1 Of 20: 1937 Pierce-Arrow Travelodge

Camping is a popular way to take a vacation, and some of today’s campers and RVs are more like another home with full amenities.  But when camping trailers first started to come on the scene in the early 1900s, they were pretty basic compared to today’s standards!  Take a look at this 1937 Pierce-Arrow Model C Travelodge Trailer, one of only 20 known to exist, listed for sale here on eBay, with bidding currently over $6,000 with no reserve.

The first factory-built camper to be produced was around 1910, and the industry started slowly.  By 1930, only around 48 manufacturers of campers were known to exist.  Interestingly, it was the Great Depression that really helped sales take off – campers were a cheap way to take a vacation, or even for many people simply to have a place to live.  But by 1937, the year of this Pierce-Arrow, the list of camper builders had grown to over 400!  In fact, many car manufacturers entered the industry, and began to design and build campers to complement their line of vehicles.  This is one of those, and the style of this camper has the same luxury and quality that Pierce-Arrow was known for with its cars.

For being claimed as all-original, this example has certainly appeared to stand the test of time well, thanks in part to the use of aluminum.  While you can see a few dents, the only areas of corrosion appear to be on the bumper and window frames.  Even the seams and rivets appear to be in good shape.

The interior even looks to have held up well, with the only major issues being the chipped and peeling paint and delaminating countertop.  Although, that’s not surprising, considering it’s over 80 years old!  The camper still has its original sink, ice box (this was even before refrigerators were common in campers), and gas stove.  Even though it’s simple, you can tell this Pierce-Arrow was built to a high standard – electrical outlet, plenty of storage, an early hydraulic braking system that could be attached to the towing car, and even that cool pattern on the floor.

This is a fun, unique piece of early American history that is ready for an update and more trips!  If this was your camper, where is the first place you’d go?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Mark

    I’ve passed this along to the Pierce Arrow Transportation Museum in Buffalo, NY.
    https://pierce-arrow.com/

    Like 12
  2. David Byers

    I would attempt to keep it as original as possible. Just update it enough to make it livable and road worthy.

    Like 11
  3. Sam Shive

    As close to a tent as you can get.

    Like 9
  4. ChevelleSS

    That ‘cool pattern on the floor’ is “Linoleum” the predecessor of current PVC sheet flooring. Tough as nails and has the unique quality of being anti-bacterial because of slow out-gassing of the chemicals used in its manufacture.
    If that linoleum is undamaged, it would be great to clean it and keep it!

    Like 11
  5. greg

    But now I need a 1937 Pierce-Arrow to tow it

    Like 25
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I remember one of these being featured on here previously:
    https://barnfinds.com/airstream-alternative-1936-pierce-arrow-travelodge/

    Like 6
  7. RoyGbiv

    What a classic, yes! And it should be towed by a classic car or truck. But it needs a bit of haz-mat work, that peeling paint is probably lead paint. I hope the flooring is in good condition and could stay, otherwise you may have an asbestos problem. Cute rig, worth cleaning and sprucing up. It would be great to have a newer fridge rather than the icebox.

    Like 3
  8. BR

    It would look terrific with that mirror-like finish like others had, but I don’t think these ever had it to begin with. Address all the corrosion issues and give it several coats of argent over a good zinc chromate primer. A good restomod candidate – Dometic reefer & A/C, propane cook & heat, 2Kw inverter/gen, new 12v stuff, etc.

    Like 3
  9. Will Fox

    This is basically a blank slate from which a person could design a very economical ‘restoration’ with upgrades due to time/technology. New stove & fridge, design a fold-away bed setup, do something pleasing with the walls, then clean up the exterior. (Can that aluminum be polished like an Airstream?)

    Like 2
  10. Pookie Jamie

    I’m from Buffalo!!!! It was an honor to have a automobile manufacturing company in my hometown. And the museum today is amazing. Now I live in sunny Florida near Americas seaplane city. Tavares….best move I ever made. I can play golf year round!!!!

    Like 2
    • Eric B

      Jamie, congrats on the escape, but I hope you didn’t go from being a Buffalo Man to “Florida Man”. I haven’t escaped yet. Hoping to go out west, preferably the pnw someday. I dunno if you still have family here, but the winters have been way milder in recent years. Having said that, a few inches of wet snow is expected tonight LOL. My great grandfather worked at the pierce factory and I’m happy the first comment was that someone notified the museum of this. Would not be surprised if it ends up here.

      Like 2
      • Pookie Jamie

        I’m still a buffalo man…. I follow all the sports venues on tv, order and overnight buffalo food and all the buffalo condiments. I only been in Fla for 10 yrs and the food here downright sucks!

        Like 1
    • Eric B

      Ha nice. You should’ve headed west! What I left out is that yes, the winters have been milder…..but, it’s still Buffalo. So, meh.

      Like 1
  11. Steve RM

    Just…….Cool.

  12. Howie Mueler

    Same people that have the Disneyland tram.

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