Who built the first RV?

Who made what? Who made who?

In the early 1900s, the first “recreational vehicles” versions began to appear and were custom built. By “recreational vehicle,” we mean a car with a simple wooden trailer attached to the back. Not really what we think of when we hear the word “RV,” right? Well, we had to start somewhere! Until the first “RVs” came out, automobile lovers began to expand on these “homes on wheels” ideas and improve them. One of the first, most popular RVs was the “Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau.”


Shortly after RVs began to appear, the first “motorhome” arrived on the scene. In 1910, the first “motorhome,” made from a Packard truck weighing approximately three tons, made its debut. The vehicle was twenty-eight feet long, six and a half feet wide, and could sleep around eleven people, which was impressive considering how early it was made! It also boasted a start of art ice box, a toilet, and a “salon,” making it the very first bonafide “motorhome.”

As camping became more popular throughout the next decade (1911-1920), so did RVs. More and more people began adapting their cars and trucks to their lifestyle, mostly wood, and tents. Most of these automobiles had refrigerators, kitchenettes, showers, baths, and other typical features we’d expect to see on modern RVs. Some were even equipped with telegraphs and electric lights! Considering the people who came up with these designs were primarily not mechanics or engineers, these advancements were ingenious and just improving.


One of the most impressive vehicles of this time was “The Gypsy Van,” which boasted two remarkable stories, weighed eight tons, and had an interior like an English manor house. Then, in 1917, the first Fifth Wheel camping trailer was invented, which changed the RV game. Throughout the 1920s, custom RVs just kept coming and were often built on the most popular car, which was none other than the Ford model. Eventually known as the “Ford House Car.”

RV News and Tidbits

News Tidbits For 1/4/2014

*Next weekend, Pennsylvanians have 2 #RV shows to get to and enjoy. In the western part of the state, The Pittsburgh RV show starts January 11 and runs the entire week. Those in the east can visit the Allentown RV show Friday through Sunday. Winter RV shows are a great way to break the cabin fever.

*Crossing Pennsylvania via the state’s turnpike? Hang onto your wallet — tolls are increasing by a whopping 12 percent for those who pay with cash. If you hold an “E-ZPass” the rates will jump by a modest two percent.

*Ford F-150 truck fans, changes are in the works. The rollout for 2015 models will see all-aluminum bodies and a smaller 2.7 liter V-6 “EcoBoost” gas engine — so says Fleet Owner, but Ford won’t confirm.

*If approved, Canterbury, N.H., could become home to a 300-site RV park. The park would be built in stages, beginning this year, and would include four miles of hiking trails, a water park and access to a pond for canoes and kayaks.

*CarHistory.us.org is launching a comprehensive guide to purchasing recreational vehicles. It ill go through the ins and outs of different types of RVs, how dealers price them, and the best ways to negotiate when you are looking to buy.

*The Good Sam Club, a recreational vehicle organization with 1.5 million members, is hoping to bring in as many as 500 RVs to bolster attendance for the popular Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair. The Havasu (Ariz.) News reported that the festival, set for Jan. 17-19, already has 260 RV enthusiasts signed to camp out for the festivities, said Marquita McKnight, an executive director for this year’s event.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

– Information gathered from CampingPA.com.

Turn, Turn, Turn. The Open Range Light story.

I am still amazed when I recall what I witnessed the day when our first 2012 Open Range Light LF297 was picked up by its new owner. When it was time for the customer to leave we put the truck, which happened to be a Ford F150 Super Crew with a 5.5′ bed, and the trailer through a series of turning radius tests. The distance from the front cap of the fifth wheel and the rear cap of the pick up is substantial enough to allow true 90 degree turning. Take a look at Lerch RV’s YouTube video depicting that radius testing. Keep in mind that the Open Range Light is truly a half ton tow-able fifth wheel. And with the innovative front camp design and hitch pin placement, you can tow this beauty with just a standard fifth wheel hitch installed in your tow vehicle. No need for a sliding fifth wheel hitch (slider) or any other special modifications need to be made.

The Light is another great innovative idea from the Open Range RV company. The Light product line includes the above  pictured LF297RLS, LF289RES and the LF305BHS (bunk model with outside kitchen). There is also a travel trailer in the mix as well, the LT252FLR. So if you are driving a half ton tow vehicle and are looking for a truly unique fifth wheel to camp in, look no further than the Open Range Light. And if you happen to have a 5.5′ short bed truck and want a fifth wheel camper, the Light is especially for you! You can have full size fifth wheel fun in a half ton tow-able package, without missing anything.  All the features that you require in an exciting package.

The Open Range Light fifth wheel campers and travel trailers are available at Pennsylvania’s largest Open Range RV Dealer, Lerch RV. Located in Milroy, which is one hour west of Harrisburg and thirty minutes southeast of State College, the home of Penn State University. For more information on the Open Range Light, please contact us.