Posts Tagged ‘build’

Hand-built caravan wins Teardrop Challenge competition

May 18, 2011

Monday, 16, May 2011 02:46

by Holly Tribe

A one-of-a-kind teardrop trailer has been crowned the champion in a caravan building competition at a recent campervan festival.

Vantastival in Co. Louth, Ireland, is now in its second year and is a festival dedicated to fans of live music and campervan culture. This year, event organisers invited revellers to renovate, or construct from scratch, a micro-caravan in the ‘Teardrop Challenge’.

The Teardrop trailer became popular in 1930’s America, and has since developed a dedicated fanbase of caravan and DIY enthusiasts. It gets its name from the distinctive teardrop profile, but models come in all sizes, shapes and colours.

Entrants were encouraged to be as off-the-wall as their imaginations would allow, with judges basing their final verdict on the exterior look and the standard of the interior finish.

According to the Donegal Democrat, the winning entrant was constructed by 29-year-old Enda McFadden, who began building the caravan just a few weeks before the start of the festival.

A carpenter by trade, Enda used his skills to construct the two berth caravan – receiving Euro500 worth of DEWALT power tools for his efforts.

The judges were particularly impressed with the exterior design scheme; Enda used blackboard paint on the caravan’s walls and invited spectators to decorate the caravan with their own designs.

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

If you ride to the left you will lose your horse, if you ride to the right you will lose your head.

August 18, 2010

  Have you ever wondered what inspired people to start building their trailers?

 After all mention the words teardrop trailer to most people and 9 outof 10  won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.  So how is it that thousands of people accross the world, became so enthusiastically engulfed in an obsession that means  that many will devote the majority of their spare time building, sleeping, cooking and crawling in and out of a 4ft high can on wheels? 

 Bob Henry is a member of the Hoosier chapter of Tearjerkers and a regular contributor to T&TTT forum. Here he tells us how he was seduced and a love affair began.

The Fork In The Road

January of  2007 was just like any frozen cold month in the construction business, slow , slow , slow.

I was at my desk “Just in case “ but there just wasn’t much happening. Our company pre builds residential and commercial buildings.  It simply becomes a follow the numbers build.  Stand wall number one then  attach to wall number two etc. you just follow the instructional layout that is provided. 

I am in charge of estimating , inventory control and shipping and with nothing happening thanks in large part to a  –8 wind chill most of the week I was doing a whole lot of nothing.

The cads designer was surfing the internet and hollered at me to “come look at this” !

This moment was to change my life it was a tiny little tear shaped trailer. I had just seen my very first “Teardrop trailer”

In the cold, slow, weeks to follow I searched and searched everything on every search engine I could find about the little trailers. I found several links to a site www.mikenchell.com  a rather unlikely sounding site but I dropped in.

 It is referred to, by the members, as t&ttt . (short for Teardrops and tiny travel trailers)

I had hit the main vein in the gold mine. This was a site dedicated to the building of the teardrop and other style small campers. The main criteria seemed to be that the minuscule units measured  somewhere between  8  and 12 feet in length. It was not a hard fast rule but that was more the general feel of the members.  I  looked in and learned a great deal and on Feb 7th 2007 I  became an active member of the site.

In late March I came out of the closet and informed my wife I was going to build a tiny trailer. My very first effort was a super simple little 3×5 cargo trailer to be pulled by my motorcycle. It was a quick build and only server to whet my appetite for a larger more lavish camping size model.

So with this first little trailer build under my belt I now felt that I could construct a very serviceable full sized teardrop. At 56, and being a two job workaholic most of my adult life, I was done burning my candle at both ends. I asked for the wife’s blessing to start on my new project of building a full size teardrop trailer so we could play on weekends instead of working them away.  I felt it was the time in our lives to slow down and start enjoying the peace , quiet and tranquility of  camping.

So, appropriately , on April fools day of 2007 I drove 45 miles to pay for and pick up a used Harbor Freight brand kit trailer I had purchased on E-Bay for $75.00.

The build was officially underway.

During the month of April I assembled the frame and constructed the floor.

The walls went up in the month of  May.

The month of June was spent designing and building the galley

                     ( the little kitchen in the rear ).

Storage cabinets were installed in the front sleeping area as well.

July was roughing in all the electrical and installing insulation and then the  interior paneling. At mid month I was still scratching my head about what to install for the roof , 

Then one day I answered an ad in the newspaper for “Plastic panels” Turns out they were bronze tinted lexan that had been remover from large commercial skylites. I had found my roof material !  The bonus would be a see thru roof !

August arrived and  I fine tuned doors and  built the galley hatch lid and veneered the outside of the tiny trailer with luan panels and applied 6 coats of marine spar varnish.  I was finally ready to install the roof  but one final thing had to happen first , a queen sized pillow top mattress needed to be inserted thru the roof spars and into the sleepy side of the tiny trailer.

September arrived and the folks I had been talking with on the teardrops and tiny trailers forum  had planned a local Indiana “Gathering”  for the 17th of  the month. I so wanted to go. I worked frantically but by the date I was still attempting to finish the roof.  As it turned out we had to settle for a ride thru the park on my motorcycle and to stop and visit with the folks and look over their little trailers. 

I would like to point out a home built teardrop is never really finished ! We refer to a functioning trailer as “Campable”  This generally means all the important parts function and that nothing is likely to fall off.

In mid October, with camping season all but gone, we finally got the tiny  trailer fully functional.  We driveway camped at home.  I was heartbroken we had not been able to camp with our new found friends in 2007.

And then………

 Someone got the bright idea our little Hoosier group should be the first group in the nation to go camping in 2008. We planned for the 1st weekend after new years and 8 intrepid campers braved the snow and cold for bragging rights. We dressed heavily and stood near the campfire and visited and ate and as the sun went down so did the temps. So we retreated to the comfort of our little trailers.

       That night’s temperatures went to  –1 with a –15 wind chill index but all parties were warm an safe in their little trailers by them. Equipped with small electric heaters everyone was comfortable. This get together was our maiden camping outing we encountered several rough edges with forgotten items and learned to make do and borrow from the neighbors when necessary.

Now, well into the close of  or 2nd year of camping, we have camped in 5 states and have attended some 17 gatherings as well as 5 or 6 solo excursions.  The camping group has developed into an extended family and we have gained quite a few real close friends. Not a nodding acquaintance but a true friend, one you can call in the middle of the night broke down somewhere and they will rescue you. That kind of friend you can not put a price tag on.

Soon to enter into my 60’s I never expected to develop into a camper type but both my wife and myself look forward to each outing and arrive home at the end  of each tired and happy.

Looking back to that cold wintry day in January of 2007  I feel  so blessed that I found a small picture of a “Teardrop trailer” . It  sounds a bit corny but it was a fork in the road for us and luckily it led us down a serene wooded path to the joys of camping in comfort.