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When it comes to camping, we Americans like to get away from it all by taking as much of it as we can with us. To that end, inventors created recreational vehicles.

As reported by the Dallas News, RVs have been around since Henry Ford’s first Model Ts hit the road, and through the years they have included everything from tents on trailers to marble-countered motor homes. The evolution of the RV reflects America’s lust for cars and travel.

“It’s about the freedom of the open road and what that’s meant to America,” said former Amarillo Mayor Trent Sisemore.

Sisemore is co-owner of Jack Sisemore Traveland, a mega RV dealership in Amarillo. In addition to selling new and used recreational vehicles, the Sisemores have collected dozens of historic trailers and motorhomes. The collection sits in a free museum at their dealership.

“We began to trade for some unusual stuff we’d restore in our offseason,” he said. “After we had five or six units, we opened it up for people to come out and enjoy.”

Their collection includes a 1941 Westcraft trailer, originally owned by a World War II defense worker. A photograph of the USS Sigourney battleship signed by 17 U.S. presidents hangs inside. 

 

There’s a 1946 “teardrop” kit trailer built with war surplus aluminum, a 1937 Kozy Kamp, one of the first tent trailers ever built, and a 1976 FMC motorhome once owned by cosmetics tycoon Max Factor Jr. 

Similar FMC motorhomes, which sold for about the price of an average home back then, were owned by luminaries such as Mario Andretti, Clint Eastwood, Carol Burnett, Pat Boone and CBS On the Road reporter Charles Kuralt.

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