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Author Topic: History of the Beaver Brand?  (Read 45190 times)

Bill Sprague

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History of the Beaver Brand?
« on: May 13, 2010, 03:06:28 PM »
In another thread it was posted that "There are different Beaver Era's the first was BM Beavers (Before Matt Perlot) the second was DM Beavers (Durning Matt) and the last are AM Beavers (after Matt or after Monaco) they all have different 'traits'. "

I don't know much about the Beaver history except that it was started by a couple of men in Bend, has changed ownership a couple of times, has the best user's club, and is now owned by Navistar.  

Is there a document somewhere that tells the history?  If not, could/would members post what they know and remember?

Could we start with who founded the company?  Why they did it?  And, what there first products were like?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 05:20:20 PM by 14 »
Bill Sprague
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Marty and Suzie Schenck

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 07:04:08 PM »
Bill, I had a talk with Jeff Easter a couple of years ago and he seemed to know a lot  about the early and mid years of the Beaver history. Not specific dates but who bought what and about when.  Marty
1998 Monterey 2003-2007
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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 08:57:17 PM »
Responding to Bill's inquiry about the Beaver history is quite challenging and can be rather lengthy.  I don't know how to do a short story but will give it a try.  Once upon a time...back in the late 60's or early 70's two guys, Jim Hogue and Frank Storch, started building slide-in campers for pickup trucks.  Since they were graduates of Oregon State University, at least one of them was, their brand name was Beaver.  Around 1974 or 5 they changed over to building Class C motor homes, commonly called "minis".  Violet and I bought our first Beaver in 1976.  Most of those built were on either a Chevrolet or Dodge chassis, van-type or they also built about 5 or 6 Chevrolet "long nose" chassis built with either a Chevy 454 or Ford 460 engine.  Ours was a "longnose" Chevy 454.  The two original owners, Jim and Frank also started the repair facility, now occupied by Beaver Coach Sales of Oregon, called HOST (HO for Hogue and ST for Storch).  
It was in 1983 that some owners wanted to start a travel club for Beaver owners and the 1st BAC organizational meeting was held in Bend, OR at Crown Villa RV Park.  All of the attendees, who also became "Charter Members" chartered BAC in September, 1983.  There were about 415? charter members.  I think now there are now about 15 charter members still around.  Iris would know exactly and who they are.  The Schmidts and us are probably the most active ones left.  There may be a couple on the east coast.

Within the original factory, an employee marketing person, named Matt Perlot, left Beaver and with Curt Lawler started Safari Motor Homes. When the Hogue/Storch era ended in bankruptcy there were 2 or 3 companies (Safari and Country Coach were two) interested in purchasing Beaver.  At that time I was BAC President and sent a letter to the bankruptcy court on behalf of BAC to support Safari as our interest in preserving the Beaver line.  (It's my personal opinion that CC wanted Beaver for its cabinetry only.  Fortunately, Safari prevailed in the court's decision)

In the early 80's Beaver began building the Class A brand with gas engines.  At that time the largest Class A was 36 feet but had a heating problem due to the weight of the coach.  It was in 1985? that the first diesel motor was introduced to Beaver and it also had problems with over heating due to radiator placement (rear engine/front radiator, front engine/rear radiator, etc.)  Their first diesel was in a 36 ft unit flat/slanted windshield.  All of the early Class A units were of the same color patterns; brown and white.  When driving and saw one coming towards you you would know immediately that it was a Beaver.  In 1986 Beaver began the so-called European style rounded front end cap and did a series of "rainbow" color patterns; red, green, blue.   It was during the beginning of the Class A motor home that the "new" Beaver logo came into existence.  If you want to see the original logo stop by my coach and see the old one which came from the original Oregon State mascot. ( the new Oregon State logo is more ferocious looking.  Our old one is a happy guy.)

I don't know how much more you want to know but do believe Iris/Wally and I could have quite a conversation about this as we sometimes sit down and have a history lesson and do share a lot of stories.  Hope you enjoy.  Any questions give Wally, Iris or I a shout.

Mandy
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:03:53 PM by 5 »

Richard And Babs Ames

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 11:24:13 PM »
Thanks Mandy Perhaps you and the others can do a history and post it as a PDF for those of us interested in the history of Beaver. I consider your post installment one.  

