10 VINTAGE CAMPERS THAT WERE “AHEAD OF THEIR TIME”


– [Glen] Innovation does not
always equate to success. Even nowadays, new and unique designs aren’t always loved by the public. I’m Glen, and today we’re
looking at 10 vintage campers that may have been a
bit ahead of their time. (funky music) (serene music) – This episode of Minds Eye Design is brought to you by Ztylus Stinger, an emergency escape tool
that can save your life. With a sharp razor to cut your seatbelt, a two stage spring-loaded window punch, and can even be used, a
phone charger in your car. For more information on this product, the link is the description below. (gentle music) (serene music) Number 10. – [Glen] Launched in 1913,
the Earl Travel Trailer is believed to be the world’s oldest non-tent travel trailer. It was built for a CAL Tech
professor in Los Angeles, and pulled by a Ford Model T Runabout. It has a dark wood
exterior, and an interior that is surprisingly roomy, containing a four person dining table that could be converted into
a double bed when needed. An original is currently on display at the RV and Motor Home Hall
of Fame Museum in Indiana. But if you are a true fan, then you’ll be glad to
know that a replica model went on sale last year, priced at $12,000. – [Announcer] Number nine. (happy music) – [Glen] True to its name, the 1939 Lindbergh Travel Trailer was used by none other than the famous aviator
Charles Lindbergh himself. When he wasn’t off breaking records, he enjoyed keeping his
feet firmly on the ground, to enjoy some camping. His reflective aluminum skin
trailer boasts two axles, one at each end. This allowed it to be
unhitched from the tow vehicle without the need for a
support jack for the tongue. The oak interior features
bunk beds, a fold out table, and a U shaped kitchen. This trailer might not be the
most luxurious on the list, but because of their namesake, they sell for around 150 to $200,000. – [Announcer] Number eight. (serene music) – [Glen] Unveiled in
1937, the Ford Housecar features a distinctive
boxed shaped trailer mounted on top of a ’37 Ford
pickup frame and cowling. The rear framing is all wood, painted a distinctive dark green, with a metal skin wrapped around it. The roof is made from a
heavy waterproof canvas top, which can expand to give
the Housecar more height. The door and window frames
are made of thick solid oak, and lead guests into an all wood interior. Inside, there is a single
bed with storage underneath, as well as cabinets and
a collapsible table. A wood headliner, and
curtains on all the windows really complete the feeling
of a warm, cozy camper. During the 1930s, on average, only six Housecars were
manufactured per year, at the Ford plant in Minnesota. – [Announcer] Number seven. (happy music) – [Glen] Founded in the 1930s,
the Airstream Trailer Company initially sold plans, kits, and partially completely trailers. Customers would only purchase
the silver aluminum shell, which they had to put together themselves. One of the available designs
was the Airstream Torpedo. This model was purchased
by medical student Dr. Holman in 1935, for a mere $5. The equivalent of under $80 today, and it’s recognized as being the oldest existing
Airstream in the world. It only took him three
weeks to install the shell, but two and 1/2 years to
complete the interior. By day, it features a sofa,
flanked by two cabinets, and a small kitchenette in the front. By night, the sofa folds
out into a double bed. And extensions open from the cabinet, allowing two single beds to
be placed over the cabinets, and a portion of the double bed. – [Announcer] Number six. (gentle music) – [Glen] If this groovy camper van is stirring up memories of
the 60s, it’s because by 1965, a total of 187,000 had been built, making the Ford Thames 400E somewhat of a commercial success. Minivan versions could
seat up to 12 people, and without all those extra seats, it’s square shape lent well
to a caravan conversion. It allowed plenty of
space for a pullout sofa, sink and stove top, while
still feeling quite roomy, thanks to the collapsible roof, which created extra head
space when standing. Modifications to the van
meant that a larger engine had to be used, to compensate
for the added weight. – [Announcer] Number five. (serene music) – [Glen] The 1954 Hille
Ranger is considered to be the first modern pop up camping trailer. The roof can be raised by
operating a hand crank, that’s connected to a pulley system. Once cranked to its full
height of just over six feet, the trailer is completed
by inserting canvas walls. Campers can then make use of
the two single beds inside, as well as the ample storage space. It was patented and manufactured in 1954, by Hille Engineering
in Anaheim, California, using fiberglass, and polyester resin. There were only 200 Ranger
trailers ever produced before the name was changed
to the Sport Ranger. Selling for the high price of $1,500, the equivalent of 13,000 today, it’s no surprise that the Ranger had limited commercial success. – [Announcer] Number four. (gentle music) – [Glen] Designed by the
Food Machinery Company, the FMC 2900R motorhome
took to the roads in 1974. At first glance it looks a bit like a bus, which led to many of these
being converted into buses, back during the 70s. The classic 70s interior
consisted of a long couch, and foldaway table, a spacious kitchen, and of course, shag
carpeting on the floor. Priced between 27 and $55,000, which was the cost of the
average home at the time, led to it mainly being popular among upscale motorhome
buyers at the time, touting celebrity clients
such as Clint Eastwood, Carol Burnett, and Pat
Boone to name a few. Nowadays you can find
models selling on eBay for around $2,000. And there are believed to still be around 700 to 800 units out there, down from the 1,000 that
were originally manufactured. – [Announcer] Number three. (happy music) – [Glen] Unveiled in 1961, the FaWoBoo, when hitched to a car, looked more like there was a boat trailer going down the road than a camper van. In fact, the name is an abbreviation which stands for driving, living and boat. Raising the roof is surprisingly simple. You lift one end up and prop it up, using the exterior wall, and then move to the other
end of the vehicle to repeat. The side walls are stored,
stacked on top of each other under the roof, and just
need to be moved into place to complete the set up. The resulting structure has
a submarine type aesthetic, with a porthole door for entry. Inside, there is extremely limited space, amounting to really only
enough for a small double bed, and a bit of storage. It was originally priced
at 5,960 Deutschmarks, the equivalent of around $12,000 today. – [Announcer] Number two. (serene music) – [Glen] Designed by Harmon Industries, the Shadow had one of the most innovative designs of its time. Its unique fifth wheel inspired design allowed even small compact cars to pull the trailer through a hitch mounted to the tow car’s roof. The hitch was made from
a removable steel plate bolted to brackets along the roof gutters. To take advantage of the roll resistance built into modern roofs,
to firmly anchor it. In addition, by placing the
hitch on the roof of the car, as opposed to the rear, you could turn the tow
car a full 360 degrees, while still hitched to the trailer. Harmon Industries sold
the shell for $1,700, and the fully equipped model for $6,500. But despite its innovative design, the Harmon Shadow never quite caught on. The public perception that
it required drilling a hole in the roof of their cars, and could cause damage to
the rear end of the vehicle, meant it was overshadowed
by the competition. – [Announcer] Number one. (happy music) – [Glen] Even more submarine-esque
is the 1962 Windspiel, which wouldn’t be out
of place as a movie prop from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. This lightweight caravan
weighed in at only 661 pounds, despite having a propane stove, refrigerator, and water tank included. The interior features a sloped,
triangular booth seating that comes together at
a rear facing window. The front facing wall
houses the kitchenette, and a large window to look
out at the surroundings. Only five or six models were ever built, at a cost equivalent to
$11,000 in today’s money. Though some of these vintage trailers offered campers a completely
innovative experience, not all of them broke into
the crowded marketplace. (light rock music) Some were just a bit ahead of their time. Do you know any other vintage
campers this holds true for? Let us know in the comments. – Hey guys, this is Cassie. I hope you guys enjoyed this video. Tell us in the comments below what you found to be the
most interesting, and why. Also, if you haven’t done so yet, make sure to hit the bell notification next to the subscribe button, to stay up to date with
all of our latest videos. Thank you for watching,
I’ll see you guys next time. (light rock music) ♪ Here’s tomorrow and I’m holding on ♪ ♪ Searching for the last here ♪

