RV/MH Museum Introduces Historic Shasta Exhibit

Elkhart, Indiana-based RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum recently introduced its newest exhibit featuring a retrospective on the evolution of the iconic Shasta brand of travel trailers.

1954 Shasta display in the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
1954 Shasta display in the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The display includes a 1954 Shasta that’s been in the museum’s inventory for years and a 2015 reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc, courtesy of Mick Ferkey, owner of Greeneway RV, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and a member of the RV/MH Hall of Fame board of directors.

While the reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc has the look and style of the 1960s model, it is fully equipped with modern features and appliances, including a full bath, according to an RV/MH Hall of Fame press release.

“Shasta has a rich heritage and is the industry’s longest producer of RVs. The brand has been in continuous product since its founding in 1941,” said Darryl Searer, president, RV/MH Hall of Fame.

“When Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta ‘house trailer’ to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry—or that the little trailers would spark wanderlust in Americans that would carry them across the miles and into the next century.”

The evolution of the Shasta display in the museum actually began when Mark Lucas, president/general manager, Shasta RV, a division of Forest River, noticed a yellow and white 1961 Shasta for sale sitting in a front yard, just up the road from his office in Middlebury, Indiana.

1954 Shasta (left) and 2015 Reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc (right)
1954 Shasta (left) and 2015 Reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte 16sc (right)

“I’ve always been a car guy. I’ve restored and customized a bunch of older cars. My wife has a 1960 Cadillac convertible with a white interior,” said Lucas.

“So when I ran across that 1961 Shasta I envisioned towing the restored 1961 Shasta behind my wife’s car. I bought it and brought it to the factory.”

As it turns out, a restoration was not as easy as Lucas first thought.

“We started to pull it apart and discovered it had aluminum water tank and aluminum water line, so I said, ‘Pull it out and we’ll replace it’,” Lucas continued.

“They said, ‘It’s got that old style wiring,’ so I said, ‘Pull that out and replace it.’

Lucas’ crew kept pulling it apart until they ended up with a bare frame. He laughed and added, “That wasn’t part of the plan—my wife’s going to be pretty mad. I got with our engineer Mark Dunithan, and we started researching parts and found that about 80 percent of what we needed was readily available.”

Dunithan suggested to Lucas that they just build a brand new one for him.

But rather than just building one, they came up with the idea of building 1,941 in honor of Shasta’s first year.

Lucas said, “There were some things that were hard to find. We had to get a casting made for the Shasta emblem on the front, and we replicated the door handles. Vendors really stepped up for us. For example, Hehr International, an RV window manufacturer, remade those awning style windows for us.”

Cadillac_ShastaLucas unveiled the 2015 reissue of a 1961 Shasta Airflyte on the opening day of 2014 RV Open House, and by noon the next day, the complete product run was completely sold out.

It was during the RV Open House that board member Mick Ferkey noticed the product and fell in love with it. Ferkey knew the museum already owned 1954 Shasta and thought a display of the 1954 Shasta alongside the reissue of the 1961 could be an exciting and educational exhibit for museum visitors.

The problem was that Shasta limited sales of the new model only to its own dealers, and Ferkey was not a Shasta dealer.

Ferkey talked to Lucas about his idea and ended up convincing him selling him one for display in the museum.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Lucas said.

“One thing that I’m honored to do is to direct such an iconic brand such as Shasta. So to have our reissue of the 1961 Shasta Airflyte sit beside a 1954 Shasta at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum is exciting, and it’s also humbling.”

Museum visitors will find the new exhibit in the Go RVing Hall and will be able to compare the advances in enhancements to the RV lifestyle between these two historic travel trailers.

2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.
2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.

Worth Pondering…

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

—Les Brown

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Shasta Reintroduces 1961 Airflyte

Shasta RV  will take customers back in time with the introduction of the 1961-style Airflyte at this year’s Elkhart Open House September 16.

2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.
2014 limited edition Shasta Airflyte in production.

The travel trailer, which has been updated to comply with current RV Industry Association (RVIA) codes, and features modern appliances, was designed in honor of the company’s 75th anniversary.

It will be a limited edition run of 1,941 trailers to commemorate the company’s first year in business. It will be available to RV dealers on a first-come, first served basis.

“It’s not a retro unit,” Mark Lucas, president of Shasta RV, told RV Daily Report.

“It’s a re-issue based on the original print pack from 1961.”

The project has been underway for eight months. Most of the parts remanufactured for this unit will fit an original 1961 version, said Lucas.

