Bell

Bell Coaches

Manufactured in Kalispell, Montana

From 1960s-1970s

Bell trailers were manufactured in Kalispell, Montana. They went under the name Bell Coaches. They were built in the 60’s – 70’s and were a victim of the gas shortages of the early 70’s.

Owners

We have a 1965 10’ Bell Coach and travel with it throughout the west and Canada. Tom Thompson Salmon, Idaho.

Photos/Videos

 

1965 Bell Coach Trailer made in Kalispell, MT

Leisure Home

Leisure Home

Manufactured in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1955-1961

Models:

Photos:

1959 Leisure Home

 

1957 ‘Vacation’ Camper | 16′ | Vacation trailers were manufactured by Leisure Homes Corp. based out of Salt Lake City from 1955 to 1961.
1960 leisure travel trailer

PleasureCraft

PleasureCraft

Manufacturer Information

1955-1958

Ontario Trailer Works, Inc. 9435 Archibald Ave. Cucamonga, California

That started making canned ham trailers and then later made a very unique all fiberglass travel trailer with decorative fins inspired by the 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

Photos

1956 PleasureCraft

https://www.outdoorsy.com/rv-rental/calabasas_ca/1956_pleasurecraft_canned-ham_115697-listing

1955 PleasureCraft

1955 PleasureCraft

PlayMor

Play-Mor

History

Unfortunately, the company suffered a fire and all information, serial numbers and pictures have been destroyed. At this time, they make modern “Toy Haulers”.

Established in 1964, Play-Mor Trailers was started by Charles R. “Dick” Willibrand. It was his family’s love of the camping lifestyle that brought about Play-Mor’s beginning. Play-Mor continues to be a family owned company.

Manufacturer Information

Westphalia, MO

Years built

Produced 1964 to Present

Models

Models started with the 130, 140, 150 and 160 series. Play-Mor also built a 180 and 200 model. The 1960’s models were designed based initially on the popular ‘tin can ham’ style for the 130’s & 140’s. The larger models were more of the ‘tin bread loaf’ design with bustle backs (trunk back) and the 150’s also have a front bulge which is the only Play-Mor model known to have this design feature.

Play-Mor also made fiberglass trailers.

Standard Features

These trailers were standard tongue hitch trailers and there aren’t many left.

Photos/Videos

 

Clubs/Links

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1669282253307018/

Phoenix

Phoenix

Manufacturer Information

Manufactured by Heckaman Manufacturing, Inc., Phoenix Division, Nappanee, Indiana

1960s

Photos

Clubs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/580791085367220/

Penguin

PENGUIN

Manufacturer Information

Penguin Industries, Inc 2508 Middlebury St. Elkhart, Indiana 46514 Box 1284

Years built

At least 1969 1970 & 1971 ,other years unknown ( Info on this Page reprinted from 1970 Brochure )

Models

Penguin 14′-6″ and 16′ FD (front dinette) and SD (side dinette) Models Width

— All models 7′ * 16’Model

— Weight, Approx 1440 lbs., Hitch Weight Approx. 140 lbs.

* 14′-6″ Model Weight, Approx. 1200 lbs., Hitch Weight Approx. 110 lbs. Penguin 20′ FD and SD Models Length: 20′-5″

* Width: 7′. Weight: 2800 lbs.

* Hitch Weight: 300 lbs.

* 7:00 x 14 inch wheels and tires

* Steel Frame

* Insulated Sidewalls

* Double Floor Construction

* Metal Bottom

* Large Miami Type Windows

* Front Window Awning

* Brakes

* Double 20 lb. Gas Bottles

Interiors

Standard Interior Equipment (14′-6″ and 16′ models)

  • Two Burner LP gas Stove
  • 35 lb. Ice Box in 14′ Model–75 lb. Ice Box in 16′ Model
  • Gaucho Bed with accomodations for two
  • 4″ PolyFoam Cushions
  • Dinette which converts to bed
  • 110 volt and 12 volt lighting * One piece Linoleum flooring * 14″ x 14″ Lumadome Ceiling Vent
  • Wardrobe large enough for marine stool in 14′ SD and 16′ Models
  • City Water, Gas Light (in 16′ model only)
  • Heater
  • Canvas Bunk

Standard Interior Equipment ( 20′ models) FD and SD

  • Pleated Drapes
  • Marine Stool and Lavatory
  • Pressure water with 20 gal. fresh water storage tank
  • Oven Range
  • Double Sinks
  • 110 volt and 12 volt lighting
  • 5″ PolyFoam Cushion
  • 14′ x 14′ LumaDome Ceiling Vent
  • Range Hood and Power Vent
  • Awning Rail
  • Gas/Electric Refrigerator (3 cu.ft.)
  • 16,000 BTU Automatic Heater
  • Hose Bumper
  • Full Screen Door
  • OPTIONS: 20′ Model
    • Shower with telephone wand sprayer
    • Gas Water Heater
    • Swing Bunk with 3″ Mattress
    • 2 Bunk Windows
    • Blower/Fan for Heater
    • Power Roof Vent
    • Privacy Cutain
    • Gas Light
    • Gas/Electric Refrigerator(4 cu. ft.)
    • 7 way Power Plug to car

 

Standard Features

  • Height–All models: Exterior 7′-4″, Interior 6′-1″.
  • Steel Frame.
  • Heavy Duty Drop Axle.
  • Aluminum Door with Sliding window and screen.
  • Front window Awning.
  • 6:00 x 13 wheels and tires.
  • Lights include: Tail, Stop, Directional, Regulation ICC Running Lights.
  • 12 gal. Water Tank with Pump and Outside Fill.
  • Prefinished Aluminum Exterior.
  • Windows- Miami Crystal.
  • Metal Bottom.
  • One piece Molded Wheel Wells and insulated sidewalls.

 

Unique features/Options

The Logo Design was a pair of Penguins with scarves around their necks riding a bicycle built for two (no kidding). Pre-finished Aluminum Siding with Woodgrain Look Accent Panels

Optional Equipment

  • Swing Bunk with 3″ mattress
  • Rear Window
  • Gas Light and City Water (14′ Option)(STD 16′)
  • Brakes
  • Dual Gas Bottles and regulator
  • Gas/Electric Refrigerator
  • Front Overhead cabinet
  • Bumper
  • Gas Heater (STD on 16′ model)
  • Bunk Windows
  • Oven Range
  • Pressure Water with 20 gallon fresh water tank
  • Marine Stool
  • Two-Tone Interior

Photos/Videos

Pathfinder

Pathfinder

History

Made by Pathfinder Mobilehome Inc in Spencer, Wisconsin starting 1953 to 1973

Named after Natty Bumppo, known as the Pathfinder. in “The Last of the Mohicans”. They used his likeness in early 1960 advertisements.

Pathfinder produced canned ham trailer initially and then in 1966 they introduced a small bread loaf style model that had a flatter front end, a bump out tail and a diamond patterned stripe along the side.

Truck campers and motorhomes were added to their lineup in the late 60s.

Photos/Videos

 

 

Owosso Coach Company

Owosso Coach Company

Manufacturer Information

Owosso Coach was located in Owosso, MI for all but a few months of its existence. According to the Owosso Argus Press: Owosso Coach Company began in 1939 in Carunna, MI as the Millcraft Products Company and moved to Owosso, MI that same year. In 1942 they relocated to their final address where they produced high end travel trailers until they changed to mobile home production under the new name of Owosso Mobile Home Company in the later half of the 1950s. SOURCE: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1978&dat=19550405&id=lmElAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hqsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3649,281881

In March of 1950 the company received top honors at the annual Chicago Intl. Sports & Outdoor show with their stock production models of their 30 and 34 foot additions to their growing line up of quality travel trailers. Apparently the special units they built for the show were sold to a dealer so they took 2 units fresh off the line to the show. SOURCE: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1978&dat=19500307&id=gwQvAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xKsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5847,4277818

SOURCE: http://www.shiawasseehistory.com/owossocoach.html

Years built

Travel Trailers – 1939-late 1950s

Mobile homes – late 50s-1960(ish)

Models

Mobile Home Specs for 16-160

Interiors

Travel Trailer Floor plan

Mobile Home Floor Plan

Pictures

The initial walk through of our unit.

