One of the dilemmas of owning the campground is that our personal trailers are all
set up somewhat permanently for rentals, leaving us with nothing to camp in. Sylvia
picked up this 1966 Fireball with the idea that we could do a quick facelift and
have a camper to use ourselves.
Probably not the best, but we looked and bought this one in the dark. While still
worth the money we paid for it, inspection in the daylight showed a little more damage
than we initially thought. The sticking door turned out to be a serious issue. Two
of the outriggers (steel cross members from the frame to the outside of the body)
had been torn off sometime in the past and the body had literally sagged down on
one side. I thought the roof had a hump up over the front bunk. It's actually supposed
to have a flat roof and the bottom edges of the windows on the door side are supposed
to be even. I did see the damage to the back where it had been hit in the rear
or backed into something solid
As we were taking off the skin we noticed the sagging side had actually ripped the
roof over the door, which some previous owner had tried unsuccessfully to repair.
The resulting water leaks had caused considerable damage to the structural framing.
The siding where the body attaches to the frame had been broken as well. Since
the interior looked so nice we decided not to do a frame off rebuild but instead
rebuild the walls in place. First step was to jack the body up to where it belonged
(lifting it about 3" just behind the door) and welding new cross members to the frame
to support it.We braced up the ceiling, and removed and replaced all the damaged
wood, including the lower half of the wall paneling. This trailer has a blond finish
wood we would not be able to match so we went with a contrasting paneling on the
lower half, in this case bead board (wainscoting). We salvaged the good sections
of the lower paneling to replace the areas damaged around the door frame and one
cabinet damaged by the rear end wreck. Not unexpected, but we also had to replace
all the bender board around all the edges. Before long we had a nice solid body
just like it was new. We then did some upgrades to the wiring (this one got one
of the 12V converter systems, some extra outlets and all new plumbing including a
new poly water tank. Final step before skin is the new insulation.
This trailer has a nice open floor plan, but in this case we felt it was just a bit
too open. The gaucho bed is right behind the door, leaving the head of the bed right
by the door opening, with no headboard. Sylvia wanted a divider/headboard that would
not make it feel closed in, and this is what I came up with, a mid century modern
design. The left photo above is during a test fit, removed and then finished, and
reinstalled in the right photo. Just for fun I built a couple of pendant lights
that work on a dimmer switch. The interior is still a work in progress as time but
the scheme is apparent here... a combo of white wainscoting, turquoise trim and the
To add some flash to the exterior we used a band of polished aluminum around the
perimeter of the trailer.
Even though I sketched out several designs on paper it's not the same as standing
back and looking at it on the actual trailer. Before sending for paint we used masking
tape to visualize the design. In this case we changed it to a less busy design.
Back from paint it's ready for final assembly.
The finished product... at least the exterior. Yes, it matches our 1958 Chevy Biscayne.
It's the details that make or break a trailer. We tried to incorporate ideas to
make this one rather showy without breaking the bank. Little things like the painted
propane tanks, polishing the curly cues, reproduction decals, a chrome cover on the
bumper cover can make a trailer "pop". Wheels are a big thing to me... nothing like
painted steel wheels with new baby moon caps to look right on a vintage trailer.
The matching vintage patio chairs are just a little icing on the cake.
Notice the door... the original was junk and we wanted a screen door. This one was
salvaged from a junked out 70's Shasta.
Coming soon... interior pictures once we get the upholstery and new curtains finished
and decorate it in our mid century modern theme.
This trailer is a great example of a Retro Restoration "Makeover"
It is not a full restoration but is now a structurally sound, fully functional camper
that looks so much better than it did three weeks earlier. Let us show you what
we can do to your trailer!