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Where would you take your Econoline Van?

RVs August 23, 2017

If you grew up in a big family in the 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s, or had a friend in a big family, chances are you spent a lot of time in a Ford E-Series van – also called the Ford Econoline, Ford Club Wagon, Ford Falcon Club Wagon, and the Mercury Econoline in Canada. Hailing from Ohio, USA and Ontario, Canada, the Econoline has been in production for almost sixty years, though in the last few it has been trimmed down to a limited run. Ford used it to replace the F-Series panel van (it is second only to the F-Series as the longest-produced vehicle by Ford) as a cargo and passenger van, used often in rental fleets.

Before 2015, It was the best selling full-size van in the US since the 1980’s. The most recent iteration of the Econoline boasts three or four doors and an FR layout. It has an automatic transmission, V8 engine (6.2L Boss V8), and a rear-view backup camera, which is a first for the full-size van.

The first Econoline model was smaller than the ones we are used to seeing today, having been based on smaller vehicles such as the Ford Falcon (which also has the distinction of serving as the basis for a popular sports car – the Mustang). It only measured 173 inches. The second model had more in common with the Ford trucks than anything else, and introduced the V8 engine to the vehicle. Most of us, however, are probably more familiar with the third model, which was produced between 1975 and 1991. The third generation had even more commonalities with Ford’s truck divison, particularly the F-series truck, which upped its selling points and made it useful for families, fleets, and hospitals.

The fourth generation of the Econoline was named the 1992 Truck of the Year by Motor Trend because of its reinvention – with the inclusion of sheetmetal, a 138-inch wheelbase, and extended length options that allowed up to fifteen people inside. There was also a 50th anniversary edition available for sale in 2011.

While it may not be a glamorous sports car or a heavy-duty workhorse, the Econoline filled its place between the two with a steady, reliable drive that created a powerful loyalty in its customers. Though it will gradually be replaced by the Ford Transit, the Econoline is still in production and so far, there’s no end in sight.  

2368 total views, 6 today

This Travel Trailer Inflates with Air in 2 Minutes

RVs March 3, 2017

This Travel Trailer Inflates with Air in 2 Minutes

This travel trailer for camping is special because of its method of transforming from little box trailing behind your vehicle into sizable camp dwelling: it inflates. They use air to put the tent up.

And it looks very comfortable inside, with all the amenities people need for a cozy camp stay, anywhere they can drive their vehicle into, whether it be lakes, rivers, mountains, the ocean, fields or roads.

The tent inflation system and camper are the work of Opus. This one’s called the “Air Opus” travel trailer, and it can be set up in about one third of the time it took to set up their original travel trailer, which also got attention for its style and comfort.

It has versatile gear hauling, a good layout and lots of camping/living needs like (standard and options mixed here):

– wraparound couch
– sink
– refrigerator
– movie system (entertainment system)
– portable latrine
– AC
– heater
– kitchen with stove

So how fast is set up? Well, they park it, open it (it unfolds from the center), and press inflate. They spend a few more seconds securing the outer perimeter of the inflatable around the travel trailer, and it’s done in about 1 and a half minutes. The whole process everything included takes about 5 minutes. NOTE: with the air inflation system, there are no more tent frames. It’s now Air Poles (that inflate for structure). It’s powered by a 12 volt leisure battery.

This travel trailer camp unit is 12.5 feet long.

For more information about Opus Campers, find them in our directory of RVs. To see the luxury one, click here. For the basic one, click here. And here is a gallery.

115284 total views, 144 today

Take a Look at This Motorcoach’s Interior

RVs February 1, 2017

Take a Look at These Motorcoach Interiors

This huge luxury motorcoach might stand out among the others at any RV park or moving down the highway. It’s a 45 footer with multiple slide-outs and a slick dark-colored theme paintjob.

It made an appearance at the 2016 Tampa Supershow and was shared by Travel bloggers Chris & G.

Not only does this luxury RV have the look, it has a ton of storage underneath, with in-house batteries, hands-free sewage/plumbing, big white grey and black tanks with filling system attachment,

The look, with those stripes, have a blend of carbon fiber (rather than chrome) for the finish, and matching black paint wheels and it has Michelin 22.5 tires on it.

And according to Chris & G Travels:

“While exploring the 2016 Tampa Supershow we knew we had to try and get a video of this rig!” according to the blogger/vloggers. “Mitch and Mike were nice enough to walk me through the exterior portion of the rig. Then, Jeff discussed some of the benefits of the super C motorhome. I am not certain this is the package we would get if we ever purchase a Super C, but it was a beautiful rig!”

Check out the gallery of photos below (all images on our site are expandable, even the featured image at the top).

