Wednesday, October 31, 2012

RV Museum - Indiana

We went to the only RV Museum in the States (that we know of) when we were at the Newmar factory in Napanee, Indiana.  (Oh, Newmar is the manufacturer of our coach.)  First, we took a tour of the plant and how they make these amazing motorhomes, then drove north about a half hour to see Notre Dame campus and the RV Museum down the road a few miles.

Looking down from a balcony on the RVs from the past on display.
The concepts for the older, original RVs are the same as what we have today....just more rudimentary. Storage, convenience, cooking, sleeping, refrigeration, comfort, hidden places, pull outs. Everything has just gotten more sophisticated and better engineered. You'll see this in the photos below.

1913 Earl Trailer and Model T Ford

Believed to be the oldest non-tent travel trailer in existence. Custom built for a Cal Tech professor.

1958 Airstream 'der Kleiner Prinz”.  The only 10 foot fully equipped Airstream ever made. A prototype for the European market that was not pursued

1931 TENNESSEE TRAVELER HOUSECAR. Early home made American housecar on Model AA Ford chassis.

1931 TENNESSEE TRAVELER HOUSECAR. Inside view. All wood.

1935 COVERED WAGON 17' TRAVEL TRAILER. Exterior is leatherette covered with a canvas covered roof.


1954 SHASTA 15 foot. Typical of the early 50s "canned ham" style trailers

1935 COVERED WAGON 17' TRAVEL TRAILER. Dining Room and Kitchen.

1935 COVERED WAGON 17' TRAVEL TRAILER.  Sleeping area.

1954 HOLIDAY RAMBLER. Example of first model built by Hall of Fame member Richard Klingler as he started Holiday Rambler.

Dining Room. Check out that upholstery!

1954 YELLOWSTONE 18 foot travel trailer. One of the relatively high-line models built by Yellowstone founder Elmer Weaver in the late 40s and early 50s. Bright aluminum exterior and all birch interior with residential type appliances.

1954 YELLOWSTONE 18 foot travel trailer. The table, like most, fold down to make another bed out of the seats.

1954 YELLOWSTONE 18 foot travel trailer. Yes, that's the heater!

1954 YELLOWSTONE 18 foot travel trailer. Look at all the horizontal surface.

1957 SERRO SCOTTY 10' TEAR DROP and 1957 SERRO SCOTTY 12' REAR ENTRY. I loved this rear entry idea. The later years put the door at the side.

1957 SERRO SCOTTY 10' TEAR DROP and 1957 SERRO SCOTTY 12' REAR ENTRY. Examples of the Sportsman trailers by Serro that were designed to be stored in a conventional residential garage.

1962 MALLARD 13' TRAVEL TRAILER. Used by one family for 30 years.

1931 CHEVROLET HOUSECAR owned by Mae West.

1931 CHEVROLET HOUSECAR owned by Mae West. Built for Paramount Studios to present to Miss West when she left vaudeville to make movies for the studio in 1931 It is a chauffeur driven lounge car not a camper

1976 CADILLAC ELDORADO BASED HOMEMADE MOTORHOME. Made by an individual...a one-of-a-kind!

Looking towards the back. Cool looking insides.

Like a house with the sinks.

One of my favorites.
1937 Hunt housecar, one of several very unique early housecars built by Hollywood cinematographer Roy Hunt between 1935 and 1945

1937 Hunt housecar

1937 Hunt housecar. Inside bedroom.

1937 Hunt housecar. Stove right next to the driver. He (she) could cook a meal while driving !

1937 Hunt housecar. Fancy toilet!

Pretty cool stuff. We thought this would be a quick in-an-out visit but ended up spending about 3 hours poking around at the unique designs. If you want to see can see the entire collection here:

One last photo....this one was our view from the Newmar RV lot where we stayed for three nights. Sunset was gorgeous.

Hope you enjoyed the imaginative RVs. See you next blog!

Kim and Steve


  1. Someone on a retro interest group I belong to on Facebook linked to your blog because if the Cadillac custom RV. WOW, what a fun read! I loved the photos. This makes me want to go camping.

    1. Glad you liked it. We did full-time RVing for six years...loved every day.