family of Saudi Arabia has purchased a number of the company’s conversions over the years. The last of the family’s 21 45-foot Custom Coach conversions were delivered by air to Dubai, the capital.
Editor’s Note: The following review appeared in the online edition of Gizmag and details one of the displays at the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf, the world’s largest RV show, now underway through Sunday in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Attention, all males! When you were young, did you ever dream about being given the keys to the toy shop? Well, for four very lucky men that dream was realized when they won a competition to help design the red-blooded man’s recreational vehicle. They chose to incorporate a bar, disco, outdoor theater, rooftop sundeck, two plasma screens, sound system, poker table and barbecue — and no needless devices in the kitchen.
The men were chosen from hundreds of hopefuls who entered the competition run by caravan and motorhome company Sunlight GmbH, who initialized the project, together with the trade magazine Reisemobil International, Europe’s best selling Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, and Hasseröder brewery.
The winners were chosen by a jury and their prize was they got to be involved in the development of a vehicle designed to make men’s dreams come true.
The competition was held in response to a similar event three years ago, where Sunlight responded to a cry from women that the booming German motorhome industry lacked female input into its vehicle design. The resultant RV, which was designed-by-women-for-women, was a great success and is now in series production. It has a number of innovations, some of which have become almost ubiquitous in motorhomes in a very short time.
However, Newton’s Third Law tells us that for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction, hence the motorhome designed-for-men-by-men, which was unveiled at Caravan Salon Dusseldorf 2009. The “man cave on wheels” showcases the RV’s “boy toys” that includes the poker table and large-screen TVs, as well as a number of practical solutions.
For example, the laundry and sink are housed outside, and flexible box systems replace the classic ceiling storage units. Gone is the traditional kitchen full of unnecessary gadgets. Instead, the design team opted for easy-to-use appliances such as microwave, oven and barbecue.
A centerpiece of the RV is the living room complete with large bar and spirits dispenser, while a pull-out sitting room suite and a roof patio provide for outdoor comfort.
Work on the prototype started in February at the Sunlight Company. An Iveco Daily was chosen as the base of the man mobile because of its toughness, rear-wheel drive, twin rear wheels, long wheel base, huge load capacity and trucker optics.
In the man’s kitchen there’s a mandatory in-built café style coffee machine (great for the morning after), a fridge/freezer, other high end appliances and glass benchtops.
All your entertainment needs are catered for, from poker on the round table to the electronic dartboard and foosball table. Or how about a bit of dancing under the disco mirror ball to the high-powered music system or the built-in radio? That is, if you’re not engrossed in a movie or sport on one of the two plasma screens. Nothing on satellite TV? Then connect the Nintendo Wii for some more fun. After working up a sweat, sit back with a beer or a cocktail at the bar while relaxing on the special cowhide bar stools.
Speaking of cowhide, the cockpit also incorporates the same styling with the leather seats that match the stools and the lounge suite around the games/meals table.
Looking up, clear skylights open to let in the mountain air and also reveal the roof-top sundeck, with balcony viewing platform for bird-watching under the canopy.
To extract the most out of the great outdoors, why not take in a movie under the stars on the large projection screen attached to the rear of the RV? You’re only human, right?
No hint of pricing for this one or fuel economy but, hey, with all the luxuries and entertainment on board this RV, you might not even need to take it out of the garage to get away from it all.