Cooler weather is upon us, and putting your vintage trailer away for a few months may have made your honey-do list. Winter camping in warmer areas of the country may be possible, but most trailerites will put their trailer away for the winter. After hibernating for several months, putting your trailer back into service in the spring will have fewer unpleasant surprises if you follow these ten guidelines.
1. COVERED STORAGE
If possible, always store your vintage trailer under a cover. Keeping the elements off of the trailer will prevent many common issues caused by moisture. A canopy also blocks damage from hail, birds, and falling branches. Tarping a trailer may cause more harm than it prevents. A tarp can trap moisture and scuff or scratch the trailer's finish. If you are using a cover made for trailers, be sure it is designed to be used outdoors in the rain and/or snow.
2. WATER SYSTEM
Vintage trailers usually have a pretty simple water system consisting of a freshwater tank and possibly a small black and/or gray water holding tank. Even a simple water system can be severely damaged by freezing weather. Cracked pipes or tanks can be expensive and difficult to repair.
The basic steps: Turn off the water heater, drain and flush all tanks and pipes. (Open all of the faucets while draining to help drain completely.) Leave the faucets open to allow for expansion if any water is remaining in the system. If your trailer has been upgraded with a more modern design, you may have additional steps you should follow for your trailer. An RV antifreeze can be utilized for additional protection.
Mold and mildew will cause unwanted odors and health hazards. A dehumidifier used every couple of weeks (or as directed) or moisture absorbing material inside the RV will help reduce or eliminate the moisture that will cause damage. Some forums profess to leave a light on inside the trailer to produce a small amount of heat and "dry" the air. Stand your cushions up on their edge to allow for more circulation. Remove all bedding and clothing that may trap and retain moisture. Baking soda and sachets of coffee grounds will also help prevent or eliminate odors.
Remove all food and beverages from the trailer. Keep rodents from getting in the trailer. Fill any entry points (around pipes or exterior storage doors) with caulking or copper or steel wool. Some scents are thought to keep mice at bay and don't require adding chemicals or poisons to your vintage trailer; suggestions include peppermint oil, mothballs, pine needle spray, and dryer sheets. Poison can be used if you have an infestation. Use a brand that is non-toxic to humans and all non-rodent animals.Poison-free RatX Bait Discs work from the inside out to kill rats and mice with up to 90% less odor.
When disconnecting batteries, remove the negative cable first—store fully-charged batteries in a warm, dry spot. Larger systems with multiple batteries will have specific instructions for proper maintenance. It is usually better to keep these batteries installed in the trailer. You may still want to disconnect the negative battery cable. Check the battery charge level periodically, and recharge when necessary. If you are in need of a new battery, we highly recommend the reliable Duralast Gold Battery.
Covering your tires is a good idea in the summer and winter. For long-term storage, you may want to jack up the trailer to eliminate the chance of flat spots or deterioration from sitting in the dirt. While concrete is preferred to park on, Tri-Lynx Levelers will elevate the trailer tires and protect them from contact with the ground. You may even stow the tires and wheels separate from the trailer. Check the dates on your tires and replace them per the manufacturer's recommendations. When it comes time to replace your tires, we reccomend Tire Rack.
7. PROPANE TANKS
Turn the gas off to the trailer. In harsh winters, propane tanks should be removed (if stored outside of the trailer) and stored in a sheltered location—but never inside the RV. Cover the tank connection fittings with plastic bags and rubber bands to keep the insects from entering the lines.
Close all ceiling vents, check seals around exterior doors and windows, and re-caulk where needed. Wash and wax the exterior. Lubricate hinges, window cranks, and the hitch latch mechanism and jack.
Clean and DRY the awning. It is essential to make sure the awning fabric is completely dry to prevent molding. The same goes for pop-up or fold-out trailers with fabric or canvas siding. Prevent the smell of mildew and the damage that it and mold can cause.
Last but not least, if your trailer is stored in public storage or somewhere you cannot monitor it, remove any valuables. Any temptations for theft like TVs or other electronics or hunting and camping gear should not be left in the trailer. It may be a good idea to annually videotape your camper to have a record of its inventory and value. Update the value of the RV with a professional appraisal. Use a quality hitch lock and consider installing a GPS tracking system should your trailer be stolen.
Use the comments below to let us know what we missed? What else do you do to protect your vintage trailer?
