Artist Roads 

Ramblings about Travels, Trailers & Paintings

Other Ratzlaff trailers photos I've found, not too many but a few. Paul with Vintage Camper Trailers actually owns one and someone showed another at the Pismo Beach Vintage Trailer Rally.

Rebuilding and Restoring my Ratzlaff "Car Trailer"

Newest photos of rebuild- Christmas. Two new boxes down the sides of 2x3 rather than 1x3 and a new curved front piece. I am quite proud of the results, wanting it to aesthetically look the same but be a stronger build than before.

I've also tracked down floral tin tiles to line the cover for the kitchen stove area. Previously it was wood only. Going with replacement of the brass painted and aged drawer pulls and locks and using stainless and chromed pieces- like sash locks and small door pulls. Rebuilding the doors themselves and researching new but vintage look tail lights as my husband, Rob, is running new electrical thru-out the trailer. I am now a totel advocate of Loctite construction glue.

 This little trailer is built on a metal trailer base and created from masonite, 1x2 and 1x3's and not much else. Ratzlaff had some neat ideas on balance and support (such as the chains for the two "clamshells" that hold the beds but as one can see below-not much underbelly support. I have added support beams underneath the entire trailer, rebuilt the side box frames and reglued and screwed the saveable parts. I am slowly (as it is like painting with tar) painting the entire bottom floor and frame with truck bed liner paint. Gross to work with, great to have. I know I'll be glad. I've polished most of the paint of the moon caps (who paints those? some later owner I suppose) and found new hardware for the kitchen area. and outside doors etc. Sanded and repainted the ice box floorboards and cleaned out the spider webs, pine cones, dust, and other "things"- it's a "barn find!"

Did find a stenciled "logo" inside one of the cabinets- and was so intrigued by the turned axle. it incorporates a corkscrew spring ...


1957 Ratzlaff Tent Trailer- original photos when found....

About a month ago, I came across a find on Craiglist Los Angeles, it was a crazy little handbuilt tent trailer dated 1957. 

The seller had done some vintage trailers and was wonderful to talk with. His wife, was kind enough to drive it down to a shopping center parking lot so the transport truck could get to it as they live in Northern Cali and their street was too narrow to get up to their home. It arrived at 11:30 PM and took till 1 AM to get it into the drive just because we had to back up the Xterra onto the transport trailer to hoist it down to the street (I did it!)  

A crank by the door turns a chain that cranks up the center roof. You flip the two clam sides out and woohoo- two beds on a set of springs! Mine has to have the roof built and the half back door as well as the canvas of the tent walls but I consider that small. I was ready for much more dirt, mouse nests, pine cones and spider webs as well as rotted wood than I really got so I am happy. I have started to rebuild the frame and the kitchen area. Strip the paint off the metal sections and back step and sand and primer it. It so cute! a mere 6 ft wide by 12.5 ft long bumper to front.

There is a swing out aluminum bowl that is the sink, a little heater under the flip up table and the original Griswold stove. It's pretty big though and I am trading it out for a smaller electric stove. I will forgo the big propane tank and use small ones and run a battery and invertor to cook and light the trailer. That gives me room for a bit of counter space in the "kitchen". There are two doors on the very front- one goes to storage, the other to the icebox. It has an additional opening inside the trailer of course too.

So I'm off! sanding and relining the boxes-beds up the sides. doing the same for the kitchen. Relining the edges of the outside and priming and painting. It will be stronger and clean once I get all done. Over 50 yrs of dirt and dust and...yuck to get rid of. Also strethening everything and sealing it up.

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