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Pages From the Past

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Retracing MotorHome’s June issues over the years

We often trumpet the forward-thinking mentality of MotorHome in this monthly look into the magazine’s distinguished past. But, when you’re faced with evidence such as “Evans’ Heaven on Wheels” from the June 1971 issue, it’s clear that MotorHome should be celebrated as a true pioneer in seeing beyond the horizon since its inception. “Picture a motorhome with a garage. Built in. What’s more, picture that motorhome garage actually containing a car … Now, picture that motorhome with an electric overhead bed that raises out of sight … ” Granted, the feature in question detailed an actual coach that was designed by Guy and Jeanie Evans, but MotorHome Life saw enough validity in such unique appointments as to showcase the vehicle when those innovations were rare.

The June ’72 issue featured “Ask a Woman,” a guest editorial in which a female reader details some improvements that could be made to motorhomes – in terms of design flaws rather than the expected, “Better décor and a larger kitchen.” The fact that this is notable today may be an unfortunate sign of the times of that era, but bucking the social norm in terms of progress has long been commonplace within this magazine’s pages.

The oil crisis in 1979 led to a decade of reflection in the 1980s, and “Falling Oil Prices, Rising Hopes” in the June ’86 issue included a quote that remains ahead of its time: “I think we can say … that the price of gas never really became a significant factor in the average RVer’s decision to buy. I think the real factor has always been, and will continue to be availability.” This declaration that RVing would continue to be a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts contrasted conventional wisdom at the time.

The late 1990s would see what would come to be a momentous occasion for MotorHome. A small news item in June 1997 stated that MotorHome’s parent company (then Affinity Group Inc.) was acquiring an outdoor retailer known as Camping World, in addition to its 26 retail centers and catalog operation. That small bit of forward-thinking led to what is today the most well-known destination for all things RV, with more than 140 retail stores and dealerships in 36 states as of press time.

At the turn of the century, MotorHome decided to further engage its audience with an in-depth look at DIY projects created by (and for) its readers. The column would include projects, or tips, that could be done in a short amount of time. Since its debut 18 years ago, Quick Tips remains one of the magazine’s most popular items, and we are always on the lookout for the newest way to build a better mousetrap.

And finally, how’s this for forward thinking: A search of June issues from the past reveals a number of features with ties to waterborne activities such as innertubing, canoeing and personal watercraft. “Ride a River” in 1981, “Trip Your Canoe And Motorhome Too!” in ’82 and “Wet & Wild” in 2004 all championed how popular aquatic recreation activities could be further enhanced with a motorhome at the ready.


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