Volkswagen had the Vanagon camper variant, sure. But in 1972, Toyota made its own attempt at a camper car. It was the Toyota RV2, a station wagon whose back unfurled into a tent. It was a far-out variation on the “turn a van or pickup into a camping vehicle” trend. Sadly, it also never really hit the road, spending its whole life as a concept car.
Penthouse gushed at the time, “Compact and tidy, this car appears to be the answer for the quick getaway or the leisurely road trip. No definite marketing plans have been announced, but from the enthusiastic, worldwide reaction, it shouldn’t be long before this prototype becomes an assembly-line model.” They weren’t so innocent in their enthusiasm either. You can see the NSFW (!) spread here.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
We covered it in the March 1974 issue, albeit with 100 percent less exposed breast:
That same issue has this gem, a photo of a roof-top camper hitch:
It’s too bad this thing failed, because Toyota had something nobody else could match. While the Winnie Wagon claimed to have station wagon dimensions, it was clearly still a van. But the RV2 stayed wagon-sized, which may have been why it doesn’t look like a terribly comfortable camping experience. It still looks light years more comfortable than the Penthouse Sleeper from American Leisure Systems though:
The downfall of the RV2 was maybe, just maybe, that no one really wanted to sleep in a station wagon in the first place. A van, sure. A pickup, certainly. A Jeep in emergency situations. But a station wagon? Maybe a cat nap at best. Even with the seats down, there was still an element of “in a fetal position” to the idea.
Source: Fast Company