The following content has been taken, with permission, from the web site of the Newell Coach Company. It details the origins of the Newell Motorhome in the Streamline Motorhome. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to visit the site of the Newell Coach Company to see the evolution in motorhomes from the days of the old Streamline Travel Home into today's modern coach.
Not many people today realize that two of the most popular recent trends in the motorhome industry, the rear engine motorhome and diesel power for motorhomes, were both introduced by the late L.K. Newell in the early 1970's, a decade before gaining common acceptance for luxury motorhomes.(L.K.Newell shown above with his wife Opal, December 1990.)
Mr. Newell built the first rear engine version of the Newell coach in 1969 using a Madson gas powered bus chassis. However, Newell was not satisfied with the compromises required by using a purchased chassis, so in 1970 he designed and built his own built-from-scratch pusher motorhome chassis. Always the innovator, Newell included a unique bridge construction technique that eliminated the frame rails between the front and rear axles, maximizing under floor storage space - the first basement motorhome!
Newell was offering his first diesel powered motorhomes in 1972, far ahead of the rest of the industry. While pusher engines, diesel power, and basement storage are taken for granted in today's motorhome world, such was certainly not the case over two decades ago when Newell was running his motor coach manufacturing company.
Mr. Newell had entered the motorhome business quite by accident. In 1967, Newell traveled from his Oklahoma home to El Monte, California to take delivery of a new Streamline motorhome. Manufactured by a division of the Streamline Trailer company, the then top-of-the-line Streamline luxury motorhome featured an aluminum body similar to the firm's trailers, and was mounted on a very conventional one-ton Ford gas powered chassis. Within two weeks of taking possession of his new Streamline, Mr. Newell returned to the factory to have a few corrections performed. (Left: 1966 Streamline motorhome, predecessor of the Newell Coach, featured a ford chassis and gas front engine.)
Always a very outspoken person, Newell shared some of his suggestions for product improvements with the owner of Streamline. He was met with a legendary challenge: "If you're so damned smart, why don't you buy the motorhome operation from me?" Within hours, a deal was struck, and L.K. Newell was in the motor coach manufacturing business. Ironically, while the remaining portions of Streamline did not survive the turbulent RV market of the 1970's, the motorhome division that Streamline sold to L.K. Newell in 1967 has been in continuous and successful operation ever since as Newell Coach Corporation.
Mr. Newell operated his coach manufacturing business in Miami, OK until ill health, believed at the time to be terminal, caused him to sell the company in 1973. During this relatively short time span of six years, Mr. Newell had established many of the basic elements that resulted in over 25 years of business success for the company he founded.
Central to L.K. Newell's approach to the motorhome business was his desire to build the entire coach from the ground up. He was not satisfied with the conventional, off-the-shelf Class A motorhome chassis offered, and immediately demonstrated the genius to create a much more advanced chassis than was available: Mr. Newell also preferred his own chassis and body over converting a bus shell.
Newell believed he could include the desirable features of a bus, such as the rear diesel engine, under floor storage, air brakes, and air suspension, and add features that buses did not offer, such as front mounted generator, mid entry door, motorhome systems built into the body and chassis during manufacture, and more flexibility to custom build to the client's preferences. Mr. Newell's philosophy remains the cornerstone of Newell Coach Corporation to this day.
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