That was back in the early ‘90s, some years before GoWesty existed. Fast forward to the year 2001—and a growing pile of broken hook-up boxes and lids. I started questioning the vendor from whom we bought the hook-ups—Euro-American RV Products—and I finally got in touch with the owner, a gentleman named Peter.
As it turns out, Peter had historical ties with Westfalia. He explained to me that Westfalia’s original “home run” product was (brace yourself) the tow ball, which they invented and patented. I was stunned. I had never really thought about who was responsible for the now ubiquitous tow ball, but after some pondering, it made sense. In the early part of the century, circa 1920 BTB (Before Tow Ball), most trailers were military, agricultural, or industrial, and they employed a “pintle and hook” method that is still used today. Then along came a crafty German travel trailer company, Westfalia, and the much simpler ball and socket “tow ball” was born—welcome to modernity, folks.
Peter had a small company in the US, and he started doing trailer hitch related business with Westfalia. At one point, his business was called Delta Six Industries. When Westfalia needed parts for their American import camper vans, they turned to Peter. He had the original molds made for the hook-up boxes (among other things). Peter was not an engineer—and I mention this only because the design and assembly of the hook-up boxes was so flawed. Peter was a very smart business man, and a very interesting fellow, to boot… but an engineer, he was not.
In the mid-2000s, Peter decided that he was going to semi-retire, and he moved back to his home state of Tennessee—taking the molds for many Westfalia parts with him—and continued to do business under the name Euro-American RV Products. Semi-retirement went pretty well for Peter, and he continued to make Westy parts with the help of one other person, his business partner, Jose. At one point, he told me, “This is a pretty sweet gig—the demand for these parts is pretty steady.” I inquired about the possibility of buying the business from him, but he was pretty content just plodding along at his semi-retired pace.
In 2007, I got a call from Jose. Sadly, Peter had been killed in a tragic car accident several weeks before, and Jose was still in shock over his death. Jose invited me to come out and check out the operation; he wanted to talk to me about the possibility of purchasing the company. I decided to make the trek out to Tennessee. What I found there was pretty unsettling: The “operation” turned out to be pretty disorganized. Basically, Peter and Jose had parts scattered in several places throughout the county, and they were assembling the hook-up boxes in a dark basement beneath the old house where both of them lived. The “molding company” was even less confidence-inspiring. The owner of that company showed me around, and explained that the molds were “pretty much worn out,” and that they were never intended to be used for such a long duration. He was having lots of trouble with the fit and function of the parts.
Needless to say, I returned to California very disheartened. The idea of taking on the mess of the hook-up boxes was just out of the question for GoWesty at that time. We were neck-deep in vehicle restorations, building our new and improved website, developing our engine program… we simply had way too many irons in the fire.
In the meantime, Jose kept plugging along, assembling parts that did not fit quite right, made from molds that were simply worn out, plain and simple. Anyone who has purchased one of these parts understands exactly what I mean. However, like everyone else in the Westy community, GoWesty had little choice but to continue buying them—albeit, with many reservations and lots and lots of returns. Finally, the company sold—but we could not wait for the new party to fix all the issues. We had to do something.
We knew that it wasn’t enough to simply copy the existing design, make new molds, and produce more of the same (even with new molds that were not worn out). There are simply too many design flaws in that original article. So back to the drawing board we went, and we are thrilled with the results.
No more hook-up box lids hinged with that goofy “piano wire,” held in place by glue, sprung shut with a silly spring fixed in place with melted plastic. No more plastic skeleton key snapping off inside the keyhole. No more pushing in your extension cord only to have the whole box snap off and disappear inside the body of your vehicle, along with the now live 110VAC wiring! Our new boxes are modular, as well, which means no more failure-prone glue, no more throwaway parts—we're talking replaceability and interchangeability! Essentially, there was much room for improvement, and we tackled every single aspect in our redesign. You can read a detailed list of improvements on each hook-up box product page.
The proof, as they say, is in the proverbial pudding. When you hold one of these new GoWesty hook-up boxes in your hand, you’ll be struck by the quality. We didn’t farm this project out overseas—we committed to investing time, energy, and considerable expense to have these hook-up boxes produced right here in the USA. We have absolutely no doubt that you will be thrilled with the final product. The pudding, in this case, is damn good.
To make a long, long story short: These are the last hook-up boxes you’ll ever buy. Now get out there and camp!