This trailer was one of the trailers brought to us by a vintage trailer collector in El Paso.  History was it hand built shortly after WWII by someone that had incredible craftsmanship.  Even though large portions were failing the masonite siding was still mostly intact under many layers of paint and duct tape.  Wanting to keep it authentic we set out to rebuild it as close to the way it was done in 1948 as we could.

One of the challenges we faced was repairing the damaged structural wood without disturbing the paneling... The interior had a beautiful aged patina  that we wanted to retain.

It had been insulated with Kimisul, which looks like many layers of  black crepe paper, a common product back then.  It of course was completely brittle and just fell apart.

How’s this for cool... We uncovered signatures and dates left buy the original builder(s) as well as notes left as it was built.  We really felt like we were opening up a time capsule.

We did use modern insulation, about the only item we did not keep authentic to 1948.  Salvaging the t-locks that joined the panels together we replaced the siding with new tempered masonite.  After a coat of wood primer we painted it with a couple of coats of a blue oil based enamel, one of the colors we found by scraping off the layers of paint.  It doesn’t have the gloss of automotive paint, but it would have been a correct finish when it was built in 1948 (minus the lead of course).

Ready for a museum where this one belongs.  The tail lamps were from a 1948 Pontiac.  We were in awe of the craftsmanship built into this trailer.  The countertop and sink were hand formed stainless steel with the stove top built in.  The oven was hand built as well.  The table dropped down in the middle of the trailer, when down it exposed a cupboard behind it, dishes were secured for travel when the table was up.

I really wished I had taken close ups of the side windows.  The glass lifted up into channels in the wall above them.  The screens were steel framed with copper screening soldered to the frame (yes, we found new copper screening to restore them).

Even the doors had these really cool little hand made locks in the corners... You would insert an allen wrench into a small hole and turn to secure the door for travel.


I really appreciated and enjoyed the chance to be a part of the restoration of this remarkable piece of travel trailer history.

1948 Homebuilt