A 1951 Unit

A 1953 Renovation

Some owners

Tim & Katya Clark – 1950-27’x8′

Northwest Coach

Northwest Coach

El Monte, California

Manufacturer Information

Northwest made trailer and pickup campers. The trailers had low profiles and a winged logo in the front. In the mid-60s they started making the Little Dipper models.

Years built

1961-1970

Models

Little Dipper

Dipper Deluxe Edition

Pictures

Northwest Coach – BEFORE

Clubs/Links

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/littledippertraveltrailers

Norris

NORRIS

History

The NORRIS story begins in the 1950’s in Eastern Tennessee, where our entire operation still remains today. NORRIS was founded by the Gose family, whose members fished and trapped along the shores of Norris Lake, from which NORRIS was named. The Gose brothers both had successful businesses in woodworking. One brother worked in cabinets and the other in furniture. One of them would later venture into the travel trailer industry in Claiborne County, TN. Many travel trailer retail dealers began selling mobile homes. This sparked an idea for Mr. Gose to start a manufacturing facility.

In 1965, 50 years ago, the brother’s formed NORRIS Industries, Inc., secured property in Bean Station, TN, and built a 56,000 square foot manufacturing facility that’s going stronger than ever today. In the spring of 1966, production began with 500 RV’s. In the fall of 1966 “superbly built” homes started rolling out the door. In 1973, NORRIS Industries expanded with the addition of what today is the primary facility used for production. The new plant and a brand new cabinet shop grew the size of the operation to 250,000 square feet under roof.

In 1984, Clayton Homes, INC. purchased NORRIS Industries. Jim Clayton, founder of Clayton Homes, had a long history with NORRIS, as Clayton was one of NORRIS’ top retailers year after year. Recognizing the quality product and brand equity NORRIS had to offer, the NORRIS brand fit nicely into Clayton’s growing company. Today, NORRIS stands as the pinnacle of home building in our industry and is recognized as the standard for luxury and quality. Thank you for making NORRIS your preferred housing choice!

Volunteer was made by Norris Homes in New Tazewell TN. It was the middle of three product lines, Norris being the top of the line, then Volunteer, then Smokey was the economy line. We have a 1968 Smokey we’re restoring. They were bought out by Midas Intenational and eventually stopped building in the mid 70’s.

Connected to the production of travel trailers since 1960, Norris grew from a $5,000 investment to a brand under Midas-International Corporation. Building travel trailers ranging from 16 feet to just under 34 feet in length, Norris earned a reputation for being affordable, well-assembled recreational products. The Norris name was also involved in manufacturing truck campers up until the mid-1960s. After the 1982 model year, the Norris name was no longer part of the travel trailer marketplace.

Manufacturer Information

Manufactured in Bull’s Gap, TN

Years Built

1950s-1980s

Models

Norris
Volunteer
Smokey
Grizzly
Panda
Teddy
Cub
Ambassador

Pictures

https://norrishomes.com/norris-history/

Oasis

Oasis

History

Donhal, Inc in Bellflower, California

Began in 1957 producing vacation trailers, plant expanded in 1958. President: Donald Herfter, Vice President: Dwight Avery

Manufacturer Information

Donhal Inc. Bellflower, CA

9113 E. Artesia Blvd. Bellflower, Calif. Torrey 6-8926

later at 10123 East Washington Bellflower, CA

Years built

1957 to 1969

Models

27′ 25′ 21′ (2 models)

and the most common,

17’6“ and 15′ models

introduced a 33′, and a 35′ model in 1960

1960 models: 15, 16, 18, 22, 25, 27, 33, and 35-foot

Interiors

Interior is very stylish with room for (2) adults and perhaps (2) children. The layout is well planned and very comfortable. There is a lovely large front window that makes it nice to sit and enjoy a good meal while looking at the beautiful view.

Standard Features

One of the unique features of the Oasis is the beautiful ash wood interior. Each corner of the wood panel is rounded to give it a nice designer look.

Unique features/Options

One of the most unique features of the Oasis is the beautiful ash wood interior. Each corner is rounded to give it a nice designer look.

One of the largest front windows found on any travel trailer from this period.

Exterior: Distinctive “flame” two-tone paint job with polished aluminum accent.

Rounded silhouette as typical for this vintage of trailer, but distinguished by the “ogee” profile of the front section below the dinette window.

Later models (from about 1962 on) added a “spoiler”-esque feature to the rear profile, picking up on the curves seen in the paint job and front profile.

Prices

in 1958:

8′ wide, 15′ 1 bdrm. $1,129; 17.5′ 1 bdrm. $1,995; 21′ twin beds $2,720; 25′ 1 bdrm. $3,325; 27′ 1 bdrm. $3,525.

Pictures/Videos

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1964 Oasis (not original paint job)

Some owners

I have some pictures to share. This is what I believe a1960 Oasis 15 travel trailer that I saved.

Here it is done and looking neat behind my 1960 Chevy Belair.

Here is a picture of a 1964 16ft, with the front bunk over the hitch.

Facebook Page for Oasis Owners and Events:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/312196698935594

Dodge Oasis Surfside Camper Van

Here are photos of what might be the only, or last known 1970 Dodge Oasis “Surfside” Camper van. It was made in April of 1970 in Bellflower, California. I removed all of the Mfg. tags before they crushed the camper. The serial number is: S025 and the model is S.S. for “Surfside.”

It appears that Oasis knocked off the Dodge Xplorer 21 Motorhome in their last days. How many they made, is unknown.

I own a 1973 Dodge Xplorer 224. That is what brought interest to me about this Oasis “Surfside” Camper Van. The cut out floor and the lay out, are the same.

1967 Donhal Oasis Motorhome

Nomad

Nomad

History

Manufacturer Information

Skyline’s Corporate Profile

Skyline Corporation is one of America’s leading producers of manufactured housing and recreational vehicles. These products are built in plants located from coast to coast and marketed nationally through independent retailers.

HISTORY

Founded in 1951 in Elkhart, Indiana, Skyline initially produced the affordable housing units popularly known as house trailers or mobile homes. These units evolved into today’s manufactured housing. In 1960, Skyline opened its first travel trailer plant. During its 55-plus years of operation, Skyline has built more than 880,000 homes and 465,000 recreational vehicles (RVs), most of them travel trailers. Its sales over the years total in excess of $15.4 billion.

ORGANIZATION

Corporate headquarters, shown on the front cover, is in Elkhart, Indiana. It houses marketing services, accounting, information technology, engineering, product development, financial, legal, and other functions. Products are built by 21 operating divisions in 11 states from coast to coast. Of the 21 divisions, 16 produce housing and five produce RVs.

FINANCIAL

Skyline has operated in the black every year since it was founded. Its balance sheet is among the soundest in American industry with a strong cash position and no corporate debt. Skyline is publicly owned and its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

HOUSING PRODUCTS

Skyline produces a wide range of manufactured and modular homes with price ranges to fit most budgets. Skyline homes are sold under a number of identifying names. The single-section manufactured homes emphasize affordability and frequently are sited in specially-developed manufactured housing developments. The multi-sectional and modular homes are also very affordable and in appearance they are indistinguishable from site-built housing. Many of the multi-sectional and modular houses are sited on conventional residential lots.

COMMITMENT OF EXCELLENCE

Skyline’s Commitment of Excellence program asks customers to evaluate their total buying experience. The result is a Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) that serves as a benchmark from which we can measure progress. While the index continues to improve, neither Skyline nor our dealers intend to relax until the Total Customer Satisfaction goal is achieved.

