Maybe “Back to the Future” should be the motto for Fifties Trailers Inc., Coquitlam, BC, a Canadian company that specializes in building 1950s style travel trailers.
The inspiration to create the company occurred two years ago when Gerry Hagelund and his wife, Lynda, drove from their home in Vancouver to Las Vegas in their red and white 1956 Chevrolet.
Gerry Hagelund, 50, always liked old cars and he had spent most his adult life as an auto body specialist, making old or damaged metal look like new again. He also liked to camp but the idea of pulling a conventional travel trailer with a 1956 Chevrolet didn’t make aesthetic sense to him. It also wasn’t practical from a towing standpoint, since today’s trailers are much wider and heavier than their ‘50s counterparts.
So, Hagelund thought, why not build a vintage trailer to match his vintage car?
Rather than renovate actual trailers from the ‘50s, the Hagelunds’ approach was to build new trailers that would look and feel like the trailers of the ‘50s.
After studying photos and taking apart two ‘50s era trailers, Hagelund concluded they “all looked the same. They all had birch interiors, with a front table that folds into a bed, or just little variations of it.”
The Hagelunds’ units closely mirror trailers from the ‘50s, with a width of 78 inches and a weight of 1,800 pounds. The trailers, which sleep four, have aluminum siding and a two-tone exterior color scheme with white on the top and optional colors of red, yellow, blue or green on the bottom.
The interior walls and cabinetry are all wood and include birch drawers. The kitchen includes a chrome faucet and there is ‘50s-style metal molding around the kitchen sink cabinet and table. Each trailer also includes a toilet and modern appliances, including a three-burner Atwood stove and Norcold refrigerator. The trailers also have vinyl seat covers with ‘50s-style cracked gray or red ice designs.
The base price is $13,800 in U.S. currency, although air-conditioning or a propane furnace can be added for an additional charge.
The Hagelunds market their trailers under the “Twister” brand name and they reach potential buyers through their Web site (www.oldtrailers.com) and at RV and classic car enthusiast shows in the U.S. and Canada.
“This will be our first real kind of production year,” Hagelund said. “Last year, we might have put out 10 trailers. I think it will be quite a bit more this year. I don’t expect that we’ll be putting out hundreds of trailers. But the interest is so high, and we’re the only people doing it.”