Unfortunatly we live in a jadded world. Most things are concidered disposible when they get old. As a result price is more important that over all quality. I work in an industry (Cell phones) where it is cost prohibiatve to repair the product after the warranty has expired. Why? because people think that spending $300 for a better product is rediculous.
They don't see the quality they see the price. The industry has obliged them buy making a cheaper product. They use lower qaulity components and engineer the product to make it beyond it's warranty and no more.
Campers are no different, Yes there are some quality products out there but most people again shop by price and when they loose interest it sits and doesn't get it's general mantance and they rot back into the earth. Some people understand with quality comes price. I ran accross some information for original purchace price of these older units. Our 59 went for something like $2700. THAT was very expensive for that time. I have a 1970 Pontiac LeMans Sport convertible sitting in my Garage and I have the original bill of sale and it was less than $4k.
I have a 43 year old camper sitting in my driveway now. The quality was there and it survived as a result. I haven't decided if I'm crazy or what but I respect anything that can come through that many years of contiuous use and still be in one peice.
I'm probably nuts but I'm about to do some major floor repair and it could very well lead to having to pull the body off the frame...still don't know. My wife inherited this camper so at this p[oint I have nothing in it. I'm aboug to go through many hundreds of hours of my spare time to do this. Finacially it's not really all that bad. enough marine grade ply wood to cover about 8x19ft of frame. I'm going to go a few extra steps and try to do some stuff to prevent this from ever getting this bad again.
I figure by the time I'm ready for the road I'll dump $1k into it but I'll end up with something that not many people will ever have and that's a very unique camper. Old people will see it and remeber when they were new and smile at the good times they had back then. Young kids will look at it and wonder what it is and where it came from and want to see it.
I'm not going for a "Restore" where I'm too affraid to use it and loosing my temper with my kids when they put a nick in the cabinets. I'm also not looking to update it with the latests things. I am going to update stuff. I'll rewire anything that looks questionable. I'll put a bigger inverter in it. I'll put a better battery charger in it. Most of it for safety, some of it for convinence.
Over all I want it to appear original. Hell my wife has made me promis to leave this junky old 8 track player in it because she remebers the good times when she was young and having that old peice of junk stereo playing in the back ground. Course I will hide a CD player in the wardrobe.
When my time comes to leave I hope to pass it down to my kids. They will see that 8 track and think of their mom. They will think of the CD and think of me. They will see that nick they put in the cabinette and think of the good times when they were young. I hope they will then want to keep it and use it and make some memories with thier kids in a 80+ year old camper.
If it hadn't been a quality product and I didn't have a screw loose that wouldn't be possible.