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This post is part of a series about a vintage travel trailer renovation project (a 1946 Spartan Manor). For all the details (and to catch up anywhere you may have missed), start here.
K’s vintage camper trailer renovation project needs a name!
If you don’t, I really can’t blame you from blocking this mess from your recent memory. A brief history:
Where It Started
K has an old family travel trailer that hasn’t moved from his family’s land since the 80s (hence the flat tire). I first saw it last fall, when I went to hang out with his family for a bit and help them move to their new home in Tennessee. K had been trying to talk me into the idea of restoring this thing long before I saw it in person, and has been a major topic of conversation during the winter months as we started setting goals for 2018.
What would it take? What would it cost? Would we have even the slightest clue where to start? Do I call it a camper or a trailer? Who would pay for what? Wouldn’t it look really cool with a giant white stripe going down the top?? And black lacquered floors?!?! (Ok, those last few were totally me.)
At one point, this 1940s Spartan Manor (still not sure of the exact year) was used as an old workshop. The inside of it is pretty grimy, too:
Finally Convincing Me
As you might say with a house that’s seen better days, it has good bones. Or perhaps, since we’re talking about a trailer, it has good shell? The rest is a complete gut job. Even in the state it’s in, as I’ve seen from research, it still has considerable value. More importantly, K is pretty invested in it emotionally since it belonged to his dad and grandfather before him.
I said “maybe,” and kept saying it for months. K’s response was to keep talking about it very ambitiously until I said yes.
Honestly though, I was sold on the idea minute he suggested it; I just wanted him to show me he was serious and had a plan. Because that? That sumbitch needs a PLAN.
The Details (So Far)
Here are the details I have for you guys up to this point:
- Zero werewolves, zombies, or Freddy Kruegers have resided in this trailer. I thought I’d share that first to put us all at ease.
- Spartan Manor travel trailers were manufactured by the Spartan Aircraft Company starting in 1946. This particular look (with that Art Deco style) was made from 1946 to ’50/51 and had either a mahogany or birch interior. It is not an Airstream; the Spartan Aircraft Company went defunct in 1961, so these are no longer made, even in modern versions. So, it’s a cool score, but it makes finding replacement parts that much tougher.
- It was used as a workshop, so no plumbing or electrical are within the shell. We’ll have to install that ourselves. Also, no interior items can/will be salvaged. All insulation and interior walls will be part of the gut job.
- I have found multiple examples of the original floor plan, but that kind of planning is too far off to be concerned about at the moment.
- The windows (even the glass) appear to be intact; research tells me that’s a very good thing!
- The exterior is really nasty looking, but when it’s restored, it will be that shiny “silver bullet” look you might already be familiar with. That will probably take the most work, but will also be the biggest payoff.
- This is not going to be cheap, nor quick; K and I are working out the actual finances since this will take a couple of years. If this were the only thing either of us had going on, then obviously it would be a shorter timeline, but the house, shed, etc. are still my bigger priorities. I know you guys are probably curious on this since we’re not married, so just trust me for now that ownership, insurance, etc. are part of the discussion going on to make it equitable for when/how much I get involved. (He also mentioned wanting to contribute to the blog and Youtube from his POV as he works on this, so that will be interesting… we’ll see how that shakes out, but that’s a very new idea.)
- K has a few things that are early wins, such as being pretty savvy with mechanics and engineering (he’s a design engineer by profession, so he does a lot of 3D modeling you see on the blog now and has all of those adorable nerdy skills that will come in very handy here). The company he works for does a lot of custom work in-house, so there are additional resources available should we need more expertise.
- This will be a restoration-slash-upgrade project. The exterior will be a restoration as much as possible, while the interior, plumbing, electronics, etc. will be modern so we have an efficient and very “us” space to travel in.
- We totally want to take this on the road when finished!
- K’s eventual dream is to also find an old truck or car to lug this thing around. It’s a pretty romanticized view, so I’ll be bringing my 7 year’s worth of DIY experience with me to keep him from biting off too much too fast. 😉
If anything on this blog could be called an ugly duckling, then this travel trailer definitely meets that criteria!
Every winter around the start of a new year, I feel like my creative mojo is zapped. After the frenzy of hosting both Christmas and New Years at my place (small recap forthcoming), I felt especially tank-on-empty this time around. To fill ‘er up, one of the things I like to do is buy a fresh batch of art supplies. Inexpensive, but usually gives me the color/creativity boost I need. This year, I chose a set of colored pencils. My first completed subject was a sketch of the travel trailer!
I need your suggestions!
The one thing I’d love to figure out, though? THE NAME. I want to name this guy/gal something awesome and fun and make it REAL. Names like The Nugget and Mavis and other blogs and accounts I’ve found online have me salivating over this. So, can YOU help me out? I have a box o’ random DIY goodies to send to someone if they come up with a perfect name! Here are all of the names I’ve got in my head right now:
Possible Names for the Vintage Travel Trailer Project
- Sylvester (because it’s silver, get it?)
- Shelly/Sheldon (because of taking it down to the shell, ha!)
- Waiting until we figure out the exact year and then picking from the top 10 baby names of that year
- Dottie (my Granny’s name; she and my grandfather spent years traveling in their own RV to see all 50 states)
- _ Sue (Peggy Sue, etc.)
- Something from Greek mythology (since this is a “Spartan” Manor), such as Leda
See? I’m ridiculously undecided at the moment. Thanks for your help!
More Ruby’s Revival