RV PRODUCTS

Skyline builds three types of towable RVs: conventional travel trailers, fifth wheel travel trailers, and park models. The principal brand names for these products are Nomad, Layton, Aljo, and Rampage. All Skyline RVs are UL Classified.

Photos

1962 Nomad

1967 Nomad Road King brochure

1969 Nomad

1966 Nomad
1965 Nomad 16′ Vintage Travel Trailer
1968 Nomad Vintage Travel Trailer
Vintage 1969 Nomad Travel Trailer
1963 Nomad Vintage Camper

Meredith Reynolds & Paul Klein,Saint Johns Michigan purchased 1960-something Nomad on January 3, 2010

Not sure of the model year, but this picture was taken during the summer of 1971 of our family’s 19′ Nomad:

Some owners

Mark & Kathy Moore / Howard, OH /purchased Nomad Sept.27, 2008

Serro Scotty

Serro Scotty

Manufacturer Information

Serro Scotty trailers were built from 1957 until April, 1997, when the plant in Irwin, Pennsylvania burned down. The plant later reopened in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, but never again to make travel trailers. Today, known as Mobile Concepts by Scotty, they manufacture fire safety “houses”. Due to their easy availability, low cost, and the increasing population of retiring baby boomers, there has been a resurgence of popularity for these small trailers that can be towed by even a 4-cylinder, and stored in the family garage.

Years built

Serro Scotty trailers were built from 1957 until April, 1997

History

  • 1956: John Serro, recently retired as a car salesman, builds a 16 1/2′ trailer in his garage that no one wanted to buy.
  • 1957: Serro introduces a 10′ teardrop trailer. 225 of them were built through 1960. This trailer was called the Sportsman, Jr.
  • 1958: The 13′ Sportsman, Sr. was added. Later to be called a “Gaucho”. This trailer really took off.
  • 1959: A 12′ rear-door model is introduced. This model lasts only 2 years.
  • 1960: Sportsman, Jr. (teardrop), Sportsman, Sr. (13′) and a 15′ model are offered. Last year for the teardrop.
  • 1961: three 13′ models were offered: Mattress, Gaucho, and Front Kitchen, as well as two new 15′ Front Kitchen models, Sportsman 15 and Scotty with Potty 15. Wings were an option.
  • 1962: This is the last year for the 15′ Front Kitchen!
  • 1963: The Bristol, OK plant opens and the trailers are now offered in aqua and white as well as polished aluminum. Scottyland, a 230 acre campground, at that time, solely for Scotty campers, opens.
  • 1964: Only aqua and white trailers are now available. The “split-level” 15′ HiLander is introduced.
  • 1965: The HiLander is restyled to move the “Sun Deck” forward of the door for easier entry.
  • 1966: The “Front Kitchen” becomes known as the Tonga. Also, the Royal Scott, a 17 1/2′ one-piece fiberglass trailer was built. It proved too expensive and too heavy and was never manufactured.
  • 1968: A new plant opens in Ashburn, GA. This is the last year for the Tonga model.
  • 1969: Only the 13′ and 15′ Gauchos are offered, along with the 15′ HiLander The trailers move to the 60″ wide front and back windows.
  • 1970: Most of the Scottys offered have jalousy windows in the door.
  • 1971: Most still have jalousy windowed doors, and the interiors move from the blue spatter to a fake woodgrain.
  • 1973: A tan panel is added to the lower front of the trailers, in addition to the aqua and white. An 18′ model of the HiLander is offered, commonly called a “Trunkback”
  • 1975: A new model called the JS715 replaces the 15′ Gaucho model. This model had optional top bunks above the back gaucho and the dinette (JS=John Serro, 7=sleeps 7 & 15=length). Also offered were the 13′ Gaucho, the 15′ HiLander, and the 18′ HiLander.
  • 1978: Trailers now have a tan and bittersweet stripe down the middle of the sides are now used with the aqua.
  • 1979: First year for no aqua to be used on the Scotty. Also the first year for the jagged stripe down the side, using tan, bittersweet, orange, and black. Lots of new models introduced this year – the 12.5′, 13.5′, 16′, 16.5′, 17′, 19.5′, 24.5′, 26.5′, 28′ and 32′.
  • 1980s: Trailers are more boxy shaped and Serro offers a full line of trailers, all the way from 13′ through 50′ park models.
  • 1982: A new 13 1/2 model is introduced. The door is located behind the axle and the kitchen is in the rear. It has a bathroom!
  • 1985: By this year, the name Regalia is introduced.
  • 1990: The 1990 Scottys are top of the line.
  • 1995: Serro adds motorhomes to the mix.
  • 1997: Serro plant burns to the ground and Serro stops manufacturing travel trailers. Scotty is still in business in Pennsylvania but is now known as Mobile Concepts by Scotty. They now make Police and Fire Safety trailers.

Scotty Specs

**1958** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Sportsman, Jr 10′ 4′ 5’3″ 750 # 2 $495.00 Sportsman, Sr. 13′ 6’3″ 6’4″ 975 # 4 $795.00

**1959** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Sportsman, Jr 10′ 4’2″ 5’3″ 750 # 2 $495.00 Sportsman, Sr. 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4 $795.00 Sportsman-12 12′ 6’4″ 6′ 925# 2 or 3 $695.00

**1960** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Sportsman 10′ – 6′ 665 # 2 $495.00 Sportsman 13′ – 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $795.00 Sportsman 15′ – 6’4″ 1300 # 4-5 $995.00

**1961** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Sportsman 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $795.00 SM-Front Kitchen 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $825.00 Sportsman 15′ 6’4″ 6’10” 1300 # 4-5 $995.00 SM-Front Kitchen 15′ 6’4″ 6’10” 1300 # 4-5 $995.00

**1962** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Mattress 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $775.00 Gaucho 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $795.00 Front Kitchen 13′ 6’4″ 6’4″ 975 # 4-5 $840.00 15′ 15′ 6’4″ 6’10” 1300 # 6 $995.00

**1969** Model Length Width Height Weight Sleeps Cost Gaucho 13′ 6’4″ 6’11” 975 # 4-5 $795.00 Gaucho 15′ 6’4″ 7’2″ 1300 # 5-6 $995.00 HiLander 15′ 6’4″ 7’6″ 1525 # 6-7 $1165.00

**1979** Model Length Int.Width Int.Height Weight Sleeps Cost Scotty Lite 13′ 74″ 72″ 992 # 3-4 – HiLander 15′ 82″ 76″ 1990 # 6-7 – 16 Custom 16′ 90″ 76″ 2140 # 6-8 – 16 Deluxe 16′ 90″ 76″ 2400 # 8 – 18 Deluxe 18′ 90″ 76″ 3010 # 6 –

Pictures

 

Some owners

Mark and Kathy Bailey 1966 Scotty 13 ft gaucho model

Tammy Spangle 1967 15 ft Scotty Hilander model tammyspan@yahoo.com

Eric and Nicole Keiffer 1961 15ft Front Kitchen and 1972 HiLander scotty@keiffer.org

Clubs/Links

http://www.nationalserroscotty.org/ The website was created in 2004 and The National Serro Scotty Organization formed in 2005. With members in nearly every state and in Canada, Denmark and Germany, campouts held throughout the United States, and a National Rally held each summer – where it all began, in Pennsylvania – this group has become the primary source of information for anyone restoring and/or rebuilding their Serro Scotty or other small vintage trailers. It is also a way to connect to, and communicate with, fellow owners and campers.

http://www.serroscottycamperenthusiasts.com This yahoo group was created in 1997 by a man named Alan Colwell (RIP) so Scotty owners could connect.