“We are building to current RVIA codes and using modern air conditioners, microwaves, stereos, furnaces, etc.,” he explained.

“Hehr windows has dusted off their tooling and is making jalousie windows for us and Amerimax is making the log cabin siding.

“Parked side by side, it is hard to tell the new from the original,” said Lucas.

Original yellow Shasta Airflyte
Original yellow Shasta Airflyte

The company plans on producing the trailers beginning in September with hopes of having them on dealers lots immediately following production.

Colors offered will be polo white with matador red, polo white with sea foam green (turquoise), and polo white with butternut yellow. Interior colors will match the exterior.

“The exterior colors are as close to original as possible,” said Lucas.

This floor plan is very similar to a 16SC, although the company has added a wet bath and increased the size of the front dinette to a full bed, not the small twin found in the original. There is a gaucho across the back.

The trailer will practically sleep three, but may increase to four when accommodating small children.

The weight will be in the 2,000-pound range, which means it can be towed by SUVs, mini-vans, full-size cars, and collector cars as well, Lucas explained.

Shasta is designing a new bunk model floor plan with the same dinette and full bed, but with two bunks in the back. This unit will also feature a wet bath.

“It is truly a re-issue,” said Lucas.

“I bought a 1961 Airflyte for my wife, and this is as close to the original as possible. From the frame, drop axle, 15-inch wheels all the way to the one piece metal roof which is bent around the edge, we painstakingly tried to replicate the original.”

The magazine rack, chrome emblem, drip caps, gas lamp, and metal countertop edging will all be included in the reissued unit.

The Airflyte will be formally unveiled September 16 at the Shasta section of the Forest River display.

Original red Shasta Airflyte
Original red Shasta Airflyte

Please Note: The above information is courtesy RV Daily Report

Details

Shasta Recreational Vehicles

Shasta RV, established in 1941, manufactures Oasis, Revere, and Flyte travel trailers, and Phoenix and Revere fifth wheels.

In 1941, when Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta “house trailer” to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry.

In the 1950s and 60s, the toaster-on-wheels look of the original Shasta trailer was the most recognizable shape on the road. There were other RV brands, but only Shasta was distinguished by those wings that signified flight and freedom.

Today, 70 years and three generations of Shasta owners later, Americans have the desire to travel like never before. Motivated by the rediscovery of our families and renewal of ourselves, we still respond to the call of the road.

In terms of product, the company has come a long way from the “toasters-on-wheels”.

Today’s Shastas have sleek profiles and amenities that were unimaginable a generation ago. Yet, it is the memorable image of the little trailer with wings that brings each of us something no other manufacturer has to offer: nostalgia.

Mailing Address: Shasta RV, c/o Forest River, Inc., PO Box 3030, 55470 CR 1, Elkhart, IN 46515

Physical Address: 105 CR 14, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-7178

Website: www.shastarving.com

Worth Pondering…

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are MISinformed.

—Mark Twain

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History of RVing: How RVs Evolved

Today’s recreational vehicles are truly luxury homes on wheels, with options for pretty much every amenity a person could want. But they haven’t always been that way.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a  museum in Elkhart, Indiana that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a museum in Elkhart, Indiana that features a variety of historical recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For almost as long as there have been automobiles, recreational vehicles have been traversing America’s roads. In 1910, there were few gas stations, few paved roads, and no highway system. But there were RVs. 1910 is the year that America’s leading RV historians cite as the beginning of what has become the modern RV industry.

Drivers began making camping alterations to cars almost as soon as they were introduced. The first RV was Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau, which debuted at Madison Square Garden in 1910. Camping trailers made by Los Angeles Trailer Works and Auto-Kamp Trailers also rolled off the assembly line beginning in 1910.

The Tin Can Tourists, named because they camped by the side of the road and heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves by the roadside, formed the first RV camping club in the United States, holding their inaugural rally in Florida in 1919 and growing to 150,000 members by the mid-1930s. They had an initiation; an official song, “The More We Get Together;” and a secret handshake.

The crash of 1929 and the Depression dampened the popularity of RVs, although some people used travel trailers, which could be purchased for $500 to $1,000, as inexpensive homes.

The 1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar at  the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1928 Pierce Arrow Fleet Housecar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Streamline design that used aircraft-style construction first captured the American imagination in the 1930s, when smooth, continuous, shiny aluminum skins were found to increase efficient movement.

