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Timeline of Car Roof Tents

1928: The May 17 1928 edition of the Eugene Register Guard advertised for sale the ‘Wards Knockabout Touring Tent’ made of Khaki and which covered the top of a car. It retailed for $10.15 ($145 in 2018) [1]

1958: Life magazine features a car roof tent for sale, retailing for $279. ($2,360 in 2018 dollars) [2]

1960: Canadian inventor, Elton O Ferguson is granted a patent for a ‘car top tent’ [3]

1963: The UK social magazine, New Society talked about a “car roof tent” that was being sold to campers. [4]

1966: Which magazine tested two car roof tents, the Easden Caratent and the Suzuki Car Tent [5]

1967: The June 1967 edition of Boys Life magazine featured a roof tent that the magazine called a ‘cartopper’ which attached to a roof rack and was described as being a nylon penthouse. The cartopper retailed for between $300 to $700. ($2,200 to $5,140 in 2018) [6]

1972: In an article titled: ‘money saving checklist of built it yourself plans’ in the May 1972 edition of popular science magazine, a coupon worth $3.95($23.10 in 2018) was offered for a hard top camper. [7]

1975: Clayton, Missouri based Olin Corporation is granted a patent for a “carrier mountable on the roof rack of a car”. [8]

1976: The May 1976 edition of Popular Science magazine featured four different roof tents for sale. The Cozy car top camper by Midas-International Corp retailing for $399 ($1,720 in 2018). A pop-up tent by Jefferson Cross Country Tent Co., selling for $289 ($1,240 in 2018). Tent for Gm hatchback at $89.95($387 in 2018) and a ‘lightweight Tepee’ by the Great Lakes Boat Top Co., which sold for $79.95 ($344 in 2018). [9]

1998: Honda announced the launch of a pop-up roof tent for its Step WGN wagon.[10]

1999: The January 1999 edition of Which Magazine reviewed the Murvi Meteor campervan which also included a Reimo superflat elevating roof. The van retailed for £26,087 (£43,630 in 2018). [11]

References

1. Eugene Register Guard – May 17 1928

2. Elaborate Array Of Camping Gear. Life Magazine, June 21 1958.

3. US Patent #US2942609A, filed September 24 1958, awarded June 28 1960

4. New Society, Volume 1, 1963.

5. Which? 1966.

6. Family Camping. Boys Life, June 1967.

7. Popular Science, May 1972

8. US Patent #US3861572A, filed June 07 1973, awarded January 21 1975

9. Car Pack Tents, Popular Science, May 1976.

10. Honda Launches Step WGN Field Deck with Pop-Up Roof, January 22 1998.

11. Which Magazine, January 1999.