In issue #30 of the VCT Magazine we shared the before photos of this rare find. The restoration of the fiberglass body proved to be extremely difficult. The fiberglass had black mold throughout that had to be removed. The ceiling was buckling and had to be completely replaced. Once those repairs were made, getting the trailer to line up correctly was another challenge. Flyte Camp only had an empty shell to work off of, so they were recreating the interior with their flare based on vintage photos. Anna wanted to highlight the design-forward window lines so the cabinetry was customized to expose them more than they were in the original design of the trailer.
This article was originally printed in Issue #30 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
If you google “Holiday House Geographic”, you will find several versions of the history of these rare trailers. What is known is that David Holmes, the president of “Harry and David” (mail-order fruit baskets and gifts) was looking for ways to keep his workers busy during the January to July “off season”. He decided to have his workers build a new travel trailer with a very modern design. Holmes’ new “Holiday House” travel trailers were based on the standard aluminum skin over a wood frame construction, but the overall styling was very modern and “space age”. They were much different than the more familiar “canned ham” styles being produced in the late 1950’s. “Holiday House” trailer production began at the Medford, Oregon plant on November 2, 1959 and reached full production level by February 1960.
In February of 1960, the completed Showroom Model of “GEOGRAPHIC”, one of only five-manufactured Fiberglass trailers, was shipped to Van Nuys, California to be introduced to the world during one of the largest trailer shows in the country. In 1958 and during the preliminary design phase, this trailer was named “Star Craft”. Later marketing referred to it as Model ”X”, and ultimately it was introduced to the public as “Geographic”. (Another account says: “Less than 10 Geographics were ever made.” I was told that it is thought that five were completed but the other trailer bodies were never completely built and were eventually destroyed at the factory.)
The Geographic’s expensive price tag of $8,495 (In 1960 you could buy a house for $13,000), was likely the reason no units were sold. In 1962 the Showroom Model was sold to Joyce Woodin, the showroom manager, for $5,000. She kept all the original sales and service receipts and brochures that came with the trailer. The story is that in 1999 a Los Angeles architect named Bardy Azadmard bought the trailer and spent a decade restoring it with help from Iowa Boys LLC and Wayne Butters. After the trailer was completed, it toured some RV shows until it was sold to someone (in 2011) for a reported six figure sum, and it then shipped to France. Until recently, it was thought to be the only survivor.
In 2016 another one turned up. The owner was storing car parts in it and was willing to entertain selling it. Justin Scribner of Flyte Camp found out about it and was interested in acquiring the only other (known to date) surviving Geographic. Justin and his wife Anna were able to make a deal with the previous owners and trailered this rare jewel back to Flyte Camp in Bend, OR.
The Following is an excerpt from Issue #37 of the VCT Magazine. (click link to see this issue)
The Geo comes fully equipped with a solar/inverter battery system to keep you off the grid indefinitely. It has 4, 6-volt AGM batteries, and a portable solar panel from ZAMP. An on demand hot water heater is the only way to go for long showers. Accent LED lighting in, above and below the black walnut cabinets. A full surround sound, DVD player and TV add a home theater element to this luxury build. The HVAC system is climate controlled, with the heating and a/c unit tastefully hidden under the front couch, and ducted throughout the trailer. Custom Axalta paint with pin-striping by Kurt Silva, and Diamond Back whitewall radials finish off the exterior with the same level of quality found in the interior. SEE THIS TRAILER ON EBAY
Chuck Pelly, the original designer of the coach, attended the Modernism Show in Palm Springs and saw the finished Geographic there for the first time! He also designed the Scarab race car and went on to found the BMW group. Production of this, the Model X trailer, was certainly in the beginning stages when it was built in 1962. There were a lot of areas that needed to be improved upon. Flyte Camps hope is that they were able to recreate the trailer that Holiday House was hoping to ultimately manufacture back in the 1960's.