At that time a series of smooth, sleek, and shiny aluminum aerodynamic travel trailers designed by American entrepreneurs make their way to the marketplace: Bowlus Road Chief, Airstream, Streamline, Silver Streak, Avion, Spartan Manor, and Plymouth House Car. The only manufacturer to survive the economic conditions of the time was Airstream.

The Bowlus Road Chief was created in the 1930s by aviation designer, Hawley Bowlus (he also built the Spirit of St. Louis). But only 80 were produced before World War II shut down production.

Rationing during World War II stopped production of RVs for consumer use, although some companies converted to wartime manufacturing, making units that served as mobile hospitals, prisoner transports, and morgues.

After the war, the RV industry flourished as more Americans sought mobility. The burgeoning interstate highway system offered a way to go far fast and that combination spurred a second RV boom that lasted through the 1960s.

The 1929 Wiedman Housecar at the  RV/MH Hall of Fame  museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1929 Wiedman Housecar at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Built between 1941 and 2004, Shasta travel trailers were originally constructed as housing for the United States Armed Forces. One of their identifying features is the “wings,” which are located on the rear sides of the trailer.

Motorized RVs started to become popular in the late 1950s, but they were expensive luxury items that were far less popular than trailers. That changed in 1967 when Winnebago began mass-producing what it advertised as “America’s first family of motor homes,” five models from 16 to 27 feet long, which sold for as little as $5,000.

The names echo through the decades, brands that once epitomized the post-war travel spirit.

They catch your attention when you see them on the road. Known by brand names that have vanished in the past―or stayed around because of their legendary design―these campers and travel trailers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s mark a different era.

Is it any wonder that retro RVs are making a strong comeback?

RVers old and new are investing in either fixing up retro RVs or buying them used. Some older models, like the Airstream, last for decades. Some Airstream owners have been using their trailer for over four decades.

The 1974 GMC Motor Home at the  RV/MH Hall of Fame  museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 1974 GMC Motor Home at the RV/MH Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old two-lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing one line of a four-line couplet—and the obligatory fifth sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Here is one of the actual signs:

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

Did this bring back any old memories?

If not, you’re merely a child.

If they do—then you’re old as dirt—LIKE ME!

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Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer

Meghan Ackerman is the entrepreneur behind Cadillac Coffee, a stylishly renovated retro trailer she pulls behind her ’57 Cadillac.

Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Source: chron.com)
Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Source: chron.com)

She serves gourmet coffee, kolaches, pastries, pies, and various other beverages to hip and eager customers from her vintage 1963 Shasta trailer.

Her company motto is “Fueling your day one cup at a time,” and that is just what they have been doing since starting up business earlier this year.

Every cup of coffee is made with beans from Big Bend Coffee roasters in Marfa, Texas.

Ever since she was a child, Ackerman was obsessed with classic cars, motorcycles, and other vintage finds.

Growing up next door to a junk yard in Illinois, wrenching and old steel always has seemed perfectly normal to her, and she was busy getting her hands dirty under the hood early on.

She has owned one classic car or another for a large part of her life, and right now she drives a vintage Cadillac named Marilyn.

Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Credit: Molly Dunn/ blogs.houstonpress.com)
Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Credit: Molly Dunn/ blogs.houstonpress.com)

“I have owned and wrenched on a pre-’64 car for the last 15 years of my life. My current love is my ’57 Cadillac Series 62 I bought from my uncle after I helped him restore her,” Ackerman told Houston Chronicle.

A former burlesque performer and instructor, Ackerman loves all things vintage and has dabbled in pinup modeling.

Her affinity for the classics doesn’t end in her personal life, though, and her killer Caddy is not the only classic set of wheels she currently is driving.

Currently, there are four specialty concoctions available, each with a classic car-themed name describing the drink’s ingredients, like the Trailer Queen or The Burnout.

With the food-truck trend sweeping the nation and taking the foodie scene by storm, there are plenty of mobile eateries for consumers to try, but Ackerman knew she had to take it on with her own retro style and opted to get a vintage trailer she could pull behind her car rather than using a modern, stand-alone unit.

Ackerman and her Cadillac Coffee team were at the Lone Star Round Up Rod and Kustom show earlier this month. They were vending at the huge annual event just outside of Austin for the first time, although most days she can be found selling her goodies in and around Houston at various locations, depending on the week’s schedule.

Moving from New Orleans in 2012 to the Houston area, Ackerman has made herself at home, enthusiastically saying, “I love this city!”

Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Credit: Molly Dunn/ blogs.houstonpress.com)
Cadillac Coffee Fuels Your Day One Cup At a Time in a Vintage Shasta Trailer (Credit: Molly Dunn/ blogs.houstonpress.com)

“We offer service with a hot smile and a ton of style.”