When we renovated our 1957 Sportcraft into our full-time home in 2011-12, we installed a tiny solar powered system so that we could stay anywhere we wanted and still have electricity. Big RV Parks are just not where we wanted to spend our time, as we prefer much more remote wilderness settings where the campgrounds rarely provide hook-ups. It was the best decision we made, except for the big one of actually buying Hamlet and hitting the road! Our first system completely met our needs when we kicked off this lifeventure back in 2012. Since then, we have not only traveled the continent in our tiny can, but now run a small mobile business which helps others discover what we call #canlife! However, as our business grew, we realized that it was time for an upgrade.
Now, what we think of as a “major solar power upgrade” is probably closer to what most folks might call a “starter system.” We like it small; we keep it small, and sustainable. Our previous system consisted of a 100W Portable Solar Suitcase which went through a PWM charge controller to a 50Ah LiFePo battery that powered a 700W inverter. We ran LED lights, a 12V vent fan, and charged up our portable electronics; it was all we really needed. But, with the new, more remote, demands of a mobile business, we needed to be able to collect and store more solar energy for those days when we dived into the digital nomad work from the road -- video production, online seminars, blogging, and more.
This past spring, while boondocking in a gorgeous part of the Arizona Sonoran desert, we upgraded our solar equipment. We swapped out every component with the exception of the inverter - which still meets our needs. Simply put..it has changed our life, making remote work much more feasible, and fun!
Our solar installation video goes over every aspect and step of this project on our vintage camper (including a specific list of parts, tools, and diagrams), but we’ll walk you through the components we have installed with a bit of commentary on how well they are working.
Can flexible solar panels pass the full-timers test?
Flexible solar panels have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years that isn’t exactly fair. While some early designs had problems with overheating, those issues have been corrected in the design and manufacture. Any system installed on our vintage aluminum roof would need to live up to our full-timer lifestyle of driving around 16K miles per year, extreme weather & wind conditions, and constant use. After crossing the country from Arizona to Maine, and then boondocking for a seasonal gig on the coast, we’ve put this new system to the test! After 6 months, 4000 miles, and some extreme weather/wind conditions, not to mention some seriously bumpy roads, all the components still look like they were installed yesterday. (Click on the Read More link below to continue reading.)
Companies work to increase exposure for campgrounds and RV Parks
PRESS RELEASE: Laramie, WY October 14, 2021 – CampgroundViews.com has partnered with Vintage Camper Trailers to provide campgrounds and RV parks with a targeted avenue to reach camping enthusiasts. The companies will share information on campgrounds that utilize CampgroundViews.com’s new Campground Virtual Tour technology with the experience made available on PeriodEvents.com website.
“This is a fun partnership as it brings our cutting edge technology together with old school cool in the vintage camper community,” said Mark Koep, Founder and CEO of CampgroundViews.com. “We are constantly seeking ways to help our client parks expand their reach and this is a perfect way to make it happen.”
CampgroundViews.com has over 550 virtual tours for campgrounds across the United States. As part of this partnership any park that pays for a Campground Virtual Tour will automatically be added to the PeriodEvents.com website. Period Events is a source for people that like to play in the past. Find all of the vintage trailer rallies and other events that celebrate America's past.
“The vintage camper community is made up of die hard campers who enjoy the lifestyle and the history of our iconic industry,” added Paul Lacitinola, the owner and publisher of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine. “We focus our efforts on helping this community enjoy their vintage campers and through PeriodEvents.com share information on upcoming rallies, events and great places to visit.”
The Campground Virtual Tours allow campers to more easily identify and pick their perfect campsite. Using 360 video with information “hotspots” campers can see the campgrounds, see the sites and click the sites for more information.
About CampgroundViews.com: Accessible at https://www.campgroundviews.com/. The company has reinvented the way travelers find, see, click and book their perfect campsite. Campground Virtual Tours are an exclusive members only tool with more information and working demo available here: https://www.campgroundviews.com/best-camping-tool-ever/
About Vintage Camper Trailers: A resource for vintage trailer collectors, restorers, admirers and dreamers. A print and digital magazine that also hosts several vintage trailer rallies and The Boot Camp restoration learning experience. You have found your people. https://www.vintagecampertrailers.com.
