What is your trailer worth? The easy answer is “what someone is willing to pay for it.”
The other part of the equation is “what would it take for you to part with it?” If you are concerned with the value of your trailer, you may be wanting to sell it, or insure it. If you are insuring your trailer you will probably need a professional appraisal to meet the needs of the insurer. If we are selling a trailer for ourselves or on consignment, here are things we consider to assist us in coming up with an asking price...
“I have this really RARE trailer, so it’s worth a lot!”
We collect pre-1969 trailers. They are all over 50 years old and most all of the manufacturers are long out of business. They are ALL rare. They all have value, but rarity does not automatically make something more valuable. More important that a coach be desirable year, make, model, style etc., that many people want. A “rare”, one-of-a-kind trailer, has much less value if no one wants it. (Museum pieces that are not really useable have such a limited market that they sometimes do not bring as much as you would think they may.)
Supply and Demand
Definition: the amount of goods and services that are available for people to buy compared to the amount of goods and services that people want to buy. If less of a product than the public wants is produced, more can be charged for the product.
More than any other factor, the market dictates the price. With a limited supply, and a growing demand, vintage trailer values have risen. There is no trailer “bluebook” to reference for vintage trailer values. Social media can lead you astray if you read the comments by opinionated but uneducated commentators that think they know the value of someone else's trailer having only seen a few photos and reading a brief description. If you want to know the value, get an appraisel.
If you are selling a trailer, and trying to come up with an asking price, start with what would you like to get for it? What do you have invested in time and materials? How quickly do you want (or need) to sell it? Look on-line and see what similar trailers are listed for in your area. The price you will see posted on-line is the asking price, not necessarily the selling price. Trailers posted for sale for a long time, or repeatedly on Craigslist, are likely overpriced (or they would have sold). If your trailer is in great condition, start at a higher price and see what kind of response you get. If it doesn’t move, you can always lower your asking price. Be careful not to price it so high that you get no calls because buyers think the price is ridiculous. My goal is NOT to price a trailer so the phone rings off the hook. I want to get calls from a handful of qualified buyers (that appreciate the value) and sell it to one of them. If I can do that, I know I have sold it for what I wanted to get, and the buyer got it for what they were willing to pay.
An added note: A picture is worth a thousand dollars (and maybe more.) Clear, bright photos that show the trailer from all corners and "open up" the interior can make or break the sale of a trailer. They can be the difference in how quickly, and for how much, a trailer sells for. This is the subject of another blog, stay tuned.
Enlighten me with your thoughts in the comments below.
By Paul Lacitinola
Publisher of the VCT Magazine and the VCT Online Classifieds
Once a year, vintage trailer enthusiasts from across the USA and Canada converge in Hollister, CA. A dozen professional builders and retired craftsman present seminars on a wide variety of skills needed to rebuild a vintage trailer. Participants can select from several different classes that will help them hone their talents in the areas they need to complete their restoration.
Is Boot Camp the right thing for you? From novices to experienced builders, Boot Camp is a mix of like-minded people building relationships that will last long after the informative weekend. You can consult with the pros directly and experience their expertise in person. Many have interactive displays and hands-on opportunities that you just don’t get from a book or computer.
4 things to consider if you are still unsure:
Paul Simon may have been on to something in 1975 with his hit song 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. You don't need to discuss much if you were going to board one of these beauties. Just drop off the key, Lee, And get yourself free.
Above: Inside the 1948 Greyhound. (The conversion was done decades ago.)
Coffee Company: This road warrior, affectionately known by its social media moniker as “FLXBUS,” was placed on a new 2013 Freightliner chassis and stretched three feet to accommodate a commercial generator. It also includes a custom automotive paint job, stainless counters and shelving, commercial espresso machines, under-counter refrigerators and reclaimed wood bleacher-style benches. The unit was designed for a two-person work flow with a curb side service window and removable exterior bar. By Timeless Travel Trailers
(Slide show above) Magpul, though, decided that they wanted to conduct their business in a more high-class environment, elegantly restoring a 1950’s era bus to do the job . . .
