The 'Autobungaloafer' A Landmark In Progress In The USA

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In 1921 the first overland Travellers' Park' was opened in Denver, Colorado and as motor campers of all kinds poured into the new facility it became something of an informal exhibition for motorhomes. This outfit, grand for its time, was a star attraction and had been constructed by George McQuire from California (Los Angeles, if we correctly interpret the clue of the numberplate). George had named his creation 'The Bungaloafer' and it could accommodate six people with the comforts of home.

It boasted running water, WC and shower, gas heating and a gas cooker. It can be regarded as the forefather of subsequent generations of commercially built motorhomes and established a standard from which the present high-specification American RV grew.

The City of Denver itself was also a standard setter. Their new camping park provided fresh water, toilets and washing/ showering facilities, it was lit at night and had fireplaces or stoves for cooking, what is more, it was free!

Writing in 1925 the Executive Secretary of the Denver Civic and Commercial Association said: "An auto camp in my judgment, is just as essential to any city, town or community that wants to thrive and prosper and keep abreast of the times as a railway station."

During July and August of that year the City boasted that it had up to 5000 people per night staying at its auto camp. How many, we wonder, were in motorhomes? Denver looks like a fruitful source for information about the early motorhoming years in North America and that is just one of the questions to which we will be seeking an answer.


Note: Article published in Motorhome Monthly, Britain's former number one motorhome magazine, by Chris Burlace, now an author at Motorhome and Campervan Magazine.

Did You Know?

The smallest street-legal car was the Peel P50; 134 cm (53 in) long, 99 cm (39 in) wide, and 134 cm (53 in) high, smaller than an average fairground bumper car. The vehicle was built by Peel Engineering Co. at Peel, Isle of Man, UK, from 1962 until 1965. The lightweight single-seater car was capable of speeds of up to 64 km/h (40 mph). The car was not a big seller since it was very unstable, cramped and noisy. Futhrrmore, it did not have a reverse gear.

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