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RV’s ­ Then and Now.

Last updated: 21 September 2023

RV’s have come a long way, and not just in the literal sense. The creation of the RV was originally a practical attempt to move more people in comfort at one time and the roots of the first recreation vehicle in Canada can be found as far back as the early 1900s.

Hop on board and join us for a journey from past to present to future as we check out the evolution of the RV!

1910 – “Let’s trick out the family carriage!”

Just after the turn of the century in Montreal, businessman, Ucal-Henri Dandurand took his Packard truck, added a toilet, and a kitchenette. Voila, one of the first RVs to ever hit the streets of Canada. This little number provided comfort for his wife and eleven (count ‘em, eleven!) children.

1927 – “But does it have a porch on the back? Yes, yes it does.” 

The Flordellen was commissioned and named by Leonard S Whittier of Elmira, NY. It was built on a bus chassis and measured over 30 feet long. Featuring electric lighting, heat, a refrigerator, oven, stove, and a bathroom, Mr Whittier had the most intriguing and stylish vehicle in town.

1937 – “I’ll be in my trailer, call me when the director shows up.”

Acclaimed Hollywood cinematographer, J. Roy Hunt, had well over a hundred movies featuring his name when he passed away. But in 1937, often finding himself away from home on a film shoot, he decided to build the Hunt House Car. Built on a Ford truck chassis, this early hollywood trailer/van hybrid was the first on-the-road vehicle to feature a working shower.

1957 – “So basically it’s a bus, right?”

In 1955, Custom Coach converted 25 buses into RVs. Far more customizable than previous recreational vehicles, the Flxible Starliner is still a sought after commodity today with people wanting to purchase these limited classic vehicles for up to $235,000. The RV featured in the movie of the same name with Robin Williams was also a Flxible Starliner.

1964 – “RVs, I am your father!”

Ray Frank, referred to as the father of the recreational vehicle, built what is considered to be the first real RV on the chassis of a Dodge truck. Named the Travco/Dodge motor Home, this Class ‘A’ RV featured an aerodynamic fibreglass body and caused a surge of creativity in the industry.

1973 – “It’s a Winnebago!”

Manufactured in Iowa to improve the local economy, the Winnebago created waves in the industry when it was first released as they cost 50% less than the competition. Due to the cost effectiveness of the model, the name ‘Winnebago’ quickly became synonymous with ‘RV’.

1987 – “Stereotypically 80’s.”

The Pace-Arrow name first popped up in the 1960s but was acquired by Fleetwood in the 70s. They hit their highlight in the 80s when they were recognized as the premiere cross-country, diesel-powered motorhome and were manufactured up until 2010.

1994 – “Now we’re starting to look familiar.”

The Coachmen Santara is more like the RVs we’re used to seeing on the roads these days. Class C motorhomes are popular as they’re highly customizable and don’t come with the same oversize issues of older models while still embracing comfort and affordability.

The Future – “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” – Doc Brown, Back to the Future (1985)

Chances are we’ll still need roads, but who knows where RVs are going to go next? There are some very impressive concepts, limited, and prototype designs out there already. It’s only a matter of time before Winnebago makes a flying model! Here are a few of the concepts and models for RVs of the future:


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Adventure is all around you, just waiting to be discovered. So embrace the freedom of the open road and explore it all in an RV.