Walter Miller had a 1969 brochure on the auction site titled “Presenting the Ferber Coach – The Aristocrat of Motor Homes.” And…the look, style, method of construction, materials and all other details confirmed that this was the 22-foot version of their Ferber Coach – the larger 27” Coach was pictured in their brochure with back porch, sliding doors and leopard skin seats and couch. The brochure starts with the words:
Here is a coach designed for safety and built to last. A completely welded body, constructed of 1/8” aluminum, guards against rust, leaks, and highway fumes. The interior is reinforced with specially formed and welded aluminum braces to make the body a complete unit. Full insulation and safety padding inside protects against temperature extremes and road noise. I then started searching the internet for info on “Ferber Coaches” and found only one source – the Library of Congress. This was the copyright information for their brochure and perhaps marks the beginning date of their company – November, 1969. My RV was titled 1971 and these were good bookends to begin to date company production: 1969 to 1971.
After sharing this brochure and copyright information with Bob Cunningham, he put the RV “pedal to the metal” and came up with more information (now that we knew the name and a bit of the history of the vehicle.)
Motorhome features unitized, welded construction
All aluminum unitized construction is the basis for a new concept in motorhome design by the Ferber Coach Co., Milwaukee, Wis. The entire body shell of the vehicle, including formed aluminum structural members, braces and body panels, is welded together to form an integral unit. The panels forming the sides, base, and top of the body are clamped in special production fixtures and the interior braces are welded in place. These sub-assemblies are then tack-welded together prior to final welding with straight edges to insure proper alignment. Each body seam is then MIG-welded and ground smooth. All body panels are formed from 1/8- in. thick 3000 alloy sheet, supplied by the Earle M. Jorgensen Co., service center in Skokie, Ill. Hinged doors allow access to water, butane and fuel tanks and weatherproof luggage or equipment storage. An aluminum molding along the center of the body encloses the wiring, and is removable for easy access. Two body styles are built in models 27 and 22-ft. long. Both are 8-ft wide and slightly under 10 ft high. The 27-ft model has a sliding rear patio door and a reinforced aluminum patio. The coaches are marketed as complete luxury motorhomes for travel, sales offices, traveling display showrooms, and field offices, with completely furnished interiors, with custom interiors to owner’s specifications, or as unfinished shells.”
But the curious thing in all of this research is that we didn’t find another reference to “Ferber – The Aristocrat of Motor Homes” on the net. For a company that was around from at least 1969 to 1973, we would have thought there would be at least one other reference to someone having a Ferber Coach out there. Maybe another photo, a memory or a brochure. Hmmmmm… The construction methods alone make this RV a neat conversation piece (and to some, a fine piece of craftsmanship.)
So at this time our attention has shifted to two areas. First, finding other Ferber Motor Coaches that may still exist, since I would hate to be the only member of the newly initiated “Forever Ferber” Motor Home Society.
And second, to locating the family and employees who built them. In doing this, we would help preserve the legacy of a company and their employees for others to enjoy and appreciate in the future – much as what we have done with our Undiscovered Classics and Forgotten Fiberglass websites.
There are 3 locations shown in brochures and ads for the company:
* 1969 Brochure: 219 South Second Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204
* 1969 Brochure: Address stamped in green on front: 6510 River Parkway, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53213
* Newspaper Ad – The Milwaukee Journal – October 31, 1972: 511 Oakland Avenue, Mukwonago, Wisconsin, 53149
Hopefully family members and/or employees may still be close to some of these addresses. Bob Cunningham initially found Ferber family members in Mukwonago and Milwaukee. However, attempts to reach these folks have been unsuccessful, and perhaps the “Ferber” name is from an investor or something other than a family name. Time will tell as more information is uncovered.
I offer great thanks to Hemmings and their readership for sharing their thoughts on what this might be and the importance of how it was built. Thanks also to Walter Miller and his staff for offering such a diverse amount of automotive literature to enthusiasts. I really got an education concerning the diversity of Motor Home companies in the early years looking through the 1967 to 1973 or so literature. And…much appreciation to automotive historians Bob Cunningham and Alden Jewell for their willingness to canvas their vast collections and put forth their research skills in uncovering mysteries – which we all love to put to rest.
I should also note that Mike Gleeson also found the same literature we found on ebay and posted it to the Hemmings Facebook page. Thanks Mike – all help is appreciated and we add you to the “team” of those who helped with sharing information and what they found on our quest to uncover the identify of this motor home and the company who built it.
To recap, these questions still remain:
* Can we find employees of families of the Ferber Coach Company of Milwaukee, Wausatosa and Mukwonago Wisconsin that can help us fill in the history gaps of this neat American company?
* Will we find other Ferber coaches that were produced from 1969 to 1973+ years?
We invite the readership of Hemmings to help us answer these questions and have fun doing it, too. We hope to have our Ferber Coach restored and ready to go next year – just in time to participate in its first show. In fact, it has already been invited to a Midwest concours d’elegance pending its forthcoming restoration.
2-foot version of their Ferber Coach – the larger 27” Coach was pictured in their brochure with back porch, sliding doors and leopard skin seats and couch