Find more from Chris & G Travels, and to see more from Haulmark RVs, we’ve indexed them in our Trucking and RVing Directory. You can search a company’s name and look for companies near your area. And to see more RVs, click here.

78967 total views, 125 today

The Prevost Company

RVs December 17, 2016

The Prevost Company

Prevost (pray-voh) is a Quebec, Canada-based manufacturer of motor coaches, bus shells for upper class motorhomes along with specialty models. It all started in 1924, located in Sainte-Claire, Quebec and is an affiliate of Volvo. We will look at it’s history, current line-up and the one and only Ground Force One.

Having it’s origins in 1924 by Eugene Prevost (1898-1965); was a cabinet maker turning out church pews and school furniture, when that same year was asked to construct a custom bus body for a new REO truck chassis. This led to several repeated orders, likewise by 1937 Prevost built its first assembly plant. At its inception, such vehicles were built around a wooden frame, but in 1945 the bodies from that point on were made of metal. In 1957 the company changed owner’s and by 1969 a partnership was formed by two American businessmen becoming the company’s owners. The company was then sold to Volvo Bus Corporation in 1995.

The current model line-up all seem to come with Volvo diesel engines, whereas prior years offered Detroit diesel orders. The passenger coaches are as follows: H-Series up to 45 feet in length, X-Series and Volvo 9700 Inter-City coach. Here are the bus shells for conversion to motorhomes or private duty: H3-45 VIP, X3-45 VIP or LeMirage LLII Entertainer.

Ground Force One was designed by Prevost and fitted by Hemphill Brothers Coach Company, Nashville with a price tag in 2012 of about 1.1 million dollars. It is a highly modified X3-45 designed for the U.S. President and dignitaries. Some of its features we know of include; run flat tires, armored exterior and heavily reinforced glass. It is 45 feet in length and at least two are in use.

So Prevost seems to fit the bill, whether in need of an elaborate motorhome or a casino shuttle bus.

Contributor Willys6

3826 total views, 43 today

Oldest RV was part Model T

RVs November 23, 2016

Model T

The RV industry is almost as old as the car business: More than one century. And if you want to see the very first of its kind: take a trip to Elkhart, Ind., to see the 1913 Earl Trailer and Model T Ford.

It’s generally recognized as the oldest non-tent travel vehicle in existence.

You can find it today at the RV/MH (Recreational Vehicle/Manufactured Home) Hall of Fame Museum.

It’s appropriate that it’s in the museum in Elkhart, because so many RVs have been built there. More than anyplace else in the United States.

Estimates are anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of them came from there.

“The RV industry began 100 years ago,” RV Life wrote in 2003.”And within its first decade, nearly every type of RV we have today—tent trailers, travel trailers, fifth wheels and motorhomes” were introduced.
So said RV historian Al Hesselbart, who was involved in the museum which opened in 2007.

Not a lot of information is available about the first RV vehicle other than it was ordered by a Cal Tech professor to be attached to a Model T.

But the museum and other accounts trace the history of RVs in general. And provide more information about the legendary Model Ts.

Some history highlights:

RV historians have pinpointed 1910 as the start of the RV industry. That was when companies in Los Angeles and Saginaw, Michigan, began selling camping trailers.

That was also the time when Pierce Arrow introduced its Touring Landau. The Landau was definitely upscale. It was driven by a chauffeur.

The truck camper in its current form was introduced in the 1940s. Its pre-1920s predecessor: the Automobile Telescope Apartment, mounted on a Model T Ford Runabout.

It even had a modern version of the “slideout.”

The price of that RV was only $100.


Read more in part II.

13327 total views, 16 today

A Real Land Yacht

RVs November 21, 2016

Memo to undecided: You have to choose between a land yacht and an expensive RV? If you can afford it, why not have both?
A South Carolina company known for its amphibious products offers the CAMI TerraWind that is equally at home on roads and rivers. Don’t trust it?
It’s advertised as “unsinkable.”
As one reviewer puts it in Car and Driver: “A motorcoach you can fish from.”
The sight of this 42.5 foot, 15.5 ton vehicle plunging into the water raises eyebrows among most spectators who wonder if their vision is failing them.
No problem.

-aJohn Giljam and his wife, Julie, are the creators of this “one-of-a-kind vehicle that combines all the comforts of a luxury recreational vehicle with the seaworthiness of a yacht and can be piloted over both land and water,” writes Car and Driver.
About that “unsinkable” aspect:

Says company literature, “Our amphibious vehicles possess the patented safety feature of being unsinkable thus making us unique. All of our amphibious vehicles are UNSINKABLE due to our patented and patent pending use of positive floatation foam.”
One evaluation of the Terra Wind describes it as a “luxurious custom-built motorhome with everything you could want from a house, including a full set of home appliances, ornate teak cabinetry with gold inlay, and a jacuzzi bath. It’s like a cruise ship on the road.”
It’s also that way on the water, according to several reports.
One says:
“The Terra Wind is not just a road vehicle, but also a boat. This is an all- terrain, 4 wheel drive, rugged beast. It has two diesel engines, a GPS mapping system, roll bars, winches, oversized floatation tires. It also has flotation foam, you could split the vehicle in quarters and it will not go down.”

