CC readers may remember Robin Leach and his 80’s TV program “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. If Robin had been around a few decades earlier he no doubt would have profiled Mid-States Corporation President William B. McDonald. In the 1950’s, Chicago-based Mid-States was the largest manufacturer of mobile homes in the US, marketing them under brand names such as Duo, Elcar, Star, Kozy, National, Pan-American, and Terra Crusier. As company President, McDonald had both the authority and leeway to design a mobile home that best suited his somewhat elevated needs – while at the same time serving as a demonstrator and concept vehicle, similar to the “dream” cars so popular during that era. Thus was born the Executive Flagship.
And it’s clear McDonald certainly had lofty ambitions. His Executive Flagship was gargantuan – even by today’s standards. Sixty-five feet in length, composed of a large prime mover and a separate mobile home, permanently connected by a fifth wheel. Total weight was eighteen tons. It required special road permits to travel in most states. Its construction was similar to motor homes of the day – a steel frame enclosed in aluminum.
Engine information is limited, but one article did say it had a “128 hp International”, which would likely make it a version of the company’s Super Red Diamond gas OHV inline six, perhaps a 406 or 450. Transmission was a five-speed manual with a two-speed rear end. One would imagine the driver needed all ten of those gears.
The twenty-six foot wheelbase tractor had bunk beds for the driver(s), a bathroom, and a kitchen.
The thirty-two foot wheelbase living section had a separate bathroom, a bar, a dining area/patio on the roof, and a large living/work area below with rail-car observation-type windows. The semi-circular couch could turn into beds for sleeping.
The long upper roof could serve as a sun deck/outdoor patio, but was also strong enough to act as a light helicopter landing pad. A six foot deep semi-rigid pool was also included that could be erected at the rear for those executive pool parties. A diving board pulled out of the roof. Lifestyles of the rich and famous indeed.
So, what ever happened to this super-sized land yacht? Unfortunately it appears to have disappeared…the Mid-States Corp went out of business decades ago and no one knows what became of the Flagship or if it still exists. What a loss, just like GM’s turbine Firebirds, Ford’s Mystere, or Chrysler’s Ghia Specials, it deserves preservation in a museum for those of us today to marvel at and enjoy.
O, my champagne wishes and caviar dreams!
Did the outriggers fold in, and what was the front railing for–luggage?
I hope the diver belly flopped and saved his neck.
I’m just hoping no divers landed completely in the pool, not a sure thing with this setup.
whoa that didn’t come out right – should be ‘didn’t land completely in the pool’.
We knew what you meant. 🙂
“Start the car!!”
Today’s RV execz will turn GREEN if they ever see this!! Elkhart RVland would never be the same……… 🙂 🙂
The largest RVs of today stand humbled! DFO
Give me 40 acres…
ehhh, make that 50 acres and I’ll turn this rig around. lol
Awesome Lego version!
More here: http://l-rides.com/kuvat/homes/executiveflagship2.htm
Pretty cool but I don’t remember many roads near tourist areas large enough to handle this behemoth .
Putting the toilet next to the kitchen was prolly regretted .
This was posted just yesterday in a post about the EF on Hemmings:
Doesn’t look promising. Apparently Mid-States was bought by aircraft company Vought in 1960 which then consolidated their many trailer brands.
Another curiosity is in the second pic down the Executive Flagship has been repainted with BOAC/British Airways “Speedbird” logos and matched BOAC’s blue and white livery from that time. Nobody at British Airways’ museum knew of ever owning or using the EF.
In the mid-60s two grand would get you a well-optioned compact car brand new!
Nice RV roomy without being too big 18 tonnes and 65 feet isnt huge by todays standards but a Btrain configuration would work better for in town driving a short long setup would be perfect.
The interior shots look more like a private railroad car than a motorhome, but that makes some sense considering railroad cars had been around longer and more than a few plutocrats had them so them marketing it as roadgoing parlor car has some logic.
This rig would be a challenge for most professional drivers today. A long cab over tractor with an almost equally long trailer. Where the hell do you park it when you need groceries?The swimming pool is beyond dumb. How do you fill it? What a mess when you empty it and store it wet! There is a reason that this went away.
Classic in a timeless sense – elegant simplicity, functionalist, made in the architectural age of Modernism. 1952? A top coachbuilder of 2022, 2052, could have produced this, and possibly nothing better. A motorhome? More like a mobile condominium, a peregrinating palace, very impressive.
Oh, how completely marvellous! The first glampers.
Truly, the pictures could easily be the work of Dr Suess himself, maybe entitled The Semi-Elliptical-Ended Bendable Expander. The shots just get sillier and sillier and the occupants more and more numerous till finally there’s an actual diving board and diver springing off Thidwick’s back end, quite possibly because the room was full and won’t take any more.
Love the fact that half the bonkers bus is taken up with the separate servant’s quarters. How very apt – don’t want a greasy mech sharing one’s stateroom, what.
Today’s average mobile Mc Mansion – “You too can bring suburbia right with you” – is hardly any less over-dimensional, but freed of any charm. And despite the fear of anything new or unfamiliar that makes folk cocoon so (and despite the fact that this means that they don’t really travel even when they do), not even the biggest of them can boast an observation car or a cook!
It’s probably just me, but this reminds me of the Neoplan Jumbocruiser superbus with seating for 170 passengers.