In addition to bringing home-baked goods and quality coffee to the masses and wrenching to keep her classic vehicles in good running order, Ackerman is happy to help encourage women to get involved in the car scene.

She said, “We need more girls in the driver seat.”

Worth Pondering…

Just the other day, I was in my neighborhood Starbucks, waiting for the post office to open. I was enjoying a chocolatey cafe mocha when it occurred to me that to drink a mocha is to gulp down the entire history of the New World. From the Spanish exportation of Aztec cacao, and the Dutch invention of the chemical process for making cocoa, on down to the capitalist empire of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the lifestyle marketing of Seattle’s Starbucks, the modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top.”
―Sarah Vowell

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Vintage Camping Trailers & Retro Hobby

Residents of Cleveland, Texas, Niki and Teresa Coats, have restored vintage camper trailers for much of the past five years.

Niki and Teresa Coats are restorers of vintage RVs. They have two restored RVs in their collection so far. (Credit: Vanesa Brashier/yourhoustonnews.com)

This retro hobby stems from an extreme curiosity of Teresa’s, which led to the purchase of their first travel trailer in 2007, a 1963 Little Gem, reports Your Houston News.

After years of wear and tear, this trailer required complete restoration. As a result of high humidity in the Piney Woods of East Texas, the damage appeared throughout the interior, as well as the exterior, causing new paint to be necessary in the restoration process. This restoration project took them almost an entire year to complete.

In an effort to maintain authenticity, the Coats salvaged everything that could be saved, which included most of the metal amenities.

All the wooden features were replaced with stained birch wood, while the exterior was coated with turquoise and white paint.

Teresa then opted for Historic Route 66 as a theme for the Little Gem, decorating both the interior and exterior with vintage pieces purchased specifically with this theme in mind, according to Your Houston News.

During restoration on the Little Gem, they remained on the lookout for a Shasta. Shasta travel trailers have become a favorite among campers all over the country, both for their low prices as well as for their many distinctive characteristics.

The Little Gem, the first of Niki and Teresa Coats’ vintage trailers, is decorated with a Route 66 theme for shows. (Credit: Vanesa Brashier/yourhoustonnews.com)

Built between 1941 and 2004, they were originally constructed as housing for the United States Armed Forces. One of their identifying features is the “wings,” which are located on the rear sides of the trailer. The wings were often stolen from older models, making it difficult to find a Shasta with original wings.

The Coats’ search for the Shasta finally paid off when Teresa found a 1958 Shasta AirFlyte, with the original wings, for sale online.

Upon finding it, they drove to Oklahoma City and pulled it back home. Fortunately, they were able to keep the Shasta AirFlyte almost completely original, since it was previously restored and had been very well maintained, a sharp contrast from the Little Gem.

For the Shasta, Teresa chose vintage Hawaiian as the theme and used yellow and white as the color scheme.

They are able to show off their hard work, on what Teresa often refers to as her “babies,” at vintage trailer rallies that are usually held in Central Texas, which they attend at least twice a year, Your Houston News reports.

During these rallies, a large network of vintage camper enthusiasts get together, camp, and share their experiences with each other.

While bigger rallies include competitions in which the trailers are judged, the Coats prefer smaller rallies, usually consisting of about 20 trailers in a group, where they attend solely for the experience and the people that they meet along the way.

The Coats had only to do minor work on the 1958 Shasta AirFlyte traier. The trailer is shown in the photo as the Coats stage it for shows. (Credit: Vanesa Brashier/yourhoustonnews.com)

“I really feel like we’ve rescued them,” said Teresa of the vintage trailers.

While many modern-day camper enthusiasts have added amenities such as electronics, laptops, and even cable TV, in some instances, Niki and Teresa have chosen to revive them in a way that highlights the nostalgia within. While they cannot completely go off-the-grid the way some campers can, these camping experiences help rescue them from the day-to-day grind of modern day life.

Worth Pondering…

Every river makes a journey.

Twisting and turning.

Flowing down canyons, across meadows, past cities and towns.

Joining with streams and creeks and other rivers, to eventually end in the sea.

A river is a traveler.

And as any traveler knows, some parts of a trip are more memorable than others.

—Anon

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Shasta RV Introduces Phoenix Fifth Wheel

Middlebury, Indiana-based Shasta RV, a division of Forest River Inc., introduces their all new Phoenix mid-profile and Super mid-profile fifth wheels, to rave reviews, at this year’s Elkhart Open House.

