This little 1948 Detroiter was shipped to us from Florida for a restoration. The
outside was actually very presentable for a 60+ trailer but the inside showed some
issues from water leaks and countless upgrades and modifications. Most unusual was
the one time addition of a bathroom in place of the closet. The closet was enlarged
to fit it, even to the point it covered a portion of the entry door! Worse of all,
it just dumped under the trailer. The owners did not want the bathroom and had some
ideas for making it into more of a country cottage feel. Down to the frame it goes...
Here's something we don't see too often, Kimisal insulation. Basically layers and
layers of tar coated crepe paper. It literally crumbled into dust when we started
to remove it, we were sweeping it up for days!
In this photo you can see the huge closet converted into the bathroom. It really
crowded up the interior
This is trouble, the floor structure is rotted out, not much holding the body to
the frame. This is hidden damage that many vintage campers have that is not apparent
until you take them apart.
New floor structure with a layer of Celtex under, soon to get filled with fiberglass
insulation and new OSB underlayment.
The owners picked out a vinyl floor product that resembles hardwood flooring, 4"
strips in random lengths... pretty cool stuff for a trailer.
Meanwhile, we were building new walls in birch veneer plywood. They will get finished
in shellac before we install the walls back on the trailer.
The new body is almost complete now, just lacking some of the bender board along
After all new upggraded wiring it was insulated with polyiso insulation and the roof
covered with a layer of Luan to help support the aluminum roof panels.
We duplicated the exterior aluminum just like it was built at the factory, overlapped
panels with slotted head screws every 2" or so along the seams. We used .040 mill
finish aircraft aluminum, as close as we could get to the materials used right after
Due to so much of the interior cabinetry being cut up over the years we were not
able to salvage much. we built a new galley and painted it an antiqued blue for
the country feel. We refinished the interior of the icebox, but left the antique
looking patina on the exterior.
In place of the previous closet/bathroom we built a new cabinet resembling an antique
sideboard the owners designed. The countertops are oiled walnut and we used antique
OK, it does have one modern convenience... They do live in the hot, humid southeast
and they wanted to be able to enjoy the camper. We installed a Coleman Mach III
low profile AC unit on the roof.
All complete and ready for a road trip across the country! It's virtually a new
1948 trailer again.
One thing to note and think about with a project like this. To keep the exterior
authentic looking we used flat panels of aluminum. I don't really like to in most
cases. Any aluminum expands and contracts with temperature a slight amount. When
it expands in the heat (it was almost 100 degrees out when this photo was taken)
the panels will look wavy, and flat panels make it stand out. It is especially pronounced
with mill finish or dark colored paint. It's just cosmetic however, the panels flatten
right back out when they cool. The score lines and ribs stamped into the panels
add strength to the panels, the main reason manufacturers started doing it in the