I agree with nccamper on restoring large campers - probably not a good money making venture.
However - I still have my eye on the one below, a 1949 Prairie Schooner. The existing owner told me he had folks interested some time ago, but now his listing just reappeared yesterday. Still at $2800 - I might take a peek at it in the Spring if it is still available. By then maybe the price will drop further and it might become a worthwhile investment. It would be a good viewing opportunity regardless. Thoughts??
I think that the two "free" trailers will cost you more to bring them home than they are worth. And restored not much more. The bottom one might be really cool inside (or filthy dirty and trashed) It "might" be worth a look but long trailers just don't sell. It is a house trailer, not a vintage camp trailer.
Didn't we discuss the Prairie Schooner a while back? Again, it's bigger than what's popular but is the right year. Fixing it will be extremely difficult, especially the compound curves. The roof is very dented and has a big strip of tar. This type of trailer usually has some pretty severe cancer along the bottom of the skins and belly (if metal) I don't see this as an investment, more a labor of love if you want to keep it.
Most people looking for a vintage trailer want small and hammy. Some of the mid 60s retro rigs are popular as well. Getting into a camping spot is much easier with a shorter trailer, not to mention that a lot of campgrounds don't allow long trailers. If you are wanting to re-sell, older than 1970 is good, small is better and hams the best.
Yeah...we talked about the Prairie Schooner some time ago. It just looks really cool to me and I understand the old bread loafs can be worth big bucks if done right. I thought it was gone and then the ad was just posted again a couple of days ago. If still available, I'll make a visit in the Spring to take a little tour. It's only about 45 minutes from my home. It would probably be a project I don't take too seriously and dabble on occasionally until I'm dead. Labor of love as you say. Would make a good conversation piece parked next to my shop...please convince my wife of that.
I like the Prairie Schooner. One came for sale here a few years ago for $2500. The construction was closer to a tank than the small hams I normally buy. So I passed on it.
I agree with vikx, most people shopping for vintage are searching for cute and easy to tow. But if there is a chance your wife will toss you out of the house for having too many projects going at once, a large camper may be more comfortable for you while living in the driveway.
Here's what I think BW should do. He clearly is drawn to the Prairie Schooner. It's talking to him. I know the feeling. Go see it, NOW. Walk in knowing you won't buy it until the spring, and maybe a grand in your pocket if that. Lowball him, if you are still interested. You have nothing to lose. Walk away and come back later. I see several goals here. First, you are curious, so go see it. Then you know exactly what you are after or not. Next, you can get a conversation/relationship started with the owner. This is key. Let some time go by and contact the seller even if it's off CL. IF it's still there, take your wife... and go see it. Then tell him you have to talk it over with the wife. Go back again later and bring your son,etc. Tell him you are still thinking about it. I think you know the drill. It's like buying a car. Get the relationship going and then come back multiple times. You have his number, so you can call him even if it's not on CL. But, you have to be ready to take the loss when it's really gone.
It's been there a while, so I would think he is going to be itchy to sell it. It's the off season IMHO for selling anything. Use that to your advantage. Not many people looking. So, the seller thinks no interest, but you are there.
At $2800 it's an expensive piece of yard art, but it would be in your court. Only you know how much you are willing to pay for it.
Last Edit: Jan 1, 2018 7:57:33 GMT -8 by Teachndad
"If there is no chance of failure, there is no point in doing it. It goes without saying it, I fail a lot.” - NCCamper
Thanks nccamper for your response on the Prairie Schooner. My wife got a chuckle when I read it to her. Even though you didn't consider it at the time, were you impressed with the trailer as a potentially good longer term project?
Who is the market for these bread box trailers anyway? I know they are worth quite a bit, but curious who buys them, and for what purpose??
Thanks Rod for the advice! I will take you up on that. When (if ever) we get a warm day on the Tundra, I'll pay him a visit and not wait until Spring. You are correct in that it is "talking to me"!
Not many folks are looking for breadloafs. They need a lot of vehicle to tow and take $$$ to repair, so cost more in the end. Take a look on eBay and see how many completed listings are for one and the price. Also, we had a restorer here who did a lot of work on this type of trailer, even fabricated a 'new' one to look old. Unfortunately, he also used modern counters, faucets and flooring which did NOT go over well with buyers. They are looking for VINTAGE. Conveniences can be easily hidden, so a trailer can work well without losing the charm.
Where you are makes a difference in selling. If vintage trailers are popular where you live, there is more of a chance one will sell. For instance, California has a lot of breadloafs, a good place to restore them.
Sorry to harp, but length really does make a difference. Spartan buyers are actually cutting the 31s and 33s down to around 24 feet. Spartans are in demand and the shorter the better.
Post by CorvettCrzy on Jan 3, 2018 19:13:23 GMT -8
bw Teachndad knows of what he speaks. He describes a familiar scenario. Ask me how I know.............. Go take a look at it, NOW, so it won't haunt you. Mull it over. Give him a call and ask a few questions. And. Then. The day you call and he tells you he's got a few people coming to take a look at it, and that he's been contacting restorers................................. snag, you're hooked, or not, but you'll know if it was meant to be. Just make sure you're happy to keep it as your own (based upon all the wise opinions already stated here).
CorvettCrzy - Did you mean the part when my wife kicked me out of the home and I lived in my camper for awhile?? Nccamper is right on with that quote! My wife and I made a deal last night. She is allowing me to spend a small sum of money each month on anything related to campers or cars of my choosing, otherwise she has to agree to the expenditure. I also get half of whatever I sell outright (cars, campers, our first born son, etc). The family income gets the other half. Sound fair to you??
So, in other words, I'm not buying that Prairie Schooner anytime soon unless you can convince her otherwise, or I sell something for quite a few bucks. Regardless if I can buy it or not, I plan to pay the Schooner a visit someday if the weather ever warms up. I will use the buyer tactics that you and Teachnad have suggested. And Vikx...this camper is only 23' so that fits the criteria of "short" correct?? I'm not giving up easily - can you tell?
Here's a compromise...how about the current owner sells me the trailer on a contract for deed, or "land contract" as some folks understand better. I pay him a modest down payment, and then a monthly installment within the budget my wife gives me. I get to visit the trailer on his property or move it to mine, whatever he prefers. I become the sole and rightful owner when I fulfill the contract. That way I don't risk losing out to a cash buyer now and fret the rest of my life over what could have been.
Post by 48spartanette on Jan 4, 2018 15:37:23 GMT -8
Another Minnesotan chiming in with my two cents. Go there with five crisp one hundred dollar bills. Say "Here's five hundo that's not currently in your pocket. Take it and I'll take this wreck off your hands." Once you get it home, then decide how far you want to take the restoration. If it's too daunting, part out what people could need. The two Bargman H20 handles and locksets will basically recoup your investment. Windows, fixtures, hinges, that tub, there's someone out there who needs all that stuff. Then, when you've reduced it to its frame (if you go that route), then use that chassis to build yourself up a modest but functional fish house, since you're living in the frozen north - same as me.