The boys in grey started with a 1952 Flxible Sightseer bus, then added all the bells and whistles that would possibly fit. All of the original badges and logos have been replaced with retro-stylized Magpul logos, including the embroidered leather trim on the driver’s chair. The interior of the bus has been completely restored, although as Drew says the bus wasn’t in that bad of shape to begin with when they started.
The passenger area of the bus is finished in a rich red leather with soft and comfortable cushions. There’s a typical bus-esque seating area right behind the driver, and then a bar area just behind that with a fully stocked and operational bar. e a pair of love seats, and then there’s the baggage compartment. The back of the bus holds some treasures. Complete article and photos featured in issue #18 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
1955 Flxible Story My Dad, Dean Carson was in the (bus) business all his life. There is a saying in our family, “buses are in our blood”, and just about all of the boys in the Carson Family end up getting into the bus business one way or another. In addition to our family fun, we would rent the bus out for movie shoots such as the popular TV Series Mad Men or the blockbuster hit Ali with Will Smith. See the whole story in issue #55 of the VCT Magazine.
1948 Flxible Owned by Matt and Tiffany. Spotted at the Mt. Baker Rally in 2018
Have you found a trailer that you want to rescue? What will it take to get it home? if you have never rescued a trailer from a remote area you may not have considered every obstacle you may encounter. Gary Warner of Vintage Trailer Rescue has done this dozens of times and is willing to share his check list with you. Click Here for Gary's Rescue List of 64 items you need to bring with you when you rescue a trailer and hook up for the first time. For those of you who enjoy the memories from your childhood traveling carefree down the open road with a trailer in tow, Gary may have a trailer for you. Whether you plan on restoring the trailer yourself or will seek help, Vintage Trailer Rescue would like to assist you in finding the trailer that best suits you. If you are looking for a particular trailer that Gary does not have, he will use every resource to find it.
VCT Boot Camp, a restoration learning experience offers several seminars that will help you in rescuing your first trailer as well as restoring it. Gary teaches a class on electrical that covers how to get your taillights working. There is a class on bearings and brakes to get you on the road. The wood framing repairs class will give you an idea of what to look for and what kind of repairs to expect. It only happens once a year, don't miss Boot Camp.
If you are looking for a vintage trailer or already restoring one, join Gary and several other professional builders at Boot Camp this August. The restoration learning experience is held only once a year in Hollister, CA. Participants from across the USA gather to talk about vintage trailer restoration. Gary has been an instructor at Boot Camp for the past 5 years. As a retired teacher of electrical systems, Gary is an expert in all things electrical as it relates to your vintage trailer. Don't miss this year's camp.
The Fourth Annual Best Dam Vintage Trailer Rally convened among the flowering dogwoods April 22-25. Twenty-three camper trailers were on site, but the remarkable thing was that only two were the same brand (Shastas). One was errantly licensed as "Handmade," but no one could identify the actual manufacturer. After last year's COVID cancellation, gathering this year was a very welcome return to hospitality and friendship.
The weather predicted rain, but luckily it was only Friday evening and through the night. The gentle rain on the roof of a trailer is VERY soothing. Thursday and Saturday evenings were lit up by bonfires. Thanks to Gene Davis's blowtorch, starting the bonfire was "No problem." As the flames settled down, logs were thrown on the fire, and the stage was set for a dramatic reading of "A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee." Saturday's highlight was another campfire, but several squirts of charcoal lighter were needed to kick things off after Friday's rain. What was kicked off was a delectable buffet of campers' treats.
For the first time, a pancake breakfast was served on Saturday by the Camp Hostess, Jennifer. Connie Miller and daughter Carrie Brixey Schaumburg pitched in with a serving tent and skillet to do the bacon and sausages. What an incredible display of generosity and hospitality.
A quiet highlight was the return of Ed Proctor, the originator of the event in 2017. Getting up in the years, he no longer pulls a trailer but did come about a two-hour drive to see what "His" event has become. On hand to greet him were five of the original campers from 2017. TCT Camp Host Mike Breton rode around the camp with Ed, detailing who and what trailers were there.
