Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Annual rally brings campers to PB

May 22, 2011

Dressed in the fashions of the era, owners of some 250 travel trailers from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s greeted the public Saturday afternoon at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort in Pismo Beach.

Many of the Airstream, Shasta, Silver Streak, Vagabond and other classic travel trailers were decorated with accessories that could have been found inside and around them back in the days when they were new.

Some of the units were even towed by vintage vehicles ranging from 1940s Hudson pickups to 1950s Willys wagons.

The trailers were on public display during the fourth annual Trail Along to Pismo, a four-day rally organized by Vintage Trailer Camp.

For more information about the group and vintage trailer events, visit

Original Article


American Teardrop Trailer – Roaming Times Review

May 3, 2011

American Teardrop says: “We have been able to drastically lower the price of teardrop camper trailers by using assembly line production technique and eliminating the distributer mark up. Our streamlined production facilities make it possible for us to lower our price while giving you the quality and the features you expect.”

Important dimensions:
4 models are available – see below
Overall length 7’2″ ‘/ 13’0″
For specifications of the 4 models click here

MSRP  from $3995 (5/2011), kits avalable from $2995
(American says: “$2995 – $6995 All American made classic camper!”)



 American Teardrop


LOA 13’0″
Weight 925 lbs
Tongue weight 101 lbs


American Teardrop


LOA 11’10”
Weight 840 lbs
Tongue weight 80 lbs



American Teardrop


LOA 10’6″
Weight 748 lbs
Tongue weight 72 lbs


American Teardrop


LOA 7’2″
Weight 240 lbs
Tongue weight 24 lbs



From the Auburn Journal California:

The teardrop is designed for convenience.
 “It can be towed behind any car, including electric cars,”  Bud Hausman (general manager of American River Sales in Auburn) said.  “They’re super lightweight.  They’re the RV for the next generation.”  The trailers have been increasing in popularity for the last 15 years, “with the last two years seeing the biggest growth we’ve ever seen,” he said.
The demographic is just about everyone who enjoys the outdoors.  “Because of high gas prices, people don’t want a second high-mileage vehicle,” Hausman said. “They want to have their car and go on vacation.”
Teardrops offer a no-to-low frills experience.  “People love camping, but no one wants to sleep on the ground,” he said. “When they walk away, they want to be able to lock up all the gear inside.”

Original Article

Skillful fan builds a teardrop camper

April 24, 2011

Retro design harkens to ’30s, ’40s, draws a crowd

Two years ago, Gordon McAuliffe noticed a few unusual-looking campers pull into his Town Mountain Travel Park in Hendersonville. McAuliffe, 57, saw the unique, retro-style teardrop trailers in tow and immediately took a liking to them.

Teardrop trailers, also known as teardrop campers, gained notoriety in the 1930s, ’40s and early ’50s. The convenient, compact camping trailer got its name for its streamlined teardrop shape and is typically 4 feet to 6 feet wide, 4 feet high and 8 feet to 10 feet long.

The camper weighs about 800 to 1,000 pounds and has enough room for two people to sleep. It can also be towed by smaller vehicles and even motorcycles, McAuliffe said.

He also owns a carpentry business, Gem Painting and Home Repair, and jumped at the opportunity to build his own teardrop trailer, built out of birch and aluminum. It took four months to complete the project.

“This was a challenge because everything is rounded,” McAuliffe said.

One of the more unique features is found in the rear of the camper. A hatch opens, revealing a small cooking area called a “galley.”

Opening the hatch on his own camper, McAuliffe showed off a small gas-burning grill, a couple of coolers with a small shelf to prepare meals. Some teardrops even come with a kitchen sink.

McAuliffe enjoys simplicity when it comes to camping. “I’m a minimalist,” he said.

With the compact camper, McAuliffe said he’s able to spend more time outdoors rather than “living” in one of the larger, modern RV models.

I camp for the experience,” he added.

Although he has yet to camp with the teardrop, McAuliffe displays it at local car shows and Music on Main. He parked it at Hendersonville’s Antique Car show with the vehicles and not campers. “I didn’t know how it would be accepted,” he said.

