On this week’s episode of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast, we interview the fascinating Al Hesselbart, author of the new book RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History. The book is most definitely fun-filled. And so is our chat with Al. Listen to the podcast to hear how you can win a signed copy of the book!
We talk about how Elkhart, Indiana became the ‘RV Capital of the World’ and all the quirky, interesting folks that have shaped the industry over the years. Plus, Al gives us his take on recent consolidation and some predictions for the future.
Al Hesselbart’s newest book is RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History, and you can find it here:
And his previous book is The Dumb Things Sold, Just Like That!, which you can find here:
Segment One: The early years of the RV Industry
In the first part of the interview, we explore how so much of the RV industry ended up being consolidated in the small midwestern town of Elkhart, Indiana. Al Hesselbart tells the story of imaginations being sparked by the Chicago’s World Fair, and how ambitious entrepreneurs took advantage of social and economic realities to build a brand new industry in America.
Segment Two: The Modern RV Industry
In the second part of the interview, Al helps us understand how the RV industry changed from encompassing hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers to a consolidated industry with three main players. We get schooled on the oil embargos of the 70’s. Plus we talk about how they eventually led to the creation of Forest River under the leadership of Peter Liegl.
We could have talked to Al Hesselbart for hours about the captivating and unique stories that make up the story of the RV industry. We managed to keep it under an hour, but we will look forward to having him back for another chat.
And we just have to include a picture of Al’s 40-year old motorhome, the Newell.
RV News Minute
If you are interested in reading the article from RV Business on the Endurance line of Goodyear Tires, you can find it here.
RVFTA News Roundup
Make sure you listen to the episode to find out how you can win a signed copy of RV Capital of the World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History.
Check out our Campground Etiquette article in the latest issue of Trailer Life Magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine via mail delivery, or just get it on your local newsstand.
See you at the campground!
Stephanie + Jeremy