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"RAF-04" - the first Soviet motorhome

"RAF-04" - the first Soviet motorhome
Many have probably met huge motorhomes, which, in terms of comfort, and often cost, are comparable to the price of a small apartment. But once it all started with small trailers, in which manufacturers tried to create the maximum number of amenities familiar to a city dweller. And the Soviet Union did not lag behind in this regard either. Let the first trailers-dachas were few, but still they were! And we will talk about one of the founders of trailer houses in the USSR.

In the 50s, one of the Riga enterprises - RAF, was looking for a suitable production facility. There were many attempts: some of them ended in serial production. First of all, of course, these are the famous minibuses, which later flooded the entire USSR. Initially, it was the Spriditis car, assembled on the basis of the then Moskvich, and the RAF-10, called the Festival, which borrowed some units from the GAZ-20 Pobeda. Along the way, the production of the RAF-04 cottage trailer, created using some of the body elements of the above-mentioned cars, was considered. As you know, the plant has concentrated its main attention on the production of minibuses. But cottage trailers were also produced, albeit in a small edition.


In those days, a separate, albeit a one-room apartment, was considered an elusive luxury: most of the country huddled in communal apartments. And to become the owner of a cottage trailer, you need at least a Pobeda class car, and even a garage. These items, even individually, were not available to every Soviet citizen.

Trailer design

This is an all-metal panel body, which was entered through a door at the rear. The trailer had eight windows: four of them opened to ventilate the "mobile home". The role of the tractor was played by Pobeda, so a towbar without gaps was specially designed for it, which did not require changes in the body of the passenger car. The towing device, as such, was absent: the trailer was fixed rigidly, with bolts, directly to the bumper.

«РАФ-04» – первый советский автодомFor such a trailer, the GAZ-M20, of course, was rather weak. Photo: YouTube

Suspension elements, namely springs, shock absorbers, were borrowed from the same GAZ-M20: why invent something new? Even the wheels and decorative caps were taken "in the same place."

What's inside

The room was divided into a couple of halves: the living room plus the "entrance hall" - the entrance vestibule. There were cabinets for clothes, dishes, food and other small things. Food was also prepared here: a shelf was provided for this, on which a gas stove and small-sized cylinders for it were placed (they were called “Tourist”).

Part of the interior: in the vestibule there is a kettle on the stove, the back of the sofa is visible on the left. Photo: YouTube

The "hall" was like a compartment on a train: a pair of sofas facing each other. If the backs of the "furniture" are lifted up and secured with specially designed chains, four "beds" will be obtained. But there was no table like in a compartment. Instead, there is a bedside table with shelves.

A later version of the trailer, already with the GAZ-21. Photo: YouTube

But what about electricity? It did not make sense to use the then battery: it would have been enough for a maximum of half a day. The solution was original and today for some reason it is not used, it has been forgotten. To get electricity, a kerosene stove is lit, in which there is a thermoelectric element: when heated, it generates current, and - please - there is light, the radio is playing! But there was still a table, and chairs to boot. Only it was prescribed to be installed on the street, under the awning that came with the kit, which was held on aluminum tubes.

It was possible to equip a place to rest under cover. Photo: YouTube

The result was a site of a decent 10 square meters. m, protected from the sun and rain.


Basically it's the cons. The height inside is 174 cm, with external dimensions of 3,57x1,725x2,1 m. At the same time, the mass of the trailer reached 0,95 tons. And at Pobeda, the engine developed only 52 “horses”, which you can’t really accelerate. Nevertheless, there was a trailer and they bought it, used it, rested and spent the night in it!


Photos used: https://youtube.com

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