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Recreational Vehicles – a World History 1872-1939


This magnificent book was published in early 2022, but, being on the outer fringes of the caravan world, the OTA website didn’t get hold of a review copy until late-2022. 


Today there are around 15 million recreational vehicles – RVs – on the roads of the USA, Europe and Australasia, but this is the first chronological account of their journey that we’ve coma across.

The book opens with explanations and photographs of how this fascinating family of vehicles came about and who the first recreational nomads were.

This history beautifully illustrates the vehicles and exploits of the early RV mavericks, with more than 250 period photos of the vehicles, their builders and their owners. It explores the evolution of the RV from its horse-drawn roots, through the steam era, to the golden age of 1930s caravans and motorhomes. 

Many rare photos of early RVs were uncovered during the research for this book and are being published for the first time. We’re keen researchers, but we haven’t seen most of them before.

The book illustrates not only RV development, but the progress of the automobiles that towed caravans and camper trailers or mounted RV bodywork on their chassis.



RVs had particular appeal in six countries around the world – UK, USA, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand – and this history compares the evolution of RV design and usage in each country. Also featured is an international gallery of RVs adapted for non-recreational purposes. 

By portraying not just the vehicles but also the trends, people and fashions of the period, this unique RV history reveals the remarkable early days of transport-based tourism and leisure. 

Andrew Woodmansey’s research on the early days of the RV should be in the library of every historic vehicle and caravan club, we reckon. At A$85, it’s not a cheap volume, but is quality through and through: rvhistory.com/book



About the Author


Andrew Woodmansey is a recreational vehicle historian based in Sydney, Australia. Born near England’s New Forest, Andrew enjoyed many family caravan holidays as a child. After studying at Cambridge University, he embarked on a finance career spanning six countries, finally settling in 2000 in Australia, where he worked in senior operational roles at the Sydney Opera House and elsewhere. In 2014 he wrote The Caravan Buyers Guide. Andrew now writes about RV history and explores Australia in his camper trailer.


































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