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May 25, 2024

Vintage Photos of Curtiss Aerocar Travel Trailers From the 1920s and 1930s

Brought about by his love for the great outdoors, Glenn Curtiss began tinkering with the idea of building a better camping trailer in 1917. In 1919, his half-brother G. Carl Adams formed the Adams Trailer Corp. in Garden City, Long Island and began producing trailers under the trade name of “Motor Bungalo.” During this time, Glenn developed a version of the 5th wheel, utilizing pneumatics to compensate for the rough ride and poor control created by the conventional hitch.

Today the concept of the fifth-wheel is widely used not only for recreational vehicles but in the transportation industry as a whole. Expanding further on the two ideas, the Aerocar was born in 1928 with the first models being produced at the Curtiss plant on Long Island and in Hammondsport, N.Y. At this time, Glenn incorporated the Curtiss Aerocar Company of Florida, Inc. with manufacturing set up in Opa-locka, Florida. Being high-end in price, these ‘Land Yachts’ as they were nic-named, were all built to order. Not only available as a stylish camper, they were also used as buses, traveling showrooms, offices, horse trailers and even a zoo on wheels.

Because of the high price tag of an average of $5,000, coupled with the poor economy of the 1930s, only a few hundred Aerocars were built. Stiff competition eventually brought about its end in 1941. To this day, while the Aerocar may not be well known, Glenn’s fifth-wheel still is.


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