100 Replies to “10 VINTAGE CAMPERS THAT WERE “AHEAD OF THEIR TIME””

  1. Thanks for watching everyone! 😍

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  2. I own a 1974 FMC 2900R that I am mechanically going through system by system before I take it on the road. It only has 72,000 miles on it. Can't wait to take it out. 🙂

  3. At least the model in this video is a good-looking woman and she looks more natural not pasted makeup I like her good video

  4. Wait a minute that we would all that makeup in the black she's back again I thought long hair chick was the one damn it the one with that ugly makeup is back

  5. Hi Glen, I waited to finally see the submarine! But where, oh where is the VW Westphalia??? I had a VW vanagan and toured all over Mexico in it in the days when no passports were required….I converted it myself into a camper but when I finally got the real-deal Westphalia with the pop top, kitchen, upstairs/downstairs beds I was a truly happy camper…well, until a crooked mechanic got hold of it. Maybe the Westie doesn’t count as sufficiently vintage since so many must still be on the road(?) though no longer following the Grateful Dead around the country…(I later graduated to a 22’ class c GMC mounted Winnebago but after touching base in every state in the South, am currently back in the market for a Dodge caravan I’ll build a camper into (now that my Volvo stationwagon art-car blew its engine). As a traveling musician I’ve also car-camped and couch-surfed. Get in touch. Watch the video about me living in my storage and in “the Notorious Brattmobile” (the GMC Class C motorhome). Depending on your location it’d be fun to do a phone interview about all of this. I don’t have a podcast but I do have my FCC radio broadcast license from my graduate days…My youtube channel is where you’ll find that video and a few more. Janet Bratter 737 703 7243 call/and-or text….rsvp!!