Metzendorf

Metzendorf

Manufacturer Information

Metzendorf Trailer Manufacturing Company, Wes Farmington Ohio

1963 Metzendorf

FYI a re-post: Not happy news, it is the obit. of the owner , BUT, I thought it would be of interest… Karl H. Gerlt 1919-2007 Western Reserve #507 Karl H. Gerlt WEST FARMINGTON — Karl H. Gerlt, 87, of West Farmington, died at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, at his home from lung cancer. He was born Aug. 22, 1919, in Bremerhaven, Germany, the son of Emil and Charlotte Gerlt. He came to the United States, with his parents and two bothers Emil and Helmut. They settled in New Jersey, where he graduated from Bagota High School. He enlisted in the Army at the start of World War II. He received the Commission of 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps and was later promoted to Captain. Karl was transferred to the Military Intelligence Corp., serving with Supreme Head Quarters Allied Expeditionary Forces. He also served in the occupation force of Berlin, Germany, commanding the office of Communications. Upon discharge from the Army, he married Velma Coster. They settled in West Farmington. He worked as an electrician for Ohio Lamp of Warren for 16 years, before purchasing Metzendorf Trailer Plant, in West Farmington, where he built travel trailers for 18 years. He then worked for the Village of West Farmington Water Treatment Plant, until he retired at age 71. He lived to the fullest, serving many organizations. He was a member of the West Farmington School Board, serving as President for more than nine years. He was a lifelong member of West Farmington Methodist Church and served on the church board. He was a life member of VFW Post No. 7200 where he was a past Commander. He was a member of Western Reserve Lodge No. 507, serving as treasurer for many years. He served as Master in 2000, at the age of 80, celebrating their 125th year. He was a member of Alpha Chapter No. 44, where he served twice as Patron with his wife Anne. He served on the Rainbow Girls Advisory Board. In 2001, he was honored as the Parade Marshal for the annual Farmington Festival. He was past President and treasurer of the Warren Amateur Radio Association, taking part in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. He is survived by his wife, Anne Seidlarczyk Gerlt, whom he married May 25, 1968; his children, Charles Gerlt of Pueblo, Colo., Dorothy (Joseph) Cleer and Karl James (Vicki) Gerlt, both of West Farmington, Lisa (Kurt) Ehas of Reynoldsburg; stepchildren, Dave Seidlarczyk, of Chipewa Lake, Bill Seidlarczyk of Huston, Texas, Debra Hawkins, of Middlefield, and James (Janice) Seidlarczyk of Milton, Fla.; and 14 grandchildren, Alberta Nelson, Hannah Flemming, Charles Gerlt, Gideon Gerlt, Joseph Cleer, Robert Cleer, Emily Cleer, Christopher Gerlt, Alicia Gerlt, Reed Gerlt-Ehas, Megan Seidlarczyk, Billie Seidlarczyk, Adam Hawkins and Tina Hawkins; and 10 great-grandchildren. Preceding him in death were his parents, his first wife, Velma Coster Gerlt, and brother Helmut Gerlt. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 22, 2007, at the Carl W. Hall Funeral Home in Warren followed by the funeral service at 7 p.m. A Western Reserve Lodge Service will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. Pastors Thomas Fish and James George will be officiating.. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 25, 2007, at the West Farmington Methodist Church, followed by a VFW Military Service at the Hillside Cemetery in West Farmington. In lieu of flowers, material contributions can be made to the Senior Center, 251 Fourth St., West Farmington, 44491.

History

They were produced in the 50’s and early 60’s by Martin Metzendorf of West Farmington, Ohio, approximately 10 miles northwest of Warren, Ohio. Martin (my great-uncle) and his wife had the trailers built with Amish laborers, she picked out the interior patterns and colors. They delivered most of the trailers themselves until a delivery accident deprived my great-aunt of her arm. They sold the business in the early 60’s and the trailer was produced for a few more years under the Metzendorf name, I believe they closed the doors in ’63 but I’m not 100% on that. If their is a real interest out there I might be able to piece together some facts from my relatives, but admittedly they’re all a touch fuzzy on events from forty years ago. – Brin Metzendorf

Years Built

I have found references to ones that were manufactured from 1957-1975; and lengths seemed to run from 13 to 15 feet. I own a Metzendorf (13 FT – bumper to tongue) and according to the ID plate, it was built in September of 1970.

Interior

1 full and 1 twin bed propane fridge, and stove. water pump, toilet, step down area. 6 foot space These trailers were unique in that they were less than 7 feet tall overall exterior height in order to fit into a garage. The interior height was about 5 feet 7 inches.

Pictures

1960 Metzendorf
1962 Metzendorf Trailer

Mercury

Mercury

Manufacturer Information

Birtle Manufacturing Company located on 1831 Chico Boulevard in El Monte, California USA

Produced from 1954-1959

These cool little trailers had a great line up of ad slogans like: ‘Ask the man who TOWS one,’ ‘You see them everywhere,’ ‘We invite your companion for dollar-for-dollar value’ and ‘Skip the highways—travel the byways.’

In the late 1950’s Mercury offered the 15 ft. standard, 15 ft. deluxe and 18 ft. deluxe models.  Here’s how one brochure described the units: ”Features of this small trailer include a four-burner cooking plate, a separate built-on oven, louver windows, a full 52” width bed, a butane light and tank, a water tank, and quality construction throughout. Trailer companies are quick to take the newest innovations in design and incorporate them into their models. This Mercury is a self-contained unit.”

Mercury was the only trailer made using Henry Ford’s assembly line practices.

Pictures

Mercury Ad:

1959:

1959 Article

1956 Mercury:

A vintage Mercury travel trailer spotted on a side street in Nelson, B.C

1954 Mercury
Vintage 1958 Mercury Travel Trailer
Vintage 1956 Mercury camper trailer

1957 Mercury Vintage Travel Trailer
1956 Mercury Trailer Canned Ham

Some owners

I found my Mercury in behind an old hunters cabin in NY. I towed it to Gary Mitchell in Honesdale ,pa who restored it to mint condition in his barn. John…Woodstock,NY

Mallard

Mallard

Manufacturer Information

The Mallard trailer was manufactured in West Bend, Wisconsin. The Mallard Coach Corporation was founded in 1952 by Sylvester W. “Vesy” Hron and was located in West Bend, Wisconsin. Sylvester Hron was the majority shareholder and served as president from 1954 to 1969. Like many entrepreneurs Sylvester Hron founded and managed several businesses in the West Bend area and was very active in local civic activities. Mallard Coach Corp. initially manufactured travel trailers. During the 1960’s tent campers, truck campers, motor homes and snow mobiles were added to their product line. Mallard expanded into the tent camper market in 1964. Offered were two models, the Canvasback (model c140) and the Decoy. The Decoy was came as either the Deluxe (model c120) or the Standard (model c80). The Canvasback was a very unique and original camper. Unfolded it looked identical to a prairie schooner from the 1800’s. Very different, to be sure. It retailed for $745.00, or $5098.19 in 2009 dollars. The Decoy was of the typical design of the time, tent top with two side beds. The two models retailed for $679.00 and $589.00, or 4,646.54 and 4,030.65 respectively in 2009 dollars. In keeping with the competition the Canvasback hard top camping trailer was introduced in 1966. It featured an aluminum top with 77 inches of space between the floor and the roof. Strange enough the Canvasback c140 model was still in the lineup, but the more traditional designed Decoy was dropped. Sylvester Hron sold Mallard Coach Corp. to The Entwistle Company based out of Providence, R.I. in 1969. He served Mallard as the chairman until he retired from that post in 1971. After the sale of Mallard facts regarding the Mallard Coach Corp. are sparse. It appears that tent campers and snow mobiles were discontinued after 1970. The focus was back to manufacturing travel trailers. On December 16, 1986 the Mallard Coach Company, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Florida. At the time of this writing I do not have the facts concerning when the Entwistle Company divested itself of Mallard and why. In May 1992 Mallard Coach ceased its manufacturing operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At some point after this Fleetwood purchased the Mallard brand name and used it for a line of their travel trailers. Fleetwood file for bankruptcy in 2009. Sylvester Hron died on June 10, 2004. updated 2-10-2014 Andrew Keller

