History of the Streamline Royal Rovers
The Streamline Royal Rovers of 2017 hardly resembles the Streamline Royal Rovers of the early '60's, when the travel club was formed. At that time, the
Club had a sponsor - The Streamline Trailer Company. It was a national organization with no chapters and with Johnny Johnston as its national wagon master.
Being a Company sponsored club, it was closed to all but those owning Streamline products (Streamline briefly made a motor home, in addition to its
trailer line, which it later sold out in
1967 to an Oklahoma company, L.K. Newell, which became NEWELL Motor Coaches). The basic activity of the Club in those days was sponsoring caravans to our
neighboring countries, as well as within the United States. The Streamline Trailer Company had factories in California and Indiana, and Royal Rover
Headquarters alternated between the two places at intervals. While still a Company sponsored club, it was opened to other brands of recreational vehicles
for a period, but was later to again become a strictly Streamline organization, for a very short period.
The Royal Rovers continued to grow and in the 1972-73 period had about 1,450 members in the United States and Canada; twenty-one chapters formed and Streamline had forty-three dealers throughout the United States. The Streamline Trailer Company built a spanking new factory in Chino, California and sold out in 1969 to the giant (at that time) Guerdon Industries. Guerdon, which started in the 1930s as a house trailer manufacturer had diversified into a variety of industries, and Streamline became part of its RV Group along with several other brands. Under Guerdon, Streamline prospered, and there were big plans for increased sales of Streamline trailers and expansion of the Royal Rovers so as to better serve as a sales tool for the company. The 1974 business plan for Streamline (formulated in November 1973) included expanding the size of the Royal Rovers by including the first year Royal Rover membership in the price of new trailers, expanded advertising of the Club, adding new chapters and making ownership of a Streamline a condition of membership. All of this was to be effective January 1, 1974 [See Business Plan exerpts]. Implementation of steps envisioned in the plan were indeed begun, with the Royal Rovers prominently featured in early 1974 brochures [see brochure page]. The future for Streamline and the Royal Rovers appeared rosy, with 1974 sales of new trailers forecast at 1,000 units.
Unfortunately, in October of 1973, the OPEC Oil Embargo had begun and lasted through March of 1974. This enbargo increased the price of oil from $3 per
barrel to $12 per barrel globally (significantly higher in the U.S.) and produced side effects including depression and "stagflation" lasting throughout
the 1970s [see related article]. Sales of trailers and RVs
plummeted and Guerdon acted quickly upon orders from it's parent company - City Investing Co - which owned 51% of Guerdon; The Company dropped sponsorship
of the Royal Rovers on January 29, 1974 [See memo], turning the Club over to the members, and
then divested themselves of ownership of all Recreational Vehicle holdings. [See link &
follow up]. By the end of April 1974, liquidation of Streamline was virtually commplete [see clipping].
Some of our loyal Royal Rover members did try to form a group to purchase the rights to manufacture the Streamline, but
negotiations fell through, and we became an unsponsored group, once again open to all brands of self-contained RV's.
In the meantime, the Streamline Royal Rovers became "Streamline Royal Rovers International, Inc.") an Indiana Corporation. The frrst International Rally had been held July 27 to August 6, 1973 in Whitby, Ontario, Canada at a gorgeous civic center type location right on the shores of Lake Ontario. The Streamline Trailer Company furnished the electric and water hook-ups, which were still in use when our Tenth International Rally was held there in 1982, and which were just removed within the past few years. Dr. Kenneth "Doc" Hobbs was elected first International President, to serve for a period of two years. Incidentally, he was our first Canadian president.
The original International Constitution and By-Laws were revised in 1974, after the Club became unsponsored, and again in 1975. They remain much the same today, and are printed in every year's directory, for all members to familiarize themselves with. They have been supplemented, through the years, by Directives, implemented by the members of the Board of Directors; these also currently being printed in the directory.
There was a time, back during this period, when members of the Florida Chapter found a piece of land, and were trying to build a trailer park in which Streamline Royal Rovers could buy stock. Royal Rover members would have fIrst choice for lot reservations, but the part was to be open to others, on a space available basis. This was in an area near Fort Myers, and sounded promising, but there was a plot right in the middle of this acreage that didn't have a clear title. Another project that didn't materialize for us.
