While at least one motorhome builder has for years tried to take credit as the original Rv builder, they weren't. GM was. And you can buy the first Rv ever built if you head to Arizona in January 2009 for the big Barrett Jackson auction where GM is selling about 200 rare and one of a kind vehicles from its private holdings.
In 1925 GM called it the "House Car" and built it on the Chevrolet 1-Ton chassis. Before motor homes were available commercially, many campers produced in the early days were built around plans supplied to a carpenter or cabinet maker. This is General Motors' version.
The world's first motorhome was built on what GM billed as "a superior utility express chassis" with a 125 inch wheel base with a 171 cid/35 hp, 4 cylinder engine and based on a 6 volt electrical system. With a custom built wood body and custom mixed two tone blue exterior paint, the Rv sports red striping and ablack cowl and chassis.
Equipment, while now approaching a century old, still is unique by any standard. It has Oak with mahogany trim, a maple wood floor and counter tops, dark blue mohair cushions, dark blue wool carpet, and a dark blue roller shades with blue and white gingham curtains. The sink has a hand pump water faucet using a 5 gallon oak barrel for water storage. Waste is handed with a commode with removable bucket for waste.
Although not power-operated, there is an automatic flip down front step. The interior is illuminated by 6 volt electrical lights and kerosene lamps, and heat is provided by an interior kerosene heater.
Like any good Rv's, there's a kitchen of a sort, equpped with a single burner kerosene stove and carbon tetrachloride fire extinguisher. Although there weren't many smooth roads even in 1925, there were toll roads so GM built in a toll fee payment door too.
1925 If Fleetwood or Monaco had the spare cash, they'd probably jump at the Arizona auction sale chance. Shucks, if I had the cash I would too. No one is predicting what the House Car will go for yet, but you can bet it'll be more than what a new Airstream costs. And probably worth every penny, too.
Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to put up with a lemon Rv, no matter what its model year.