Monster Motorhome – The 1952 Executive Flagship Is a Monster Motorhome With a Helipad and Swimming Pool

Gigantic motorhomes are by no means an uncommon sight, but even the biggest ones pale by comparison to this vintage one-off. It’s called the Executive Flagship and it roamed the highways of the United States in the early ‘50s, before slipping off the map for all eternity. It is, to this day, the “world’s most exciting mobile home,” as a brochure at the time described it.

The 1952 Executive Flagship is a real motorhome, and the only one ever built. Its whereabouts these days are not known but, according to a Hemmings reader, by 1965, it was already a ruin, abandoned in a storage yard in Florida. That same reader had seen it on the road a decade earlier (1955), and had been so impressed with it that he wanted to buy it. The owner of the place wanted $2,000 for it, just enough to cover storage there, but it was in such a bad condition that the reader eventually decided against buying it. A few months later, it was gone.

Restoring such a mammoth of a motorhome would have been a tremendous and incredibly expensive task. Of all the mega-motorhomes in the world, this one is probably the biggest and most daring in terms of the amenities it offers. It was also meant to be a series production unit, but unsurprisingly, no one wanted to buy the first one. Hint: the fact that it was priced at $75,000, which is roughly $800,000 in today’s money, had a lot to do with it.

The Executive Flagship is the creation of William MacDonald of the Mid-States Corporation, a motorhome company that was, at the time, putting out over 7,500 units a year. Designed by Peter Kohler and built in California, it was meant to be the “most exciting mobile home” in the world and a perfect place for relaxation, business, and letting loose on the road, in the company of six other people. The double-unit articulated motorhome could sleep seven people in total comfort, including the driver, but host close to two dozens.

The motorhome was 65 feet (19.8 meters) long in total, 15.5 feet (4.7 meters) high and 16 feet (4.8 meters) wide, and had a steel frame and aluminum skin. The tractor had a wheelbase of 26 feet (7.9 meters), and the trailer was permanently mounted to it. It weighed a total of 18 tons and rolled on ten wheels, and offered amenities of the kind you’re not likely to see in any other motorhome – and with good reason. Living arrangements were located on the tractor, and the socializing areas were grouped on two levels on the trailer. As we’d say today, business in the front, party in the back.

The astounding list of amenities included two full bathrooms, a bar and a lounge, sleeping quarters, a dining room, and a rooftop platform that could serve as a sun deck or a helipad for a light aircraft (which, yes, was tested). And – get this – the same area came with drop-down platforms for more space and an integrated diving board, because a collapsible 6-foot (1.8-meter)-deep pool was included, so that you could turn every camp stay into a proper resort experience.

To describe this motorhome as bonkers is an understatement, especially for those times. Guests on board had everything from a 21-inch television set, the fully-stocked bar, wall-to-wall carpeting, air conditioning, telephone-radio, a movie screen, indirect lighting, a wine cellar, a “pooch porch” for the dog (whatever that means), and three elephant guns, in case you wanted to take it on a safari.

Neither MacDonald nor anyone else ever took it that far. A Popular Science article at the time, which was basically an ad, notes that it did go on a trek across the United States, and that it required a special permit in order to go on the road in all states except Arizona. It also lists the motorhome’s maximum speed at 50 mph (80.5 kph) thanks to a “128-horsepower International truck motor with 10 forward speeds – five standard speeds plus a two-speed reared.”

Clearly, despite the interest it generated, this one-off motorhome failed to find a buyer, let alone spark demand for an entire line of them. Still, it was not a (complete) waste of money: MacDonald used it as a promotional vehicle, taking it on displays around the country, and getting more people interested in his company’s less-bonkers, more-affordable motorhomes. Plus, he presumably got to travel and party onboard.

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