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I’ve been casually talking about the vintage camper since last fall, but it’s time for you guys to meet, officially. Meet our 1946 Spartan Manor renovation project (and the name we finally gave it): Ruby’s Revival!
First, a lil’ recap:
Last fall, I had my first opportunity to visit K’s family in south Georgia and see the vintage trailer K and I had been talking about for a while. This 1946 Spartan Manor belonged to his grandfather and father as a “shop” trailer, which basically means was never outfitted for living spaces (no stove, no bathroom or plumbing, etc.). While “Airstream” is the typical term most DIYers will sling about, there are in fact different manufacturers of these older campers and ours is one that is no longer made. 1946 was actually the first year of Spartan Manors — how neat is that?
K thought it could be cool for us to “keep it in the family” and restore it, maybe even take it on the road. While we have a LONG way to go between that point and where it is currently, I finally got the opportunity to travel back down to south Georgia over the weekend and take pictures and video for a “before” post!
K and I went back to help his parents do a lot of tree cutting and cleanup. There were a TON (er, I may be speaking literally) of fallen or near-fallen trees all over their property thanks to Hurricane Michael. Many were leaning against healthy trees and several had done some significant damage to the fence dividing their property from neighbors/farms. So, we headed down Friday night and stayed until Sunday afternoon to help.
If you saw my stories on Instagram, you already caught a lot of the progress we made. I’ll present that in another post though, because I got video too, but there are so many pictures of the vintage camper alone that it’s too much for one post. That, plus I feel like I’ve been waiting a LOT longer to share this restoration project with you, and I can’t wait anymore!
I asked you guys a while back for help with the name, so I should probably start there. At first, I really loved the idea of naming it “Dottie” after my spirited Granny, who once had her own camper and traveled all over the U.S. with it; it was one of her most cherished memories, and you already know how attached I was to her. But K also had a family member he wanted to name the camper after, and given that it’s his family’s trailer (even though the trailer belongs to us both, now), it made the “family name” argument kind of moot.
So, we nixed that for something that sounded vintage enough but had no specific connection, and something that could be turned into a project-sounding name. You guys came up with some great ones, and I so appreciate that! We went through the whole list and Ruby was pretty much the only name we could both agree on. So, Ruby’s Revival it is!
Going forward, this will be a special category on the blog dedicated just to the camper, so you can find that page here:
I’ll also be creating a video series and playlist dedicated to the larger chapters of this makeover and posting that over on YouTube. You can find all of those episodes on a dedicated page here on the blog as well as subscribe over on my channel!
Despite the storm damage around nearly every part of the property, both K’s parents’ house and the camper were spared.
It was kind of surreal to see how many trees had fallen away from the old camper trailer. We got very lucky! We haven’t quite worked out the easiest way to extract it with all of the trees in every direction, but all in due time.
It looks like a lot of crud, of course. And it IS. But it’s also going to look amazing when we get it polished up! We’ve been doing a good deal of research, so I’m pretty much going to hold my breath for months hoping it all falls into place.
I showed you a photo of the exterior before, so this is the big thing for this post! The interior cabin! It’s significantly more cleaned out than the last time I saw it, so I got a really good image in my head of its potential (I talk about a few design ideas in the video below).
If I had been able to get these shots before Halloween, it would have been totally appropriate to post this in October. It’s downright spooky.
But, despite all of the scary parts, leaks, and water damage, a lot of it is original, and we’re chomping at the bit to start gutting and create an entirely new layout. Bedroom, kitchen, shower/toilet, living area, and more!
Vintage Camper “Before” Video Tour
We also took video footage, so you’ll get to know K a little more as we walk around the interior and talk about the camper’s history and plans.
This is going to be a huge undertaking, and until we get wheels on it and find a place to park it closer to us, progress will be painfully slow. I have no idea if we’ll be able to find replacement parts for missing components or where to begin with our research (we’re kind of googling EVERYthing right now, searching through eBay and Craigslist and such to see how rare/often parts come up for sale, etc.!). But we’re going to cross our fingers, toes, eyes, and whatever else to make it happen. I imagine it will be a significant financial investment, so progress will of course depend on how much income the blog might generate to sink back into finding RV parts, repairs, appliances, and the like. The purchase list is LONG, babaaay!
I hope you enjoyed the tour! Now that you’ve seen the whole thing, what do you think we should do to hang on to something old? We’re going to rip out most of the inside (or all of it), and I want to save a piece of the old and use it in a small piece of art or something to bring with us if and when we finally hit the road. Maybe even make a second piece for K’s parents, too. Any old RV communities you know of on Facebook we should join? Thanks in advance.