New technology rarely impresses me anymore. It really is an unfortunate circumstance but with today’s 3D plastic printers, five-axis CNC machines, or computer-generated graphics, pretty much anything can now be created with the push of a button. Gone is the craftsmen style of manufacturing. It’s all mass-produced vacuum-formed plastic hooey.
In the good ole days, creating something was a long process. Craftsmen had a certain sense of pride that was very evident in their work. I’m not saying that today craftsmen (engineers) don’t have this pride, they do; the process is just a bit different. Most mass-produced items today are designed “upstairs” and built by someone else on the factory floor. The commitment to the original vision is lost on the way down and the all mighty dollar is, more than ever, a huge influence on production. Things just aren’t built like they used to be.
But besides the pride in work, the style has, in my mind, gotten lost along the way as well. With the exception of Airstream, Dub Box, and a few others, RVs today are not much more than refrigerators on wheels. Case in point: One of my all-time favorite, classic RVs has to be the Bowlus Road Chief. Not because it’s loaded with all the best amenities but because of its style. The clean lines and the obvious mass amount of man-hours needed to create it is what impress me. As an RV it really does not make sense. The skinny tail and round sides make for an extremely awkward living space (which is probably why they went out of business so quickly).
We’re in a world with such amazing technology that I’d assume we should be able to create RVs that are as beautiful as they are functional. So what happened? Did manufacturers all get together over a pizza and beer to decide that from here on out everyone gets a box on wheels? I’m sure it’s much cheaper that way, but I’ll give up a few precious amenities and fork over a couple extra bucks to ride in something with some real style. The auto manufacturers have done it, and with great success. Why can’t the RV manufacturers?
In this issue of RV Magazine we bring you all the normal stuff, plus we’ve explored our love of classic RVs. Phil Noyes is back from his two-issue hiatus to write a new book. He has put together his favorite finds from the world of vintage RVs. Check out his column, Trailer Tribe on page 12.
Midwest Editor Mark Quasius and I recently visited the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart Indiana. It’s an amazing facility with tons of RV history and it needs to be on everyone’s list of places to see. The story can be found on page 32.
The tail end of a Bowlus Road...
The tail end of a Bowlus Road Chief.
The Dub Box is new to the USA and is the closest thing I’ve found yet to a new, vintage RV. Check out the review on page 20.
Winter is just around the corner. Mark Quasius has written a great step-by-step how-to for preparing your RV for the upcoming freeze. We’ve been playing with water-methanol injection, aftermarket sway bars, new roof designs, and much more. All and all we’ve got a great pack of stories for you to enjoy.
Stay safe out there and have fun!