Something new was the observations of several campers of how beautiful the drive through the Ozarks was with the brilliant dogwoods, fresh greenery, and the blue of Bull Shoals lake. The BDVTR is known for its relaxed atmosphere and low-key time to share stories, trailers, and friends. Vintage-inspired trailers are welcome since several original old-time trailer owners have moved up to the vintage-inspired models for the convenience of showers and bathrooms in the trailers.
The spacious campground was almost maxed out this year. Campers appreciated the spacing between individual sites noting that they felt woodsier than in other more crowded parks. Next year's event is scheduled for April 21-23. Site reservations are being taken through this summer at 870-405-9619.
See all of the rallies in the USA at www.VintageTrailerRallies.com
Karludi is definitely a "one-of-a-kind" piece of art. Named after its current owners, Karla and Judi, this rags to riches story is ready for its next chapter. The superb detail and craftsmanship, from the high gloss cabinetry and chrome wraps to the deep upholstery and custom lighting, are ready to be appreciated by the next owners of this custom creation. Much like a fine classic car, this trailer has been pampered in her climate-controlled home since being rebuilt. She has never been camped in or seen the mud puddles of any state park. Who knows what the future may hold because anything is possible along the journey with Karludi....
This one-of-a-kind 1959 Tradewind Airstream could be yours.
Karludi's story began quite by accident nearly five years ago when Indiana residents Karla and Judi acquired the 1959 Airstream Tradewind from a friend. The friend had purchased the clear titled Airstream at a swap meet and brought it home to restore for camping. The trailer had spent at least the past three decades in a woods and hadn't been plated since 1986. It was occasionally used by hunters and served as a home to various critters and rodents. Although totally original, (except for added homemade bunks), everything needed gutted. The friend's wife was less than enthusiastic about the whole idea. While visiting one evening, Karla and Judi saw the trailer for the first time and upon discovering that is was a 1959, (the same birth year as Karla), it was quickly decided that they just had to have it. Now, what to do with it was another thing. Judi had no experience with camping or trailers. Karla had been raised camping in everything from a pop-up camper to a pickup camper to diesel pushers. Both being Realtors, renovation projects were quite common for the couple, but never anything with wheels. Still, their love for everything mid-century won out and the journey began.
The first decision was where to put the trailer while searching for restoration companies. Since the couple's home was in a community with restrictive covenants related to the parking of recreational vehicles, a storage facility was the only option for the first several months. During that time, the couple searched the Midwest for professionals who specialized in Airstreams. With very few options available, the trailer ended up in Ohio, where it would spend the next 14 months getting stripped of the years of decay and neglect. The goal was to keep the original footprint of the trailer, but renovate it into a "1950's martini/wine bar theme" with all of the modern conveniences. The interior was stripped to the outside skin and all new plumbing, wiring, insulation, HVAC, tanks and basic essentials were installed. The exterior was polished and freed from major blemishes. Because this company did not specialize in the custom cabinetry and finishes that were desired, Karludi returned home to await the next phase of her journey.
As one thing always leads to another, a permanent place needed to be found to keep the Airstream upon her return home. The real estate couple discovered 5 1/2 acres for sale in a nice suburban area just ten minutes from their home and decided it would be the perfect place to build something to store the trailer. As usual, their idea grew bigger and turned into a nearly 3,000 square foot suburban barn, complete with heat, full bath, kitchen, mid-century themed furnishings, and 14-foot doors at each end for "non-backing purposes". While the vision for the Airstream continued to evolve, she was securely tucked in and safe.
The discovery of Vintage Base Camp in Louisville, Kentucky turned out to be the crowning jewel of the journey. Owner Greg Penner's educational background in creative arts, along with his personal and professional history of Airstream renovations was just what Karla and Judi had been searching for. Greg, along with his team of master craftsmen, knew what was needed to complete the project. They were able to capture the vision and take it to a whole new level. Over several months of planning, Greg helped the couple move their ideas from their heads onto paper. He appreciated and embraced the theme they were looking to achieve and provided both artistic and technical ideas. Karludi was entrusted to Vintage Base Camp in December of 2018 and completed seven months later.
During this time, Karla and Judi were able to make several progress visits and had constant communication with the team. Update pictures were emailed regularly, as well as posts on the company Facebook page. Karludi quickly became a loved member of the Vintage Base Camp family, as did Karla and Judi.