As he pulled up, six people immediately gathered around the small camper made of birch with a rounded aluminum roof. Inquisitive onlookers peered inside the cozy cabin where a mattress sits, along with shelves and cubby holes for storage.

The lights inside run off of a motorcycle battery, and the camper also has an electrical outlet and cable hook-up if they choose to watch their favorite television programs.

But McAuliffe hopes to do more than just show off his camper. He’s looking forward to taking a road trip with his wife, Deanna, as soon as his 17-year-old son, Matthew, can manage the family’s RV park for a weekend.

“I’d like to go cross country,” McAuliffe said. “It would be a blast.”

Young RV Sales in Kings Mountain is one of the few dealerships in the state that sells teardrop trailers.

“There has definitely been a resurgence of (teardrop trailers),” said Damien Gray, sales representative at Young RV Sales.

In the past three weeks, the dealership has sold three teardrops that typically cost between $3,000 and $9,000. The appeal is that they are more environmentally friendly than typical RVs, and because they are so light, they are more fuel efficient for the vehicle towing the teardrop trailer, he continued.

“It’s like a tent on wheels,” Gray said.


Original Article

World’s smallest caravan can be towed by scooter

April 21, 2011


It can be towed by a mobility scooter, measures just 2m by 75cm and is being suggested as a way of bagging a spot for the Royal Wedding… meet the world’s smallest caravan.

Despite the diminutive measurements the £5,500 QTvan caravan still boasts a full-sized bed, a 19 inch television, a drinks cabinet and tea making facilities.

Optional extras include solar roof panels, a SKY TV satellite dish, a games console, extra-wide wing mirror for mobility scooter and custom paint jobs.

And makers say the mini caravan is so small that if you need anything else, you could even tow it into a supermarket… though don’t expect to get there too quickly, it has a top speed of 6mph.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Elderly spectators hoping to bag the best spot on the Royal Wedding procession route, but unwilling to spend a night camping on the pavement, can now buy a caravan designed to be towed by a mobility scooter.

“The QTvan is the world’s most environmentally-friendly caravan. Using a conventional caravan for a ‘staycation’ within Britain remains a relatively green way of taking a holiday.

“But if the electricity used to charge the mobility scooter is bought from a green provider, the QTvan is entirely carbon neutral.”

Developed by Environmental Transport Agency (ETA), the caravan was designed to highlight the 220,000 people who use a mobility scooter without breakdown cover.


Homemade teardrops offer campers chance to personalize campsite

February 28, 2011

By Scott Richardson

PEORIA — Teardrops form when Gary Daniel and Don Wheeler talk about camping but not because of bad days in the woods.

These do-it-yourselfers built their own “teardrops,” which are compact, efficient travel trailers measuring just 4 feet by 8 feet. Larger ones stretch a bit longer and wider. But they’re still basically just bedrooms on wheels.

“We call it ‘camping with a dry bed,'” said Wheeler, 64, of Groveland, a member of the Illinois contingent of a national club called the Tearjerkers.

Teardrops often have simple, well-organized kitchenettes that are fold-down tables for a workspace. Some have sinks with running water. Most teardrops are homemade so owners have a chance to decorate in unique styles to reflect their personalities.

Daniel and Wheeler will be among teardrop owners who will display their rigs at the Central Illinois Recreational Show at the Peoria Civic Center from Friday through March 6. The event also will feature recreational vehicles of all kinds, including travel trailers, fifth-wheels and motor homes. Vendors will represent campgrounds, tow vehicle dealers, ATV and golf cart sales and more.

Daniel built his teardrop to have an inexpensive way to travel to shows catering to his first love, street rods. He is president of the River Valley Drifters, a street-rod club based in the Peoria area. He’s restored several vehicles since his dad passed his enthusiasm for cars to him as a boy. He has a 1937 Cadillac LaSalle Coupe and a black 1950 Chevy with flames, which his teardrop is painted to match. He is creating a street rod from a 1954 cab-over-engine half-ton Chevy truck that once was a farm vehicle. He is also building a second teardrop that will be painted to match the truck.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Daniel, 71, a retired salesman.

