Pages From the Past

Retracing MotorHome’s May issues over the years

May is for flowers, for mothers and for fresh starts, and it stands on the sun-dappled front porch of still-warmer summertime.

Those classically comforting feelings are why it’s initially rather unexpected to read an editorial on the impending end of the world (to be brought about by overusing natural resources) in MotorHome’s May 1974 issue … until the author ever so slyly puts things in perspective after stating his case to the contrary (pointing out the trend toward more efficient vehicles): “So, the world is not ending, but changing for the better.”

And it’s hard to argue with such hope when confronted with the “Galloping Grandmas of Bellingham” in the May ’75 issue. The humorous (and inspiring) feature focused on Edna Roddey and Leona Jones, a pair of adventurous women with a combined age of 130 who lived full-time in a 28-foot Cabana Class A.

The feel-good nostalgia continues in the May ’84 issue with “Cellular Phones: Revolution in Communications.” The clever comparisons between George Orwell’s classic 1984 and the cellular technology of the same calendar year was ahead of its time, most notably the ultimate (and partly correct) conclusion that “Within the next couple of years, cellular phones will probably be offered as standard or optional equipment by many motorhome manufacturers.” The trend may not have caught on at the manufacturer level, but the sentiment that cellphones would become a must-have among consumers has turned out to be spot on. Shortly after the prediction was made, the United States would bring home 174 total (83 gold) medals in the 1984 Summer Olympics, in Los Angeles, California.

Two years later, MotorHome tested the soon-to-be superstar Fleetwood Bounder, which helped popularize basement storage floorplans and improved livability features, all at an affordable price.

In May of ’96, a blink-and-you-might-miss-it item appeared on the MH News page, pointing out “Ford to Offer 6.8-liter V-10 in Vans and Cutaways.” It would prove to be a rather humble announcement for the introduction of the popular Triton engine that powers so many motorhomes on the road today.

The May 2008 issue featured a Walk-through on the Jayco Seneca HD, a Class C motorhome on a robust Chevrolet Kodiak chassis. The move by Jayco perhaps unofficially announced that the so-called “Super C” class of motorhomes had not only arrived, but was in fact here to stay.

This month’s trip down memory lane concludes with “Six-figure Symphony,” a May 2016 roundup of a dozen motorhomes that barely (if at all) crack the $100,000 mark. Compare that to this month’s “10 For the Road” offering on page 54, where we take a look at 10 motorhomes that come in at less than $200,000. And though the doubling of sticker prices may seem shocking, we can assure you the new breed of motorhomes more than lives up to the additional cost. We’ll chalk it up to inflation.


 

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