The much higher gas prices, calls for less use of gasoline, reductions in the speed limits, and deterioration in economic conditions reduced the numbers of campers and travellers, and by the 1975-76 era, we were about half the size of the Royal Rovers of three years previous. We lost three chapters during this time - the Blue Angels of Lubbock, the Illinois Chapter and the Redwood Chapter of North in California, still maintaining the Arizona, Canadian, Columbia, Florida, Houston, Hub City Wheels of Lubbock, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Lone Star, Michigan, Sun Fun of Southern California, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Rocky Rovers of Colorado Chapters. The following year, the Hub City Wheels of Lubbock disbanded, bringing us to seventeen chapters. The next year came the loss of the Mount Hood Chapter in Oregon, but we gained the Alamo Rovers, keeping our seventeen chapter status! In the period 1978-79, the Michigan Chapter fell by the wayside. The following year we lost the Columbia Chapter of Washington. We maintained the status quo in chapters for a couple of years, then lost Ohio during the 1982-83 period. Then, the old Florida Chapter decided to discontinue operation, as they were no longer able to get members who were willing to serve as officers. They could only stand it a couple years, then returned to the fold! The 1986-87 year brought the disbanding of the Minnesota Chapter. In 1991, the Canadian Chapter dissolved, bringing us to twelve chapters. Keep in mind, our Canadian members did not leave us; they just currently do not have a chapter. Thus, we're still "International" in scope.
At their meeting just prior to the official start of the 1981 Intentional Rally at Storm Lake, Iowa, the Board of Directors adopted Directive No. 12, which delineated our three regional boundaries as they remain today.
Since about 1987 through the early 1990s, the Streamline Royal Rovers International membership stayed in the 325 to 350 range, losing some members to age and attrition, but gaining new members, to take up the slack.
Nowadays, we travel in a wide array of trailers and RV's ranging from small campers to large motor homes, but we're all equal in fun, friendship and congeniality! Some of our chapters hold meetings once a month, throughout the year; some disband for the hot or cold weather, depending on the area; some only meet twice a year; some only get together for a meal at a restaurant. Whatever the chapter arrangement, we all make an effort to get to the once-a-year International Rally, where we can see old friends from all over, meet new ones, and where our Officers and Board of Directors conduct most of the business for the Organization for the year. We really are a great group!
Incidentally, a note of interest to Texas members, through the 1992-93 year, of the nineteen International Presidents, four have been from Texas!
Since 1994, membership continued on a decline. In 1995, Colorado, Florida and Indiana Chapters disbanded. In 1996, the At-Large Chapter was added for those members that did not have a home
chapter. In 1999, the Articles of Incorporation was moved to Texas. In 2000, nine chapters still remained: Alamo, Arizona, At-Large, Houston, Iowa, Lone Star, Mount Rainier, Nebraska and Sun Fun. In 2005, Iowa disbanded. In 2009, Alamo, Arizona and Sun Fun Chapters disbanded , leaving less than 100 members, both Regular (who still own a rig) and Auxiliary (who no longer have a rig, but still want to belong to the Club as non-voting members). In 2012, Mount Rainier disbanded. In 2013, Long Star disbanded, leaving around 50 members. By the end of 2015, we were down to 31 members and three chapters - Houston, Nebraska and At-Large.
In March of 2016, several Royal Rovers members joined the media site Facebook, and found a goup on Facebook called
STREAMLINE VINTAGE TRAVEL TRAILERS, which at that time had about 400 members. The Royal Rovers members joined the Facebook group and began informing members of that group about the continued existence of the original Streamline Company club which the company had established for the benefit of owners of its products. It was noted that the club had survived despite the Company having gone out of business in 1974, although now much diminished in size from that of its former days.
A number of members of the STREAMLINE VINTAGE TRAVEL TRAILERS elected to join the Royal Rovers with the intent of helping to revive the club, and they have to a large extent suceeded. In the period from March 2016 to September 2017, we have seen 83 new rigs join the Royal Rovers. Many, but not all, of the new members are owners of Streamline trailers; there are other brands of trailers represented as well - notably Silver Streak trailers. In no small measure, this was because of the election members made in earlier days to make the club inclusive, rather than exclusive, and to accept owners of all brands of trailers as members.
Currently, the membership stands at 110 rigs, and continues to increase! There are currently 8 chapters including the At-Large but this will likely also increase in the future as new chapters are formed from the growing membership.