John Gilbert Staff Editor
December 7, 2015

It seems like there’s always an argument starter when it comes to discussing historical facts about a specific vintage vehicle. It was Ford’s recent announcement the company had just introduced its own line of Ford licensed trailers, toy haulers and campers that refreshed the memory I have of a particular 1954 Ford F-100. I remembered its Petaluma, California owner claimed it to be a 1954 F-100 Camper Special, so that got me curious when Ford first introduced the Camper Special nameplate.

A search on Wikipedia claims the first Ford Camper Special was introduced in 1961 on F-150 and larger pickups, but I’m going to stick with the unmolested ’54 F-100 Camper Special in Petaluma. The ’54 was sold new at WC Sanderson Ford in Healdsburg, California, in late1954. Of interest was it had a 1955 model grille, and 12-volt electrics, which weren’t standard on Ford vehicles until 1956.

Its not surprising Ford is the first original equipment manufacturer to offer an extended line of licensed travel trailers, toy haulers and truck campers since camping and seeing the great outdoors was a regular pastime of Henry Ford.

Ford is working with Indiana-based RV manufacturer Livin Lite, a subsidiary of recreational vehicle industry leader Thor Industries to manufacture the line. In designer speak Ford and Livin Lite design teams worked together to incorporate unique and inspired Ford design language in the products.

The new Ford-branded truck campers and travel trailers are licensed and built by Indiana-based Livin Lite, a subsidiary of industry leader Thor Industries. Known for using strong, lightweight aluminum alloy in its products, Livin Lite’s Ford offerings will also be made out of the advanced material to save weight and offer resistance to rust and rot.

Ford slide-in truck campers will be offered for 6- and 8-foot truck beds, while the first travel trailers and toy haulers will be offered in 22- and 24-foot lengths. Additional products, including longer fifth-wheel trailers and shorter pop-up campers, are also planned. All products feature Livin Lite’s advanced materials and a two-year limited warranty.

“Licensing our name and design language to Livin Lite was an easy decision,” said Bentley. “Their use of advanced materials and innovation mindset makes them an excellent fit with the Ford brand. We are confident customers will be impressed with the unique, bold designs and comfortable features offered in the Ford RV line.”

The RVs were designed by Livin Lite in conjunction with Ford Truck Design. The two teams worked together over the past 15 months to create several attractive recreational vehicles that are unique to Ford. Styled to match a striking front nose with an F-Series-inspired front window, F-Series-style wheels and unique Ford Blue Oval side graphics are among the key exterior features distinguishing the Ford offerings from competitors.

Interior styling cues from the F-Series Lariat, including unique leathers and stitched Ford Blue Ovals in seat cushions, ensure a stylish and tough impression.

Ford Truck campers will be available through certified Livin Lite dealers starting in early 2016, while the travel trailers and toy haulers will be available by the second quarter of 2016.

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