  6. How about the Clark Cortez, Class A motorhome. Built buy the Clark equipment company from the early 60s to the mid 70s. My parents had a 1965 Cortez It had front wheel drive with a under powered six cylinder four speed manual. Kinda looked like a loaf of bread.

  7. Back in the day 1930's my dad and some friends designed and built a pop up out of oak and canvas. They were teenagers living in Akron and all grew up to be engineers.

  8. The GMC motorhome, Eriba Puck, Teton Homes 5th wheel, the VW Camper variants, the first "tiny homes", "Toy haulers", and "park models".

  9. The 1974 FMC motor home waa the choice of CBS Charles Karualt winning him and his crew a Peabody award six enemy's and wearing out six FMC motor coachs ..

  10. can't say it enough – you forgot the legendary GMC motorhome, on 3 axles. It it were released today at a price point they could sell thousands.

  11. 7:49 This appears to have a separate toilet and shower as opposed to the wet bath used today in anything this size.

  12. Eldorado Motor Company, EMC
    In the 1980's produced a motor home called the 'Starfire'. Excellent concept but poorly engineered.

  13. I like the 1962 Windspiel Camper Designed by U. Maly, as unlike a number of them showing that cost more it does not require cranking or assembly to be able to use, and because of the materials it has a roof that does not rot.

  14. None of these are "ahead of their time" seems like you're just showing different versions of trailers that would now be considered outdated. The closest to the title is the first trailer.

  15. good God ! a Thames 800 Dormobile, Missing is the Bryan Jackson caracat one and Too, half boat ,half caravan from 1964 -on. Too won powerboat races in 66 and 67,now on display on the Wanaka museum ,NZ

  16. #10 – I thought replicas were supposed to actually resemble what they're replicating.
    #1 – The only one I really like.

  17. Campers are non-essential items, and the price is key to their sales. A person has to have the money to spare, and a real desire, to pony up for the more expensive campers over the common ones. Campers that cost more than the cheaper one on the market had better offer features that make it worth the extra dough.

  18. Roma Caravans in Australia started in 1928, are probably the oldest continuous Caravan/ Travel Trailer in the world and the same family own it
    There have been pop up trailers in Australia since the 1930's, that is why a substantial industry in Australia

  19. Should have included Ray Frank The Godfather and creator of the first and best made motorhomes which later became the Travco.

  20. I used to work for Hi-Teck in Smyrna, TN. they made a camper called a Play-Pac that could be pulled my a VW bug.
    About 1972.

  21. Check out the Ultra Van, which was designed by a Wichita aircraft engineer. It used a Corvair drive train in the rear, and was produced for a few years in the late sixties/early seventies.

  22. The GMC was way ahead of its time but they used a front wheel drive olsmobile drive system for it. My brother owned one and told me it was very advanced in many ways but the engine and drive system was far from advanced. The transmission was not something I would want on my camper.

  23. Look at the Vixen 21.
    Manufactured by the Vixen Motor Company in Pontiac Michigan from 1986-1989 by famed Delorean designer Bill Collins. Less than 500 were made. It could fit in a garage and gets 30 mpg with a BMW turbo diesel rear engine. https://www.vixenrv.org/ I have one and its very cool. Nothing like it today.

  24. The Apache hard sided pop up should have been on the list. It was innovative but the price drove it off the market. It was priced higher than a canvas sided popup and the monthly payment was almost equal to what you would pay a month for a Class C motorhome. The length of the payment term was shorter than a Class C, but it was harder to justify such a high payment for a popup. Most camper buyers went elsewhere.

  25. My Grandparents had an FMC, man it was fun as a kid playing around a house on wheels! Fond memories of shag carpeting too! Lol

  26. Yes there is another one, which I have. My Grandfather bought it new in 1974 Try to find the Gugel Kamerad. This is small foldable tent camper. It weights only 200kg ,is small like a VW Bug. You can drive them with any small car and you need no extra fuel when towing. Arrived on place you get a tent house with to sleep cabins, table with for places and a big room for kitchen- about 16qm. The Gugel Kamerad was produced in Freiburg, Germany.

