sketch of Spartan Manor travel trailer

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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!

Remember this?

scary old camper

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:

sneak peek inside old Spartan camper
Pictured: nightmare fuel.

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!

Getting Inspired

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!

drawing camper with colored pencils

sketch of Spartan Manor 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?)
  • Murray
  • Henry/Hank
  • Lydia
  • Mona
  • 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
  • Barb/Barbie
  • Patty
  • Dottie (my Granny’s name; she and my grandfather spent years traveling in their own RV to see all 50 states)
  • Bruce
  • Marge
  • Peggy
  • _ Sue (Peggy Sue, etc.)
  • Ruth
  • Doris
  • Something from Greek mythology (since this is a “Spartan” Manor), such as Leda

sketch of Spartan Manor travel traler

See? I’m ridiculously undecided at the moment. Thanks for your help!

Update: Thank you all for your amazing suggestions! We named the trailer Ruby and are calling the series Ruby’s Revival. We have made this into both a blog and YouTube series (for videos) and we’d love you to follow along with both! Click the button below to go to my YouTube channel and subscribe, and check out the posts below to read the series start to finish!

help me reach 25k!

More Ruby’s Revival

We’re restoring a 1946 vintage camper called a Spartan Manor. It belonged to K’s grandfather and has been sitting in the woods untouched for more than 30 years. Can we bring her back to life? Check out the video series and see for yourself!

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  1. I think your names are all good options! My dad calls his RV “Harvey”. As in Harvey, the RV. Feel free to steal that :)

    1. Oh, she is gorgeous! I think her name is to be “Contessa.”. She is regal and will be spectacular!
      I am envious! I am rebuilding a 1991 5th wheel to my dream boho on wheels.
      Much luck on your amazing rebuild!

  2. I’m a very indecisive person, but I can’t get past the name Dottie! How stinking cute is that?! Can’t wait to see this unfold.

  3. Those are some great names. A few other thoughts I thought of were Celeste, Lola or Susudio.

    1. Campsta. Camper with a ruggage outer exterior. With a baby inside that will grow into a dream mobile home.

  4. What about something or someone from a travel/adventure movie or book that you both like? If you know you’ll get a truck someday, you could name it Thelma or Louise, and the truck could get the other name!! That could totally work with other famous pairings, too – Bert & Ernie, Starsky & Hutch, Riggs & Murtaugh.

    Or, there are TONS of “famous” vehicles from movies: Priscilla, Herbie, KITT, Greased Lightening, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bandit, Eleanor, Bluesmobile, General Lee, Family Truckster, Mystery Machine, Yellow Submarine, Magic School Bus, and my personal favorite: Drag-U-La (from the Munsters)

  5. I may be crazy but I thought you named it pretty well when you called it “Silver Bullet

    1. I think (but I could be wrong) that the phrase “silver bullet” implies an Airstream (and I don’t yet know how important that is to distinguish between the brands), so I’ll have to do some more research to know for sure!

  6. Being that it belonged to K’s dad and grandpa and use to be a workshop, it feels pretty masculine to me.

  7. Geraldine or Mildred (Midge is a nickname for Mildred) were both popular in the late 40’s.

  8. HI Sarah,

    I think it should be named Dottie, because then both of you will have a piece of your family in it.

    Good luck. It’s a cool project.


  9. Long time lurker who rarely comments……and I so enjoy watching you transform your home. The name game struck my fun bone(not funny bone ?) and the names Artemis or Hestia from Greek mythology popped into my head. Hestia is the goddess of hearth, home, family, and architecture. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, nature and birth. But whatever you name her (yep….I think it is a female. ?) will be fitting. Looking forward to her transformation from ugly duckling ? to beautiful swan.

    1. I think we’re leaning toward female too. We have a name that struck me earlier today and we’re both letting it simmer to see if it’s the right one. Love the history of these names!

  10. My suggestions are Escape or Phoenix but I like Dottie
    I was wondering how Granny and Grandpa got to Hawaii in a RV, yes I am that A-hole :-) sorry
    There is a whole “rubber tramp” community on youtube that may help you with your restoration

    1. D’oh! Yes, you’re right (and my bad for confusing it!). They had 1) a goal of traveling to all 50 states and 2) they bought an RV to do a lot of road tripping in order to accomplish a lot of that. Totally fair to point that out, ha!

