Original or Modified - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-19-2013, 06:13 AM   #1
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Trillium 4500, Scamp 5th Wheel
Las Vegas, Nv.
Posts: 1,253
Original or Modified

Are there "purists" on this board? The longer we are exposed do we learn to appreciate these little trailers in mint original condition or do most people like the bright "freshness" that comes with modification and updating? Right now I'm leaning towards making everything new, but will there come a time when I regret getting rid of all the original stuff and features?

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Old 02-19-2013, 06:39 AM   #2
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Name: Kinga DeRode
Trailer: For Sale Or Rent
Rooms to Let 50 Cents
Posts: 5,094
I started out as a purist, mostly by accident, when I purchased my UHaul in all original condition. It pained me to change anything that took it away from its original design. I came to realize over time that a camper trailer is an object to be used, as opposed to a classic car that it primarily to be viewed and occasionally driven.

To me, a camper is more like a home than a car. If I purchased a 25 year old home, I'd want up to update faucets, appliances, wiring, plumbing and furniture - anything that enhanced its utility without destroying its aesthetics.

I guess if you want to own a classic camper and keep it as an original show piece, that is another story.

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Old 02-19-2013, 07:29 AM   #3
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe 2007
Posts: 472
In general, most of our mods are temporary and can be easily removed with no signs of change from the original.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:53 AM   #4
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Name: deryk
Trailer: 2012 Parkliner 2010 V6 Nissan Frontier 4x4
New Jersey
Posts: 2,086
Well I agree with Tom, my ParkLiner is my 2nd home, and I will be doing things to improve its functional use and make it look nicer at the same time. For example I told my mom that I had several projects that I need to get done to it before camping season. She asked me its brand new what kind of projects could it need? Then I told her about the ratfur behind the galley and if I ever cook anything in it what would happen(and we all say we are going to cook outside, but lets face it, when the weather is cruddy we might just end up cooking inside)? There is no gauge showing how much power is left in the batteries and she knows I don't camp at campgrounds...only one 12 volt power outlet(I installed it) need at least a 2nd one...the list goes on lol. She looked at me and said "oh".

Now I wouldn't start makeing any kind of major modifications because just like on a boat, its strongly frowned upon to start moveing bulkheads and such because it gives strength and support to the hull, well the same applies in our little trailers. But replaceing cabinet doors or knobs, makeing a better functioning table etc, will improve the quality time we spend in it!

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:24 AM   #5
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
I am not a purist, but like Tom, My first Trillium 4500 was in excellent original condition. At first, it bothered me changing it. But, as long as I am adding value, like a Fantastic fan, or improved converter, then it is OK.
But, when buying a trailer, if it has mods that are not done to the same standard as the original design, whether it be materials, or design. They decrease the value to me.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:25 AM   #6
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Name: Sam
Trailer: Owner 16' Amerigo
Posts: 79
I bought my Amerigo because of the price and I knew I would be bring it up to today standards. If I was just going to camp every so often then maybe I could put up with a 70's retro nice trailer, I plan on some serious camping and I want to have the comforts of home almost.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #7
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1969 Boler (Flat Top)
British Columbia
Posts: 529
I bought mine to be moded. I then learned I had a rarer flat top (~200 made) and got excited about having all original. When it came to non replaceable parts like floor trim I realized a vintage work over was out of budget. Since, I have done like Terry and made do with reversible mods. I think it was the best decision. As stated, the trailers for camping not showing. Improved use
1969 Boler
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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Name: Jack
Trailer: '98 BURRO 17WB
Posts: 2,548
I believe there are individuals here with a strong interest in the decorative arts. There are others with a strong interest in engineering and the mechanic arts. Both groups tend to be concerned with process and historical developments in their areas of interest and are attuned to the concepts of origin, invention, derivation, and evolution. Although attendees of the church of what's happening now, they have the training and inclination to look very closely at the artifacts of the past before dismissing them as quaint and outmoded. Although not every one of them is, or has the means to be, a devoted restorer, most have a preoccupation with many of the words used here everyday: period, era, date, model, variant, lineage. Awareness of the past generally leads to questions about its value and, at the very least, provisional restraint about disposing of it wholesale without a thought.