Michael Kauffman

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2010, 01:21:42 AM »
[size=14][face=Arial]Do you remember what year the bankrupcy was?  Is my 98' Patriot off of the Safari line?  Thanks for the great info.  Mike[/face][/size]
Mike & Diane Kauffman
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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2010, 02:01:14 AM »
Mike...If my memory will take me back in time I do believe the bankruptcy was in 1993 and early '94.  It did take a long time as there were many creditors involved.  Even after the bankruptcy was settled the Beaver line was still manufactured in Bend, OR until Monaco took over and moved the facility to Coburg.  I'm sure bits and pieces will be recalled as time goes on. 
I'll tack on a little more in the time line for Beaver.  When we had our BAC lead-in rally just prior to the 1st FMCA Redmond convention Beaver also was celebrating its 25 anniversary in business.  If Iris or Wally Schmidt reads this post they'll have the year.  'til next time...

Mandy
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 11:52:47 PM by Glenda Farris Co-Admin »

Mike Humble

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2010, 04:35:21 AM »
Is this topic worth some time at the upcoming International Rally in Harrisburg?
Mike Humble
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Richard And Babs Ames

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2010, 01:57:57 PM »
Quote from: Michael Kauffman
[size=14][face=Arial]Do you remember what year the bankrupcy was?  Is my 98' Patriot off of the Safari line?  Thanks for the great info.  Mike[/face][/size]

Safari DM time, 1998 was the first year for the rear radiator and Hurricane Hydronic Heating in the Patriot.  

Gerald Farris

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2010, 04:09:36 PM »
Mike,
I think that there is a good bit of interest in the Beaver history. A printed time line of the history like the one Mandy has started, or a one hour or so seminar presented by some of the earlier members like Mandy and Wally would be well attended.

Gerald
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LarryNCarolynShirk

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2010, 12:08:58 AM »
Mandy that was so interesting.  We have been around for a long time, but you gave information that we never have heard.  I was hoping you would continue the story post SMC.  I seminar is a great idea.

Larry & Carolyn

Bill Sprague

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2010, 01:34:19 AM »
I started the thread hoping I would learn a little.  I've already learned a lot.  

I'll contact Jim O'Hara and work on possible scheduling at Harrisburg.  If we get something going I will try to take detailed notes so that I can work up a written version.  

Bill Sprague
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Peter and Connie Bradish

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 03:41:11 PM »
We have a 1993 Beaver Contessa, one of the last Beavers made by the original Beaver company. The 1993 Contessa was the only year Contessa with the flat floor plan (no step up in the bedroom). There were some 1994s made before Beaver went bankrupt. The Contessa (slope nose) was discontinued and replaced by a bus front Acclaim. Some of the Acclaims have the Contessa metal names on them a few have Acclaim.
Peter and I visited the factory in Bend over a number of years. We have scanned many of the original brochures (Peter could tell you the dates) and have copies of all the technical schematics (given to techs to work on Beavers) for the classic Beavers.
We heard the story that Matt Perlot disagreed with the powers that were in Beaver over a number of issues. One of them being he wanted the Contessa/Acclaim to be a lower line in Beaver rather than just below the Marquis. Over the disagreements he left Beaver and started Safari with the Trek being very successful. When Perlot acquired Beaver, he later brought the Contessa back in the position above the Monterey and below the Patriot where he thought it belonged.
We will not be at Harrisburg (we will be at Perry and Wisconsin), but if you do have a seminar on it, someone PLEASE take notes as the BAC club may be the only repository of the history of Beaver. It would be neat (and yes I am volunteering to help) to put together a booklet (The History of Beaver RVs) for our club. :) Connie B.
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MarcRodstein

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2010, 12:15:20 AM »
Mandy, you said that "Even after the bankruptcy was settled the Beaver line was still manufactured in Bend, OR until Monaco took over and moved the facility to Coburg." I think you will agree that Monaco made Beavers in Bend for a couple of years before they moved production to Coburg.

As an aside, I did not know how much of a Beaver pioneer you were, on the rainy day in 2002 when I met you by chance in a restaurant in Hutchinson Kansas. I had flown there to the FMCA International Rally to peruse the latest motorhomes before buying what I intended would be a Dutchstar. It was to be my very first RV. You invited me to attend a BAC cocktail party the next day, which I did. Tough break for Newmar, I ended up buying a 2003 Monterey instead! Followed by many fun times with the super people in BAC.

Joel Ashley

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2010, 01:00:16 AM »
Ain't that just how it goes?  Though not our first motor home, we also were determined our new coach would be either a Mountain Aire or a Dutch Star, but fell for a Monterey.  Silly us  ;).  Some of the blame has to go to Ron Estes, and Ty Kelly's no-pressure salesmanship and the hours he spent just "shooting the breeze" with us, not to mention the well-deserved and well documented reputation of Beaver Coach Sales.
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
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Diana Bentley

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Re: History of the Beaver Brand?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2010, 06:47:38 AM »
I hope people will continue to add history to this thread. It would make an interesting Beaver Tales article, so I'm collecting what is said. I agree with Connie though, that it would be nice to have a full history in written form.
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