Videos about RVing

Be sure to sign up for the weekly RV Travel Newsletter, published continuously every Saturday since 2001. Click here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Historic aviator's travel trailer hits the block


Charles Lindbergh may be remembered for his famous flight, but the Spirit of Saint Louis wasn't his only vehicle. In 1939, Lindbergh commissioned an engineer in California to custom-build a travel trailer for his use. Built long before Wally Byam made Airstream famous, Lindbergh's trailer had a bright and shiny aluminum exterior.

By today's standards, the engineering design is a bit different. Twin axles support the rig, but at opposite ends of the trailer. The thinking, it's said, was to allow the trailer to be stable when unhitched.

If you'd like a piece of American history, consider bidding on the trailer. Auctioneers Bonhams, will put the trailer on the block in Carmel, California, August 15, where it's expected to fetch somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000. Here's a link to the site.

Our thanks to Bonhams for permission to reprint photos.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The sleekest RV you'll never buy

If you think Airstream is streamlined, you haven't seen the Knaus Caravisio.



With roots that must go into yachting, the definitely futuristic and definitely not available travel trailer (for lack of a better term) turns much of what RV manufacturers think, upside down.

No side door, enter through a spoiler-covered rear entry deck. The nose? Definitely aerodynamic. No big queen bed, think a bow-area boat cabin bed – V shaped – to allow doing away with a fifth-wheel-like "end cap" and in its place, that sheer V-nose.

Don't think you'll be cramped: There's more room in the bathroom than many high-line motorhomes offer. The rig's roof rolls up in camp, down for road touring.

Who builds it? Well, change your tense: Who built it. The concept comes from German builder Knaus Tabbert, but the actual execution was a collaborative effort of 20 different companies who put their own expertise into this futuristic rig. And no, there are no plans to mass-produce, or even produce any more, of this fascinating rig. Check out the video.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mae West's "House Car" -- a Hollywood enticement

Public domain image
Hollywood legend. Risqué sex symbol. Outspoken and bawdy. Call her what you like, but Mae West left an indelible mark on Hollywood screen history. But it may have taken an early RV to get her there.

West's original splash into stardom took place, not in motion pictures, but on the hard boards of the live stage. Even in her early career, she created quite a stir with her, shall we say, forward approach to acting and controversy. She spent a few days in a New York lockup on morals charges, all based on her stage performance.

But Hollywood needed starlets, and it wasn't easy in the 1930s to find real talent knocking on the doors in California. Paramount wanted West, and they wanted in her in a big way. How could they entice the stage star away from the East Coast to the West? In addition to money, offer a few other inducements. Included in Paramount's offer to Mae West: A 1931 Chevrolet "House Car," as motorhomes were then dubbed. Mae hated flying, so it's said, so traveling about in a house car had a certain appeal.

PunkToad on wikimedia commons

Mae didn't do her own driving -- a professional driver took care of that. The House Car itself had more appeal than just a chauffeur. Out back was a "porch" that allowed the star to breath in the outdoor air or greet fans. Inside was comfortable seating and a kitchen for serving up good food. No word on whether Paramount threw in a cook. Despite her shady reputation, the House Car did lack one thing modern motorhomes feature: a bedroom.

While Mae died in 1980, her old House Car still shines. You can catch a close-up view at the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Futureliner: A retro blast from the 40s

Barnett-Jackson Auctions

In the 1940s, General Motors rolled out a series of truly futuristic buses designed by Harley Earl. These buses were part of GMs promotional work called the Parade of Progress. Each Futureliner focused on the, "How far we've come" theme, showing off advances in technology like microwave ovens, televisions, stereo sound, even jet engines.

Doug Coldwell on wikimedia.org
A total of 12 Futureliners were built, and were on the road for the Parade of Progress from 1940 to 1941, and after the war, made another sprint through the U.S., from 1953 to 1956. When GM called an end to the parade, where would the Futureliners go? Two of them went to the Michigan State Police, who dubbed them "Safetyliners" to promote highway safety. Oral Roberts snagged one to use as a backdrop for crusades. One never made to the end of the parade – crashing as a total loss in 1956.

Doug Coldwell on wikimedia.org
Bus Number Nine in the series was snapped up and converted to a motorhome. Can you imagine the fuss you'd make, rolling into a campground in a Futureliner motorhome, and leaning on that big airhorn? Well, here's your chance. Barrett-Jackson Auctioneers will be selling one in their 2015 auction cycle. This same outfit had the distinction of selling one of its littermates back in 2006 for a company record-breaking price of over $4 million.


Share it