Years built

1952-2009

Models

  • Duckling
  • White Wing
  • Drake
  • Drift Wing
  • Flight Leader
  • Flight Wing models
  • Migrator
  • Goldeneye
  • Pintail
  • Canvasback

Pictures

1963 VINTAGE MALLARD DUCKLING 12FT TRAVEL TRAILER SWEET OLD CAMPER
1965 Mallard White Wing 16ft
1959 Mallard “Canned Ham” Camper It’s almost done
1968 Mallard camper
1961 17 Foot Mallard Drake Camper Trailer
1963 Mallard White Wing 16′ Travel Trailer AD Reprint
1963 Mallard Drift Wing 19.5′ Travel Trailer AD Reprint
Mallard Vintage Camper Travel Trailer Flyers Ads 1963
1966 Vintage Ad Mallard Drake Travel Trailers
A vintage Mallard travel trailer ad from my 1962 Travel Trailer Park Guide.
Mallard Travel Trailer Brochure

 

Some owners

Roger and Stephanie Hager are owners of a 1962 Mallard Duckling Cody Main Orland, CA 1

964 Mallard Migrator John Ryan and Jennifer Egelhof, Plainfield, VT

1966 Mallard Drake 16T Jamie and Carrie Boettcher Marinette,WI

Clubs/Links

Vintage Mallard Campers Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/vintagemallards/

Main-Line Travel Coach Co.

Main-Line Trailer Coach Co.

Manufacturer Information

8825 Avalon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Years built

1946-1949

Models

  • Silver Loafer (10 ft body)
  • Silver Lark (14 ft body)
  • Silver Lodger (16 ft body)
  • Silver Liner (19 ft body)

Interiors- Wood Interior

Standard Features- Dining area, kitchen, bed & Closet

Prices – $1395 new

Some owners

1947 Main-Line Silver Lark – Heather Scholten, Cheney WA

1947 Main-Line Silver Lark – Christina Sjogren, Royal Oak, MI

1947 Main-Line Silver Lark – Mick and Mary Gaworecki, Nashville, TN.

1948 Main-Line Silver Lark – Salle Smith, Portland, OR

1949 Main-Line Silver Loafer – Janine Morales, Los Alamos, NM.

Clubs/Links

http://1947SilverLark.blogspot.com

1947 Main-Line Silver Lark Travel Trailer
1947 Main-Line Silver Lark Travel Trailer
1947 Print Ad Main-Line Travel Trailer Coach Los Angeles,CA

 

Little Caesar

Little Caesar

1946-1955

Sokolis Brothers Manufacturing Company – Sebastopol, CA

Emil and Ed Sokolis  and their three brothers owned the company, which made just over 2,200 trailers over a 9 year period from 1946 to 1955. The companies claim to fame was the drop axle which resulted in a height of 6’10” and allowed the trailers to be stored in a standard garage. The company made small canned ham trailers less than 14 ft in length. The companies trailers were on the expensive side and almost matched the prices of Airstreams

Little Caesars built one of the few trailers that could fit in a garage.

1956 Little Caesar

1960 Little Caesar – photos from Craig Coble

https://www.icloud.com/photos/#0FfPbTKjaHJInDX6-PGrOJ2LA

LintzCraft

LintzCraft

1947-1967

LintzCraft Trailer Manufacturing Company – Grand Ledge, MI

According to the Grand Ledge, Michigan Historical Society, Lintzcraft Trailer Manufacturing was in business in Grand Ledge from the late 1940s until the mid-1960s. They manufactured the trailers in Flint, Michigan. City directories list the business through 1963. There is a gap in their collection of directories after 1963, but the business is no longer listed in the 1968 directory. The owners of the business were Clarence and Thelma Lintz.

The Lintz’s venture was one of hundreds of post-war companies that briefly popped up on the radar of aluminum travel trailer manufacturers. This is why there are so many different brands out there with only a few models showing up from time to time. They’re not necessarily considered rare individually because they are just so many out there of a similar kind. But to those who love them, they are cherished and babied.

Models:

  • Sportsking
  • Travelking
  • Resorter
  • Deluxe
  • Admiral
  • Mansion
  • Homemaker
  • Hanover
Advertisement from February, 1949, introducing the new L15-15′ model
Advertisement from April, 1952, the 15′ model is no longer shown
1955 model specs
Advertisement from 1955
Advertisement from October, 1955
Advertisement from November, 1955
Advertisement from December, 1955
1947 Lintzcraft Vintage camper
Vintage Camper 1947 Lintzcraft
1948 LINTZCRAFT CANNED HAM
1948 LintzCraft travel trailer

 

