Vintage Travel Trailers and Vintage Campers

Question: Dear Luise: I have some interest in vintage travel trailers and vintage campers. I know that many ancient RVs all but disintegrate with time but I would kind of like to fix one up and create something special for myself. Have you ever done this or is it pure folly? Regards, Gretel

Answer: Dear Gretel: You are a lady after my own heart. Yes, I have done it and yes, it can be folly. You have to be very, very careful what you start out with, and just as clear about your goals. Old does not necessarily mean vintage. To me, vintage means redeemable, cherished, and maybe unique. Others may not agree but that’s my take.

I have had both successes and failures. The word folly applies to my efforts to resurrect a 1972, Chinook Camper that looked wonderful to me. However, I didn’t go far enough. Up in the overhead, there was dry-rot under the bed and I didn’t remove the mattress and check that out before I bought it. Big mistake. I sold it for a third of what I paid for it because I told prospective buyers about the problem…a hard lesson.

On to happier days. My beloved 1971, Argosy Travel Trailer, made by Airstream, is definitely a win. It was built to last, constructed like an airplane. The original inside finish is still lovely…both the metal walls and the real wood paneling. I have put a ridiculous amount of money into it and I don’t care! It’s still completely road-worthy even though I don’t pull it. I use it as my own personal retreat at the Port Susan Camping Club not far from my home.

Picture glider rockers with footstools, an electric fireplace, braided rugs and curtains trimmed with crewel embroidery. Can you visualize that? A “grandmother’s cottage”! I have a hand made tapestry on the wall, an old fashioned tea kettle on top of the fireplace, coffee mugs hanging from a wrought iron rack and a cuckoo clock that does it’s cheery, (even if totally ridiculous), thing every hour on the hour. I just love it!

So, I would suggest that in pursuing your interest in vintage travel trailers and vintage campers that you look very closely at your budget and your goals. Then find someone you can trust to look at the structure…(like I should have.) Blessings, Luise

139 Responses to Vintage Travel Trailers and Vintage Campers

  1. Nancy August 18, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I have purchased a 1976 Franklin trailer, the accept for ceiling and floor, the cabinets and everything are in good shape, the only problem is the booth or sofa has been removed and would like to know where they were or what was in camper so I can put back together as best I can. It is 30 ft

  2. P. September 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Dear Luise, I have a 1954 30′ vintage Viking trailer that was made in Anaheim, CA and the company no longer exists. The original toilet is not in it, and I want to know what was there. W/o the company to contact, I was wondering if you had any ideas. I want to get a more ‘house’like toilet rather than a plastic one, but I’m finding that the hole to hook it to in the floor is very close to the wall only about 8 inches away or so….

    Any ideas? Thanks. I’m making this sweet ol’ gal who has been in my life over 30 years, a respite for folks to come and stay in (friends, acquaintances only) and it is such a fun place to hang out. I love it! I will await your reply… P.

    • Luise October 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

      P. I would go to a RV parts store, maybe more than one, and outline the issue with them. Many are very creative when it comes to problem solving.

  3. Angie October 17, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Hi, we just purchased a 1979 Winnebago pull behind 25 ft long. Used it this past weekend, kids loved it. I have not been able to find replacement parts or any other information on it. Just making do or making other parts work that need to be replaced. Your website was somewhat helpful as I got some other links to check out. Thanks again for your efforts.

  4. Jackie October 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Looking for an Owosso Travel Trailer to purchase-any condition!J.

    • mike April 28, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      I have a 1951 owwoso in excellent condition for sale!

    • RJ April 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Hi Jackie… Hope this email is still good for you. I am curious… why an Owosso specifically? Did you find one? Will explain when we can “talk” via email. I have an Owosso but it’s just the shell. Cool “body” though… really like ’em. Looking forward to more info 🙂 Have a blessed day! RJ

    • Wendy November 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      Did you ever find an Owosso travel trailer? I just bought a 1954. I would like to learn more about this brand but can not find much info about them. I was wondering if you might have some background history.

      • Luise Volta November 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

        I know it is a town in Michigan but that’s about all. Does anyone else have any input on the Owosso? Thanks!

      • H. November 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        No, don’t have any information. You should just give it to his brother! H.

      • Lila November 27, 2013 at 10:05 am #

        this is to Wendy with the Owosoo trailer. do you have pix of the trailer your purchased. I would like to see if it looks anything like ours. not sure if ours is a Owosso so this is the reason I would appreciate seeing your pix. especially of the front and rear of the outside trailer.
        thank you

  5. E. November 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I have found a 1973 Caveman trailer–it looks to be in pretty good shape with everything working, sound roof, no rusting out areas. The interior looks as though it has not been remodeled but has been very well taken care of, as it looks like 1973-style cupboards, etc. The party selling it is asking $2200 – what do you think a ballpark amount would be to pay for the trailer? I have been searching online but haven’t found anywhere where I could get pricing information. Thank you!E.

    • Luise November 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

      E. – There is no pricing available for trailers 40 years old that I know of. It is very rare to find one in the condition you describe. I would pay what they are asking in a minute, if I were looking.

  6. Brian Bosma November 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    We purchased a 1948 King Trailer (Canned Ham). 12 feet. The Company (King Trailers) was based in Torrance California and produced trailers for 10-12 years. Would you have any information on them? thanks. B.

    • Luise November 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      B. – I don’t have anything to offer but I will post your request for information. There’s always a chance you will get an answer here.

  7. M. December 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Have just purchased a 1963 Chinook 14′ travel trailer. Need to fix roof leaks, of course but the cabinets are in beautiful shape! Has 2 large closets, one has a portapotti but used to be for something else. Any ideas where I could get a floor plan for it? M.

    • Luise Volta December 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      I’m publishing your request. Hope someone posts here with an answer.

  8. L. April 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    We own a 1957 pathfinder. Happened to be on a lot we purchased. Its in pretty good shape. Husband is thinking of gutting it just to update the wiring and plumbing. Now that we realize it’s an antique do you have suggestions on what we should or should not do? Thanks. L.

  9. Ronda Powell June 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    We bought a 15′ Utopia in fairly good condition, needs new ceiling cover and cushions for benches as well as table. We are currently sanding to find the vin number and are looking for any information we can find to figure out what year it is and the model #. The serial # is on a plate by the door, but we can not locate any other info. Do you have any Ideas? Would also like to see what it might have looked like back in the day. Thank you for any help you can provide, we are really new to this.

    • Tom hammond January 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      We have a 21 foot utopia. Title says it is a 1968. The camper has the panoramic windows and raised roof in front. We think it is a 1958. I have a picture of it on Facebook and tin can tourist. Could I see a picture of yours?
      Tom Hammond

  10. M. November 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I am looking for information on a trailer that we bought 14 yrs ago. I have a few pictures that look similar to ours, but cannot get back the the trailer to take any right now due to the park being closed.
    is there anywhere I can forward the pix I have and get some info on it
    thank you. M.

  11. bonnie parrett October 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Does anyone have pix, floor plan or booklets for 1963 or 1964 Cardinal cab over? I’m finding they are rare and little info. Thank you for your help. Happy traveling.

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