Pages From the Past

Retracing MotorHome’s April issues over the years

April showers do in fact bring May flowers, but they also bring an impressive list of notable birthdays for the month. Hans Christian Andersen, William Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin and William Randolph Hearst were all born in April, as were former Presidents James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant and James Monroe. And April is when the motorhome season truly hits its stride, as winter thaws and thoughts turn toward hitting the road.

Those thoughts of road trips were shared by celebrities such as the late Andy Griffith, who professed his passion for his Winnebago Class A in the April 1972 issue. “My family just loves our motorhome,” said Griffith. “It is our favorite family pastime now.” He also said he was inspired to purchase a motorhome on a hunting trip with Glen Campbell after they toured Clint Eastwood’s Condor motorhome. That’s quite a feat of name-dropping!

That same 1972 issue included a review of a Mercedes-Benz motorhome manufactured in Germany, in what would be a precursor to the scores of motorhomes built on Mercedes-Benz (Sprinter) chassis on the road today.

The April 1978 issue examined alternative fuels, comparing the pros and cons of oil, biomass fuels (solar power) and hydrogen, a debate that rages on some 40 years later.
Another discussion that continues to this day is the benefit of traveling in a motorhome versus staying in a hotel. While the first space shuttle flight occurred when the Columbia launched on April 12, 1981, MotorHome Life readers learned that choosing a motorhome over hotel stays on a 27-day trip would result in a tremendous amount of savings (more than $1,200 based on operating costs).

April 1984 brought about yet another hot topic: bloopers made during the motorhome manufacturing process, written from the perspective of a professional RV mechanic. Among his observations were lack of quality control, poor design and arrangement, and incompetent engineering. While his criticisms were based on his own experiences, we can all agree these discussions have continued over the years.

Airstream made waves in the April 1994 issue with the first redesign of the Classic Class A in more than 20 years, with the author touting “the unit’s seriously rounded aerodynamic shape” making the unit “little affected by crosswinds or blasts of air from passing traffic.”

The turn of the century brought “Millenium Motorhomes” in the April 2000 issue, which highlighted newer lightweight chassis for more fuel-friendly diesel pushers and Class A gassers.

The next decade proved the resiliency of the motorhome market in spite of a soft economy, and in 2012 MotorHome featured a comparison of three Sprinter-based Winnebagos, one from each motorhome class. The author (wisely) concluded of the chassis that “It remains a magnificent, versatile platform that will likely serve the motorhome industry for many years to come.” Indeed.

And, in April 2017 MotorHome introduced its “Ready to Roll” accessories guide as an annual feature. Check out page 35 for this year’s crop of top motorhome gear.


 

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