In the 1960’s, Finland manufactured a mobile home called the Futuro. There are only 63 of them known to exist around the world, with only around 5 known in the U.S. The revolutionary design of fiberglass with no interior walls was an architectural jewel – there’s nothing else quite like it. The Futuro cost around $14,000 back then, which is around $110,000 in today’s dollars.
Why would anyone think you could build and sell a $110,000 mobile home in the 1960s? The answer is simple: mobile home park residents had higher demographics in the 1950s and 1960s than those living in stick-built dwellings. Even Elvis owned a mobile home that he lived in near Graceland and lived in them in two different movies in 1963 and 1968. It was a hip housing option that was popular with celebrities and upscale residents that appreciated the unique quality of life.
Mobile home parks have a history that few Americans know or appreciate – in fact, the whole industry suffers from a complete void of accurate information. We have spent over 25 years attempting to correct that by instilling science into mobile home park investing.
Back When UFOs Could Be Found In Mobile Home Parks - Transcript
Well, we're looking at one of only five remaining these strange, early mobile home prototypes. This is Frank Rolfe an out here along the side of the highway of Interstate 55. Between St. Louis and Chicago, I talk about this home frequently, because you never see anything quite like this. It is sitting here in a area of a field that contains other strange items, as you can see in the background, effigies of concrete wildlife from Africa, and then you have this strange mobile home prototype, let's go see what this thing's all about here.
These were sold, I believe out of Scandinavia or something. And the concept was, it was going to be a mobile home that was kind of futuristic, and was supposedly going to give you kind of a way to live small back in the day without any embarrassment not being a part of the what people now currently have is the stigma against mobile home and mobile home residents. Now, of course, this was during another time in American history. This is back when Elvis lived in a mobile home literally, and in the movies. So the kind of clientele was definitely much more upscale, the demographics were back higher. During the period, this home was produced, and they were for stick built homes.
But what makes this really unique is its futuristic design. Let's look here, and never be able to see this on your own unless you drive out here to this thing. Here's how it looks on the inside. Basically, you have these porthole windows that go all the way around it. As you see it's got this metal floor with wood on top. There's a metal frame like a mobile home would be. And then you got wood on top. And then it was a the thing in the center of this is a round hole. That was the bathroom all your plumbing, and the only walls in the home or the bathroom which was round walls in the middle. So it is kind of cool. But it is also just extremely strange.
So what happened here, why do we not have more of these in our mobile home parks today? Well, simple reason. It just didn't catch on. Now, they were frightfully expensive in their time. So apparently no one thought it was quite cool enough. They wanted to buy one but fairly someone did here. So somewhere in Illinois, or maybe somewhere in the Midwest, this was brought over to this field. So the fact that it's in America is unique. There was some forward thinking person who bought this. This probably cost as much as a house during that period. But you know, it was it was it had a purpose. It was to impress the "Joneses", he would be unique. The only went on the block, kind of same motives that people do different things today with their own homes as far as fancy outdoor kitchens or unique pools. In this case, the home itself is the unique feature. And it and it certainly is unique.
So since I talk about it all the time, I thought it'd be interesting to see what I've been talking about about this kind of home. There's such a unique feature of the tapestry of affordable housing in America back at a time when it wasn't about affordability. It was simply all about an upscale way to live small.