For information contact Mark Koep at 805-341-3828 or email email@example.com.
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.
1936 Kozy Coach
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
The pre-war Kozy Coach featured here is owned by Barry Weisse. A “Storage Wars” favorite, and Barrys own show, “Barry’d Treasure.” The “Storage Wars” spinoff premiered in March of 2014 on A&E and made a short run. The series features Weiss as he embarked on a cross-country trip unearthing some of the nation’s rarest and most fascinating collectibles. Maybe Barry will be traveling in his Kozy Coach!? Featured in Issue #13 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Soon to be featured on the cover of issue #57 of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine coming in September in both print and digital formats. For almost 10 years subscribers to the magazine have recived their issues in their mailbox on-time, as promised. If you are a subscriber look forward to more photos of this recent build. If you'd like to subscribe now, click here to see several offers starting at $24.
1937 KOZY COACH DELUXE
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
From the late 1920’s to the onset of World War II, one segment of the transportation world that was growing, despite economic woes, was the travel trailer industry. A leader in this growing world was Kozy Coach located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their advertising effectively told prospective buyers that “You’re Ahead with a Kozy Coach Behind”, or “Favorite of the Road-Wise”. They started with a welded steel chassis to prevent sagging, side-sway, and assure quiet operation and perfect alignment. In 1937 three models were offered, the Junior, the Standard, and the Deluxe, which offered all the comforts of a home away from home. Kozy Coaches were among the best trailers on the market and survived well into the 1950’s. A well preserved time capsule, featuring an original condition example of pre-war art deco and hand-crafted workmanship. Featured in Issue #20 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
1936 Covered Wagon
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SLIDESHOW
In 1929 Arthur Sherman constructed a prototype 9x6x5’ “Box on Wheels” (after an uncomfortable rainy camping experience with a Clare Tent Trailer.) By 1935 Sherman sells 400 “Deluxe” 15 ft. trailers with a total output of 1134 Trailers. “Pioneers in Field”-1936. Some Deluxe exteriors are leather. In 1936 Sherman pre-orders hundreds of 6 foot axles when other trailer manufactures expanded their width to 8 feet. Sales dropped and depression woes set in.
World War II changed operations at Covered Wagon greatly, as it converted its production efforts to wartime needs. Sherman makes truck parts for the war effort. The company produced truck cargo bodies and was granted the Army-Navy “E” award for high achievement in war production in the spring of 1945. Additionally, forty-two Covered Wagon employees served in the armed forces during the war and one was killed in action in the Pacific.
Following the Allied victory in Europe, the War Department decreased its order for truck bodies from Covered Wagon. The company was apparently idled in mid-1945. By September of that year the plant was leased to the Ironrite Ironer Company, and by December, 1945, Ironrite ironers (and not travel trailers) were rolling off the assembly line. Covered Wagon officials expressed their intentions to resume trailer production after re-evaluating the company’s position, but this never occurred. The Covered Wagon Company passed into the pages of Mount Clemens history. With union problems, a lockout, bankruptcy with reorganization, and a shortage of materials, Sherman closes shop.
In 1958 Herbert Reeves Jr. visited the Arthur Sherman family and acquired the rights to the name and logos of the Covered Wagon Company. It had been the largest manufacturer in the industry and the first national giant. Reeves reestablished the Covered Wagon brand as a travel trailer manufacturer. He owned and operated the second generation Covered Wagon Trailer Company in Elkhart, IN from 1958 through the 60’s establishing several industry firsts such as developing the sewer line storage in the rear bumper and the rear access storage trunk. Reeves sold the manufacturing company in 1965 and it apparently produced “Covered Wagons” for a few more years. Reeves then opened the Arrowhead Park Campground in southern Michigan. With his widely varied career now over 30 years old, Herb Reeves was recognized for his years of dedicated service to the growth of the industry by induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in the class of 1979.
Do you have an interesting trailer that you would like to be featured in the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine? Share your high resolution photos and a bit about your vintage journey with us. EMAIL VCT
By Susan Fletcher
I subscribe to The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine, have done for so many years. I absolutely love it. I also have both of your books. I saw in your magazine that trailerites could tell their stories about their vintage campers. I don't know if you will publish my story in the magazine or put it in another book. It doesn't matter. I still want to tell it.
