Chat with the inventor of the PLAYPAC - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-24-2008, 05:48 PM   #43
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Name: Steve
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When I last left off it was probably early '72 and sales were starting to roll in, predominately in the eastern seaboard states. While exhibiting at a show in Florida I was approached by an exec. of the Hunter Sailboat co. located in Orange county CA. They were interested in obtaining the rights to produce and sell the Playpac on the west coast. I shortly thereafter flew to see their factory in CA. It was a well established sailboat manufactuer with a quality first rep. It seemed to be a natural fit and would give us qucker distribution and income. While those negotiations were going on, the sales team back east was signing up new dealers. During our first Summer we ran into our first manufacturing problem. The high temperature baking the roof was causing the adhesive that held the "headlining" onto the roof was starting to lose adhesion. This caused us to have to recall the units back to the factory for retrofitting. The expense was tremendous but it proved our commitment to building a quality product and backing it with good service. various manufacturers of adhesives were contacted for their solutions. After a few trials and errors a fix was found...TBC
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:49 PM   #44
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Trailer: 1973 Play Pac
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When I last left off it was probably early '72 and sales were starting to roll in, predominately in the eastern seaboard states. While exhibiting at a show in Florida I was approached by an exec. of the Hunter Sailboat co. located in Orange county CA. They were interested in obtaining the rights to produce and sell the Playpac on the west coast. I shortly thereafter flew to see their factory in CA. It was a well established sailboat manufactuer with a quality first rep. It seemed to be a natural fit and would give us qucker distribution and income. While those negotiations were going on, the sales team back east was signing up new dealers. During our first Summer we ran into our first manufacturing problem. The high temperature baking the roof was causing the adhesive that held the "headlining" onto the roof was starting to lose adhesion. This caused us to have to recall the units back to the factory for retrofitting. The expense was tremendous but it proved our commitment to building a quality product and backing it with good service. various manufacturers of adhesives were contacted for their solutions. After a few trials and errors a fix was found...TBC
Steven, I was wondering how the inspiration for the sky-light came about? I'm sure there were worries about leaks around it.
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Old 12-22-2008, 01:17 AM   #45
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Just found this site and soooo happy to see that my dream/reality still lives on. All those PP owners who want to learn more about the PP's conception and birth and share their experiences are welcome.
Steven; I have a '72 playpac purchased from Wood's VW in Brunswick, Ga. in '72!! I have kept it in nearly original condition and I find it to be a fine trailer. Over the last 36 years it has held up well and had only minor problems not unlike any other make. I use it often as I am a teacher, and it is a great quiet place to grade papers! I lived in it for a year after I got out of the navy in '75. I'll write more later, or write me at bd486[at]scn.org and I can tell you more about the 36 years of it's life and that it is still going strong. As you might guess, I can tell you some stories and hope they make you laugh! I pulled it with my '67 type 1 back then, but that was a struggle for the 1500! (I used to work at Wood's) I still have the '67. Had better luck with a '56 chev and then pulled it with a '88 Isuzu Trooper. The trooper just lost it's head gasket, and I have a '90 Mazda b2600i pick-up. It is the same size engine as the trooper, so I think it will do just fine. The trooper also pulled my aircraft on a trailer just fine. Anyway so much for stories, and I hope to hear from you soon. Best Wishes - Ralph Lyons
