Thursday, May 24, 2012

The history of Mobile Scout revealed!

Wow! My queries for information were answered! A big thanks to Elvie J. Frey, Sr. who is President of Winnebago Industries for putting all the pieces together for me!
Mobile Scout was indeed a company that built travel trailers years ago. I will give you an update as I know the history. In the late 70s William Dozer Thornton who owned the company sold it to an investor group. It was bankrupted by the new owners in the early 80s. W. D. Thornton received the right to the name in the bankruptcy in exchange for the money that they still owed him.

In 1992 several of us that were involved in the RV industry started a new venture, SunnyBrook RV, Inc, with Tom Thornton being one of the partners. W.D. Thornton was Tom’s father and Tom owned several RV dealerships in Texas at the time. When we started producing units Tom wanted his units built with the Mobile Scout name on them instead of SunnyBrook. Then several other Texas dealers also expressed interest in having their units built with the Mobile Scout Name. So we acquired the right to use the name and have been building units with the Mobile Scout name on them ever since.

In December of 2010 SunnyBrook was acquired by Winnebago Industries.


Elvie J. Frey, Sr.
President, Winnebago Industries

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tracing the Mobile Scout History

From documents I've found, we know that Mobile Scout Manufacturing Corp. was building Mobile Scout campers in various lengths and configurations from the late 50's through the 60's. Camper building back in that day was a bit different from manufacturing today; given the variety of interiors and structural details, they appear to have been built with whatever resources were on hand -- the framing in ours, which we exposed when we took the skin of and the interior out in order to replace some rot -- was clearly whatever wood they had around, some clearly recycled. I've never been able to pinpoint how many of these vintage models were produced.

A postcard does suggest that they were booming; an ad-postcard for Mobile Scout Manfacturing Corp notes their Arlington, Texas address and the opening of a new plant in Pennsylvania (circa mid 60's?).

The old logo is confirmed in a bumper sticker that is for Mobile Scout Manufacturing Corp in Arlington, Texas. Ads in vintage camping magazines show a variety of lengths and configurations.

The trail goes somewhat cold, until SunnyBrook RV starts making travel trailers in 1992 under the SunnyBrook and Mobile RV names. A Google Image Search also finds some 90's campers that have the vintage Mobile Scout logo with "by SunnyBrook" beneath it.

I've not been able to ID what happened or when. Letters to SunnyBrook seeking someone in the business office who might be a vintage camper buff have so far been unfruitful. Finding someone in Arlington, TX who is from the era gets increasingly less likely by the day.

If you have any history information, please get in touch with me. I'd love to find out more.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today we were stalkers. Camper stalkers.

While out and about today, my husband and I spotted a canned ham style camper a few cars in front of us. We both yelped with delight as it turned the corner and we saw the traditional Mobile Scout graphics and details on the side. Crossing our fingers that the driver would head to a gas station for a break, we followed him. And... we followed him for quite a while. We were stalking, for sure. Off the main road. Into neighborhoods. Turn left, left, left... then back onto the main road we were originally on.

Was he trying to shake us?

Then off the main road again, just one block further than before. This time he wove back around to a Wal-Mart. We pulled up beside him and chatted for a bit. He showed us his camper, and we learned about Rollin' Oldies Vintage Campers, a group in the area that had just had a camping weekend with 40 campers in attendance.

We're going to get in touch and try to get connected with some others!