Classic Caravans: 5 Vintage Mobile & Antique Trailer Homes

There are many forgotten mobile living designs that came before the now-classic Airstream, like the curious hybrid car + house shown above. Some manufactured housing designs stand the test of time, others do not, but the best may be those that still seem innovative when we look back on them today – even if they are not still being used in quite the same way.

Caravans, trailers and other types of mobile home have played a great many roles in modern culture, from the stereotypical shack-on-wheels to ultra-luxury portable mansions. Here are a few examples ranging from the above-pictured extremes to the below-featured in-betweens.

Just as cars grew bigger, bulkier and yet more streamlined in design, so did the mobile home market. Even today, a thirty-five-footer is quite substantial and a second story like that, well, you would have to watch your clearance levels.

Many classic caravan and trailer designs alluded to everything from trucks and trains to ocean liners, emphasizing their portable nature despite the fact that most of them sit today in parks. Not the tropical allusions, but pedestrian setting – palm trees in the background but flat tile and grass in front.

As cars become more modular and customizable, so did their attached dwellings – options grew from basic accessories to appliance, cabinet, color and material choices, with the way already paved by the growing fixed-location prefab home movement. The double-wide floor plans were only a matter of time.

See more designs under Portable or in the Architecture category:
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