Chadd Johnson, most recently of CrossRoads RV, is the Product Manager for all Phoenix products and is responsible for sales across Canada.

“The Phoenix is a uniquely constructed, incredible value-added fifth wheel. We have instilled a creative thinking process in our team, and have invested the extra effort to be inventive and attentive to details,” states Johnson, who has called on Daric Fail to handle sales in the Southern U.S. and Kris Lash to cover the Northwest.

“The response to the product was unbelievable. We had dealers standing three and four deep just to get inside. Dealers made positive comments and complimented the overall unique look and feel, as well as the commitment to our value-added design and construction method,” remarks Mark Lucas, President of Shasta RV, in a news release.

The Phoenix utilizes a mechanically-fastened, 16 inch on center, six-sided aluminum cage for its construction. Tongue and groove plywood covers the floor structure, while a rolled edge roof caps off the modern-colored, hung fiberglass exterior.

“This product will compete directly with the current mid-profile products on the market, but we’ve integrated features and eye-appeal normally found at much higher price points,” continued Lucas.

Features such as wide-body construction, unique wall treatments and luxurious leather style furniture is all standard equipment. The designer-inspired bathroom also received fabulous reviews, according to the news release.

“Most people inherently want to feel they have something unique and special. We deliver that wish, and then some, without asking them to pay $60,000 to do so,” continues Johnson.

Shasta Phoenix fifth wheel

“Most products in the mid-profile segment all look the same, and are all built the same. We instead, invest time and expense in the best possible construction, and pair that with a contemporary interior and class-leading exterior design. This fifth wheel is sure to have a broad appeal.”

Phoenix fifth wheels will range from 27 to 34 feet in length and MSRPs will start around $30,000.

“Based on the dealer response, our confidence in Chadd, this product and the entire team, we are securing an additional 55,000 sq. ft. production facility solely for the purpose of meeting the demand and define our dedication to the Pheonix product line under Shasta,” says Lucas.

The company anticipates hiring approximately 75 new employees by year’s end.

Details

Shasta Recreational Vehicles

Shasta RV, established in 1941, manufactures Oasis, Revere, and Freeport travel trailers, Phoenix fifth wheels, and destination trailers.

In 1941, when Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta “house trailer” to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry.

In the 1950s and 60s, the toaster-on-wheels look of the original Shasta trailer was the most recognizable shape on the road. There were other RV brands, but only Shasta was distinguished by those wings that signified flight and freedom.

Today, 70 years and three generations of Shasta owners later, Americans have the desire to travel like never before. Motivated by the rediscovery of our families and renewal of ourselves, we still respond to the call of the road.

In terms of product, the company has come a long way from the “toasters-on-wheels”.

Today’s Shastas have sleek profiles and amenities that were unimaginable a generation ago. Yet, it is the memorable image of the little trailer with wings that brings each of us something no other manufacturer has to offer: nostalgia.

Mailing Address: Shasta RV, c/o Forest River, Inc., PO Box 3030, 55470 CR 1, Elkhart, IN 46515

Physical Address: 105 CR 14, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-7178

Website: shastarving.com

Worth Pondering…

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper you are MISinformed.

—Mark Twain

Read More

Shasta RV Introduces 2013 Product Lineup

Middlebury, Indiana-based Shasta RV, a division of Forest River Inc., announces the introduction of its completely redesigned lineup of products and newly assembled management and sales team.

“We’ve built an enthusiastic and highly qualified team, with long-standing dealer relationships,” said Shasta President Mark Lucas in a news release.

Todd Schmitz, formerly with Heartland RV’s Prowler division, is the product manager for Revere and Oasis while Kevin Combs, Dan Gill and Kris Lash handle sales for all of North America.

The Revere, a conventionally built, wood-and-aluminum trailer line and the current flagship for the company, has a new exterior look, higher-end interior decors, wide-track axles, under-mounted sinks, recessed stoves, and rounded interior walls.

In addition to travel trailers, Revere will also offer three fifth wheel floor plans.

“We’ve not only stayed true to the features customers have come to expect, such as seven-foot interior heights and extra deep slides, but also value added items not normally seen in this conservative price point,” said Schmitz.

“These fifth-wheels are a nice upgrade for customers who want extra amenities, increased storage, and longer range towing, but don’t want to stray from this price point,” said Schmitz.

Shasta Revere exterior

Destination trailers are also new for this year, and include wide body construction, eight-foot interior heights, residential kitchens and fiberglass front caps all as standard equipment.