Me and my then husband went Camping at Cherokee, NC in our 2005 Dutchmen. We took a ride on Cherohala Skyway into Tennesee. I spotted a vintage camper at a campground on the road. We pulled in and I talked to the owner of the 1965 Zipper.I just fell in love with it. It was then that I decided I wanted me one. So I started my hunt fto find my own. I found one at Lincolnton, NC. It was.a 1972 Vacationaire. In Sept 2013. It needed work so my hubs said he would tear it down n rebuild it. But we had problems, and in 2014, we split up. He took both tow rigs that were his. Both campers continued to deteriorate. So I sold them.
I bought myself a new Kia Soul, which doesn't tow. I continued to look for a vintage vamper. Finally, I found one in March 2017 on Craigslist. Fifty miles from my home in Lake Lure, NC. My daughter and her hubby went with me to look at it. It was a 1965 Shasta Airflyte. It was love at 1st sight.!! I didn't want to pay the price he wanted; he knocked off $300.00. The trailer is powered by 110v electric, no propane, which was fine with me. It had a brand new paint job and had been restored. The original cabinets and some of the original birch walls were preserved. I started hunting for a skilled carpenter to add a loft and dd Wilsonart laminate countertops "Betty" pattern to the table and countertop that were painted black. I also had him add a closet and drawer cabinet. I knew that while I know how to use many tools, I didn't know how to complete these improvements. It took me two years to find someone to do all the above. He did an EXCELLENT job. I'm so pleased with my camper. She's everything I wanted in a vintage trailer. Meet AIKO BLUE
When it comes to painting your trailer, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. Vintage trailer paint jobs are as individual and diverse as their owners. There is a variety of ways to paint your trailer: exterior house paint, rattle cans, and automotive paint finishes. We have used all of these with good success. Most people who can paint a wall inside their house or spray a piece of lawn furniture with a spray can, are able to paint a trailer.
First, let me say, I do not consider myself a painter, but I have a lifetime of painting experience. As an 8-year-old kid, my mom handed me a paint roller, showed me my bedroom wall and said “paint it!” My Father was a career aircraft and auto body painter. His painting story began back in the 1950s when he painted his scooter with a hand-pump pesticide sprayer. He soon learned to paint with a professional spray gun, then went to work painting helicopters for Hiller aircraft. Back then they used lacquer and painted helicopters in an old dirt floor barn. When I was a kid, Pop sometimes took me along when he had to do overtime. He taught me how to spray paint when I was 6 years old. I grew up around automotive painting, helping my Dad. I painted high school hot rods, Harleys, and now, vintage trailers.
At Retroluxe, we use automotive paint to paint accent graphics and stripes, this is done onto new metal skin after we install it. We do it this way because most vintage trailers have been repainted at least once in their life. Older paint is usually not compatible with automotive finishes and paint prep work on a trailer can take weeks. Preparation is the key to a good paint job. Beautiful paint over a poorly prepped surface is usually an expensive wasted effort, and yes, I have had my share of these kinds of lessons.
With automotive paint, there a couple ways to get it done: single-stage enamel, base coat clear\ coat, and rattle cans. Keep in mind the better quality of paint used, the better the outcome will be as long as proper instruction and technique is used. As with all good paint jobs, the surface should be sanded and primed. If we are painting over a known good surface like new white aluminum skin, we use a scotch pad to break the glaze. This gives the new paint the ability to adhere to the surface.
All automotive paints used today are catalyzed, they require accurate mixing of two or more components before application. Automotive paints dry slowly. If a spray booth is unavailable, you need a clean location away from things like dust, bugs, and other vehicles that could be damaged by airborne over-spray. Base coat\clear is a two-part process, that can be challenging for someone not familiar with using automotive finishes. First, using a good quality spray gun, apply the desired color in multiple coats until the desired area is evenly covered. The second step is to paint over the color coat with usually two coats of clear. Boot Camp offers a course on painting your trailer if you want to see and learn from a pro.
Painting with single-stage enamel is easier than two-stage as it requires fewer steps. Just mix the components, spray, and wait a day or so until completely dry. However, if more than one color is to be used, base coat\clear would be better as the base coat part of the process dries quickly and is easy to apply multiple colors.
Spray cans are a quick, cheap, and easy way to get something painted. They are best if used on small areas to be painted. Low-quality paint used in rattle cans (spray cans) is usually evident in fading color or disappearing shine in a short time.
