We Bought a Vintage Trailer!
My fingers scrolled through Kijiji and Marketplace, dreaming of travel trailers. I had wanted another older trailer, and dreamt of my silver tin can, a place to go and relax, to take a step back from our everyday life. Rod and I had talked about doing a remodel of an older RV and having it out on a piece of property, a spot where the kids could come out on weekends and we could just hang out as a family. A few of our good friends had RV sites, it seemed like a doable idea, though we didn’t put too much more thought into it, it was our summer dream.
Come June, the idea surfaced again, and we found ourselves looking through ads, giving the idea more serious consideration. As we sat in bed scrolling through ads, we would come across Airstreams, Streamliners, Argosy’s and Silver Streaks.. all reminiscent of the Airstream styles. We both loved them but they were few and far between in Alberta we found 15 or 20 across Canada in various conditions.. from deplorable that were being used as dumpsters, left in a field to rot, and then there were a few screaming Potential! Please revive me!
As trailer gems began to pop up in our feeds and well within our price range, we noted there was one that came across our path on a multitude of sites, the owners needed to sell immediately. We talked it over with one another, I sent the owner an email, back and forth asking questions and made arrangements with my brother in law to go look as it was in Calgary region close to where my In-Laws lived! It’s great to have someone else look with that impartial eye and tell you the reality of it. He walked through it, noting it did need some TLC but generally it was pretty solid, it was something we could manage. We made an offer & she was ours, a 1969 Streamline Empress!
On Canada Day weekend, we rented a truck (we own an escape and it wouldn’t have the power to tow it), and brought our new to us trailer home!
Once back in the city, we were able to do more of an inspection, we knew there was some hail damage (not surprising) and a few dents that needed to be fixed.. a screen door, and the area in the closet was a little soft, a few hatch doors would need replacing and it needed a good scrub down! We also needed to remove the old bedding and mattresses.. they were 50 years old and had long outstayed their welcome. Rod, was brave enough to see how they felt.. his words “a bed of nails and acupuncture would feel better then this!”.. out they went.
After getting to know her a little bit, we named her, Olive the Empress! Reminds me of Popeye and Olive! We’ll add hints of Olive green to her interior and we plan on keeping a mid century style to her interior. We’ll need to replace the awning, fridge, take out the tired old couch, upgrade the water system and most likely the wiring, but overall, she’s in great shape!
Tips on Searching for a Travel Trailer:
If you’re using Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace: expand your search to not just your region.
Make a note of the various styles and names, look for descriptions not just “Airstream” search for wording that includes “ Vintage / Old Travel Trailer / Tin Can Trailer / Silver Streak / Argosy / Streamline “
Ask about when the Bearings where last done (should be every 10,000 km’s or yearly) , any leaks they know of , Soft flooring ? Any mold ? See if you can get the VIN number to do a search (with some vintage they make not come up). Any repairs that have been done? Propane lines.. check to see what’s working in the interior. Have someone walk thru the systems with you.
If looking for your trailer on Facebook, don’t just check the buy and sell groups or marketplace but look for them in specific groups. A lot of the older vintage trailers may have listings within those groups like the Tin Can Tourists or Streamline Travel Trailer.. Whatever older style trailer you’re leaning towards, see if there’s a facebook group for them.
Quirks we have discovered:
It’s an old water system, what should work — doesn’t.. Finding information on older trailer was tricky but I did find a group on Facebook that has been very helpful.
We don’t have a grey tank.. (though, I didn’t know what this was until I did a little googling) it all goes to one black tank. Grey tanks weren’t introduced until the 70’s! We may add one in.. once we learn more on what we need to do.
Finding an RV site that will allow your older model trailer.. is a little like finding a needle in the haystack. (Blog post to follow). We thankfully found a space outside of the city at a small campsite that allowed us to stay for the season near Nakamun.