The amazing 1941 Western Flyer motorhome was designed by famed industrial designer; Brooks Stevens. Born in 1911 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Stevens contracted polio when young, and found that drawing and sketching relieved his bedridden boredom. His interest in design and drawing continued, and from 1929-1933 he attended Cornell University in New York, then started a design consultancy in 1934.
He went on to draft seminal designs for a wide array of products, from consumer gadgets to locomotives, and taught Industrial Design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design until he died in 1995. Brook Stevens’ design portfolio is extensive, but he is probably best known for the iconic designs he drafted for Willys-Overland after WW-II, including a line of all new consumer vehicles based on the wildly successful 4×4 Jeep which included the iconic Willys pickup truck, panel truck and station wagon (the first all-steel 2-door station wagon), the sporty Jeepster and later the Jeep Wagoneer and finally the Jeep Cherokee in 1980. Stevens’ also designed a version of the iconic “Wienermobile” for Oscar Mayer in 1958 that shares several design points with the 1941 Western Flyer motor-home. One of Stevens’ first “housecar-like” creations was the Zephr Land Yacht which he designed in 1936 for millionare Bill Plankinton.
The Zephr’s tractor was based in an International chassis and the trailer was based on a Curtis Aerocar. Both the tractor and trailer had outrageously bulbous ends. In 1939/1940, Stevens designed a similarly sleek “sales van” for the Western Printing and Litho Co, and a delivery van in 1941 for the Miller Brewing Co. that followed the styling trends started by the Zephr Land Yacht. Continuing in this “motorhome” vein, in 1939-1940 Stevens designed a “display vehicle” for Herbert Johnson (of the SC Wax Company) for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Next, Stevens designed a similar “house-car” for Winfield Campbell (Campbell Baking Co.) which many believe was modified by Howdy Ledbetter into the famous Western Flyer motor home. Finally, Stevens designed the “Clipper” which is very similar to the Western Flyer and is now on display at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
The 1941 Western Flyer motor home is a wonderfully “moderne” streamline design that looks rocket-fast even when sitting still. The huge front grille, split windshield and headlight pods are reminiscent of “cab-over” commercial trucks of the era. And the trailing-flair wheel wells and outrageous wing on the roof further accentuate the “bullet in motion” style of this amazing motorhome/camper. It’s interesting to note that Stevens also designed the 1962 Gran Turismo Hawk for Studebaker, and the red “puffy-cross” logo for Miller High Life beer.
source: old trailer