Vintage Trailers Gain Traction With Pickup Owners

Vintage RVs @ Murphy Museum copyright Ken Freund (3) II

Story and photos by Ken Freund

Many of us remember trailer camping with our families when we were kids, and many of us continue to enjoy a relaxing weekend in the great outdoors — often in a vintage trailer. A growing number of pickup truck owners are collecting, restoring and using vintage camper trailers on a regular basis. In fact, many vintage trailers are light enough for six-cylinder half-ton pickups to haul safely.

Part of this hobby's appeal is its simplicity: Since trailers have few moving parts and no drivetrain, they're fairly easy to repair and maintain. Most do-it-yourselfers who take care of their own vehicles can perform simple trailer repairs and maintenance. Prices can range from entry-level to five figures for rare, pristine and highly sought-after models. If you're willing to put some sweat into a fixer-upper, you can save a bunch of money and begin your restoration education.

We recently attended a small vintage recreational vehicle show at the Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, Calif., where we chatted with some of the owners displaying their "babies." They all seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and friendships they've formed among vintage trailer enthusiasts.

One of the couples at the Murphy show was Liz and Barry Marks of Santa Ynez, Calif. They were showing their recently acquired 1954 Boles Aero Mira Mar 19-foot trailer. The Marks also own a 1955 Cardinal and a 1955 Terry trailer; they like to rescue vintage trailers to prevent them from being scrapped or destroyed by weather or vandals. If they don't have room for them, then they try to find a good home for them, sort of like pet adoption.

Interested? There are vintage trailer shows all over the U.S. Many trailers at these shows are available for sale as owners are always looking for that next big project or to move up to another model. To find out more, visit the Tin Can Tourists website, which includes classified ads, event calendars and links to camper trailer restoration resources.

Marks' Boles Aero front copyright Ken Freund II

Marks' Boles Aero rear copyright Ken Freund II

1954 Boles Aero copyright Ken Freund (29) II

1954 Boles Aero copyright Ken Freund (28) II



I like these simple trailers, wouldn't want anything more. Usually if I go camping I'm pitching a tent and cooking over an open charcole flame, thats my idea of camping.

Very nice camper. Shoot, I could live in that thing!!

The shape and interior reminds me of the 29 ft trailer my dad had. He used it as his home away from home when he worked in some remote areas and as a kid, we'd spend summer vacation where ever he was working. It was fun spending summers in some extremely remote areas. He had the thing for 20 years and sold it for more than he paid for it.


I bet if you took inflation into account (that has to be done) Your dad didnt get more then what he paid for the trailer,20 years before.

Its like people saying they bought a car for $4000 new in 1968,and sold it for $15,000 today,they did not make more money then they paid for it,in fact they lost money,as they would need to have $26,100 to break even.

Or even simpler,say you bought a trailer for $1000 in 1993,then 20 year later (today) you sold it for $1200,you still would have lost money as you need $1570 to break even.

Not saying he didnt make more money,but sounds like it wasnt taken to good of care,used as a work trailer out in the sticks (I like it out in the sticks mind you) so if you took inflation into account he didnt make money.Anywho,cheers !

Y'all ,thats them whats yous called thems high class traail'ers !

They look beautiful inside. But the work in restoring them you wouldn't want to tow them around to go camping.

Caravaning here really started to take of in the 70's with vans getting ever so slowly larger.

Now most every van I see up here are 20'+ long with tandem axles. It might have something to do with the Grey Nomads requiring a 'home' for months at a time.

The smaller caravans are off road ones. They need to be shorter to negotiate some of the tracks.

Robert Ryan is very much into caravans, RVs and camping, he should be able to find some great photo's as well.

@Roy - Lets put is this way, it was property of his company. He used it for work for 20 years. It contributed to him earning money over those 20 years plus was used as a tax right off. I did not say he made money off the sale, I said he sold it for more than he paid for it.

This is a rapidly growing Hobby in Australia. The oldest continuous Caravan (Travel Trailer) company in the world ,kept in the same family ,is ROMA CARAVANS. Started in 1928, it predates Airstream in the US and the amazing fact is that the company is still going considering the competition here.
A restored 1936 wooden Caravan.
1930's Camping.

@Robert Ryan--Thanks for the pictures, I enjoyed them.

That is so cute! I love the interior shown on the last two photos. It looks pretty amazing and comfortable to stay in.


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