Layton

Layton

Manufacturer Information

Skyline who builds Layton is the only UL certified travel trailer and have been building them since 1950! Skyline Corporation – Makers of Nomad, Layton and Aljo travel trailers and fifth wheels, Elkhart, IN. Founded in 1951 in Elkhart, Indiana, Skyline initially produced the affordable housing units popularly known as house trailers or mobile homes. These units evolved into today’s manufactured housing. In 1960, Skyline opened its first travel trailer plant. During its 54-plus years of operation, Skyline has built more than 870,000 homes and 460,000 recreational vehicles (RV’s), most of them travel trailers. Its sales over the years total in excess of $15 billion. Skyline builds three types of towable RV’s: conventional travel trailers, fifth wheel travel trailers, and park models. The principal brand names for these products are Nomad, Layton, Aljo, and Rampage. All Skyline RVs are UL Classified. Skyline is committed to producing the best products at the best prices. It has earned a reputation for uncompromising integrity in all of its relationships with communities, suppliers, retailers, and with the hundreds of Americans who live in Skyline-built homes and enjoy Skyline-built RVs. Skyline Corporation designs and produces manufactured housing and recreational vehicles (RVs). Approximately 80 percent of the company’s total sales are derived from manufactured homes, which are sold under several different trade names. Skyline makes two basic types of manufactured housing: single-section mobile homes and multi-section homes. Single-section homes, which range from 36 to 80 feet in length and 12 to 18 feet in width, are often located in designated mobile home parks. Because their size makes them easy to move from place to place, they are considered “mobile homes.” Skyline’s multi-section homes, however, are larger and more closely resemble site-built homes. Buyers typically place these homes on traditional lots, and rarely, if ever, move them. Almost 70 percent of the homes produced by Skyline are multi-sections. The company’s recreational vehicle segment manufactures three types of towable RVs–conventional travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, and park models–as well as a line of slide-in truck campers. They are sold under the “Nomad,” “Layton,” “Aljo,” and “WeekEnder” trademarks. Skyline operates 25 manufacturing plants in 12 states and distributes its products through a national network of manufactured housing and RV dealers. Skyline Coach, the predecessor to Skyline Corporation, was established in 1951 in Elkhart, Indiana. Its founder, Julius Decio, started the business to produce mobile homes, which were commonly called “house trailers” at the time. The business Decio chose was by no means an uncommon one for Elkhart and its surrounding communities. For 20 years, the city–located in northern central Indiana, just a few miles from the Michigan border–had been a major hub for the mobile home industry. The area’s mobile home business had begun in 1933, when a local merchant decided to try replicating a contraption he had seen at the Chicago World’s Fair that looked like a tent on wheels. Setting up shop in Elkhart, he began building “house trailers,” which resembled rudimentary recreational travel trailers. The trailers’ affordability and mobility made them a good option during the Great Depression, when many families traveled across country looking for jobs and a better life. The success of this first mobile home manufacturer led others to start similar businesses, and gradually the region became a major source of house trailers. During the Dust Bowl of 1937 and 1938, people began using house trailers not just to travel in, but as actual homes. In response, manufacturers modified their products to make them more closely correspond to traditional homes, increasing the size of the units and adding more amenities. By the end of World War II, mobile homes had evolved into something much different from their travel-trailer predecessors. Larger and more elaborate in design, they were no longer meant to be towed, camper-style, across the country by families on the move. Rather, they had become an alternative and more affordable type of house, typically stationed in one place. There were, however, a number of manufacturers still producing the early smaller trailers, primarily for use as recreational vehicles. After the war, these manufacturers essentially split off from the mobile home industry to form the RV industry. It was into this newly bifurcated industry that Julius Decio entered when he began building house trailers in a friend’s “welding garage.” His early efforts met with success, and the business was profitable from its first year in operation. In 1952, Decio’s 22-year-old son, Art, returned to Elkhart from Chicago, where he had just graduated college. Art quickly took an active role in his father’s business, working as a division manager in the plant and helping to build the fledgling company. In 1956, he became Skyline’s CEO. The company expanded geographically under Art Decio’s capable leadership, targeting emerging mobile housing markets in retiree states, such as Florida. Another important facet of the new CEO’s administration was a movement toward near-total reliance on third-party suppliers for materials. Whereas many mobile home manufacturers at that time produced some of their own cabinets and building supplies, Art Decio preferred to order virtually everything from outside sources. By having suppliers deliver inventory on a “just in time” basis, Skyline was able to minimize the need for warehouse space, reduce waste, and better control inventory. Decio kicked off the 1960s by taking Skyline public. At the time of its initial public offering, the company boasted an impressive string of profitable years and no corporate debt. Skyline’s second milestone of 1960 was to diversify its business by opening a travel trailer and RV plant in Elkhart. This reunion of the mobile home and RV industries made sense on several levels for the company. Since the industry split in the early 1950s, both the RV and housing segments had remained well represented in northern Indiana. Dozens of RV manufacturers–and the second- and third-tier suppliers supporting them–had production facilities in the region. In addition, many of the materials required to produce mobile homes corresponded with the materials needed to produce RVs. Therefore, Skyline’s addition of an RV division allowed for certain inventory and cost efficiencies. Skyline also used the proceeds from its 1960 IPO to expand its mobile home business via acquisition. In 1962, the company acquired Homette Corporation and Layton Homes Corporation. The following year, Skyline bought Buddy Mobile Homes, and in 1966, added Academy Mobile Homes to its growing portfolio. The company also changed its name from Skyline Coach to Skyline Corporation. During the 1960s and early 1970s, low interest rates and a generally stable economy had combined to keep the manufactured housing business in high gear. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, the industry hit an all-time high in 1972, reporting shipments of more than half a million units. In 1973 and 1974, however, interest rates began to climb, and housing sales began to plunge. Shipments of manufactured homes declined by 42 percent in 1974 and another 35 percent in 1975. The RV industry, likewise, fell on hard times in the 1970s. The OPEC oil embargo of 1973 and the resulting hike in gas prices put the brakes on recreational driving. This, combined with the rising interest rates, caused RV sales to fall off. Already contending with bleak market conditions, Skyline and other producers of manufactured housing were confronted with still another hurdle in 1976. Concerned about mobile homes’ safety, Congress enacted legislation that set stricter standards for their construction. Officially changing the product’s name to “manufactured housing,” the government required all mobile homes to meet stringent manufacturing, fire, electricity, and safety codes. The tougher requirements–and the costs associated with compliance–spurred a wave of closings and consolidations in the manufactured housing industry. Despite the odds against it, Skyline managed to remain solvent and successful throughout the industry slump, never once posting an annual loss. In 1978, the company expanded again, purchasing Country Vans Conversion. The market for RVs improved in the early years of the new decade; between 1980 and 1984, the number of vehicles shipped increased by more than 80 percent. The market for manufactured housing was slower to rebound, however, with sales remaining at levels much lower than they were in the early 1970s. Skyline continued to show improved earnings and remained debt-free–but to do so, it had to trim costs and streamline operations. In 1983, the company had 28 operational and six idle manufactured housing plants. Just four years later, cost-cutting measures had reduced that number to 23 operational and two idle plants. Skyline also hedged against further economic downturns by amassing cash reserves. In 1987, one-fourth of the company’s pretax income came from interest. The 1990s ushered in better interest rates than consumers had seen in more than a decade, and sales of manufactured housing picked up immediately. Although Skyline’s sales also improved, the company was unable to keep pace with its competitors and consequently surrendered part of its market share. Management attributed the market share loss to a lack of capacity in areas where the manufactured housing markets were expanding fastest. In an April 1996 interview with Investor’s Business Daily, Decio cited Georgia and Texas as two such rapid-growth markets, pointing out that Skyline did not have a strong manufacturing presence in either state. “Even though we’re a national company, at certain times we can’t keep up,” he said. To bolster output and remedy the situation, Skyline initiated an aggressive expansion plan. In 1994, the company upgraded its manufactured housing plant in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and its RV plant in McMinnville, Oregon. The following year, Skyline laid out another $10 million to renovate four more facilities–in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Louisiana. In addition to boosting production, the upgrades were designed to allow all facilities to manufacture a wider range of products. The expansion program paid off; between 1992 and 1995, net income improved by more than 50 percent. In 1997, Skyline’s sales of manufactured housing fell slightly, and the resulting dip in total sales broke the company’s five-year record of modest but steady annual increases. A major reason for the decline was an exceptionally harsh winter, which slowed housing sales in some parts of the United States. Another factor was a general softening in the demand for manufactured housing nationwide, which led many of Skyline’s dealers to reduce their inventories. The company’s RV division had a better year, however. RV sales increased by more than 14 percent over 1996 sales, reversing the previous year’s RV industry slump. The year 1998 saw a flip-flop in the fortunes of Skyline’s two business segments. The market for manufactured housing improved in the second half of the year, driving up Skyline’s housing sales. In addition to the overall market improvement, the housing segment benefited from a stronger demand for multi-section homes, which commanded higher prices than single-section homes. On the other hand, Skyline’s recreational vehicle sales decreased in 1998, despite the fact that, industry wide, demand for the vehicles increased. Skyline appeared to have both its business segments on track in 1999. The market for manufactured housing remained relatively steady through the first half of the year. More significantly, consumer demand for multi-section homes continued to grow, pushing the company’s housing dollars up despite a slight decrease in actual units sold. As its quality continued to improve, manufactured housing was expected to become an attractive option for a wider range of homeowners. Skyline’s RV business also appeared to be on the upswing as 1999 progressed, showing gains both in units sold and in sales income. This increase was due in large part to overall favorable economic conditions and increased discretionary income, which allowed consumers to spend more for recreational products and activities. Since its inception in the 1950s, Skyline had been more of a tortoise than a hare, taking few risks and growing slowly and sure-footedly. As the company prepared to leave the 20th century behind, it showed no signs of altering that approach. Because demand in both of Skyline’s major markets was so closely tied to economic cycles, it was impossible to predict how the company might fare in the future. So long as the general economy remained strong, however, it seemed likely that Skyline would thrive.

Years built

Models

Pictures

1961 Layton Vintage Trailer
My 63′ Layton — vintage camper trailer
Vintage RV: Restored 1971 Layton Travel Trailer
1967 Layton Vintage Camper

 

La Cabana

La Cabana

La Cabana Trailer Co. 2679 Riverside Drive Los Angeles, CA

According to one owner, the La Cabana company was bought by Westerner a few years after founding. That’s maybe why there are so few years of manufactured campers under the name La Cabana. Early Westerners (1958) look identical to 1954, 1955 La Cabanas, proving the lineage.

Years built

1954, 1955

Interiors

Double bed in back, dinette converts to double bed. Kitchen with Stove, ice box, sink. Closet.

Pictures

LINKS

King

King

Walk King offered his factory direct and custom trailers through newspaper ads and at local fairs. He built trailers from 14 foot to 24 foot long. They were fully insulated and had birch interiors. In the late 50s, King switched over to truck campers.

