Red Bay, Alabama is not a travel destination for many people, unless you are interested in Tiffin Motorhomes (or unless you want to see Elvis’s birthplace in nearby Tupelo, Mississippi!). We made the journey because that is where our moho (a Tiffin Phaeton) was manufactured. When we discovered that you could tour the plant, we had to go to witness first-hand just how you put a house on wheels.
The company was started by Bob Tiffin in his hometown of Red Bay and seems to be what keeps this town alive. Bob Tiffin started making motorhomes in 1972 and called his first model the “Allegro” a name given by his wife, Judy. Bob wanted a name that started with the letter “A” so it would be listed first in any RV directory. Judy thought of the musical term “allegro” which means brisk, sprightly, and cheerful. The family business has survived for 40 years and proudly boasts of their reputation for making quality motorhomes and standing behind their product. And we can attest to that. They produce 5 of the top selling motorhomes in the country, including the Phaeton - the number one selling diesel motorhome.
|A very unassuming entrance to the factory.|
The plant and factory tour are fascinating and not just for the RV enthusiast. Building a motorhome starts with the chassis. This is the spine of a motorhome that allows you to drive your house. The chassis begins with interwoven pieces of steel that are affixed with the engine, steering column, wheels, and other mechanical guts that we don’t know what they are.
|This is what a moho chassis looks like.|
A tubular steel frame is mounted on top of the chassis and now you are ready to start assembling the house. Throw in a moisture barrier, insulation, strand board, and flooring of your choice (ours is porcelain tile) and you have the floor that is ready to support the rest of the house.
|Tiffin makes their own chassis|
called the "Powerglide" - specifically
designed for there specifications.
|Assembling a chassis.|
|Tires - very important.|
|Hey Mister don't leave, your motorhome is not finished yet!|
|Here the floor is being added to the chassis.|
|The porcelain tile floor is laid on top and the house part of the motorhome starts to take shape.|
|Interior components are added and secured to the floor.|
|Bedroom slide out moving into place|
|The inside of the bedroom slide out.|
|The big open holes are for slide outs - the one on the left is for the living/kitchen area|
(note the refrigerator covered with blue tape and cardboard).
|These men are loading a couch into the living/kitchen slide. Behind the man in|
green is the kitchen area.
|Nice handy work.|
|Finished kitchen cabinets. Tiffin even makes their own countertop.|
Now it is time to start adding some walls to this house. The outside is made up of multiple pieces…a roof, two walls, the back, and front. Slide out mechanisms are made separately and fit into cut outs in the walls. The interior is finished with drawers, decorative lighting, televisions, etc.
|The roof being assembled.|
|The all important holding tanks|
assembled in the basement
|After one week, the motorhome is ready to go to the|
|These people are watching their motorhome |
being built...they were having lunch while
the work crew was on their lunch break.
|The wiring harnesses are pre-assembled and then added during construction.|
We learned so much and were so engaged in the entire process. We are so glad that we went to Red Bay and took the time to watch a house appear on wheels ready to roll down the road to new adventures like the adventure we are on every day! Thank you Tiffin.
|Tiffin encourages visitors to walk around the factory and ask questions. The motorhomes|
on the left are going through the "punch list" and are open to for people to tour and ask questions.