I don't know what I got myself into but I drug a 1947 Masterbilt Coach trailer about 350 miles, through high winds a couple night ago. Had I seen the post "Don't let this happen to you", I would have brought it home another way. Luckily I sent a few screws into the rotted wood. After getting it home, reading and now watching videos, I realize that It's going to be a lot of work!!!!
It's a complete rebuild. Because there's really not much of an interior (it was a surveyor's field office), maybe not as tough for a first build? But is it worth it? It would be more sweat equity than cost. I'm thinking about keeping it simple (original), and just re-paneling with some nice wood and varnish. Keep the cool stove, desks, lights... Buff the outside. EASY PEASY
Then what? How much might something like this be worth? It's more of a vintage office trailer than a travel trailer. It's cool, it has nice lines and IT'S SUPER RARE! I think it would make for a unique mobile business? There's a 37 www.flytecamp.com/vintage-trailer-sales/item/1936-masterbilt it was listed at $68,000 and sold. The closest I can find is this www.vintagecampertrailers.com/for-sale/1948-columbia The Columbia is very very close to the masterbilt, same windows just has a few closets and cabinets...I would bet that it's made by the same builders. It's listed at $16,995 I have a request for more info. They only made a few every year,
I think it is TOTALLY worth it! This is a dream trailer! Lots of blood, sweat, tears, time and money will get this thing back in shape in no time! Just please seek advice from folks on VTT about how to do it the right way and you will have a blast! Good luck!!
Last Edit: Nov 27, 2019 13:34:44 GMT -8 by Getnold: typos
Jimmyg you are a brave soul to haul that rig 350 miles. Hope it was only during daylight and 2 lane back roads though. Looks to be sitting a little higher in the last pic than the first so maybe there will less rotten wood to sweep up from your work area after those hours of being 'on the road', pun intended. I personally love the shape and if all you did was clean it up on the inside, fix any leaks and "buff it out", you'd be saving some great history. If you do take it on as a rebuild, by the end you will become a very experienced person. Good luck, well you already have that with the 350 miles under your belt. I second the vote to go for it.
A big snowstorm was coming. It was either get it home and work on it while I have a few days off or wait for who knows how long before I can check it out. The 395 was closed all day because of high winds. I figured I'd get it as far as the roadblock wait it out and follow the pack, it was at night. It was wide open and windy, I kept it at 55 and checked it frequently. Actually towed pretty nice. I got it home (Temecula) I live off-road so by the time I got to the top of my land most of the lag bolts holding it together were falling off. I moved it up a steep hill in the morning, I could see the siding was pretty much just hanging on to the top. Then I watched the warning post. I was very stupid and very lucky that it didn't blow apart on the freeway. Thanks for the encouragement, it's just a lot to take on. Either way, it has to be done right. I'm doing research to see if I can find old pics (It was a Mono County Survey Field Trailer). I'd really like to find another one before I decide what to do.
Awesome find. If I ever do another trailer, it will be similar size and shape (Spartan is my dream trailer). I say go for it. You may never get your money back out of it, but you will have the coolest trailer in the park!
Do your homework!!!! If it has wood framing, then you will need cabinets, etc. because that is what holds up the walls. If it is metal framing then you can get away with no cabinets. Trailers are built from the inside out. The floor, walls and ceiling, all overlap creating the shear strength (side to side). Example: The ceiling is falling in. To replace it, you will have to remove the metal roof, the curbing and joists in order to replace the interior panel. Mobeltec has excellent videos showing the process
I'll do my homework. But I thought I read Mobeltec say that you should build from the outside in. I see that his vids show paneling intact. I think he removes the siding then repairs the frame. I was going to ask him why, especially if I need to replace the floor. I imagine that his process keeps everything intact. I would expect to have to replace a good 50% of the frame. There never was much cabinetry, just a couple of desks and one small cabinet attached. Wood framing
This is what I'm referring to, Mobeltec's post about info for newbies.
If the ad says something like "Already gutted for you to make it any way you want. Had to quit project due to moving" or something of that nature, STAY AWAY! As you will see in my videos, you don't "Gut" a trailer to restore it. Most of them are built from the inside out which means you have to take them apart from the outside in. YES! It's a hell of a lot of work.... But it is very rewarding when done right. What most likely happened is this seller knew nothing about restoring a trailer, bought one, found out it was rotten to the core because he started tearing all the paneling out from the inside (which is wrong) and then turned around and lied in the ad telling you that he has to move or his wife is making him sell it or the landlord told him he can't work on it there or some such nonsense and is trying to lay it off on YOU and recover his bad investment. It's only a bad investment because he has now ruined the trailer. So never buy a gutted trailer.
Wow! Those are really cool. There was something similar abandoned in the hills where I live. I took some pics, a few days later I saw my neighbors towing it home. I think I need to find those pics and do a little research. An earlier post suggested that I look for the smaller ones in the desert, that pretty much where I live.I have this 15' it isn't vintage but it kinda works.