Recent years have seen a tremendous renewable interest
in collecting and restoring vintage travel trailers. Much of this interest has come from those pesky baby boomers, who seem to affect just about everything!
Many of them, now entering retirement, are looking to capture their fond memories of family vacations. But the baby boomers aren’t the only ones interested in old trailers. Among young people there as been a surge of interest in the 1950’s, and a few things are as retro and affordable as a fifties-era trailer.
Starting in the 1990’s, owners of older Airsteams (at least 25 years old) formed the Vintage Airstream Club (www.airstream.net). A few years later, a past president of the Vintage Airstream Club, Forest Bone, saw a need for a club for owners of all brands of vintage trailers and motor homes and reinvented the Tin Can Tourists. (www.tincantourists.com). Nowadays, thanks in large part to easy communications via the Internet, it seems as though every vintage motor home and trailer brand has a club dedicated to the needs of the owners.
There are teardrop clubs, bus conversion clubs; clubs for Shasta trailers, Sparton trailers, Scotty trailers,
Bowlus trailers, FMC buses, Flexible buses, Ultravans, and many more. Since the owners stay with their homes, rallies are a twenty-four-hour-a-day affairs.
Vintage RV clubs are not unlike some of the vintage car clubs, but with one important difference: unlike the people who own vintage automobiles, RV owners want you to touch their treasures. In fact they will probably invite you inside to admire the birch paneling and show you how they have decorated their “unit”
Another notable aspect of this hobby is that men and woman enjoy it equally. The reason is quite simple: there is a well defined division of labor. The men are in charge of the hardware, and the woman are in charge of the nest.
People who have married friends who go to rallies will often say they envy these couples because they have something they enjoy doing together! And like other couple-oriented activities like golf or bowling, RV-ing isn’t competitive.
Trailers and trailer memorabilia are now hot items on the Internet auction site eBay. The most curious aspect of buying a vintage trailer is the price. In contrast to many other products, the smaller the trailer is, the more it costs. Why? Many trailers are purchased as an accessory to an old car and the owners don’t want to overwhelm their old cars with a trailer that is to large. Also, people don’t especially like the idea of pulling a huge, lumbering trailer down the road.
A small trailer will not unduly tax a small car, truck, or SUV. Plus, big trailers can easily translate to big problems and big repair bills. Finally, one should never underestimate the “cute” factor: small trailers are cute; big trailers aren’t.