Brief history of the motorhome

The first motorhome in the world was built in the UK, around 1920. However, mass production would not begin until the 50’s.

1913 Ford model T - designed by Bertram and Hutchins
after World War I; still ready for the road
Many coachbuilders tried initially to design a motorhome between 1920 and 1930. Bertram Hutchings (Company founder of Caravans Winchester) had been experimenting with the design of what would be a motorhome. It was a small step that would mark a milestone in the history of these vehicles. Bertram Hutchings tried to adapt the body of a caravan on the chassis of a car, this initiative would be the beginning of the motorhome.

Sales of these Motorhomes, apart from the high manufacturing cost, were not fashionable and attracted few buyers. Even so, there was a breakthrough for a company called Jennings, who was a pioneer on bodywork that could be mounted on a normal car chassis.
These vehicles were more pleasing to the eye and comfortable to drive. Unfortunately, due to World War II, production was halted in 1939.

Motor caravan, 1915 Lamsteed Kampkar
It was not until 1950 that the motorhome became popular in the UK and other European countries.
As it happens, motorhomes (like so many other inventions) were born of a need, bodyworkers had observed the market and found that owners of vans and trucks not only needed their vehicle to work during the week, some leisure was to be included in the agenda. That was how the good habit of using these vehicles for the weekend started. Of course, that was also a good source of entertainment for whole family.

So, various adjustments were made to improve these vehicles, from simple seats that could be folded to have more space on weekends. If more space by folding down seats were generated, why not add more windows, maybe a kitchen and so on. These actions led to the popular and well-equipped motorhome of the 50’s and 60’s. Since then RV’s kept improving by leaps and bounds, and it seems to be that the market will surprise us in the future with more luxurious improvements.

The first bodywork specialists in these examples in the UK include Dormobile, Paralanian and Westphalia in Germany. Base vehicles used for the conversion include, Bedford, Atlas, Austin, Volkswagen and Ford.

At the beginning of the 60’s the motorhome market was well established in the more advanced European countries. In those days VAT had not yet been introduced and sales soared. People could afford these recreational vehicles. The new offer of different models and development of specific bodywork and chassis quickly became a significant market share.

Since then the motorhome has become a new form of vacation and adventure, is increasingly embedded in our society and provides an important support to tourism.
Motor caravan based on a car chasis, probably around 1920
Source: http://www.classic-campers.co.uk/