One of his friends seems to have started a teardrop fad in the

street-rod club when he found an old teardrop trailer in the woods and decided to restore it. The metal-covered teardrop probably dated to the 1940s. Teardrops date to the Great Depression. They were simple and cheap to build from spare wood. They were also aerodynamic and light, which kept down fuel costs, Daniel said. Blueprints and directions appeared in how-to magazines of that day, including Popular Mechanics. After World War II, teardrop builders were able to use surplus aluminum.

One company started selling assemble-it-yourself teardrop kits, Wheeler said. They didn’t sell well until the company started selling fully assembled models.

“Then they went crazy,” Wheeler said.

Though on the roads consistently since then, teardrops faded in popularity as the horsepower of cars grew in the 1950s to allow travelers to haul bigger trailers with more amenities, like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz did in the movie “Long, Long Trailer.” Teardrops have enjoyed a revival in the past decade, Wheeler said.

Daniel and his wife, Stephanie, love the teardrop Daniel built from cast-off bed frames, plywood, a makeshift axle and wheels. They added a pressurized six-gallon tank for running water and a Coleman stove. The interior is paneled with wood and features shelves for a television and DVD player for movies.

At least two other friends are building teardrops, so they are fashioning an air-conditioning unit that will sit outside and keep up to four teardrops cool. He also has a shower that uses sun-heated water for hot showers.

But the teardrop is still mainly for sleeping. Even Stephanie Daniel, who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, has plenty of room to stretch out inside. Still, the teardrop is usually the smallest trailer in the campground, a fact that doesn’t bother Daniel at all.

“One of the neat things about teardrops is you spend more time outside. In the big units, they sit watching TV. We with the teardrops are sitting outside around a campfire lying to each other and having fun,” he said.

Wheeler, who is retired from Caterpillar Inc., and his wife, Chris, come from scouting backgrounds. They’ve always liked staying in campgrounds. Their travels have taught them that less is more. They had motor homes and full-sized trailers over the years. But they weren’t enjoyable for someone who still had to clean a kitchen or a bathroom while on vacation.

“My wife would say, ‘This isn’t fun. I’d rather barbeque and have someone else clean the bathroom,'” Wheeler said.

Wheeler, who has restored two Model T Fords, purchased teardrop plans online and went to work. About $1,000 in materials and a winter’s worth of work off later and he created a trailer light enough to tow with a matching Volkswagen Beetle that still gets 25 highway miles a gallon, rig and all.

The teardrop is equipped with a microwave. They carry a camp stove to use on picnic tables to keep the mess away from the trailer. They also have a TV/DVD player mounted inside. A fan is enough for cooling. A heated mattress pad keeps them warm on cool nights. Full screens keep bugs out. The couple buys a week’s worth of groceries, carries a week’s worth of clothes in the teardrop’s closet and stops every seven days to do laundry and re-supply.

The best part:

“You have a dry bed. It starts raining or storming, you can get inside and shut the door. You don’t have to worry about floating around on an air mattress,” he said.

In addition to the convenience and the economy, Daniel and Wheeler like the people drawn to teardrop trailers.

“It’s a unique bunch,” Daniel said. “They are handy and they build their own stuff. That’s why it’s so interesting to street rodders. They like to say, ‘I built it.’ …You get bragging rights.”

Central Illinois Recreational Show

What: Displays of travel trailers, motor homes, fifth-wheels, tent campers, ATVs, golf carts, tow vehicles and more; special display of teardrop trailers

Where: Peoria Civic Center

When: Friday through March 6

Times: Friday 3 p.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; March 6, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets: Adults, $8 (coupon for $2 off at website); children 7-12, $2; kids 6 and under free; Friday only, seniors (65 plus are $5;


Orinal Link

Never Cold in Sun Valley

February 13, 2011

It was a bright sunny day as I was cooking breakfast the crew that was building our garage was noticeably absent. I checked the thermometer and it registered 32 degrees below zero. If you are a carpenter that is an ideal temperature to call your boss and take a day off. If you are a skier it is a good day to hunker down and rest your sore muscles and tune up your skis.