  27. The Murrumba Linda Star is a classic way ahead of its time beastie from Australia 1968. I always admire the unusual and original, not always practical designs.

  28. I liked number 2 it would be even cooler if a person could make one longer with 2 or 3 slide outs, and the top bunk tall enough to stand up in…..

  29. Perhaps the Windspiel and the Shadow would frnd a market today. Why did you not iclude the GMC Motorhome?

  30. Just stay in a hotel. Hotels have infinitely more room. You don't need to plug your hotel in to anything when you get there. Hotels have actual room service. You don't have to empty your own toilet every morning in a hotel. No chance of a hotel being blown over by a stiff breeze. You won't cause traffic jams on the way to a hotel (theoretically). You can't jack-knife a hotel and hotels don't snake and flip you over on the highway. You can fit more than 4 people in a hotel. Hotels are all inclusive and self catering, no such thing as an all inclusive caravan, self catering only. You don't have to turn your lights out at 10pm in a hotel because the site owners are Nazi's who make everyone go to sleep at 10pm. Hotels have mini bars in your bedroom. You don't have to find somewhere to park your hotel when you get there. You don't have to struggle for an hour to actually park the hotel. You get proper beds in a hotel, not one's made from Styrofoam and staples. You can move around in a hotel room without it rocking around like a weeble. You can have an actual shower in a hotel, not a dribble. The ceiling lights in a hotel are not a constant danger to your forehead. Hotels have on site amenities like swimming pools and casino's. No one wants to be in a caravan during a bad storm. Contrary to popular belief hotels have very good views. In a hotel I don't have to be careful how much electricity or water I use. Lastly, you could have 1 or 2 really great holidays for the cost of a caravan or RV. Look, I've been camping and caravanning, and I still don't understand how all caravans and RV's are built for Liliputians. I'm 6' 2". Not the tallest, but taller than the average. No caravan or RV is built for people like me. I bang my head on everything, and nothing is long enough or tall enough. 6 berth caravans are a lie. Static caravans solve nothing, except remove the one thing that makes a caravan interesting; portability. None of what I have written here is even an exaggeration. All of it is true, and all of it is why I will never caravan again. This is just my opinion based on my experiences. You may well love caravanning, and that's fine by me. Just don't try and tell me it's objectively better than staying in a hotel, because it isn't. A truly facetious person might say that a local hotel in downtown Baghdad might be worse than a $1M RV, but that is just being facetious. On the whole, a hotel is a better choice for the average person. I can however appreciate the engineering and the sheer beauty of the vehicles in this video, and others like it. Feel free to reply and change my mind.

  31. Missing the Orion, based on Hanomag-Henschel (later Mercedes-Benz), built of two halfs (left and right) of glass fiber laminate…
    …and the Vixen!

  32. My Dad took a FMC city bus with a chair lift and built us a desert rig. The Greyhound he built previously was way to nice to use for an everyday camper.

  33. I'm pretty sure there are several of these in Illinois on i55 around the 117 mile marker near a small town by a garage by grain bins really cool rv.

  34. One of the best class A motorhomes I've seen was made by Bluebird, the school bus mfr for about 6 mos. in the late 80's. This would make a great addition to another compilation of this type. As an active RVer for over 40 yrs I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thank you.

  35. when denver's regional transportation district-RTD-struggled to accomodate handicapped passengers, it purchased some fmc camper-bus conversions which were a flop as buses for the handicapped. they were scrapped.

  36. 6:40 is priceless. ok, these were already great videos. Pat Boone's No more mr nice guy is the best. and yes folks, that album really happened lol. +1 sub 🙂

  37. I love the history of the campers and RV's. Very interesting to see, what engineers believed to be functional or ahead of it's time. Going back in history tells a lot of a society in a given period of time. They're all products of their time, and I enjoyed them all in that context.

  38. Weird bit of trivia about the FMC. It’s built on surplus amphibious assault chassis from WWII. Supposedly guaranteed for a million miles. Well, I mean barring German 150mm Shell intrusions. Lol.

  39. The GMC Motorhome is an engineering marvel. The only motorhome to be built by a major car manufacturer. Built fro 73 to 78 close to 70% of these are still around.

  40. The Apollo Sceptre, this elegant luxury diesel pusher debuted for the 1982 model year and production ended in 1984 with only 44 units made. This coach was of the highest quality and the $175,000 price reflected this

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