As its name underlines the purpose of the business was to manufacture campers. The associates were fiery fans of the autonomy and efficiency that a converted vehicle could offer for travel. This passion is what led them to deploy the enormous energy required to start such a business.
Their lengthy trips during the first years allowed them to ceaselessly identify opportunities for improving their conversion designs. They feel that the intense use they made of their vehicles allowed them to quickly validate the design and the quality of their work. Lucien mentions that he kept drafting continuously on a quad-ruled pad during those trips. He says that his friend Daniel Nadeau whom created the popular Safari-condo a generation later also has this natural habit when he uses his vehicles.
Furbishing interiors was one thing, however construction safety was also an issue that required management. Since the “fire” was permanently lighted to maintain the refrigerator pilots functioning continuously there was no room for error when assembling and fitting the gas system. The regulatory requirements were very stringent. Campwagon also designed and manufactured its own driver and front passenger seats. These were swivel seats that also needed to meet important safety standards.
Starting from the middle of the seventies, the sales growth was very high and the leaders of the automobile industry warned Lucien that it was essential that he deals with two fiberglass suppliers as a safety measure. Indeed, manufacturers of fiberglass components were vulnerable to major fires. Campwagon could not consider loosing all its molds in such an incident. Lucien then initiated the process of doubling all their molds and started doing regular business with two suppliers of fiberglass components.
Lucien mentions that they thus owned a very large mold fleet since they installed more and more other fiberglass components such as window contours. The two suppliers were Moderne Fiberglass with Placide Poulin (later known for his Maax company) and Beauce Fibre de Verre. Lucien maintained close relations with these two suppliers who were essential partners to the business’s success. Their quality and lead times were critical to the movement of the production line which was working at full capacity.
During the first 5-6 years the company only manufactured campers, other types of conversions were added progressively as time went on. According to Lucien the enterprise would have converted over 4500 vans into campers. The clientele type was the same as it is today: semi-retired couples. The majority of camper sales were made in February and March during the camping trade shows. The manufacturing lead times were variable, from a few days to a maximum of 45 days during the peak season.