If you are interested in this trailer and would like more details or to see it in person, click here.
When Sergio Prado showed up at the rally in Malibu, CA, he wasn’t planning on a photo-shoot of his California Dreamin VW Teardrop-style trailer. He set-up his campsite tastefully with some vintage luggage and ice chest. The trailer caught our eye, and a short video I posted on social media blew up our Instagram page. Sergio is an experienced upholsterer in La Habra, CA. He did most of the work on this one-of-a-kind custom creation. His next project is a Volkswagen bus to pull the teardrop. Sergio told us he named the custom coach “Delia” in honor of his mother.
If you would like your trailer featured in the magazine, just let us know. Send us your high-resolution photos and a little bit about your vintage journey. Original images taken with a good cell phone can be used in print. Images copied and pasted from the internet cannot. If you are not confident in your photography skills, get a friend to help. You may even consider hiring a professional photographer or a student who wants to have their work published.
We just had to get away. Like many vintage trailerites, being stuck at home makes us wanderers go stir crazy. The Lake Havasu, AZ Rally was the next one coming up, so we decided to take a drive. Cherri Aiken was a welcoming host, and the views of the lake and sunsets were incredible. The asphalt campground was dry camping, but the nearby restrooms were more than adequate to make our stay comfortable. We did some hiking and biking and visited the London Bridge. We also watched a fishing tournament taking place on the lake. We ran into old friends and made some new ones as we always do. It was nice to experience some normalcy and just go camping. Taking the time to go to a rally was good for the soul. Be safe, go camp!
TEARDROP REPAIR AT THE RALLY
By Ron Drake
I have always recognized that vintage camper trailer enthusiasts are very friendly, helpful, and interesting people. You might even say that they are a little eccentric and, like my neighbor Ed Derderian, who has at least six vintage trailers, a little too obsessed with the hobby. I’ve seen people rush over to their neighbor at a rally to help with an awning, a pop-up shade, or other situations where an extra hand was needed. Whatever the scenario, people are always willing to help.
That brings me to my point. The first weekend in February my wife, Pat, and I decided we needed to get away from home for a few days and see some different scenery, get out of the cold weather, and, from a distance, mingle with trailer people again for awhile. So we headed to the annual vintage trailer rally at Lake Havasu City in Arizona. The congenial rally hosts Mike and Cherri Aiken always organize a fun and low-key event at the Arizona State Park in a reserved section right along the beach.
It is over an eight-hour drive from our home in Castle Valley, Utah to Lake Havasu City so we left early to get there with plenty of time to set up before dark but we encountered strong winds and blowing sand along the way. Somewhere in eastern Arizona the combination of the gusting winds and a section of rough roads jiggled the rear hatch loose on our 1947 Kit teardrop and caused it to swing open widely and flap in the wind, which pulled the nails loose and damaged the trim that connects the siding and roof. I ran a strap over the top of the trailer to hold it in place with plans to just deal with the problem when I got back home after enjoying the weekend.
At the rally, I was visiting with Norman Guimond from Los Angeles, and during our conversation, I mentioned my experience with the wind and damage to the trailer and he took a look at it and said “we can fix that.” Norman seems to be the type of guy with a lot of nervous energy but more importantly, he has a sincere desire to help people. He wasn’t having any of my plan to fix it when I got home so we got right with the repair work. As soon as we got started with the project then Chuck Schaffeld from Ontario, Oregon saw what was going on and came over to the trailer and offered to help. He even brought his toolbox full of a multitude of power tools just in case they were needed.
In less than an hour, the three of us had the trim straightened and the aluminum siding back in place and the trailer was back to its original glory except for the dirty condition of the trailer caused by the dusty trip to the rally.
The experience with Norman and Chuck and their desire to help out only reinforced what I already knew: vintage camper trailer folks are a great bunch of people!
By Alyssa Padgett
RV Entrepreneur Podcast
If you want to work on the road, you need RV internet. Which unfortunately isn’t as simple as setting up internet in a house.
