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History of Retro Restoration

Hello!  My name is Larry Hill and I am the owner/operator of Retro Restoration LLC.  As a lifelong collector of classic cars, my interest in vintage campers started in 2002 when I purchased one to restore and pull behind my 1958 Chevrolet.  I restored that one in my driveway, had so much fun doing so that I soon started looking for another project.  I also co-founded the Southwest Vintage Camper Association at this time, one of the first vintage camping clubs in the country, hosting several vintage trailer rallies each year in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.  It wasn’t long before I knew I would have to find a place to work before my neighbors started complaining.  Recently retired from a career in electrical engineering I decided to buy a shop and open Retro Restoration in Albuquerque, NM in August 2004, at the time planning on mostly a hobby business.  Being at the forefront of the vintage camper movement it wasn’t long before demand was far greater than production.  We have been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, one film documentary (Cars on Route 66), and several TV news features.

At a vintage trailer rally in 2006 I met my future partner in life and business, Sylvia Davids.  After a long distance relationship for two years I decided in 2008 to move Retro Restoration to her home town of Erie, CO.  Sylvia and I soon started planning on fulfilling a dream we both had of owning a vintage trailer park.  In March of 2010 that dream became a reality when we purchased a campground just outside of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Canon City, CO. which we soon opened, the Starlite Classic Campground.  I closed Retro Restoration at that time to concentrate on the park, but still restored trailers on the side during the off season.

Due to demand and my love for the restoration work we decided to reopen Retro Restoration at a new location in Canon City in early 2014, with my focus on the restoration shop while Sylvia manages the campground.

Retro Restoration is a small shop.  I am the craftsman that will work with you personally in the design and restoration of your dream camper.  My specialty is the “canned ham” style trailers built from the 40’s through the mid 60’s, but we are certainly not limited to them by any means… riveted styles, fiberglass campers, pick up campers, larger park models, even vintage motorhomes have passed through our doors.  Our clients are nationwide, thanks to the internet we can easily design and build your camper long distance, with constant contact, photos and updates throughout the process.   From full frame up restorations or custom designs to partial restoration work, I look forward to talking to you about your future camper!

Sylvia and Larry with the Starlite Campground’s 1957 New Moon and classic 1950 Dodge.

UPDATE:  At the close of the 2016 season of the campground two of our employees, Scott Elliott and Erin Phillips have come to Retro to learn the trade of camper restoration.  Both quick learners they have aided in increasing production and best of all they both share my passion for detail and building a quality product.  The three of us (plus our shop dog Chloe) make a great team to restore your dream trailer!

Erin & Scott with a freshly restored 1956 Dalton