For the last three days the wind has been howling out of the west at about 30 mph and during lunch in the lodge someone asked me if it ever got that cold when I was living in the parking lot in our eight-foot, tear-drop trailer.

Yes. It was a similarly bright sunny winter day, except without wind and about three and a half feet of snow had accumulated in the parking lot. Ward Baker and I had just finished cooking our bowls of oatmeal when we were politely asked to move our car and trailer so they could plow out our parking place.

When we had arrived in Sun Valley we had only planned on staying for about a week and we had been burying our trash in the snow bank beside the trailer.

There was no chance that our car would start without warming it up first so we got out our empty one-pound coffee can and filled it up with gasoline, lit it and shoved it under the engine. It contained just enough burning gasoline to warm up the oil in the engine but not big enough flames to catch the engine on fire. As the flames went out Ward stepped on the starter and the engine came to life. Well, it coughed and wheezed a little bit and then struggled to barely run.

Finally we were able to tow the trailer out from its own snow bank and the rotary snowplow could then carve a clean path through our part of the parking lot. We forgot about the trash that we had been burying in the snow bank behind our kitchen for the last three weeks. The giant rotary plowed through that trash and it landed in the trees above where we had been parking. Now hanging from the trees were milk cartons, polka dot Wonder Bread wrappers, old cans of corned beef hash and the carcasses of five rabbits we had shot in Shoshone on the way to Sun Valley.

From that moment forward for the rest of the winter it was easy to tell people that we were living under the tree with the milk cartons, pink napkins and bread wrappers.

But I have diverted from my temperature discussion. That winter we had no quilted parkas; they had not yet been invented. No one knew anything about layering and our soft leather boots were just that. The important thing for me in retrospect is that I didn’t know that I was supposed to be cold. It was a question of skiing every day all winter. And that was the answer, too.

We never had frostbite and we never complained about the cold because there was no one to complain to.

We did learn to wear long underwear with a sweater over it, then a nylon windbreaker and then another sweater. The second sweater kept the nylon parka close to the first sweater and somehow it worked.

You could always go into the Round House and warm up. You had to be careful, however, if you got too close to the fireplace because you might spend the entire day by the fireplace. I thought it was kind of dumb to ride clear up to Sun Valley from Los Angeles on the train and spend the day by the fireplace.

It really was great in Sun Valley then because the chairlift only hauled 426 people an hour and you could ski in untracked powder snow from one storm to the next whether you were cold. As far as I can remember, I was never cold, chilly perhaps, but never cold.

But my wife says I lie a lot.

Original Article

It’s What Lies Beneath

January 12, 2011

JARED MORGAN – The Southland Times

They hark back to a time when holidaying was done at a different pace, but sometimes the retro beauty of a caravan is only skin deep, according to Otatara businessman David Horsham.

Mr Horsham, who runs DH Caravan Repairs Ltd, said as the holiday season wound down it was the perfect time to check the bones of caravans.

“By the time you see any sign of a leak, it’s too late.”

Most of his six-year-old business is removing the outer shell of caravans to expose the often rotten wooden frame underneath.

It was a common problem people were not aware of, Mr Horsham said.

Most mass production of caravans stopped in New Zealand in the early 1980s, meaning maintenance, particularly of the joins in a caravan’s shell that potentially leak, was becoming increasingly important.

The only way effectively to ensure the joints were watertight was to remove and reseal them, he said.

“It’s about preventive maintenance … we had one caravan brought in that had broken at each corner after hitting a pothole. The frame had rotted and the impact broke its back.”

The work cost up to $1000 to fix a rotted-out corner but, in some cases, the extent of the hidden rot meant a complete rebuild, Mr Horsham said.

And it was at the rebuild and custom-build stage that his business came into its own, he said.

“We pride ourselves on doing things that are a bit outside the square.”

