The RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum recently received a collection of historic Fleetwood RVs from the early days of now defunct Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. of Riverside, California.
The coaches were donated by the Crean Foundation, according to a RV/MH Hall of Fame news release.
“Andy Crean, son of Fleetwood founder and Hall of Fame member John Crean, acquired these RVs from the bankruptcy of Fleetwood Enterprises specifically to present to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in his father’s memory,” noted Hall President Darryl Searer,
These RVs, now on display in the museum, include a 1950 12-foot Fleetwood Sporter that was the very first trailer built when Fleetwood grew out of Coach Specialties Company, a builder of venetian blinds for trailers.
Also donated were a Fleetwood Sportster, a later version of the same trailer; a 1969 Pace Arrow that was the first motorhome produced by Fleetwood; and John Crean’s 1985 working prototype for the iconic 1986-87 Bounder which introduced the basement model concept to RVs.
Accompanying the early RVs is an extensive collection of Fleetwood documents and memorabilia from the company’s early days which will be added to RV/MH library collections.
“After learning of the Crean Foundation’s gift, we faced the problem of the costs of transporting the collection from California to the museum in Indiana,” said Searer.
“That problem was solved when Wilbur Bontrager (Jayco, Inc.) and Joel Pladson (Starfleet, an RV transport company) agreed to underwrite the expense and bring the collection to Elkhart.
“This collection of early Fleetwood RVs adds a new dimension to museum’s extensive inventory of historic RVs, thanks to the generosity of the Crean Foundation as well as Wilber Bontrager and Joel Pladson,” he added.
In addition to the Fleetwood collection, the RV/MH museum received a 1947 Westcraft 24-foot Westwood Coronado from its original owner, John Culp, who purchased it in 1947 upon his return from duty with the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He used it continuously for 65 years traveling throughout the United States and snowbirding each winter in Florida.
The Westcraft trailer is displayed on the large patio in front of the Hall of Fame building where it is seen by all who pass by.
RV/MH Hall of Fame
Shortly after the RV/MH Heritage Foundation was formed in March 1972, the Foundation honored the inaugural class of inductees into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
Since that time 347 industry pioneers and leaders have joined the elite group.
Today, the Foundation maintains the national RV/MH Hall of Fame, Museum, Library, and Conference Center at its headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana.
The RV Founders Hall displays trailers, photos, and memorabilia reaching back to the 1920s and 1930s and is open to the public.
The museum presents chronological and technological advancements in the industry from before WW I to the present.
The RV/MH Exhibitor Hall contains interesting displays illustrating the history and products of many of the parts manufacturers and service providers to the RV and manufactured housing industry.
Admission: $10; seniors $8; youths ages 7-18, $7
Open: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Address: 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart Indiana 46514
Location: From Indiana Toll Road (I-80/I-90) east of Elkhart, take Exit 96 South to County Road 17, turn left (east) on Executive Parkway to RV/MH Hall of Fame
Phone: (574) 293-2344 or (800) 378-8694 (toll free)
Recreational vehicles are wonderful… To travel by RV is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers, in fact, to see life.
—with apologies to Agatha Christie