Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This is an ongoing story about a 1950's travel trailer and our efforts to restore it back to using condition. It chronicles our purchase of a "Canned Ham" and our attempts to bring it back to using condition to simply enjoy and have fun with.  I am not a woodworker or craftsman but I am going to try and get through the restoration process with a minimum of frustration and angst.  I did enjoy doing the bright work on our 28' sailboat over the years but have never done a lot with my hands or tools. We do have a wonderful network of folks who are handy and who are craftsman including some folks that have done incredible restorations of these fun little trailers. 

My wife and I first became acquainted with the Canned Hams in the 70's when we bought a 50's Shasta that we used at San Onofre Surfing Beach and on a road trip to Washington State (during the Mt. Saint Helen's eruption.  We loved the wood and the utility of it and eventually sold it for more then we paid for after a number of years.

My wife was in Utah this year and called to say she had found a trailer in a vacant lot very similar to our old one.  Looked fairly clean and intact.  Here's a picture of where she found it as they were just driving by:

There she a fellow's lot with shoe polish signs in the window
She sent me a phone picture and said they were asking $800.  I said offer five and see what they say.  Well they said yes to $500 and we were the new owners of (what they called) a 14' 1959 Shasta trailer.  Two new tires and a bearing repack and she towed it back  to our home on the eastern slope of the San Gabriel mountains.  We parked it out front of our house for easy access to work on it and started to inventory what we had to work with.  We bought a water/snow repellent cover as we live in an area that can get several feet of snow.  I also began to research what we had bought and how we were going to fix it up.

First thing I discovered when I checked the VIN number on the tongue was that this was no was a Catolac Deville that was made in El Monte, California.  If you believed the VIN number... it was made in 1952 but according to some folks who have worked on Deville's, they think the 1959 number might be accurate.   No matter to us but someday I would like to solve the mystery of when the trailer was actually built.  Here's a few more pictures from the Utah lot:

I told her to offer $500 cash and walk away if he didn't take it.    He took it
The paint job looks in pretty good shape and the body has small dings but nothing major.  The interior looked pretty good at first glance.  More on that to follow.

I'll post more pictures of our initial findings and how things have evolved.

I'll leave you with a picture taken on our front porch here at our place.  We are already blessed to live in a beautiful surrounded by nature.

Our morning coffee view....



  1. Sweet deal. Great price on a lovely trailer. Have fun!

  2. Thanks. Looking forward to making the trailer like it used to be.

  3. How wonderful!!! My husband and I looked at this trailer in Enoch Utah . I fell in love with it but we both felt it was too much work for us to undertake. I am so pleased it was sold and is being restored. Good luck!!

  4. Thanks. That might have been where my wife found it but I'm not sure. I know it was in Utah and near Cedar City. It's slow but sure. We thought we could just do some cleaning but looking under the paneling made us realize that we have to do some rebuilding. It's certainly a challenge as I am not real handy but I am determined.

  5. I just purchased a 1955 Catolac Deville. I am looking for measurements and photos for the baggage compartment door located towards the rear. Is there any way you could share them with me? A front, back and cross section of the door would be great! I want to give the guys at the sheet metal shop a running start with making me a new one.
    Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon:

  6. We just bought the same trailer, same year. But ours is in much rougher shape on the outside - pretty good on the inside.

    It will be years. You've done great work!

  7. where are you located? we are interested in this camper. thanks

  8. Where are these located. I'm looking for a small travel trailer

  9. I want this trailer!!

  10. I need this trailer to stay in

  11. I live in Canada .. I need this trailer for when I’m in the states to stay in wile I’m here for the winter’s