We started this project out from a 1961 Lakewood Custom Deluxe park model trailer.
"Park model" means it was never intended to be used without being hooked to utilities,
so it wouldn't have had holding tanks and electric only appliances. It was in run
down shape, previously used as a hunting camp in the woods. It's a full 25' long
and 8' wide.
The interior has potential but had been poorly cared for for years. Gotta love the
bedroom setup, what was left of a household couch cut up to clear the wheel tubs
and a bunk bed I can't imagine anybody sleeping in. The front was missing all of
the dinette benches and cushions, and part of the kitchen cabinetry was missing.
As we began the teardown we realized we were in for a bigger project than anticipated.
It had a lot of water rot! The worse part was the flooring, it has a dead space
that was insulated. I've never seen so much rodent droppings, dead critters and
mold. It all had to go away! We ended up going down to the bare chassis.
We built a whole new floor system with a layer of Celtex, framing, new clean insulation
and a final layer of new decking. The final step was to lay the new floor. We patterned
the floor design to match the pattern shown in a 1961 Lakewood advertisement. This
is the time to lay a floor, so it continues under all of the cabinetry when completed.
This trailer from the factory had really cool white starburst pattern material lining
the bathroom from the factory that looked in good shape. One of our biggest challenges
was to salvage it by carefully removing it from the old damaged framing and installing
it back over the new framing. Also, some of the walls & cabinetry was knotty pine.
Since thin knotty pine plywood is not available we took great care in sanding and
restoring it back to new. The rest of the walls and ceiling was easy, all new oak
veneer paneling. We restored what cabinetry was left, and built a new matching bedframe,
dinette booths and upper kitchen cabinets.
We rewired the trailer like modern RV's are wired, a combo of 110V and 12V. We added
all new plumbing including a new on demand hot water heater. Here it is all complete,
just waiting for new insulation and aluminum skin.
The finished interior. It now has a dinette in the front that folds down to a bed,
the galley is now complete with a new upper cabinet. Notice the new cabinet doors
match the original, scrolled framing with knotty pine inserts. You can also see
the knotty pine accents in the bedroom section. The bathroom has blue fixtures...
the blue toilet was missing when we got the trailer, thankfully we were able to find
on at our local Habitat for Humanity store... they are great stores to shop for hard
to find hardware and such!
On the outside, we duplicated the 8" diamond pattern the exterior originally had...
quite a challenge since that pattern is not commercially available, we folded each
one on a sheet metal brake. The lower half was painted a 1961 Rambler yellow. Here
it is ready to roll on it's first road trip in years. Since this picture was taken,
it was returned to the shop for a rooftop AC unit and a big Carefree roll out awning,
modern yes, but a rope and pole would be really awkward on a big trailer like this.
Sometimes, practicality is the better option.
The new owners of this trailer are local! Watch for it as a regular at one of the
Starlite Campgrounds vintage camper events!