  11. So many great ideas from everyone!
    Here are some of my name suggestions:
    Can Can
    Tin Can Allie
    Sarie (very old nickname for Sarah)
    Canny Lil
    Eugenia Leigh
    James Bondo
    Silver Sister
    All Hail the Queen
    A Tin by Any Other Name
    Ida Mae
    Good luck!

  12. the Odyssey! A multi year epic of DIY. Nicknamed Odie like the dog in Garfield since you both have puppies :)

  13. What a cool project for you guys to take on together, all that history! I can’t wait to see the updates☺️.

    ERM, a name ….Reda! That’s my grandmas name, and she’s from the 1938?

  14. So many varying names popped into my head:
    Leonidas – King of Sparta, featured in the movie 300, seemed appropriate for a Spartan Trailer – and you can yell out “THIS IS SPARTA” really dramatically for fun while working on it ?
    Stella – also would be fun to scream in the midst of reno frustration… hmm I’m sensing a theme with how much of my DIY stuff goes haha

    Of course I also just think something that means something personal to the two of you would be awesome for a big project like this. Related to a good memory, where you met, first date, fav movie etc
    Good luck and can’t wait to see how it progresses!

    1. Your comment made me laugh twice… once, because his dog is named Stella, so we’re definitely both fond of that name… but it would get hilariously confusing in conversations. And where we met: “The Tinder Trailer” certainly has some nice alliteration going for it, but I think it implies a little too much. LMAO.

  15. You could use an adventurer’s name in honor of all the adventures you will have in it. Christopher Columbus, Leif Eriksson, Indiana Jones, Marco Polo, and Henry Hudson come to mind. Maybe Dora the Explorer. If you like the silver theme, maybe silver surfer. Maybe Seuss for the book “Oh the places you will go.” How about “The Bomb” because I am sure it will be. Or just call it Therapy.

    Have fun with your project and enjoy the upcoming adventures.

  16. When I saw your camper trailer all I could think of was naming it The Silver Bullet or The Silver Bandit.

  17. How about Sparty for the name? Nickname of Michigan State’s mascot (which is also the Spartans).

  18. I like Maxine. It’s feminine, but still has a rough edge sound to it. A trailer named Maxine would be badass!

  19. My vote is for Dottie – it’s linked to you that way

    Or Greek myth, because you’ll be able to have a good story!

  20. What about Taxidi? It’s greek for travel. I also like that it ends in the “Edie” sound since that’s a common name or nickname for the time period?

  21. What a GREAT project. This is going to be a fun one for both of you to tinker with. There have been a lot of cool names suggested already. I think I’d go with simply, “Silver”. It goes without saying that the first blog title when you start could be “HI HO SILVER AWAAAAAAAY!” from the old Lone Ranger. Plus, the added bonus of yelling it each time it gets towed cannot be discounted,… a silver lining,… as it were. I’m looking forward to seeing the project unfold. Very unique.

  22. She’s been around the block a few times, right? She’s old, beautiful and wise.

    Sylvana, Lucille (like BB King’s guitar),

    and my favorite: Maybelline.

  23. Man these names are all great. I really like Casey Bonds suggestion of Harvey the RV. That is a pretty good one. How about Tony Stark since it resembles ironmans helmet. Okay maybe my suggestions are weak but I think Harvey the Rv takes the prize.

  24. Oh what a treasure. One of my favorites for a silver (it may have been an airstream, can’t remember-sorry) was the atomic twinkie.
    I would say pick something personal to you two. My husband and I both like Jimmy Durante so we named ours “Mrs. Calabash” and she has a sign on the back of her that reads “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash wherever you are” which was how he would close his shows. We thought it was perfect since we’re liable to be wherever with her :-) So whatever it is you both appreciate, enjoy, or get a kick out of (hmmm, maybe Dooey, as opposed to Do-I-Y???) I know this is late, but just found your blog.

    1. Haha, I LOVE these suggestions, especially since yours had such sentimental value. I think we’ve found a name (we both agree that it’s a “her”) but I’m hoping to get the label/logo designed before we announce the official name! And “atomic twinkie” gave me a chuckle. :)

  25. Ariadne. She was the girl who fell in love with Theseus and gave him a string to find his way back from a deadly labyrinth. She later married Dionysus (the god of wine) and was crowned with the Corona Borealis. She was compassionate, cunning, and beautiful, and her legacy is that of using logic to solve complex dilemmas, mazes, and puzzles. Campers are taken on a journey and parked under the stars. And what is a camping trip without a little wine?