Years built

1952-early 60s in Torrance California

Models

Pictures

“Queenie” 1952 “King” Vintage Travel Trailer
1955 King travel trailer
1953 KING TRAVEL TRAILER

Kit

Kit

1945-2008

Kit Manufacturing Company – Long Beach California

Kit was founded in October 1945 in Long Beach, California. Its first product was a small “teardrop” trailer, so-called for its shape. It was to be sold as a kit, with its components assembled by buyers and attached to the rear of a motor vehicle. The manufacturing “plant” was a latticed-front fruit stand in Pico Rivera, and the original plan called for building 60 units. However, the kit proposal was soon dropped, and the company began manufacturing prefabricated but fully assembled trailers.

The company’s initial model, the Kit Kamper, made its debut in February 1946 at a trade show in Hollywood’s Gilmore Stadium. Because of a shortage of materials so soon after the end of World War II, the 12 show models had an unusual exterior combination of war-surplus aluminum and fiberglass fenders. Inside, the trailer included all the comforts of home, including an innerspring mattress and an all-aluminum kitchen with butane stove and icebox. The response exceeded all expectations, with nearly 500 orders booked. About 3,500 Kit Kampers were produced and delivered in 1946.

In January 1947 Kit moved to a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the harbor area of Long Beach. Shortly after, production began on a larger, 8-by-14-foot travel trailer. Demand for the two models exceeded production. Kit trailers were popularized through department stores and new and used car dealers and also received publicity as prizes in the annual Soap Box Derby and the “Queen for a Day” radio program. A number of units were flown into Buffalo and Detroit in the dead of winter.

By the end of 1947 production had jumped from the original two per week to 120, and sales had climbed from $1,000 to $50,000 weekly. A few years later Kit secured an order from the federal government, which needed trailers as temporary housing.

Pocapalia became president of Kit in 1956, and the company began producing mobile homes at a plant in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1958. A second Caldwell plant, for RVs, was opened in 1964. In fiscal 1968 (ending October 31, 1968), the last year before Kit became a public company, it earned net income of $688,000 on net sales of $22 million. Common stock was initially offered at $14.50 a share, but the majority of the outstanding shares remained in the hands of existing holders. Pocapalia, who assumed the position of chairman as well as president in 1971, retained about 30 percent of the stock. Arnold J. Romeyn, who joined the company in 1946 and was serving as secretary and treasurer, retained about 25 percent. The company’s long-term debt was $1.8 million in 1970.

Kit, at this time, was building mobile homes that retailed between $4,300 and $7,500, and manufactured housing from $8,150 and $12,000. Recreation vehicles offered were the truck-mounted Kit Kamper and Road Ranger models; the Kit Companion Vacation Trailer, top seller in the Pacific Northwest; and the recently introduced Sportsmaster travel trailer. Mobile homes and manufactured housing were accounting for about 70 percent of sales; recreational vehicles for the remainder. The company was selling its products through a network of 700 dealers in 30 states.

The early 1970s were a period of great expansion for the company. In fiscal 1972, when sales reached $47 million, Kit opened plants to manufacture Road Rangers in Chino, California, and in McPherson, Kansas; and a mobile-home facility in Duncanville, Texas. Kit was continuing to produce both mobile homes and RVs in Caldwell, and mobile homes in McPherson; Mount Vernon, Ohio; Forest Grove, Oregon; and Long Beach, Riverside, and Vacaville, California.

The 1973 Arab oil embargo and consequent economic recession struck a heavy blow to Kit’s business, with sales dropping from $54.2 million in fiscal 1973 to $32.5 million in fiscal 1974. The company lost $2.2 million in 1974 and $465,000 in 1975. Its stock, once trading as high as $25 a share, fell as low as $1 a share in 1974 and never topped $2.75 a share in 1975. The long-term debt widened to $3.2 million at the end of fiscal 1975. The company soon turned the corner, however, and earned $1.6 million in fiscal 1978 on record revenues of $61.9 million. Recreational vehicles now accounted for about 60 percent of sales.

Kit sold its Riverside and Duncanville plants in 1976. The following year it sold its idle Mount Vernon facility and opened a third McPherson plant. In 1979 the company was producing mobile homes in single, double, and triple width, ranging in length from 36 to 70 feet and in width from 14 to 40 feet, with floor area from less than 1,000 to more than 2,300 square feet. They retailed from under $15,000 to over $40,000. Travel trailers were designed to be towed behind passenger vehicles and campers to fit in pickup-truck beds. Fifth-wheel travel trailers, introduced in 1972 under the Mark V name, were intended to be towed behind and attached to special couplers in the beds of pickup trucks. Mini-motor homes, built on van truck chassis, were introduced in 1976. Kit products were being sold by 394 dealers in 25 states and three Canadian provinces.

The second energy crisis that followed the Iranian revolution of 1978 ended this brief period of prosperity. Net sales plummeted all the way to $28.8 million in fiscal 1980, during which the company, following a loss of $741,000 in fiscal 1979, incurred a deficit of $1.5 million. RV sales, badly hurt by gasoline shortages, fell to only 37 percent of the company total in 1980 from 60 percent in 1978. Mini-motor homes and Kit Kampers were discontinued, and the number of Kit dealers dropped to 208 in 22 states and two Canadian provinces. The company closed its RV plant in Chino and its mobile-home plant in Forest Grove. A Caldwell plant was converted from RVs to mobile homes, and in 1981 the company was operating facilities only in Caldwell and McPherson.

Kit returned to profitability in fiscal 1981. Recreational vehicles once again topped mobile homes in sales the following year. The company introduced a new line of lightweight travel trailers suitable for hauling by the current models of smaller, more fuel-efficient motor vehicles. Brand names for its RVs during this period included Royal Oaks, Oak Crest, Oak View, Fairview, Sea Crest, Golden Sunrise, Chateau, and Regal.

Kit’s sales, however, did not approach the record 1978 figure during the early 1980s. Profits were modest, and in fiscal 1983 the company actually lost $740,000. The culprit was the mobile-home business, which fell into deficit in fiscal 1982 and did not return to profitability until five years later. In January 1983 Kit announced that the manufactured-housing product line was being overhauled, aimed at accommodating demand for units that were lower priced and constructed more like site-built homes. During fiscal 1984 mobile homes accounted for only 27 percent of company sales.

In fiscal 1987 Kit topped its 1978 highs with sales of $68.1 million and net income of $1.8 million. Increased interest rates on conventional, site-built housing were said to have given manufactured houses a competitive advantage, resulting in an upturn of sales. The RV business was also doing well that year, with Royal Oaks, Oak Crest, Golden State, and Limited models selling for between $19,000 and $45,000.

After Kit reached a new sales record of $73.8 million in fiscal 1988, the mediocre economic climate of the following years took a toll on its business. Revenues declined each successive year through fiscal 1992, when they fell to $55.5 million. Although the company remained in the black, the RV sector lost money in 1991 and 1992, when a new management team was brought in. Its deficit widened in fiscal 1993, despite a sales gain of 11 percent to 3,335 units. The company as a whole lost $33,000 on sales of $59.1 million that year.

Kit’s McPherson manufactured-home plant was destroyed in a 1992 tornado. Production continued at Caldwell, where about 500 homes were produced in 1993, along with RVs. In 1993 the company began work on a second Caldwell facility–opened in 1994–behind the main building, in order to double its production of manufactured homes, most of which were being placed in the western states. In making the announcement, Kit spokesman Ed Tucker declared that “Public awareness and acceptance have increased year by year. … The majority of homes we sell go on private property available for 30-year land-home financing. The homes we build are an affordable value.” In 1994 they ranged in floor area from 1,100 to 2,500 square feet and were selling at $28,000 to $90,000.

Kit expanded its sales network for manufactured housing in 1995 to take in three more Western states: Wyoming, Colorado, and parts of northern Arizona. The company had been selling its homes in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and Montana, with Utah and Idaho the biggest markets. About 1,400 manufactured homes were produced in 1994. Approximately 91 percent were double- and triple-wide homes, with the remaining nine percent single-wide models starting in size at about 700 square feet.

