Vintage Aluminum Jumbo Teardrop Trailer: The Perfect Tailgater - $1000
Reply to: see below
Date: 2007-11-28, 12:19PM PST
I first posted this old trailer for a short time back in September at $1,900. That resulted in several inquiries and I turned down a $500 cash offer, but it didn't sell in the end. I still don't particularly want to sell this unique little gem, but with Christmas coming, I'm more motivated now and have dropped my asking price down to $1,000, firm. If I can't get at least this for it, I'll just keep it in my collection and safe for the future.
It took a lot of research to identify it, but what this is is an old Minnesota ice fishing trailer. It only weighs 320 pounds,which is amazing for its surprisingly large size, with an added payload of at least another 500 pounds, and you could pull it with a Kia.
For travel, the pop top is lowered, as in the photo below. To set it up in camp, the top raises manually by lifting each corner (one person can do it in one minute) on four built-in corner posts that lock in place. Then, thin fiberglass walls hinge and lock down all around, complete with windows, curtains and some nifty vintage travel decals that place the trailer at Mt. Rainier in the late 50's - early 60's. When the top's raised and the sides are down, there's about 6' 6" of headroom. With the sides left folded in place up inside the roof, there's still well over 6' of headroom.
The actual age is unknown, but the consensus among the vintage RV collectors who have seen it is that this one dates back to the mid-50's. It's easy to see by the workmanship that it was built by a sheet metal craftsman who really knew what he was doing. The qualities of design consideration and aviation-level craftsmanship that went into building it are impressive. But, nobody knows for sure if this was a manufactured commercial item or built in a garage by a professional craftsman.
Despite its age and original intended use, this teardrop-class trailer is also a micro-camper that's practical for today, too. Despite the ultra-light weight, at 6' X 8' in size it's big enough to comfortably accommodate two adults and it has a surprising range of features: There's a built-in sink with a drain, another counter that's large enough to hold a camping stove and more, a built-in insulated ice box, two hanging closets and about a dozen drawers, all crisply fabricated from heavy gauge aluminum.
Granted, we don't do a lot of ice fishing around here, but it still has plenty of practical uses around here for today. Besides the vintage camping lifestyle of a teardropper, there's been a lot of interest from classic car hot-rodders who are looking for a head-turning, lightweight, little RV trailer to carry camping gear, as well as providing a place to cook and sleep on weekend cruises.
The layout is especially good for tailgate parties, too, as a rolling eye-catching kitchen that's sure to impress everyone. And, as you can see in the photo below, with the top popped and the sides left hooked up inside the top, this looks just like an old concession trailer. It offers shelter from the rain, a ton of cooking space and a terrific view of the crowd.
Equally impressive is what this cutie's going to look like when she's restored and polished to a mirror gleam. The aluminum throughout is basically solid and the relatively soft skin metal is free of corrosion, so it will polish with ease. This one is so ready for a high polish that in many places, the original shine is still there after 50 years. You can park anywhere with this attention-getter and you'll immediately start making new friends.
If this was a fully-restored trailer, it would be on eBay with a very high reserve. Or, I'd just keep it and use it, while it keeps going up in value. It's going to need some mostly handyman-level work to be ready to go, though, and that's why I'm not asking a lot more.
Basically, the trailer body and steel frame are solid and need no repairs. Just detailing. The roof doesn't leak and the drop-down sidewalls are good, too. Everything that needs fixing is simple and relatively easy stuff. It's going to need:
~ New plywood floors. The plywood is completely removed in the biggest area in the front and you can see right down to the ground. The small plywood floor between the two rear cabinets holds weight, but I'd replace it at the same time just to make sure that both pieces of floor are even in height. Call this 1.5 sheets of 3/4" CDX plywood.
~ There's a large space up front for a dinette/bunk, but whatever was there is now gone. However, I have an early 70's tent trailer that's at the end of its road and it has a nice small dinette/bunk in it that looks to be about the right size. See the photo below (there are an additional two brown seating cushions just behind the table leg). If you buy the trailer and want this setup, you can have it, if you pull it out.
~ Running lights wiring. The tail lights look modern, but the wire in front has been cut off, so there's been no way to test them. It probably just needs a new plug.
~ It's going to need new wheels, bearings and tires. The tires hold air and it rolls fine, but rubber is shot and one of the bearing dust caps has been missing for a long time, so the grease is contaminated. I had to take it 100 miles home, so I just put it on top of a little 4'X8' utility trailer. New bearings don't cost much and Harbor Freight has mounted 12" wheels/tires for $47 each.
~ The one task that I'd outsource is a new aluminum drawer for the kitchen cabinet to replace the only one that is missing. All the other component parts are still there and in good functional condition. Fortunately, there are several drawers that are identical to the missing one, so all you need to do is take a sample drawer into a good sheet metal fabricator and have them duplicate it. This shouldn't be difficult for them and shouldn't cost a lot. When the interior cabinets are polished, nobody will ever be able to see the difference between old and new.
~ The most difficult part of a full restoration will be to fabricate the top half of the rear door, but that's only if you want to be completely enclosed. Originally, the top half of the door folded down behind the bottom half in order to drop the roof. This top half is missing now and I have no idea what it even looked like. I'd been planning on installing a simple curtain for privacy. But, even with this part missing, when the top is down, everything seals and locks up tight.
If you would love to own this trailer, but don't have the time to do the restoration, I can steer you to a friend of mine who has done full frame-up restorations on several larger vintage aluminum trailers. He has the tools and skills and is completely anal about craftsmanship and total attention to detail. He has looked over this trailer and could make a nice flat rate price for restoration to any level you'd like, at a cost well below what commercial shops charge.
No title papers or identifying marks of any kind, but it will come with a bill of sale and the process to obtain a title isn't all that difficult in Washington. If you're in Oregon, there is no title or license plate required. Priced for the connoisseur at $1,000. If you're out of the area and/or can't pick up the trailer right away, I'll throw free secure storage until April 1. If you just can't live without this nifty little treasure, please call 206-234-1351 between 9 AM and 8 PM. Thanks!
Keywords: Spartan, Airstream, Silver Streak, Streamline, Bohler, Scamp