The company building it is South Carolina-based CAMI (Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International), which started in 1998 after John Giljam bought an old military vehicle to operate a Jet Ski rental business.
John found the LARC-V military vehicle to use as a jet ski was fun. But that experience led to his starting the Cool Stuff Tours.
His first product was the Hydra-Terra, a 39-foot, 49-passenger commercial touring bus.
That led to other innovations such as the Terra Wind.
Oddly enough, John came from a farming background. With no technical background and barely a high school education, he started inventing his various products.
Demand became so great for their products that eventually John and Julie stopped running their own tours so they could focus solely on the production of the Hydra-Terra.
Production of the RV version got under way after John and his crew built a 42.5-foot-long, 102.0-inch-wide motor coach from scratch and mounted it onto an aluminum boat hull they also custom-built. They rigged a 330-hp diesel RV engine to power the wheels and two 19-inch bronze propellers.
The magazine reported that patented technology for many of the company’s vehicles involved how to power both the wheels and props, John installed a power takeoff on the rear of the engine. One output shaft goes to the automatic transmission and the other to the marine gearbox. The driver selects the desired mode of propulsion by switching one of the transmissions into neutral.
Test runs were reportedly nerve-wracking but worked.
With technical issues solved, the inventors went to interiors.
They went to RV dealers to compare, and ended up with a variety of high-end features.
There are granite countertops, marble tile floors, and teak cabinets.
It also has a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a stove, a microwave oven, and a trash compactor.
The Giljams also installed a five-disc DVD changer, a surround-sound theater system, and a 42-inch plasma TV, which is mounted above the captain and co-captain’s leather chairs. There’s also a full-size Jacuzzi-and-shower combo with eight massage jets.
The bedroom and dining area includes a leather, cream-colored couch and a dinette table for two. The furniture slides out for even more space.
On land, the vehicle can reach 80 miles an hour. At sea, speeds up to 7 knots.
The Terra Wind took 19 months of development.
Reports were that the vehicle handled well both in and out of the water.
Car and Driver reported:
“The six-speed automatic transmission and the air-ride suspension provide a smooth, easy ride, and engine noise is far less intrusive on the road compared with the river-going experience.”
So by now, maybe you wonder what it cost?
Prices started at $650,000, but custom additions might make it above $1 million.
Is it worth it?
This strange beast is admittedly not practical, concludes Car and Driver.
“Of course not. But if you’re thinking of plunking down about $1 million for a luxurious RV/yacht, practicality is probably not your main concern. And in the hey-look-at-me market of unique and lavish vehicles, the Terra Wind may indeed be the ultimate in all-purpose traveling.”
So if you have $1 million or so, who needs practical?

By David Wilkening

16270 total views, 2 today

Volkner: When Car-carrying RV’s hit the Road

RVs November 19, 2016

Volkner When Car-carrying RV’s hit the Road

How and when in the world did it come to this: RV owner’s concerns about towing their autos led to the innovation of a “car swallowing” space to carry them?

For many years, RVs were known for hauling around fold-up bicycles, even motorcycles but mainly for towing cars of all sizes.

But the “car swallowing” concept might be traced back to sometime around the year 2000 when a new era began.

That was when MINI Cooper vehicles began to show up on the roads in America and elsewhere.

That was the apparent inspiration for RV manufacturers to come up with the concept of carrying cars inside of them.

Several motorhome manufacturers began offering models of that capability. And not just MINI Coopers.

But one of the first and best-known that created a minor sensation in 2008 was the German-made Volkner Mobile Performance Bus.

It not only carried cars but had so many luxury features it was widely called a “Palace on Wheels.”

But the trend did not end with Volkner.

“Volkner began building the motorized garage into its high end Performance models in late 2006 and has now built motorhomes capable of swallowing whole Porsche 911s, Jaguar XK8 Cabriolets, BMW 6 Series Cabriolets, Maserati Quattroportes and Mercedes Sports cars,” writes GizMag at the time (which later became New Atlas).

Some observers at the time said that was almost too tame a description for the German-made Volkner Mobile Performance Bus.

No wonder:

The first models were big enough to be a garage for a Ferrari, Lamborghini or other low-slung autos.