Chris and Cherie are OG full-time digital nomads and have been traveling for nearly 15 years. They both work on the road and knew that this lifestyle couldn’t work long-term without solid internet.
After years of testing and experience, they’ve become the gold standard for understanding and finding gear for internet for RVers
I recommend listening to our full interview with Chris and Cherie on episode 212 of the RV Entrepreneur Podcast, but if you're short on time, I'll highlight a few of the major things I learned listening to their expertise.
Here are a few of the best tips Chris and Cherie shared:
If you're working on the road, knowing where you will have internet signal tends to dictate your travel plans. If you have backup options for staying connected, you can (almost) always stay connected.
For example, we use an unlimited AT&T data plan for our hot spot and main internet connection.
But we also have unlimited Verizon data on our phones that we can tether to our computers as a backup.
And we also use a wifi extender in case we need to use RV park wifi. (RV park wifi has improved leaps and bounds in the past few years! Chris and Cherie share a few reasons why in the podcast episode.)
Redundancies will improve your chances of staying connected.
This is also something employers love to hear you have in place if you're working remotely. Being able to say "Don't worry boss, if this doesn't work, here's my backup plan, and my backup backup plan" goes a long way!
This does NOT have to be hugely expensive to set up either.
We pay $105/month for unlimited AT&T, our unlimited data plans on our phones costs the same as 10 GB of data would cost us, so that was a no brainer upgrade, and the wifi extender we use is built into newer RVs. (And I'll cover more internet gear you’ll need in a sec!)
Unlimited Data is...Gone?
When we started RVing in 2014, you had basically one internet option: unlimited data.
Now, carriers don't offer truly unlimited data plans anymore. (You'll have to search for a grandfathered plan from a third party vendor.)
Most "unlimited” data plans have hidden caps, ones that even the sales people probably don't know about. So before you buy an unlimited data plan from a carrier, read the fine print.
Do they throttle after 35 GBs? Because throttling in our experience means your internet goes from speedy to won't-load-anything in a snap.
(Chris and Cherie do recommend an AT&T plan by Cricket in the episode!)
Despite the limitations of data, cellular data is still the best option for staying connected (other options would be relying on RV park wifi or lugging around a satellite with your RV).
If you can find a grandfathered unlimited data plan, it can be the best way to stay connected on the road. However, because carriers are cracking down on data plans that use lots of data every month (think 250+ GB), these data plans are becoming more scarce.
Internet Gear You (Probably) Need
In addition to a hotspot (sometimes called nighthawk, jetpack, velocity, unite, and other random names depending on where you buy it), you may consider a few pieces of gear to boost and extend your internet signal.
So to make it overly simple, here's a quick reference list of some of the types of gear Chris and Cherie mention in their interview:
So what should your internet setup look like? It depends.
I know, not what you want to hear, right?
But everyone has different needs!
Tin Can Tourists' may be a vintage trailer based group but we do not discriminate membership based on the year of your rig.....ALL trailers are welcome to attend, even brand new rigs, motorhomes, tents, etc... Come Join the fun!
Registration is OFFICIALLY OPEN for the TCT 2021 Winter Convention. This year will be packed full of fun and safe events. We will do everything we can to remain safe and healthy. We have a professional caterer that will prepare meals safely and served in to-go containers allowing members to eat at socially distanced tables or take their meals back to their trailer. This year event T-Shirts are included in the rally packet. There will be a socially distanced outdoor movie night (Every trailer gets Jiffy Pop and other movie treats in their welcome packet.) Custom TCT Mask will be provided for all members. New this year is a shuffle board tournament (Mask required for participates) and we are sure to have some strong competition as other Rallies have had Shuffle Board and we are finding out that teams have now officially been formed and some already have their own team uniforms!
There will not be a Public open house this year but we will have Friday Night Lights were members are encouraged to decorate the exteriors with lights and open all their curtains with interior lights turned on so we can all 'tour' and 'view' the trailers outside safely from the windows. Saturday will also include a Swap meet as usual and the Ladies Exchange that we had last year. Sanitation will be a top priority for this event! More information and official schedule will be posted soon! If you have any questions or concerns please send an email to TCT.Heintz@gmail.com
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.