In addition, camping for some is associated with simplicity of means (hunting, fishing, skinning, cooking over a fire, hauling water, sleeping under the stars). Many of the small trailers from the 70s and 80s are limited enuf on the amenities to give a mild reminder of a life of privation on the trail and are valued for precisely that gift.

Personally, I would think twice about what can be salvaged, repaired, spruced up (smells nice and piney) and used but I don't have the bucks or the OCD to preserve or restore factory originals.

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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Trailer: 1975 Boler
Posts: 106
It was interesting to me that Thomas G. was the first to respond as a Uhaul owner. My observation on this forum wondering the same question as the OP is that Uhauls seem to remain largely original.
Most early Bolers and Scamps (or early clones) I would assume have been repainted, had axles replaced and many have had new radius windows installed due to wear and tear.
We wanted to keep our Boler mostly original, but since old paint from PO's had to be covered anyways, we chose our own colors that suited us instead of going back to original. We tried to keep it somewhat 'era' though. I could see that if a PO had done more major modifications we may have followed suit and keeping originality would have been of less importance.
Cool to see everyone's responses! Good question!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:58 AM   #10
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Trailer: 2007 Casita
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Not having a rare/vintage glass trailer, I guess I figure as long as these trailers last, there will be a plethora of molded glass trailers still on the road when my Casita becomes vintage/old .

I don't think a 07 Casita will ever be considered "rare" so I make changes that fit my camping style. As Thomas said, they are meant to be used. Could we use them as is, perhaps! But if you have the desire to camp with a lil more comfort, style, whatever, then by all means do what makes you happy!
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:56 AM   #11
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
Posts: 4,543
I'm the purist person I know...plus I'm vintage, just like my trailer.

Also like my trailer, I'm pretty much all original except for some minor tweaking having to do with having been around for what evidently seems to some like an awfully long time. And we've both had a few improvements made, not to mention the removal of a few worn out/useless things we were born with...

But no one would ever mistake either one of us for anything but the tough old ladies that we are!

Francesca, also speaking for Waltzin' MaTrillda
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Name: Reid
Trailer: 1979 Trillium 4500
Posts: 205
Our '78 Trillium1300 had extra holes and missing pieces both inside and out so I didn't hesitate to heavily modify: water heater where there was no fridge, only a hole, drawers and cabinets where there was a hole next to the fridge hole, an outside shower where there was an access port, etc. When it goes on the market this spring I will see if I compromised its value. Our "new" 4500 is in beautiful original condition and I hate to put holes where none now exist but... The converter needs to be replaced and the new one won't fit facing the dinette. I want a front dinette and am willing to make the mods to accomplish that. Changing to a water pump and the necessary change of faucets causes some guilt but what will hurt is cutting holes for the planned outside shower and water heater.I guess that making your camper be all that it can for what you want it do is alright-we'll see.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:26 PM   #13
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Name: jen
Trailer: 1980 13 ft. burro
Posts: 821
My interest in restoring to original versus freestyle modifications would depend on what I had. 1980 was not exactly a banner year for design, and my Burro in its original form was sorta ugly, crooked, and assembled by angry drunks - not a great candidate for a lovingly done original resto, I don't feel. So my re-do is all new modifications, but with nods to original like the exterior decals.

But if I got my mitts on a midcentury modern palace on wheels, I'd be all over the historical details.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:39 PM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 3,709
Our Uhaul has been modified to make it more efficient and comfortable for long term use. We can use it without worry about scratches or road dings. It's not such an unusual trailer that it attracts much attention. However our 1946 teardrop was restored to close to original condition, gets used for camping, and also goes to car shows and cruise-ins. So we have one of each, an old original, and a newer modified.

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