Here is some background information on how the Clippers were built from the
memory of Irv Perch, President/CEO of the American Clipper Corporation and the
designer/man behind the product, written down by Mark Smith, ACOC #1077 in a
The first Clippers were for sale in 1974 and wore a green stripe, and
they were fitted with sliding windows. Irv designed the windows used in
our American Clippers and they have since been used by other RV
manufacturers. They were first used on the 1975 models. In 1976 he added a
black rubber seal around the windows. He knew that when it rains, you
would be in your Clipper, so they were designed to give ventilation when
it rains and keep the rain out. They provided a clear window at each end
of the window frame to look out. They were also designed with rounded
corners to eliminate a stress riser in the fiberglass from having a sharp
corner. Before this, many trailers had the aluminum siding crack at the
corners of the windows.
In 1976 Irv painted at least three clippers with red and blue stripes to
go along with the bicentennial spirit of the year. This was done at the request
of the buyers. The wide stripe was blue and the thin stripe was red. Irv also
produced one Clipper with red, white and blue stripes. This Clipper was sold
without anything inside. It was just a shell.
Besides building 25 special 24' American Clippers in 1980, he also built 24
trans van American Clippers named "Luxur Van". These Clippers had also
a fiberglass body but it was very much unlike the class C version we know. They
were about one foot higher than the van cab roof, and looked like an extended
Dodge van with a door at the rear. They were low profile, but very plush and
cozy. The walls were carpeted to match the floor. They included everything
needed for kitchen, dining, and sleeping. A six foot tall person would have to
go through them on his knees, for they were little higher inside than a van. Irv
said he went to this version motorhome because of the gas shortage at the time.
Larger motorhomes were considered gas guzzlers and were difficult to sell. The
van style was more appealing to the public of that time.
There is one special model Clipper out there that you may see some day. I think
it is in the San Bernardino area. It was built in 1980 on a Chevy chassis. This
one was a full size American Clipper built as a delivery truck with a full size
door at the rear that rolled up into the roof. It had no windows in the upper
front or sides. Irv remarked that this was the most expensive Clipper he ever
built because of its special design. It was last seen being used as a delivery
truck by a carpet company.
Mark, ACOC# 1077 asked Irv Perch on 1/27/00 how Irv's current
(2000) trailer business is:
His age and health will not permit him to continue working as
he has, so he has closed the shop, and has the business for sale. He said the
shop is packed in portable trailers ready to go anywhere. He has developed some
very promising products that should be big sellers in today's RV market. It
should be noted that Irv has been elected to the 'RV Hall of Fame' for his
lifetime dedication and contributions to the RV industry.