Each of the three Revere segments is available with optional fiberglass exterior walls.

The “aggressively repositioned” Oasis is eight-feet wide and available in five floor plans.

“Instead of playing games with packages, discounts, and long lists of options, we’ve included everything you need as standard equipment, and eliminated any fluff in the pricing,” said Schmitz.

“This is not just an LE or a Limited Edition trailer you can only buy once a year or in limited numbers, but rather has been designed and built from the ground up to be a show-stopper, sure to generate traffic and retail sales year round.”

Lucas added, “Success is great-looking, well-built product at an aggressive price. Other companies only focus on 30 or 40 units being produced each day. We will focus on each individual one and pay attention to the details. Volume will be the reward for our efforts, but not the primary focus.”

All Shasta products will be on display at this year’s America’s Greatest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Elkhart County RV Open House, along with the RV Dealers International Convention/Expo in Las Vegas and the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Details

Shasta Recreational Vehicles

Shasta Revere interior

Shasta RV, established in 1941, manufactures Oasis travel trailers and Revere travel trailers, fifth wheels, and destination trailers.

In 1941, when Californian Robert Gray built the first Shasta “house trailer” to be used as mobile military housing, he had no idea his homes on wheels would play a major role in establishing a billion-dollar industry.

In the 1950s and 60s, the toaster-on-wheels look of the original Shasta trailer was the most recognizable shape on the road. There were other RV brands, but only Shasta was distinguished by those wings that signified flight and freedom.

Today, 70 years and three generations of Shasta owners later, Americans have the desire to travel like never before. Motivated by the rediscovery of our families and renewal of ourselves, we still respond to the call of the road.

In terms of product, the company has come a long way from the “toasters-on-wheels”.

Today’s Shastas have sleek profiles and amenities that were unimaginable a generation ago. Yet, it is the memorable image of the little trailer with wings that brings each of us something no other manufacturer has to offer: nostalgia.

Mailing Address: Shasta RV, c/o Forest River, Inc., PO Box 3030, 55470 CR 1, Elkhart, IN 46515

Physical Address: 105 CR 14, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-7178

Website: shastarving.com

Worth Pondering…

Not I, not anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself.

—Walt Whitman

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Flyte Camp: Restoring Vintage Trailers a Work of Art

You see an old ’50s-era travel trailer sitting forgotten in a field somewhere and wonder what it would be like to fix it up and have your own mobile vacation home.

Flyte Camp Vintage Travel Trailer Restoration. (Credit: Steve Pierce Photography/flytecamp.com)

That’s the dream, anyway.

In reality, restoring that vintage travel trailer could turn into a money-sucking nightmare once you realize all that needs to be done—it needs to be gutted, stripped, rewired, rebuilt, re-skinned, and repainted before it’s ready to hit the road. Throw in new tires, propane, cabinetry, any number of hardware fixes and you might be thinking a motel sounds pretty good.

But 39-year-old Justin Scribner of Bend, Oregon is undaunted by such challenges, reports OregonLive.com.

A former flooring contractor who fell in love with restoring vintage trailers about 15 year ago when he bought one on a whim, Scribner now counts among his clients an Oscar-winning sound engineer, a top executive at Ralph Lauren, and a luxury hotelier in New York.

Scribner has turned the expensive hobby of fixing up mid-century travel trailers into a lucrative and internationally recognized business called Flyte Camp (named for their first trailer, the Shasta Airflyte).

And while ’50s and ’60s Airstreams have received considerable attention in the vintage RV world, Scribner and his crew at Flyte Camp have a penchant for the lesser-known travel trailers from the ’30s through the ’50s.

Found in “rough shape” a complete overhaul at Flyte Camp had this 1948 Westcraft Sequoia trailer looking good as new. (Credit: flytecamp.com)

For Scribner, and many other collectors around the world, the trailers are nothing less than works of art.

“It was 100 percent craftsmanship back then,” he says. “They were done by hand, and it didn’t matter how long it took. They were true craftsmen and finish woodworkers. They were experimenting through all those years and there was so much limitless change. The bottom line was to make people happy.”

“We have a lot of trailer owners who buy something out in the field” or online, Scribner told OregonLive.com, “and literally get halfway through tearing the thing apart and panic. People don’t always understand how these things were built in the factory.”

Restoring vintage trailers is not for the fainthearted.

That’s one reason Flyte Camp is in high demand and quickly earning a reputation as one of the best vintage RV restoration shops in the United States. Customers as far away as Hong Kong and Chile are shipping their coaches to Scribner’s shop, where the painstaking, factory-fresh level of craftsmanship captured the attention of the Travel Channel show “Extreme RVs.”