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:07 PM   #46
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Steven, I was wondering how the inspiration for the sky-light came about? I'm sure there were worries about leaks around it.
Ricky, The domed skylight was an inspiration of the Industrial Designer Toshi Sako. It allowed more light inside as well as another unique desing feature not found on any other T.T. He assured me that based on how it was inserted and seal that the odds of leaking were very slim. I felt that it was worth the remote chance of a leak inorder to get the benefits.
Happy trails
Steve
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:18 PM   #47
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Steven; I have a '72 playpac purchased from Wood's VW in Brunswick, Ga. in '72!! I have kept it in nearly original condition and I find it to be a fine trailer. Over the last 36 years it has held up well and had only minor problems not unlike any other make. I use it often as I am a teacher, and it is a great quiet place to grade papers! I lived in it for a year after I got out of the navy in '75. I'll write more later, or write me at bd486[at]scn.org and I can tell you more about the 36 years of it's life and that it is still going strong. As you might guess, I can tell you some stories and hope they make you laugh! I pulled it with my '67 type 1 back then, but that was a struggle for the 1500! (I used to work at Wood's) I still have the '67. Had better luck with a '56 chev and then pulled it with a '88 Isuzu Trooper. The trooper just lost it's head gasket, and I have a '90 Mazda b2600i pick-up. It is the same size engine as the trooper, so I think it will do just fine. The trooper also pulled my aircraft on a trailer just fine. Anyway so much for stories, and I hope to hear from you soon. Best Wishes - Ralph Lyons
Ralph, you get the prize for loyalty and longevity! Woods VW was one of our earliest dealers. Are they still in business? As I mentioned in an earlier entry VW dealers were the first target for our product. Since I was a VW dealer at the time I knew many of the dealers and the majority showed a strong interest in selling them.Do you have the Super Hitch-Hut model with the shower in the water closet? Did you have problems at the beginning with the headliner coming loose during the summer? I would love to hear some of your Playpac stories when you have time. I am sure many current Playpac owners would also enjoy hearing of your joys and sorrows during the past 36 years. Thanks for writing and happy trails.
Steve
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:00 PM   #48
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Trailer: 13 ft Scamp 1983
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I would like to chime in on this by saying how cool it is to learn about the play pac. I appreciate you sharing your stories, and seeing all the great photo's. I ran across a play pac for sale a few months ago when I was hunting for a FG trailer that we could pull, it was a bit out of our price range, but looked really nice. I remembered it because of the sky light. I find it very interesting to hear about the history.
Thanks!
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:42 AM   #49
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Steven,