Fully customizable and 40 feet long, they featured a wall that slides outward to create extra space, along with a state-of-the-art entertainment system and a fully equipped kitchen.

“The newly-built Volkner Mobil Performance Bus offers an incredible level of luxury for its owners with each model carefully designed over a period of 12 months,” according to Caravan Times.

The most impressive of all was the built-in garage under the vehicle. “For the owner who wants to travel in comfort without leaving behind the Ferrari, this is the way to go,” said one reviewer in The Sun newspaper.

The draft that is used to load the car can also be used to load, stow and unload other gear such as an entire kitchen setting.

For those unappreciative or preferring to continue towing their vehicles, some early customers opted to use the auto space as a comfortable terrace for outdoor dining.

What made the Volkner an object of luxury?

Consider that it had:

—Bathrooms with massage showers equipped with several programs.
—Under-floor heating that covered even the shower floor (so no showers with cold feet…pun intended). Heated towel racks as well.
—Kitchens had real tiles, dishwaters, a large fridge-freezer, and microwaves.
—Living rooms had Bose-Dolby home Entertainment Surround Systems and a widescreen TV concealed in an entertainment cabinet when not in use.
—A computerized “Brain” pilot central computer that was said to be the result of 20 years of technology. It allowed full and automatic control of various systems including heating, energy sources such as gas and other functions.
—In addition to the extra space for the auto, Volkner Mobil had what were called “Wall Out” spaces. These increased the size of living spaces by up to 20 percent. Not exactly a new idea, but Volkner’s version was said to be stronger mechanically, among other advantages.
—A variety of décor choices.
—Seats with pneumatic cushioning.
—Storage was also not neglected. There was an 800-gallon freshwater tank, and a 158-ballon wastewater storage area.

And performance?

Also not neglected.

The vehicle’s options included a 460-horseower engine with the company’s standard i-SHIFT gear.

News reports at the time quoted Stephanie Volkner, who said:

“Our philosophy is to build the ultimate in luxury and we see it as a house on wheels which can be driven all around the world.”

Orders following the introduction of the vehicle came from wealthy customers from all around the world.
Reports said the made-to-order machines took about one year to build.

But worth it for the attention. Said one report:

“The Performance Bus has been wowing crowds at the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, Germany.”

Not entirely a surprise considering the cost:

Anywhere from $1.2 to almost two million dollars.

But even at that price, the only negative report was facetious.

No kitchen chef with the car.

And, of course, everyone had to buy their own auto.

By David Wilkening

Volkner When Car-carrying RV’s hit the Road Volkner When Car-carrying RV’s hit the Road

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GM Futurliner: Parade of Progress

RVs November 14, 2016

The GM Futurliners were a gathering of custom vehicles, styled in the 1940’s by Harley Earl for General Motors. There was a total of 12 built in all, the Parade of Progress was a North American traveling exhibition to present future autos and technologies. This all began in 1936, with an investment in the millions and thousands of man hours. What it strived to do was to bring the future to hundreds of small towns and rural areas. It presented the future in a stage show format, with 32 back-up vehicles and known in their art deco style.

The young College educated men who toured and done such presentations lectured about such topics as; diesel-electric power, jet engine technology and each came with a self-contained stage. Also more specific, each vehicle had its own topic to promote and sought to show how through such technologies the consumers life could be made better. Microwave ovens and television was other innovations presented on these tours. Once parked, the Aerodome tent went up, removed it when mobile again and did anything needed to make such shows a success.

A second parade was launched from the 1939 New York World’s Fair highlighted 12 mission-built Futurliners. At the beginning of World War two the tour came to an end, after having visited 251 towns and small cities in North America that got the attention of 12 million people. The program was reinstated once again in 1953, however in 1956 the third and final tour never happened.

Considering the time period; it truly was art deco in design. Probably borrowing from the trains of the time they also exhibited this styling transporting people in comfort and speed. At 33 feet in length, 8 feet wide and more than 11 feet tall, they weighed in at over 12 tons. All were famous for their streamlined bodywork, deep red side, white roof paint and the power-train was a military grade 302 cu. in. GMC straight-six gas engine hooked to an automatic transmission. The driver sat in a prominent, high mounted centrally located behind a panoramic windshield.

What remains of the Futurliners today? With nine remaining, one was totaled in 1956 parade year and never replaced. One Futurliner sold at Barrett-Jackson auction in January 2006 for a record $4 million plus the premium, the funds from the sale to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation, a charity for military personnel and families. These vehicles are truly awesome as noted in one of the photo’s I submitted from Mecum Auto Auction, Monterey, California August 2016 that I had an opportunity to see firsthand.

By Willys6

gm-futurliner-3 gm-futurliner-4 gm-futurliner-1

5431 total views, 1 today

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