Another, featuring a 1948 Spartan Manor, has been filming since May and is expected to wrap in July; that episode is set to run in the summer of 2013.

The Travel Channel will also begin filming a pilot episode for a reality show on the Flyte Camp vintage trailer restoration process in a couple of weeks. They will follow Scribner on “the hunt,” the retrieval trips, and throughout the restorations of various trailers.

Scribner and his wife, Anna, who runs the business side of things, say they now field about 100 calls and emails per week about vintage trailers.

“It’s not easy to get back to everybody because we are trying to work at the same time,” Scribner says. “But it’s amazing to us how many people are getting into this.”

Today, Flyte Camp employs six people and operates out of a 7,000-square-foot shop. At any given time crews are working on six or seven trailers with old-time brand names like Westwood, Westcraft, Anderson, and Curtis Wright.

Flyte Camp retored this 1950 Traveleze vintage travel trailer. (Credit: flytecamp.com)

All interior design work, metal fabrication, frame work, window, flooring, plumbing, electrical, and propane work are done on site. Upholstery and exterior paint are outsourced, Scribner says.

Typically, a restoration involves removing the metal shell, taking out the old electrical system, assessing the wood frame and the interior paneling (usually Douglas fir and/or birch but sometimes mahogany). If there is water damage or rot, the crew will sometimes strip everything down to the frame and start from scratch.

Scribner says he’s happy to be an integral part of what he sees as a growing trend.

“People are putting their money into this so that their family has something they can share together. That’s what this is about for us. Our love for vintage trailers and saving something old is something that will never go away.”

Details

Flyte Camp

Flyte Camp is a full service restoration shop located in Bend, Oregon.

They have a 6,000 square foot facility, for woodworking, appliance restoration, plumbing, electrical, and running systems with a new 1000 square foot annex for body work and polishing, along with a large fenced storage lot.

They have a seven person crew, experienced in every aspect of building and design, plus several skilled subcontractors that they work closely with.

Address: 170 SE 9th St., Bend, OR  97702 (by appointment only)

Phone: (541) 639-6141

Website: flytecamp.com

Worth Pondering…

From wonder into wonder, existence opens.

—Lao Tzu

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An Airstream for the Birds

When Chris Cummings started making birdhouses in his spare time six years ago, he thought he was just combining his love for Airstream trailers with his lifelong passion for art, the ReporterNews.com recently reported.

Little did he know the Airstream birdhouses would later be selling faster than he could make them, featured in international magazines, and shooting to a level of popularity that required him to copyright his unique creation.

Cummings, the 52-year-old owner of The Paint Center in Abilene, Texas taught himself to re-create the iconic design of an Airstream trailer in miniature form, cutting a hole in the side to make it a home for birds.

He recalled the day he first had the idea to create the birdhouse. He realized the potential of an Airstream-themed birdhouse while looking at an antique birdhouse in a local store. Out to dinner with his wife, Kim, that night, he told her he had a brilliant idea but was unsure of how to execute it, according to ReporterNews.com.

“I didn’t know how to use the aluminum the way I wanted to,” Cummings said. “The Airstream has this very distinct look on the edges, I didn’t know at first how I would pull it off.”

Cummings said that in the middle of the night he was jolted awake with an idea for the perfect method to mimic the Airstream design in miniature form.

After manufacturing a few with the help of Abilene Mill Works, he started selling them on eBay, he said, and Airstream enthusiasts were falling over themselves to get their hands on a bird house.

Before too long, people were bidding more than $500 on the auction website for a birdhouse, Cummings said.

The Airstream Birdhouse (Credit: chromedomestudio.com)

Once the novelty wore off and there were more of his creations in the marketplace, he said he had to find a sweet spot for pricing.

The vintage aluminum Airstream birdhouse trailer can now be purchased online for $69.95, reports ReporterNews.com.

In a way, the business started long before he ever made the first Airstream birdhouse. Growing up, Cummings and his dad would take a couple of weeks each summer to go camping in the family’s 19-foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer.

“I was watching a travel show once and I saw an Airstream trailer,” he said. “It just took me right back to my childhood.”

The sleek, sturdy construction of the Airstream trailer dictated every aspect of the construction of the birdhouse, he said.

“Airstream trailers are so well-made, I wanted that to be reflected in the bird house versions. About 70 percent of Airstreams are still on the road today because they’re so well-made. That was my inspiration.”