That included projects, such as building a replica classic “teardrop” caravan, through to complete restoration.

Teardrop caravans first appeared in the 1930s. Their popularity soared in the late 1940s, fuelled by plenty of war surplus aluminum.

At the restoration stage, most work involved stripping a caravan back to parts because of the way they were built, Mr Horsham said.

“If you liken it to a house, a caravan is built back-to-front.”

That meant much of the interior including floor coverings was fitted before the outer shell of the caravan, he said.

One of his latest projects was restoring a 1961 Starliner from the ground up, keeping as much of its original chrome and Formica interior fittings intact as possible.

Mr Horsham said word of mouth meant his customers came from across New Zealand and internationally.

“Mine and my father’s name is pretty well known.”

His father operated a similar business from Ryal Bush for 25 years, before retiring 11 years ago, he said.

“That was pretty much my apprenticeship. Every time I went home at the weekend it was ‘hey lad you’ve come at the right time’,” he said.

Original article

Five of the best micro caravans as featured by Caravan Times

November 19, 2010

Thursday, 18, Nov 2010 01:28

by Holly Tribe

We’ve received a few comments in recent months from readers nostalgic for the simple things in life, namely, lightweight low tech caravans.

For some, the increasingly sophisticated technology and heavyweight designs of modern tourers aren’t cause for celebration.

As Beryl who currently lives in France, recently asked: “Why oh why are caravans so heavy? Surely in these days of climate change, the lighter the greener. I am pig sick trying to find a decent caravan that we can tow!”

Well Beryl, in response to your cries of lament here are our top five tourers that can be towed by a reasonably sized VW Golf.

The Little Guy

These teardrop shaped trailers are based on the travel trailer design which originated in the US. Their diminutive form is light enough to be hauled behind a quad bike. But caravanners beware, you will have to travel light as nominal storage comes in the form of a small roof mounted cupboard above the bed.


  • Price: £3995

  • Weight: 300kg



A winner in this years’ European Caravanning and Design Awards, the Tuareg is lightweight and garage friendly with an elevating roof for extra headroom. The cunning island kitchen design can be used in the cabin or taken outside for the chef to prepare dinner al fresco.


  • Price: Euro 13,995

  • MTPLM: on request



Manufactured at the Tabbart factory near Frankfurt in Germany, these pint-sized caravans come in a range of three layouts – the smallest of which is the T@b 320. In its naked form weighs approximately 550kg and is small enough to be towed by a mini.

  • Price: on request

  • MTPLM: 800kg

    Sprite Finesse 2

    If you’re looking for something a bit more mainstream, have a look at the Finesse 2. This compact lightweight tourer from Swift Caravans is the littlest in the Sprite range. Standing at 3.66m in length with an MTPLM of 1,084kg – it is small enough to be matched with a small family car such as VW Golf or Vauxhall Corsa.


    • Price: £10,599

    • MTPLM: 1,084kg


    Adria Action 361

    And finally, we come to our final European offering, the Action 361 from Adria Caravans. Slightly undercutting the Sprite in cost and weight it comes equipped with a large toilet and boasts class leading storage facilities.


    • Price: £10,114

    • MTPLM: 1,000kg

    Vintage Trailers Invade Old Town this Weekend

    September 24, 2010

    If you have ever been seduced by the siren call of the road, this weekend you’ll get a chance to see how the early nomads of the highways found comfort as they traveled. Some 35 old-school trailers will be setting up an overnight camp in the Juror’s parking lot at Auburn Folsom Rd. and Lincoln Way for Old Town Auburn’s Vintage Trailer Classic.


    This free event will be open on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and all trailers will be open for viewing. The show is sponsored by the Old Town Business Association and Carpe Vino, and will include more than a dozen Airstream trailers, the iconic “silver bullet” rigs that first appeared on American highways in the 1930s. Other fully restored trailers include brands such as Shasta, Boles Aero, Silver Streak, Argosy, Streamline, Airfloat and many more.

    “So many people love these old rigs,” said Gary Moffat, organizer of the event, “and this is an unusual opportunity to get an up-close look at a wide spectrum of restored trailers, many of which are more than 50 years old.”

