In the 1950s, General Motors, in particular, was the undisputed champion of creating cars of the future. Those who attended car shows, or Motoramas, in those days were treated to innovative and sometimes even wacky things that the extraordinarily talented people at GM crafted on drawing boards and then in metal and plastic.
In fact, some of those cars have survived to this day and one man, in particular, is a noted collector of them—Joe Bortz.
The point of all this is what we’re looking at today and another example of a concept from the largest RV show in the world, Caravan Salon. Crafted by the Erwin Hymer Group in collaboration with BASF, their VisionVenture concept isn’t anywhere near as dream-car as some of the GM stuff of the 1950s. In fact, it’s close enough to doable that, well, I hope someone does.
Erwin Hymer Group is a huge RV manufacturer in Germany that also made its way across the pond and got bought by Thor. But then things went very, very badly and now they’re no longer on these shores after all. Ooops.
What it is
The VisionVenture is based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 chassis but with a remarkably different body than what we’d normally expect to see. Yes, the cab is still Sprinter-esque, but the part that Hymer is responsible for is what’s really different.
The rig is designed to be off-road capable. You can see that in how the rear tail slants upward to help with going over stuff when you’re beating the unbeaten path out there. This is called the departure angle—for those who like better descriptions.
The back of the entire rig opens up clam shell-like, much like a 1950s Chevrolet Nomad wagon but much larger. This is nifty because you can get your eBikes in there or whatever you happen to be toting.
Along the sides of the back in the VisionVenture are benches and a table folds up between them. The folding mechanism of this table is really nifty. It splits in half and slides down, then slides up against the side of one of the benches in a drawer-like thingamajigger. Under the seat on the other side are drawers under the bench. That’s nifty, too.
The bathroom in the VisionVenture
The bathroom is something that reminds me of the bathroom in a Winnebago EKKO. It’s small to start, but the wall facing the hallway can be swung wider to dramatically open up the space. There is also an inner wall that can swing around to enclose the toilet and small sink. That creates a larger shower. Nice.
Something my wife and I did in our house has found its way to the VisionVenture in the form of the walls. If you’ve ever been to most any clothing store you’ll have seen something called slat wall. This wall covering has horizontal grooves in it and allows you to put in all sorts of things. At the clothing store it’s racks for shirts or shoes or whatever they’re selling.
In this it appears that you can hang hooks or shelves. There isn’t any word on whether this uses a standard slat wall groove.
In our home we used an entire wall to hang hats. We have a lot of hats.
Kitchen in the Hymer VisionVenture
The kitchen features what must be a set of dishes that come with it because they all fit into this transportable carrier where they each have their place. There’s also a pull-out drawer where this thing goes that features an integrated cutting board, as well. Gotta have somewhere to cut the cheese, after all.
There is also a little table built into the wall behind the passenger seat. This table folds down and is intended to be for working on your confuser. There’s even a pegboard behind the table that reveals itself when you fold the desk down, as well as a bendy light.
Speaking of lighting, this thing is pretty creative with illumination with lights that can be varied and moved and such. IKEA would be proud.
Solar panels on the roof and flip-up top
Up on the roof there are solar panels, of course. But there is also a flip-up top that dramatically expands the space. Oh, sure. You could sleep on the two benches downstairs. But the best sleeping space is under that flip-up roof. The sidewalls are some sort of inflatable materials.
The video is fun to watch. The concept is supposed to show what RVs are like in 2025. Okay, so it’s 2022. I wonder how close we are? Oh, right, Winnebago has done a lot of this in the EKKO. And you can get one of those right here in the USA. Except for that clamshell door and the slat wall. Whatcha waiting for, Winnie?
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
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If you look at an RV show or walk through videos from Europe, especially class B’s, you’ll think ours are stuck in the 80’s.
Because nothing says off-road like white upholstery! They are unclear on the concept.
I chuckled when I read your comment, Rebecca. 😆 Have a good evening/night. 😀 –Diane
John Hendricks, who founded Discovery Channel, is also the owner of a GM concept car. The 1954 Olds F-88 was based on the ’53 Corvette, but with an Olds engine. That big Olds Rocket V-8 would have left those original “stovebolt 6” Corvettes in the dust, which is likely why it never got past the concept stage. Of course, the name was an amalgam of the Olds 88 car models and the MIG 15-fighting F-86 Sabre jet of that era. Unfortunately, the production F-88 was a 1960 Olds compact with a tiny 215 ci aluminum-block V-8, not a Corvette-fighting, 2-seat sports car!
We watched the bidding for the F-88 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction a few years ago when Hendricks outbid all the museums that wanted it. Interestingly, it is now the centerpiece of his Gateway Auto Museum in western Colorado.
GM has been very protective of the Corvette but there have been a few internal challengers over the years including that Olds and more than one Pontiac.
That F-88 was quite a looker, too!
No price listing?
It’s still a concept.