Even though he doesn’t have his own trailer, Cummings said making the birdhouses has been a good way to stay involved in the Airstream culture, according to ReporterNews.com.

“This is a good way to stay connected,” he said of the birdhouse business. “There’s a lot of cool people who are into collecting or restoring Airstreams.”

Cummings says his long-term goal is to have a complete line of creative products that are structured around his love for vintage trailers. Currently, he has three products—the original Airstream birdhouse, a canned ham birdhouse modeled after the popular Shasta trailer, and a photo frame modeled after the classic Airstream look.

The birdhouse is the thing that started it all. The Airstream dog house came later. (Credit: chromedomestudio.com)

He chose to recreate the Shasta after the Airstream because it is another popular model. The thing that makes the Shasta so recognizable, Cummings said, is the aluminum siding is crinkled. His birdhouse has the same effect, he said, and he is currently working on the prototype to add to his online store.

Cummings hopes to re-create birdhouse versions of the most popular three or four travel trailers on the road.

Although the birdhouses continue to grow in popularity, he said he doesn’t plan on giving up the paint business anytime soon.

The birdhouses allow him to make a living through his store while keeping his creative juices flowing, he said. He claims to be an artist at heart.

Details

Chrome Dome Studio

Website: chromedomestudio.com

Worth Pondering…
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

—Anon

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Vintage Shasta Sits Poolside

Larry Fletcher, a welding supply salesman, spotted the Shasta near Longview, Texas.

It was just the sort of vintage travel trailer his wife, Sherry, wanted to park poolside as a cabana at their home in Richardson, north of Dallas.

After Fletcher bought the trailer, he took his time sprucing it up keeping everything close to original. He added new upholstery and polished the original birch wood interior.

“I kept it a secret for four months, and every time I went through the Longview area, I’d stop to check on the progress,” Fletcher told Dallas Morning News.

Shasta started making trailers to house members of the military in 1941 and later produced travel trailers. Originally constructed in a factory in Los Angeles, their high quality and low price made them a favorite with campers all over the western United States.

In 1958, Shasta built a production facility in Goshen, Indiana. At some point in time, Shasta trailers were produced by Shasta Industries, a division of the W.R. Grace Company. The “wings” on the rear sides were a visible identifier in the 1960s and beyond.

The name was sold to Coachmen Industries in 1976. Coachman marketed Shasta branded travel trailers until 2004. Only vintage trailers were available until 2008 when the brand was reintroduced complete with its identifying wings.

Larry Fletcher and his wife, Sherry, share memories in their renovated 1963 10-foot Shasta travel trailer. (Source: Ben Torres, Dallas Morning News)

The new trailers have updated art deco interiors and are all electric. Their features include stainless steel microwaves, stainless steel sinks, and mini blinds, hot plate cook-tops, wet baths, and cutting edge entertainment features including a 19-inch LCD television.

The vintage models are often coveted today.

Then, one Christmas night, Larry showed up at home with the 1963 10-foot travel trailer in tow.

The family heard the trailer pulling up, and everyone in the house ran outside cheering. No one was more excited than Sherry. Larry had, one more time in their marriage, made her dreams come true, Dallas Morning News reported.

Larry welcomed everyone into the petite rolling digs filled with glorious vintage details and “Coppertone Brown” mini-appliances. The Shasta was christened with a Champagne toast.

“I had the Shasta all lit up and Dean Martin’s ‘That’s Amore’ playing,” Larry said.

“I was so surprised,” Sherry stated. “It was the best surprise ever.”

The Fletchers love to entertain. Their collection of antique and neon signs and memorabilia surrounds the decks and pool.

Sherry is an outside sales manufacturer’s representative and owns the Pink Flamingo, a vintage clothing shop in McKinney. Her creative talents are seen in the Shasta décor.

Scalloped shelves in the trailerette are lined with flamingos and turquoise treasures to carry out the retro tropical color scheme.

1962 Shasta Airflyte (Source: vintageshasta.net)

Sitting side by side inside the Shasta with the birch wood table popped up, talking about all of the good times related to this little party shack on wheels, it’s easy to see that life is only as fun as the wagons, friends, romance and memories that you hitch up, concluded Dallas Morning News.

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Worth Pondering…
That’s Amore

When the moon hits your eye
Like a big-a pizza pie
That’s amore
When the world seems to shine
Like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amore

When the stars make you drool
Joost-a like pasta fazool
That’s amore

Lucky fella

—lyrics by Jack Brooks and Harry Warren; sung by Dean Martin

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