What Was The First Ever Motorhome?

caravan shop kent - holiday trip in motorhome

Alongside the ever-reliable caravan, the motorhome has been a regular staple of leisure holidays, with the appeal of having a personal living space you can take anywhere you want having considerable appeal.

This appeal has been evident for as long as the car itself has been popular, with plenty of examples of motorhomes that are over a century old and have truly striking designs.

However, the first motorhome ever made, at least according to the Smithsonian Institute, was made by one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the world during that time.

One of the “Three Ps of Motordom” alongside Packard and Peerless, Pierce-Arrow was a car manufacturer who was of such renown that many members of royalty owned at least one, but its legacy was for a car as practical as it was luxurious.

Known as the Touring Landau, Pierce-Arrow’s pioneering motorhome was first unveiled in 1910 at a New York motor show in Madison Square Garden, where its unusual purpose attracted quite a lot of attention.

Based on the Pierce-Arrow 66 limousine, it featured a fold-out bed in the seats, a functional sink, a toilet and two living spaces, although the latter was due to the original model having a partition between the driver and passenger spaces.

It also had several compartments meant for camping equipment and was designed to provide as much comfort as possible but conceded that unlike a modern motor home was not intended to replace hotels and other accommodations.

Given that they cost over £200,000 adjusted for inflation, it appears that only three of the Touring Landaus were ever produced, and none of these have ever reemerged.

Pierce-Arrow was a revered name in motoring in the early part of the 20th century, but high prices, a reputation for conservative design and the Great Depression all combined to force this innovative company into insolvency in 1938, alongside Peerless and several of its contemporaries.