I'm overwhelmed with all the beautiful cars and RVs I saw yesterday at the Hymer Museum in Bad Waldsee, Germany, and wanted to show y'all some of the sights I have seen. The museum is located right across from the Hymer factory, and was Erwin Hymer's idea (and money), but it covers all manufacturers. You can read up about the museum here: https://www.erwin-hymer-museum.de/en.html
There were some beautiful prewar cars, towables, and then there was this Morris Oxford. We know Morris Garages as MG here in the States for their postwar sports cars. but check out this leaded glass and wood coachwork. It was indeed a different world back then.
Early towables were tiny, and very light. The construction was thin wood, because cars weren't powerful enough to tow heavy trailers. Accomodations were spartan – it was basically a place to get in out of the rain, and to sleep.
After the war, the industry had to start over from scratch. The primary challenge was lack of the abundant raw materials North America was blessed with. Europeans didn't invent the unibody because they didn't have enough to do – they invented it because they didn't have enough steel to build body-on-frame vehicles anymore. Cars had maybe 30 horsepower, and the challenge was to build something light enough to tow behind them.
The genius of Erwin Hymer is he figured out how to build a towable that was still light enough to tow, but wasn't a sardine can. Here is the prototype Eriba Troll, not much heavier than the teardrop towables, but with standing room and windows, running water, and many other things that made camping much more enjoyable.
There are some beautiful period vehicles displayed pulling these towables. My favorire was a Borgward Isetta coupe, dear to my heart because of the late 1950s Italian styling like my old Volvo 1800. If you could afford a Mercedes back then, you could pull anything you darn well wanted to. Luxury cars had big motors, because gasoline was a luxury.
The motorhomes began to show up in the 1960s as prosperity returned. Hymer started out with this beautiful Borgward chassis. Check out the old bathroom.
Larger models on Mercedes chassis followed.
I'll post more photos as I sort through these that I took. Like I said, the museum is an overwhelming experience – I felt like a kid in a candy store.