Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The start of the saga

Welcome to our blog about restoring a rare vintage travel trailer. As a Christmas present to ourselves in 2006 we found a 12 foot 1955 Empire Travel Trailer on for $600. We thought it was a great deal and had been interested in way to enjoy camping on the weekends but without the tents and cold ground. I know, I've always praised the great outdoors as a means of escape and the only way to properly do so was to haul a pack and a sleeping bag out into the woods and curl up in the dirt.
Well, times have changed as I have gotten older and value a good night's sleep more. So we embark on an unknown journey.
Let's get a couple things straight right off the bat. My wife is a veterinarian and I am a physical therapist. Our collective knowledge of electrical wiring, repairing dry rot, and painting aluminum exteriors is, well, nil.
Here are some pictures of the trailer on the day my wife went up to Dayton, NV to buy it from a woman who had already stripped the old (Black!) paint and had begun some electrical work.
So the kitchen looks in disarray due to the original icebox and oven doors being repainted by the last owner. Most of the interior birch paneling looked pretty good.

We had it towed to our house in Minden, NV and the process of finding out what the heck we just bought and what we were gonna do with it begins. An exhaustive search of google resulted in not a single hit on a reliable source for what the Empire Travel Trailer was. No legacy, no restoration club, no shop in Skokie, IL that specializes in fixing them up. We found some great sites that highlight similar vintage travel trailers, such as the Shastas, Fans, and Serro Scottys. So were are going off of their recommendations and winging the rest of it.

Hope you enjoy our blog and we welcome questions, comments, and diatribes.


Matt Srebrow said...

Enjoy your new project! I wonder, does this out do the dotson 5000 or the capri classic? Maybe you could buy some cinder blocks and use at as a spare room!

Luther said...

Remember. 12V is the one that is really dangerous, and 120V is so safe you can't even feel it...

Terry said...

It is like you took a page directly from the book of "You know You are a Redneck when..."

doitpw2 said...

I can't say enough about your new companion. You & Liz will have some good times in there, complete with your homebrew and grateful dead tapes.........just think, it could even serve as your little "time out" spot when things are a little rough in the could sneak out to the RV, pull out your hidden bottle of whiskey and throw down a few breath fresheners....and uppers.....and.....and....and.....hehe

mschrey said...

Your Mom likes Matt Srebrow's idea for a guest room. I will bring a long extension cord and some cute guest towels.

Trudeau said...

can't wait to watch you polish this turd.
"The silent majesty of winter's morn, the clean, cool chill of the holiday air, and an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer." Clark W. Griswold.
"Shitters full" Peter Schrey

crazy for vintage trailers said...

Nice to finally find another 1955 Empire trailer out there. I purchased mine in April 2009. I've just completed a mild restoration in order to make it usable. I'm very excited to take it on it's first excursion. I have looked as well for any information and have found zip. Any updates on your progress?

Annique said...

Hey there fellow Empires! Our little '54 - 12 footer found us a few years ago in Western WA. Haven't searched for Empires for many years as I had no luck in 2004 when I initially tried to find anyone out there.

Good to see your work! Great stuff!

We are only now stripping off the paint and uncovering a bizarre mix of color schemes and designs. Are the pictures posted here of the orginal paint designs? Ours is completely intact inside - pale green table top and counter - vinyl seats - leather look - with saddles and horse heads. Great condition.

We love this little trailer and hope to follow along with your projects and post some of our own pictures this summer as we make progress!

Best wishes from Washington State,
Scott and Annique

Crashtestcraig said...

hey i am thinking about putting down some cash for this,

couple of questions , how much does the trailer weigh? (Unloaded) how much money have you spent ever since you initially spent that initial 600$ to buy it ?