The Sun Never Sets on Britain's Very First RV

Do you think it runs on tea?

By Shari Gab

The Sun Never Sets on Britain's Very First RV
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27 June 2017

Calling all camper fans: this motorhome’s history is nothing short of robust. The story goes that in 1935 Captain Dunn shipped a Pontiac Six chassis across the waters from the U.S. to the U.K. with dreams to transform it into the beauty you see here. It is widely believed to be Britain's first RV and since it has sat largely untouched since 1940 it stands as a time capsule to a pre-war Britain.

old camper (7 images)

It was renovated in the '30s by Russell’s Coachworks of Bexhill, who were known for their work on fire engines. The result is part American art deco, part old English style camper with a four-litre motor, topping out at 50mph.

Dunn traversed the roads of southern England and four photos of his 1930s journeys are included with the sale of the ride. Inside is a treasure trove that uncovers what his adventures entailed with travel guides, complete with empty grapefruit tins and Oxo cubes. All in, the Dunns put less than 10,000 miles on the rig.

camper photos (2 images)

The Captain contracted polio while on honeymoon with his wife, which then required him to use a wheelchair. In ‘46, he passed on leaving his wife with the motorhome. The motorhome rested in a barn, and Mrs. Dunn would turn over the engine every few months until her passing in 1991.

The ride then fell into the hands of their trusted financial advisor, Ron Saunders, whose son Andy would later restore the vehicle. It was on display until recently at their family business in Poole, Dorset, occasionally being hauled around and peacocked at shows. After his father’s passing, the family decided it was time to let the beauty go, and it sold last year at a Bonhams' auction for just under $45k.

“This is considered to be the first British motorhome and therefore the beginning of the campervan industry,” Saunders said. “It was the creation of Capt Dunn, who had the vision as well as the money, to bring his dream to life. He was incredibly ahead of his time when you look at some of the amenities included within the vehicle. Great credit must be given to the builder too, Russell was able to construct the body without any previous motorhome experience.”

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