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Where have all the RVs from the ’60s to ’80s gone?

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Our RV tech expert responded to this reader’s question, and we thought it was worth sharing with others, too.

Dear Dave,
What has happened to the majority of the RVs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s? Where are they today? —Al

Dear Al,
Last year the RV Industry Association (RVIA) reported that the industry shipped 600,000 RVs to dealers, which was a record. I’ve searched, but I cannot find any numbers for the ’60s through the ’80s, but I doubt there were even half as many produced. First, in the ’60s there were far fewer RV manufacturers. And then, in the ’70s, there was gas rationing and other economic issues. In both cases, RV sales were affected, and lower.

Second, the manufacturing process or, better yet, the materials used were inferior to those used today and that goes for quality units as well as inexpensive ones commonly referred to in the industry as “stick and tin” models.

So, as people used the units and the weather took its toll, many of them made their way to junkyards. I live in the Midwest and it seems like almost every farm that has not been gobbled up by a corporation has at least one old RV sitting in the grove behind the barn. Some of these older RVs have been repurposed for hunting or fishing cabins after being dragged to a permanent location.

And one more thing I’ve noticed is older units being used more and more for sheltering the otherwise-homeless. We’ve written about that often here on RVtravel.com. Some of these RVs were abandoned or sold for practically nothing to people who could not afford any type of traditional housing. Those of us in big cities see these RVs parking along city streets or in vacant lots, moving only when forced to by law enforcement.



Read more from Dave here.

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Bob M
2 months ago

When I bought my camping lot in the Poconos. There was a old camper there which had the door ripped out, inside torn apart and leaky roof. Put it in the newspaper for free. A guy took it and pulled it out, drove it to wherever. The metal on the side and frame are worth something as scrap metal.

Frustrated
2 months ago

I just moved into a ’73 18-footer I scored for $200, because my rent for an apartment was an insane $2300/mo. By the time I made it livable, put new tires on it, and bought a ’99 Suburban to tow it, I was out less than $3k. The problem now is where to park it, for less than $1000/mo….

Tim.kyfl
2 months ago

I must be homeless. My ’94 Fleetwood is just fine for me. Better quality of materials today? Not from what I read.

Alan
2 months ago

The streets of Portland Oregon, thanks thats where the majority have gone too.

Jeff Craig
2 months ago
Reply to  Alan

Considering a house in Portland costs close to a million, that would sell for 300k in Tulsa, Omaha or Birmingham, of course there is going to be a housing crisis. Then again, if the rest of the country could be as desirable as the PacNorWest, maybe people would want to live there instead.

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

Wherever I drive, there seems to be an RV in the yard that no one has used in years. No one wants to sell, they will use it again someday. They die first, and no one wants to buy it. So it sits and rots. Like my 1980 Coleman popup, it’s free, but no one wants a forty year old popup trailer. However, if it was an Airstream or a “Canned Ham”…

Bob p
2 months ago

The reason they don’t take it is because it’s free. That scares people, put a $500 price on it and it will easily sell for $400. Lol. We live in a RV park, if I set something by the street with a free sign it’ll sit there for a week, I put a sign on it $5 and it’s gone in 2 hrs.

Dan F
2 months ago

Canned hams are easier to fix them pop ups .The cost of good used pop isnt that bad.I have 68 canned ham and the wood was pretty good shape .Now doing a 68 Del Rey which was a pile of garbage lol but its to cool to see trashed and thrown away