    The oldest trailer on display is a 1937 Gypsy Caravan Teardrop, a compact little unit with just enough room to sleep two adults, with a pop-up kitchen unit. In contrast, a 2010 American Teardrop from American River Sales in Auburn will set up.

    For more information, go to

    Original Article

    Local company is smiling through Teardrop campers

    September 23, 2010

    By Gloria Young, Auburn Journal.

    The economy has influenced all facets of daily life and occasionally in a good way.

    Teardrop trailers, around since the 1930s, are seeing a boom in popularity.

    In Auburn, American River Sales has sold American Teardrops for 10 years and recently began manufacturing them in response to increased demand, according to general manager Bud Hausman.

    “We can’t build them fast enough,” he said.

    The teardrop is designed for convenience.

    “It can be towed behind any car, including electric cars,” Hausman said. “They’re super lightweight. They’re the RV for the next generation.”

    The trailers have been increasing in popularity for the last 15 years, “with the last two years seeing the biggest growth we’ve ever seen,” he said.

    The demographic is just about everyone who enjoys the outdoors.

    “Because of high gas prices, people don’t want a second high-mileage vehicle,” Hausman said. “They want to have their car and go on vacation.”

    Teardrops offer a no-to-low frills experience.

    “People love camping, but no one wants to sleep on the ground,” he said. “When they walk away, they want to be able to lock up all the gear inside.”

    The original teardrop design appeared in the 1930s. Then in 1944, Popular Mechanics ran an article on how to build one at home, according to Hausman.

    “The unit we build is a pretty close replica of those 1940s units, using modern-day materials,” he said.

    The average size of the trailer is 5 feet by 8 feet. There are windows on both sides and a door on one side. American River’s basic models range from $3,995 to $5,995.

    You get the base model and then you outfit it the way you want. Among the options are air conditioning, pullout kitchen and mattresses.

    “If you added every option, the unit would still be about $8,000,” Hausman said.

    The Auburn store geared up its manufacturing site earlier this summer. Prior to that, the teardrops were all made at American Teardrop headquarters in Elkhart, Ind.

    “This past year, we decided to open a factory here to cut down shipping costs,” Hausman said.

    On Nov. 1, the factory is moving to a new, larger location at the corner of Borland Avenue and Lincoln Way. Hausman said he expects to add another six to 10 jobs to the already six jobs created when the plant is fully up and running.


    American Teardrop is only one of numerous brands that make the teardrop trailer. But most are custom-design manufacturers that turn out a few units a year and charge much more for their product, Hausman explained.

    “It’s becoming so popular that big companies are coming out with mini-models to compete with teardrops because they know that’s where the market is growing,” he said.

    American River Sales will have one of its teardrop trailers at this weekend’s Vintage Trailer Classic show in Old Town Auburn.

    Gary Moffat, owner of Carpe Vino and organizer of the show, will have a 1937 model on display along with American River’s new model.

    “(I thought) wouldn’t it be fun to see one of the new ones side by side (with the 1937 edition) to see how it evolved over the years,” Moffat said. “But, in fact, there hasn’t been much change.”

    Moffat has become a vintage trailer enthusiast after purchasing a 1972 Airstream Globe Trotter a year ago. He took his idea for the show to the Old Town Business Association, which signed on as a sponsor.

    “An interesting fact after we started this show is that this year is the 100th anniversary of the RV industry,” he said. “The first RV was built in 1910. When it started out, people built these things themselves.”

    Moffat got acquainted with American River Sales as he was coordinating the show.

    “I love what those guys are doing,” he said. “They’re creating jobs in Auburn and they’re doing something innovative in a tough market.”

    American River Sales

    Sales and rentals of the American Teardrop trailer

    13230 Lincoln Way, Auburn

    Phone: (530) 889-2762

    Old Town Vintage Trailer Classic

    When: 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26

    Where: Jurors parking lot, Auburn Folsom Road and Lincoln Way, Old Town Auburn

    Original Article