Thanks so much for your posts, and please tell us more!

I am a Bolerite from Manitoba, where the (13-foot) Boler was first built, but own a Calgary (17-foot) version. I would like to hear more on why the Boler rights did not work out, or more on any other topic you care to post.

I am intrigued by the fact the PPs and other FGTTs blossom, and continue to be loved and cared for, many decades later. There was (and is) a great business idea there, affected by world-wide events like the price of oil or other variables.

We are still here, and still fans!

Thanks,
Char
Northwest British Columbia

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Old 12-28-2008, 12:52 AM   #50
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Char, good to hear from you. In '71 I met with the owner of the Boler at his plant in Winnepeg. I negotiated for the rights to build the Boler in the U.S. but the terms we not to my liking so the Playpac was born. Enjoy you fgtt and stay in touch. Happy trails
"PA"PAC
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Old 12-28-2008, 08:23 AM   #51
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Paul, I have no bitterness. The Playpac was very well received and sales were flourishing in the Eastern half of the U.S when the Arab oil embargo helped put us out of business. It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, something that I had no control over. The day before the embargo we had approximately 23 dealers (RV and VW dealers) I believed we shipped about 75 trailers before the embargo.
Steve
I love these trailers and have 2, a Trillium and a U-Haul. I know most people don't view things my way after all who really needs a Hemi engine. No I'm not trying to start any fights but I guess I like smaller trailers and vehicles. I am waiting to find out how the oil embargo put you out of business. Thank you for this information and I will wait for you to get to the end for my answer.
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Old 12-28-2008, 03:21 PM   #52
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Steve, When the first Arab oil embargo started no one knew how long it would last. The first negative was the cancellation of pending dealer orders. About 1 month later I received a call from the Pres. of Winner Boats, the company that was manufacturing our trailers under contract, with the shattering news that they were going to permanently close their plant. Apparently they were already having money problems before the embargo and the embargo pushed them "over the cliff". They soon went into bankruptcy and when we tried to remove our moulds, the court appointed trustee told us that nothing was going to leave the premises until all issues were resolved. Upon hearing that news our major investor, a venture capital division of a major N.Y. Stock Exchange co., decided not to put in the additional working capital that we thought was forthcoming. I was not in the position to further capitalize the business and hence our decision to close shop.
When the embargo ended the moulds were still in the possession of the creditors of Winner Boats and finding a new source of capital for Playpac was impossible at that time. So the story ends.
It has given me such warm feelings over the years to hear from not only PP owners but from all small FGTT owners about their love for the "breed". I truly miss the business but it has left me with more good memories than sad ones. With the right financing I would consider a chapter 2 with Playpac. Happy trails
"Pa"Pac
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:14 AM   #53
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Ralph, you get the prize for loyalty and longevity! Woods VW was one of our earliest dealers. Are they still in business? As I mentioned in an earlier entry VW dealers were the first target for our product. Since I was a VW dealer at the time I knew many of the dealers and the majority showed a strong interest in selling them.Do you have the Super Hitch-Hut model with the shower in the water closet? Did you have problems at the beginning with the headliner coming loose during the summer? I would love to hear some of your Playpac stories when you have time. I am sure many current Playpac owners would also enjoy hearing of your joys and sorrows during the past 36 years. Thanks for writing and happy trails.
Steve

Steve - Once again, send me your address so I can snail mail you. Sadly, Mr Wood passed away year before last. My trailer does not have a shower, and I never missed it. I still have the porta potti that Mr wood gave me! Yes, the headliner did come down, and the skylight leaks. The fabric was stretched too tight on the inside. I used contac cement and some thin teak strips to correct the problem. The skylight was fixed by recaulking it, and it must be done every few years - just like a boat. I added a vent in the roof, and a window in the head. The door has always been hard to get to seal, too. But give it a break - it's been in use for 36 years now, and does just fine. In fact this year I cooked part of Christmas dinner out there, as we needed the extra burners! Send me your address - Best Wishes - Ralph Lyons
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:19 AM   #54
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Steve,

Do you have pictures you could share of the interior? I'd like to have good views of how the privacy room (head) is attached at the ceiling. I'm trying to redo mine in the spirit of the originals.

Thanks

Bonnie
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:40 AM   #55
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Steve,

Do you have pictures you could share of the interior? I'd like to have good views of how the privacy room (head) is attached at the ceiling. I'm trying to redo mine in the spirit of the originals.
Bonnie
Thanks Bonnie - My e-mail address is bd486[at]scn.org. Send me your snail mail address and I will write and let you know about my '72 playpac. I was born and raised in Crestwood, Mo. across the river and we had a 26' Airstream from Cope (I think) a dealer in Illinois. Anyway, I live in Sequim, Wa. now, and would rather write than play on the computer. My playpac doesn't have a shower either, and the framing for the head and hanging locker are fastened to the bulkheads with aluminum angle that is pop rivetted to the inside. Not great, but it has been there for 36 years going on 37! Take care - Ralph
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Old 01-11-2009, 01:07 AM   #56
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I love these trailers and have 2, a Trillium and a U-Haul. I know most people don't view things my way after all who really needs a Hemi engine. No I'm not trying to start any fights but I guess I like smaller trailers and vehicles. I am waiting to find out how the oil embargo put you out of business. Thank you for this information and I will wait for you to get to the end for my answer.
Steve - Are you any relation to a Dennis De Weese who was stationed on the USS Saginaw LST 1188 in the early to mid '70's ? Just a note for a laugh - During the oil embargo in '73, I say a bumper sticker on an airstream bumper -- We're saving energy - our house is OFF-- I like my playpac, too. It's a little small, but its done well for me for 36 going on 37 years! Guess I don't need a hemi either! Take care - Ralph
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