Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-17-2004, 09:21 PM   #1
Andy R's Avatar
1961 16' Bambi
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,025
Images: 13
Blog Entries: 1
Rivet Vintage Collectors Are Circling the Wagons

LA Times - July 18, 2004

This just in: "Trailers are so hot right now, guys are fighting each other over them."

The above bulletin comes from someone in a position to know, vintage trailer collector John Agnew, 42, who, along with his best friend and fellow collector Steven Butcher, 46, finances his passion through Funky Junk Farms, their vintage-trailer prop rental and restoration company with locations in Altadena and Ventura.

Teamsters who work on film sets, Butcher and Agnew founded Funky Junk as a sideline to indulge their passion for what connoisseurs consider the "golden era" of the trailer, typically from the 1930s to the late 1940s, when Westcraft, Pierce-Arrow, Travel Coach, Curtiss Aerocar and others were designing roadworthy American dream houses. By 1936 there were hundreds of trailer manufacturers in the U.S. alone, where the fierce competition propelled innovative design and craftsmanship. Classic trailers are cherished today for such decorative details as Art Deco light fixtures and superb woodworking in birch, Douglas fir, maple and even mahogany.

Agnew and Butcher also own models from the '20s and '50s, such as a rare 1920s "pop-up," a precursor to the first mass-produced trailers, which appeared in 1932 and were called "Covered Wagons." Some 1950s-era makes and models in their collections include the 1954 fin-tailed Ranger pop-up, the quaint 1951 Dixie Enterprise, a 1954 Spartan Mansion and, they concede, a pair of Airstreams. "You can look in the paper and buy an Airstream. We call them 'Mainstreams,' " says Butcher, who prefers rarer pieces such as a 1935 Golden Palace, his favorite.

Agnew's love of trailers blossomed on family camping trips in a 1959 Ford pickup with a camper and a 1972 Open Road motor home. He got his first trailer, a tiny Teardrop, when he was 14. Butcher tinkered with and restored cars growing up. He and Agnew became best friends in the early '90s. While on a film shoot in Arizona, they discovered Lost Highways, a club for vintage-trailer aficionados, and the collecting began. Agnew bought a gold Airfloat, Butcher a 1959 Shasta. At that time, Agnew says, "People were begging me to come and take an old, decrepit trailer out of their yard." Now, he says, prices have soared as more people come to appreciate the retro romance of the trailer, not to mention its pragmatic potential as an office space or guest house.

The Funky Junk Farms fleet currently consists of about 55 trailers, some stashed in secret locations around the country. "We don't want our girlfriends to find them!" Agnew says. It's hard to let go of a classic trailer, and only about a half-dozen are for sale at any given time, as the pair prefer to rent them out as props or for parties. They will, however, locate trailers for clients and walk them through a meticulous restoration process that often hews to original blueprints, and can run in the six digits. Butcher can even tailor trailer electronics for the 21st century, artfully concealing plasma TVs and surround-soundstereo systems behind original cabinetry to preserve the vintage ambience.

The two regularly take their trailers out for weekend camping, sometimes with close friends and their girlfriends. Other times they just camp at their respective homes. "A trailer is like a pair of shoes," Agnew says. "One is not going to satisfy all your needs."
AIR # 2 - 1961 Bambi - Jeep Cherokee
Campground Reviews: Submit and review campgrounds around the US
Andy R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2004, 01:05 AM   #2
3 Rivet Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 148
"You can look in the paper and buy an Airstream. We call them 'Mainstreams,' " says Butcher, who prefers rarer pieces such as a 1935 Golden Palace, his favorite.
Mainstream? Ouch! That reminds me of when I stopped for fuel in Toronto and the gas attendant called my trailer a "Silver Turd" I wasn't offended though because I think he was the owner of the Lada parked out back. What did upset me was upon leaving Toronto when I passed another station selling gas for 10 cents per litre cheaper. Grrrr

biggerbadbrad is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage sub-units? Midamrail WBCCI Forum 47 12-10-2006 09:53 AM
Vintage Minitrailers babycakes Our Community 13 12-12-2002 04:46 PM
How vintage is vintage? zamboni On The Road... 9 12-02-2002 04:30 PM
Vintage trailer rally 83Excella WBCCI Rallies & Events 0 08-13-2002 10:27 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:15 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.