Vintage trailering can be a very inexpensive hobby. If you are resourceful and somewhat handy, rescuing and restoring a vintage trailer may be right up your alley. Finding a great deal on an old camper, or better yet, inheriting a family heirloom may be the first step of joining in a vintage trailer rally. Whether you are combing the VCT Classifieds, cruising Craigslist, or sifting through Marketplace, your persistence will pay off. We suggest letting everyone that you know that you are looking for a camper trailer. Using your network of friends and family increases your eyes in the field. If you are willing to knock on some doors, you may even find one someone wants to have hauled away. Keep your eyes peeled and take a different route home through neighborhoods or down streets you don't usually travel. Who knows what you may find!
When we were kids looking for hot rods, we would put one guy in the truck's bed (standing up) and drive down alleys. From the vantage point of a lifted pick-up, the spotter could see otherwise hidden possibilities in the back yards. Today, the profile of a vintage trailer is a little easier to spot peaking up over a fence if you are looking.
Commissioning a custom build by a professional vintage trailer restorer is reserved for those that have the financial resources. An extraordinary vintage trailer build takes the time and talent of skilled professionals or a VERY proficient owner/builder. Many of the parts must be sourced or custom-crafted. Modern amenities like air-conditioning and adding bathrooms to trailers that didn't have them initially can start the price of the investment climbing. Stunning trailers updated with all the creature comforts can end up costing more than your first home. Here are a half dozen trailers that crest the six-figure threshold.
This 1950 Westcraft Capistrano is the brilliant result of more than a decade of meticulous restoration, craftsmanship, and modernization. It is the largest and most rare model that Westcraft ever offered. The 'Capistrano' is 33 feet long and features a Pullman roof (commonly referred to as a trolley top). The owner invested over $600,000 in this build and recently "Sold" it at auction to the high bidder in that price range. The bidder never completed the purchase, so the trailer goes back on the block. -more information and photos.
The subsequent three trailers on the list were built at the cost of about $550,000. The owner's ambitious vision to create a multi-room tiny house with vintage trailers required each of these three beauties to be restored with a unique floor plan to create a home when joined together with a common area patio and outdoor bathhouse. The 1949 Westcraft Trolley Top sleeps 6. The 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion is a master bedroom suite and living room. The 1946 Spartan Manor is a gourmet kitchen and dining room. If this trailer looks a little different, that's because it is. The entire body was lifted 10" to give more headroom inside the coach. Best-Laid plans did not foresee permit issues, and the trailers can not be used on the owner's property. These trailers are currently for sale at a loss to the owner of nearly $200,000!
Professionally restored and rebuilt for the discriminating trailerite. New, never camped in, stored in a climate-controlled building. Don't wait a year or more to restore an Airstream; this 1959 Airstream Tradewind is available immediately. Styled with a 1950's martini/wine bar, the current owners wanted to capture a mid-century feeling with modern amenities. Appraised at well above its $130,000 asking price, this one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer may be a good investment.
Having traded hands a couple of times since Flyte Camp restored this 1961 Holiday House Geographic, it is hard to say exactly what the value of this trailer may be. Based on the original asking price and making an educated guess, I'd place the value north of $200,000. Only three of these trailers are known to exist and one collector in the USA owns this one and another one. The third was shipped to a collector in France over a decade ago. I don’t think he is willing to part with them at any price.
Curious to know how to determine the value of a vintage trailer? Click here for our blog on how we value them.
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