On occasion we have been called upon to use house paint. It is super easy to choose your color and to apply the paint. House paint can be brushed, roller or sprayed. We found that spraying house paint produces the best finish. House paint requires the least amount of prep, it will stick to most clean surfaces, lasts for years, and can be easily touched up. Issue #51 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine several different methods people used to paint their own trailers. You can pick up a printed copy of this issue or the entire 2020 year in digital format.
When choosing the best way to paint your trailer consider how it will be used. Will the trailer be used for rough dirt camping, vintage trailer shows and rallies or road trips? Your trailer’s outward appearance and its first impression, is largely based on your paint job, make it a good one.
Women that are vintage trailering and running with their passions at work and at play.
NAME: Hannah Weber
TITLE: Owner/Boss Lady
COMPANY NAME: Hannah's Granny Crafts
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 4 years officially - However, I started selling in the 3rd grade
WEBSITE URL: hannahsgrannycrafts.com
Tell us about your business.
My business is centered around handmade crochet products. I focus on baby items and home decor. My target audience is the busy woman looking to gift high-quality, handcrafted products effortlessly.
What does being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner means the absolute world to me. It means I can build a life of my dreams. A life of financial independence, flexibility to make my own schedule, and the ability to make my own rules. It means I will be able to stay home with my future children while also running a business.
What or who has been your most significant influence in business and why?
My mom is the most amazing influence in my business. A considerable part of the reason I was so willing to jump into the life of entrepreneurship is that my mom owns several businesses in our small hometown, and I have grown up right in the heart of those businesses. I have seen the pros and cons of being a businesswoman, and I know that, for me, the pros outshine the cons in SO many ways. From a very young age, I have known that I wanted to be my own boss, and my mom has played a huge role in helping me achieve that goal - for instance, allowing me to sell some of my products in her gift shop starting in just the 3rd grade.
Another huge influence in my life is my grandma - "Grammy." Both women have overcome considerable obstacles in life and have used hard work and perseverance to overcome these obstacles. Grammy is such a massive influence in my life I based the branding of my business around her.
What is the best advice you can pass on to others?
If you are looking to start a business, just feel like it isn't the right time or just aren't "ready enough" - JUST START. Start anywhere. Even the most minor steps can make a HUGE difference. It will never be a perfect time, and I hate to break it to you; you will never feel prepared. This feeling never goes away in the journey of business owning, but it is worth every moment of uncertainty. This might sound stupid, but my greatest accomplishment is simply starting the business. It is scary and overwhelming, and it's a huge accomplishment to put your whole heart and soul out to the world.
Even those not interested in business owning, remember to SHOP SMALL!
What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Showing up. Simple as that. I mostly use Instagram and Facebook to market my business. Consistency is key. Show up for your audience - in stories, posts, everywhere possible. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be planned - just show up.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
It sounds cliche, but your failures are not as detrimental as they seem "in the moment." You will move on from them, and some of your greatest successes will come out of your biggest failures. I have come to love failure (ok, not LOVE it, but appreciate it) because it only helps me improve in the long run.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I don't have any huge projects coming up at the moment. I am focusing more on perfecting some of the smaller "behind the scenes" mechanics of my business to get things running just a little smoother :)
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
We are lucky enough to live in the center of Montana, surrounded by mountains. My favorite way to spend the weekends is in the mountains in my camper, my boyfriend and the dogs. I can crochet and take in the fresh mountain air - nothing better! I also love to hunt, which is so accessible to us because of where we live. We are truly blessed!
What is the number one business goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
My number one goal for 2021 is expanding the amount of in-store places Hannah's Granny Crafts items are sold around the state and possibly beyond!
What would your book be about if you were to write one?
The adventures you can find in small-town Montana while running a business from it. I live in a town of 300-ish people, and I think many people think it's "boring." It is the farthest thing from that, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
What is the best way to connect with you?
I am most active on my Instagram account - @hannahsgrannycrafts. I am also on Facebook as Hannah's Granny Crafts, and you can check out my website hannahsgrannycrafts.com to find out more and look at items to purchase! So with that, I'll leave you with "Good Going" - a phrase Grammy says to me often. It means, "good luck, I'm in your corner rooting for you."
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:
The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine Blog
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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.