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History of the Beaver Brand?

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Bill Sprague:
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?


Marty and Suzie Schenck:
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

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.


Richard And Babs Ames:
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:
[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]


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