Vintage Campers at THE RALLY 2010
I love vintage campers. Of course, some folks – like my grandchildren – consider ME as a vintage camper! But, I’m not talking about vintage people, just the camping equipment that they used in years long gone.
You cannot imagine the excitement I felt when I stepped inside Tim Heinz’s 1950 Spartanette Tandem trailer on display at The Rally recently held in Louisville, KY. Tim has done an excellent job of restoring the trailer and equipping it with accessories true to the 1950’s when the trailer was constructed.
Looking at his authentic period accessories caused me realize that I had a number of these items stored in what Nancy and I refer to as our barn. Vintage bicycles, coolers, reflector ovens, a portable washing machine and perhaps more are stashed away somewhere in the dark corners of the building. Perhaps it is time to dig them out and see if they are of interest and value to vintage trailer owners?
Tim’s Spartanett was simply beautiful – an example of the craftsmanship carried over to the manufacture of the trailer by a company that built airplanes a few years earlier to support the war effort.
The rich wood interior, smooth aluminum outer skin, white-wall tires, aerodynamic shape and sturdy interior furnishings brought back memories of my childhood I had long forgotten.
I believe it may have been a Spartanett, or perhaps a similar trailer, that my Aunt had parked on a lot facing Santee Cooper Lake in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Our family would spend a week or two each summer there fishing, swimming and relaxing. I had completely forgotten about the trailer until I saw the units on display at The Rally.
After spending considerable time talking with Tim about his trailer and the club he belongs to, The Tin Can Tourists, I walked over to look closer at a 1959 DeSoto Station Wagon coupled to a bright blue vintage trailer owned by Henry Wallace of Prospect, KY.
Henry also had a bright red 1938 Curtiss Aerocar and Chevrolet Truck on display. Chevrolet apparently revived the 1938 truck’s design 64 years later when it introduced the Avalanche cross-over truck.
The DeSoto brought back a flood of memories. My Dad owned a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer when I first got my driver’s license in 1961. Boy, that DeSoto was a neat car that I……… well; maybe I better not go into all of “that”. Even after 48 years the stories I can recall with that car could get me into big trouble!
Henry wasn’t there when I looked at his car. The trailer was locked and I could not see inside. I could see the left hand push-button gear selector inside the DeSoto. That really brought a big smile back to my face.
Apparently Henry had either enlisted some local bumble bees, or perhaps brought them along with him to guard his cars and trailers. In any event one of the bees aggressively attacked me as I walked to the back of the car, stinging me twice before I managed to swat the thing to the pavement. Henry, I am sorry if I struck down one of your soldiers, but the resultant swelling and itching I endured have eradicated any compassion I might have felt for the creature.
Gary and Sally Hodholm from Gig Harbor, Washington had their 1947 Westwood Corondo on display. The olive green exterior paint, finely crafted cabinets and Duncan inspired furniture created visions of fine living as the owners skirted the Rockies and Plains 63 years ago. I am sure the Hodholm’s receive just as much pleasure from the trailer today.
There were many other beautifully crafted and restored trailers, truck campers, motor homes and tear-drop trailers on display. All were in beautiful condition, many with vintage period gear on display, attended by their owners that, despite the heat, were gathered outdoors eager to answer any and all questions.
As we walked away from the display of vintage campers Nancy must have caught the glint in my eye. She looked at me and the ice pack pressed to my bee stings and just shook her head to indicate that finding and restoring a vintage camper might not be something that I would be doing any time soon. Still, I can’t get that DeSoto out of my mind. Anybody got a recent copy of Hemmings Motor News handy?