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1956 Mercury Travel Trailer

I guess that for my first "Trailer Of The Month" I will use my first vintage trailer restoration project.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to buy a vintage travel trailer to restore. I didn't know anything about them, in fact I had only been inside of one early model that I saw somewhere down in Mexico, some years ago. I don't really remember exactly where it was or when, but I will never forget that trailer . Since that time, some 20 years ago, I always knew that someday I would have one or two or three of them!
Then one day, not to long ago, I was looking through the local want ads and came across a 1956 Mercury travel trailer for $400. So I went to look at it in Costa Mesa CA. It was not exactly what I was looking for but for $400 it was a good place to start. I will never forget the looks on the neighbors faces the day that I brought it home, they must have been thinking something along the lines of trash.
Needless to say their faces and thoughts changed as I started the restoration process.
The first thing I did was to strip all of the latex house paint off of the exterior, this my friends was no easy task.
With plastic scrapper in hand, I began to strip,peel and scrub the paint off. It took about a week of hard work but it was finally all off and now it was time to start the polishing process.
What a nightmare. I had no idea how involved it would be. I think that all trailerites should polish at least one whole aluminum trailer in their lifetime, so that they can truly appreciate the hard work that goes into some of the incredible trailers that you might see at a rally.
Well once the polishing of the exterior was done it was time to move on to the interior.
The first thing that I did was to remove the table and benches. I needed to do this so that I could pull out the floor at the front of the trailer because it was completely rotten from water damage and years of neglect.

 

 

 

 

 Striping the latex paint off of the body.

 

 

 

The interior after the restoration

 

 

Once the floor was out, I replaced the 2"x4" sub- frames and sheeted the floor with new 3/4" plywood.
The next step was to recover the floor with a new marble pattern, old style linoleum flooring.
Once this was done, I had to rebuild the bench frames as they were falling apart being ever so careful not to damage the original vinyl. As you may know, vintage vinyl fabric is very hard to come by. But if you know where to find it please let me know.
After the table and benches were reinstalled, I went over all of the wood work. Lightly sanding and cleaning every square inch before it could receive two coats of varnish. Once the varnish was finished, I began to rebuild the counter and table tops installing a new Formica top that had a vintage feel to it .
Now it was time to detail. I was told something by an employer years ago and it stuck with me ever since. He said to me " Don't even bother to do it, if your not going to do it right!" Well, that has been my motto ever since. It's the little details that make a fine restoration.
Next I hung the curtains and the vintage fly fishing and hunting pictures.
The trailer restoration was finally completed, and was ready for me to pack up the family and head out for a vintage vacation. But it never happened! I never got a chance to take it out.
I rented the trailer and an old truck to a friend of mine to go on a campout. Shortly after that, I decided that it was time to move on to a bigger and older project. Early one Sunday morning, I hauled the trailer out to the Pomona old car swap meet. It was a show stopper. I couldn't believe the response that I got from it. I needed a back door to usher the crowd through.
Well, I sold my little trailer that morning by 9 am, for the price that I was asking,to a very nice couple that were going to take it to Montana to their favorite fishing spot on some property that they had. I couldn't think of a nicer place for my little restored beauty to live out its second life.

Craig Dorsey.

 

 

The finished trailer heading off to the swap meet

 

 

Original stove and ice box in perfect condition

 

 

The aluminum has a very high polished sheen.

 

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