The company’s RV business turned around in 1994, when sales rose more than 50 percent, to 5,009 units, moving Kit into the top 10 in this field. Produced in Caldwell, the 35-foot-long Companion Cordova was its largest model, with living-room and bedroom walls that slid out by pressing a button. Produced in McPherson and selling for $21,000, the 33-foot-long Sportsmaster fifth-wheeler was a “toy hauler for the guys” with a 10-foot rear patio that could carry snow machines, golf carts, bicycles, motorcycles, Sea Doo watercraft, or all-terrain vehicles. A Kit executive said the market consisted of people age 45 to 65 who “sell their home and want to travel.” Selling for between $9,000 and $32,000, the company’s RV models had carpeted hardwood floors, kitchen skylights, solar panels, electric brakes, deluxe range/ovens, enlarged galleys, and power roof vents.

Kit opened a new RV manufacturing facility in Caldwell in 1995, about three miles from the plant producing manufactured homes and the Road Ranger and Companion RVs. This new plant, aimed at meeting demand in the Northwest and Canada, initially produced the 33-foot Sportsman fifth-wheeler but eventually was to manufacture all 21 models in the Sportsmaster line, ranging up from a 19-foot trailer selling for $8,000. About 2,800 Sportsmasters a year were being produced in McPherson at this time. Kit’s RV production reached 5,516 in 1995.

Kit’s sales rose by about 50 percent to $89.7 million in fiscal 1994, and its net income reached a record $1.9 million. Sales increased to $101.5 million in fiscal 1995, but net income was only $1.3 million due to new-production and plant expansions and consolidations, and the company lost $53,000 on manufactured housing. There was no long-term debt in January 1996. Pocapalia increased his stake in Kit from 30 to 46 percent in 1994, when Romeyn sold his 25-percent holding back to the company, which retired the shares.

Recreational vehicles accounted for 73 percent of Kit’s sales in 1995. They measured from 16 to 36 feet in length and provided sleeping accommodations for two to 10 people, with over 50 different floor plans offered. Components and accessories included name-brand appliances, radial tires, rubber roofs, and fiberglass insulation throughout. Interior features included an entertainment center with AM/FM cassette stereo, skylights in the bath and living areas, queen-size bed, microwave oven, and ducted air conditioning and heating system. Several models had slide-out features for interior expansion of the living room and master bedroom. Awnings were available and could be converted into an enclosed patio.

The company’s RV product lines included Sportsmaster, Road Ranger, Companion, and Patio Hauler. Retail prices ranged between $9,500 and $45,000. Some 239 independent dealers were distributing the company’s RVs throughout the United States, 32 in Canada, and five in Japan.

Kit’s Manufactured Housing Division was producing homes in 40 available floor plans ranging from 750 to over 2,500 square feet, towed by truck to locations where they were set up and connected to utilities. Retail prices, exclusive of land costs, ranged from $25,000 to $115,000. Distribution was through a network of approximately 50 dealers in nine western states.

Most models included walk-in closets, spacious open areas, and Roman tubs with special showers. The Sea Crest was the smallest. Sierra models were double- and triple-wide, with an array of styles and custom features. The spacious Kit Special home was offered in a popular double-section configuration. The Golden State line was described as outstanding value for individuals placing a premium on comfort and luxury. Designed specifically with subdivision application in mind, the Briercrest came ready to attach a site-built garage.

Kit, at the end of fiscal 1995, owned production facilities in McPherson and Caldwell, where it also owned a warehouse and leased a production facility. It also owned an idle plant in Chino, available for lease, and was leasing its executive and administrative offices in Long Beach.

Years built

1945-2008

Models

  • Camper – 11 ft
  • Sportsmaster – 11 ft
  • Model 10 – 13 ft
  • Companion – 16 ft
  • Royal Chataeu – 23 ft
  • Kamper – 12 ft
  • Chateau – 23 ft
  • Jetstream – 19.5 ft
  • Companion Stowaway – 16 ft
  • Companion 1500 – 15 ft
  • Companion 1700 – 17 ft

Interiors

Ash paneling and cabinets (Golden State)

Standard Features

Pictures

1965 Kit Companion
1947 Kit Teardrop
1946 KIT Manufacturing Teardrop Trailer
1947 Kit Manufacturing teardrop camper trailer

Some owners

Drew and alicia keller coeur d alene, id —drewkeller2010@hotmail.com— 1949 kit ten, 1967 15′ companion,

Kenskill

Kenskill

1946 to mid-70s

Kenskill Manufacturing Company – Burbank California

The origin of this company was back in 1946 in Burbank, California with ‘KenSkill Kustom Kamper’. Bill Kennedy made about 200 ‘teardrop’ trailers by hand during the Summers of 1946 and 1947…… This ‘modern teardrop trailer’ design is the footprint for almost every modern 10 ft. teardrop manufactured today!….. These teardrop trailers were sold in 1946 – 1947 – 1948 and then the company closed doors. Jim Brunskill was the ‘money man’ and went on to form a second company – ‘Kenskill Trailers’…… It is interesting to note that ‘KenSkill’ is a combination of the names of these two men……. It is also interesting that while Jim Brunskill went on to be inducted into the RV Heritage Museum ‘Hall of Fame’……… Bill Kennedy became another forgotten footnote in the vintage history books!

Kenskill trailers were manufactured from 1946 to some time in the late 60’s or early 70’s. The earliest picture I have seen is a 9ft 1948 trailer made to stand up in. For some time period, Kenskill also made teardrop trailers. The logo on the teardrop is different from the stand-up trailers but is identical to that on the company buildings. Magazine ads from the mid 50’s on do not include anything on teardrop trailers.
In 1946 Kenskill made 18 trailers, by 1959 Kenskill celebrated 15,000 trailers.

Jim Brunskill was founder and President of the company and Jerry Weiss was Executive VP. Mr. Weiss also owned the River Queen Resort in Bullhead City AZ.

In 1965 Kenskill was sold to Redman Industries. Brunskill & Weiss went on to form Executive Industries which made motorhomes.

History

Originally located at 126 W. Alameda, Burbank, CA, Kenskill Corp moved to 11321 Goss Street, Sun Valley, Califorina.
Kenskill. formed in 1955, had one of the larger “clubs” after Wally Byam’s Airstream clubs. Kenskill Caravans had many members and they traveled to sites throughout the Western US. At one time there were over 200 member with 90% being Kenskill owners. Other brands were allowed at the start of the club. Club members had a habit of wearing the same kind of clothes during a caravan, some were on the ugly side of things. Remember this was the era of his and her bowling shirts.

Years built

1946 to the mid 70’s

Models

The oldest model pictured is a 1948 nine foot model but they also made teardrop trailers for a few years. Some of the teardrops have been restored and are still being used.
Going by restored models, the most popular teardrop (maybe the only model) was the Kenskill Kamper.
By 1955 Kenskill was making 17-19-22 and 27 foot models. In 1956 some models also included an optional version called The Toilet, apparently indoor facilities were added to these models. The standard model was advertised as sleeping 5-6 but The Toilet model slept only 3.
In 1960 the “X” model was introduced to add sleeping space; it was called the “duplex” in later years. (See picture section).

Vintage Kenskill Trailer Models

Standard Features

According to some restoration professionals, Kenskills were among the best built of trailers from the Canned Ham era

Prices

1955: Model 15 (12ft) $895, Model 17 (14.2ft body) $1495. Model 19 (16.6 ft) $1995, Model 22(19.6) $2295, Model 27 (19.9) $2995
1956 Prices jumped Model 176 (15ft body) $1657, 186 (16.6) $2095, 206 (18ft) $2395, 236 (18 ft) $2395, 276 (25 ft) $3345, 316 (29 ft) $3695

Other Information

Although not as famous at the trailer used by Lucy & Desi, there was a Kenskill featured in an “early nuclear attack” Movie, Panic In The Year Zero, directed by and starring Ray Milland. It was initially released as “End Of The World” but is still available on Amazon as “Panic In The Year Zero.” Not a super movie but it does have an edge that most atomic exploitation movies did not.