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