A CRAZY IDEA? A Digital-Only Vintage RV Magazine (Need Feedback)

My name is Rich Truesdell and I am an automotive editor and now, a full-time RVer (1980 Pace Arrow 30-foot motorhome).


This past week I was talking with some friends about developing a monthly digital-only RV magazine using the same iPad- and browser-friendly viewer I already use for my magazine, Automotive Traveler.

First off, is this a viable concept and how old does an RV have to be to be considered vintage? Ten years old, now subject to the 10-year rule in many parks and resorts? Fifteen years old? Twenty years old? Twenty-five years old?

My thought is that for starters that a vintage RV be defined as being 20 years old but I'm not locked in to that and welcome feedback from the vintage RV community.

If you take a look at this article on the 1973-1978 GMC Motorhomes I wrote for Automotive Traveler,

you'll have a good idea of the editorial and production values that would define the proposed publication. I have two working titles that I'm developing, Legendary RV Owner Magazine or Vintage RV Owner Enthusiast Magazine. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Here's how I see such a package, all the components you would find in a traditional printed magazine..

1. Editor's letter that sets the tone for the issue
2. New Product Pages
3. Main feature 1 on a vintage Class A, B, or C motorhome profile (similar to the GMC feature)
4. Main feature 2 on either a vintage towed trailer or fifth wheel
5. Main feature 3 road trip/destination travel feature
6. Tech/Maintenance D-I-Y/How-to feature
7. Short feature on a vintage-friendly RV resort or park with an emphasis on ranking features important to vintage RVers (like how clean it is, amenities, how close it is to shopping)
8. Reference materials embedded into the magazine such as ads an brochures, that would be reproduced as downloadable PDFs.

Since the publication, whatever it might be called, will be available for free in the same viewer as Automotive Traveler through a dedicated web site, to support the cost of production we would need advertising support. I see that coming from three areas. I am also looking at the possibility of producing versions for the Amazon Kindle and Fire as well as the Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Nook Tablet for a nominal price of $1.00 an issue. At the same time I see developing a Print-On-Demand version for between $7 to $10 and issue.

The first advertizing constituency are dealers that specialize in the sale of vintage motor homes, especially those who position a classic RV as a viable alternative to today's mega coaches. Obviously the Airstream and GMC communities first come to mind but I realize that many RV brands have passionate supporters; all are important.

Second are the parts and service vendors who support the vintage RV movement as this will be a very targeted way to reach the vintage RV community.

The third would be display and classified advertising for owners wishing to sell their vintage RV. My idea here is to develop a template where sellers could provide text and images to produce a feature-style presentation of their for-sale RV. I'm thinking that this would be a two or three-page presentation that would cost $50-$100/page. While this might seem high, it would be something that a seller could link his or her other ads to, from eBay as an example, to enhance their sales efforts.

I'm going to work on a sample issue over the weekend, using features I've already written, like the GMC feature as well as a story that I wrote years ago for Cars & Parts Magazine on a couple that towed their 1956 Shasta with a 1956 Chevy Nomad.

The key to producing a magazine like this will be getting high-quality contributions from the vintage RV community. Getting feedback from a wide cross section of vintage RVers will really help me develop an editorial package that will appeal to and best serve the vintage RV movement.

If you have suggestions, or feedback, please leave your comments here. If you have writing, photography, editing or magazine experience and would like to help me formulate the package, contact me at richt@automotivetraveler.com so we can exchange phone numbers.

Richard Truesdell
1980 Pace Arrow 30-foot motorhome

Tags: Airstream, Chevy, Dodge, GMC, Nomad, Pace-Arrow, RV, RV-magazine, Travco, Vogue, More…digital-magazine

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Hello everyone and Happy Holidays.

I just want to let everyone following this thread that the idea of a vintage RV magazine isn't dead, it's just that I had to get out the new issue of Automotive Traveler out

and that real life, as it often does, tends to get in the way of projects like this. (The iPad- and computer-friendly platform that runs in any browser that I use for Automotive Traveler is exactly the same that I will be using for Vintage RV Magazine.)

So here's an update.

First, before I was forced to stop working on the project, I got the mock up to 22 pages. You can take a look at its status now by clicking here. (Please do not distribute this PDF in any way to any other forums, web sites, or blogs. It's still very preliminary and a work very much in progress.) It will give you an idea of my editorial mission and the editorial standards I hope to establish. I'm looking to produce a bi-monthly or monthly publication that will have more in common with traditional magazines like Motorhome and Trailer Life as well as the magazines that are published by the big RV groups than web sites, no matter how well produced they might be.

Second, I will be adding at least two more pages over the weekend and will be updating some of the graphics.

Third, I'm going to start promoting the magazine selectively in some Yahoo Groups, a process that has started already with an overnight post in http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintagetrailertreasures and a few members there have already taken a look here as I posted a link to this blog in the Yahoo Group. I think that between Yahoo Groups, Flickr Groups, RV, motorhome, travel trailer, and vintage car forums and web sites, blogs, and of course Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks, that I think that building a subscriber base of 10,000 vintage RV enthusiasts to make this a viable program, one that will hopefully attract advertising support.

Right now I am looking for more contributions, especially reviews of parks and resorts that are vintage RV-friendly, as well as tech and D-I-Y stories. Please post your ideas here and and E-mail me directly.

I have cover story subjects already selected for the nest three issues, an FMC motorhome for issue two, a 1953 Spartan towed by a one-off 1956 Lincoln station wagon, and possibly a totally original GMC motorhome for issue four. For issue five I'm currently looking for a pre-war (1941 or older) travel trailer so I'm open to suggestions.

Watch this thread for more progress.

Best wishes,

Richard Truesdell

Great idea. Our 5er is a 1990. Not classic but far from the newer sleeker models. I also vote for a Kindle Fire version, too. 

Your last name is one that is not often seen, but is my wife's 97 year old mother's maiden name.  Her family has lived in Bethune, SC (Pop 303) since it was founded when they came from Scotland.  My wife and I now live here and care for her.  I am now restoring two 1973 2500 Superior motor homes, one a custom made, high level office and the other an all accessories loaded 25,000 mile regular motor home.  I am also restoring a 1971 Dodge Travco 220 with quite a history since my ownership.  I think your magazine idea is fantastic.

Henry Blair



Hi Rich,

I'm an associate editor for Airstream Life Magazine, a print magazine combined with a blog and dedicated to Airstream owners. I like your idea and checked out your site. It looks good. Your challenge will be finding consistently helpful articles and content that appeals to a variety of  RV'ers. Along with info on the RVs themselves travelers like destination pieces, information on saving money, earning money on the road, technology and a variety of topics that are relevant to their RV lifestyle—buying a vintage RV, restoration, safety, resources for parts, how to paint them yourself, and so on. Defining your focus and providing that content is what will make your costs work. If you have info people can't find anywhere else, they'll pay to get it. It's that simple. So, the challenge is making your publication unique. HOW will you stand out? Having a stable of well-known, or at least popular writers helps, as does great photography, reader involvement etc. It looks good and I'd like to be a part of it in some way. I'm a journalist with 23+ years of journalism experience and another five of magazine experience (paid staff and freelance). I'm a photographer, editor, writer and have been a full-timer. I worked for Camping World as a customer service rep and know a lot about what RV'ers want. So, please contact me. Thanks for posting here!




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