Glamping Potential: Pilot Panther Showman’s Caravan

You may think the term “glamping” is annoying (I’ll admit to not loving it), but it’s definitely a trend and a potential money maker for the savvy camper builder. The idea of making camping more laden with creature comforts is one I can get on board with, and this rare 1950s Pilot Panther showman’s caravan could be the perfect foundation on which to build the next Airbnb sensation. Find it here on eBay for £5,500 or best offer.

The Pilot Panther features all-alloy construction, which helps explain its high levels of preservation despite looking like it’s lived in the hedges for the past 30 years. According to the website Canopy and Stars, “The Pilot Panther is a classic 1950 showman’s wagon originally built by Pilot Caravans in Telford, which became Torton Bodies Ltd in 1961.” That website actually features more info about one of the only other surviving Pilot Panthers that is a popular destination for glamping enthusiasts in Scotland.

Now, the interior of the Pilot Panther is currently anything but glamorous, but the details you can see are impressive. Look at that curved glass surrounding what appear to be shelves – that’s a seriously high level of detail for a camper / trailer made in the 1950s. Every other surface inside looks quite tired, but nothing is past the point of restoration, in my opinion – it’s hard to be sure, but it doesn’t appear water damage was an issue unlike the cabins of many campers made in the last 20 years.

Image courtesy of Travel Scotland

Here’s the exterior of the other Pilot Panther I mentioned. It’s stationed in what looks like a gorgeous farm in Scotland known as Monachlye Mhor, and is available to rent if you choose not to stay in the main house on the property. Pictures show a ridiculously nice interior, although you will have to walk back to the main house to find a bathroom. As you can see, a build can take many forms, and vintage trailers could be the next big thing in revenue-positive restoration projects.

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  1. Steve R

    It might be a better option for potential buyers that are interested in “glamping” to import some vintage Airstream trailers, at least they have a self contained bathroom.

    Steve R

    Like 7
    • Al

      Do you really have a problem with a simple hole in the floor of the bathroom.
      Just think, nothing to dump, nothing to maintain other than a casual wipe around the hole.
      That hole in the floor is an “EnviroDump”, ecologically things will always go back to nature.

      Like 8
    • Bill McCoskey

      Steve R,
      getting an Airstream from the US to the UK is VERY expensive. Because of the height, it has to be shipped either on a tall container open frame that takes up space for 2 containers, one on top of the other, or if it’s RO-RO [can be moved on it’s own wheels], it still has to be shipped in the 14″ high hold area. It typically costs upwards of 4 to 5 times what it costs for a typical automobile to be shipped, as the price is based on size & weight.

      Today’s RO-RO ships use deck platforms that raise & lower, and after loading, a deck is changed from about 8′ high, down to only a few inches from the highest vehicle on the deck, and of course the cars are all tied down.

      Once in the UK, you will need to pay the import tax, based on a value that HM’s Customs declares. Plus a typical large Airstream is heavy & big enough that a large truck [over 1 ton] is required to tow it. And don’t forget $8 to $10 a gallon for fuel, diesel or regular.

      Like 2
      • Ike Onick

        Ro-Ro??? Scooby-Doo!!!!!!!!! Roll-on/Roll-off

        Like 1
      • Al

        I rented a Dethleff RV in Germany a couple of years ago. It was on a Fiat chassis, with a gas powered 4 banger. It was 8.5 meters long (whatever that is). No cramping here. After converting litres to gallons, it worked out to about 31 mpg. I checked the calcs. a number of times and my CPA wife recalc’d it too, and got the same #, astounding! We spent most of our time in Austria and Switzerland, which is many mountain passes. So a gallon of gas even though its expensive, takes you a long way. On the other hand you don’t drive 400 miles to the next campsite, like we do here.

        Like 2
  2. CanuckCarGuy

    Modernizing and outfitting vintage campers, regardless of size seems to be trendy. The used market is flush with gutted vintage RVs, that wannabe ‘glampers’ soon realized were in need of more than throw pillows and tea lights to make them habitable.

    Like 8
    • Mountainwoodie

      Throw pillows ….😊😊😊😊

      Like 5
  3. Ike Onick

    I’m thinking “Cramping” after looking at this.

    Like 12
    • half cab

      Ha ha …good one👍

      Like 4
  4. JimmyJ

    Looks like there’s not a lot of tongue weight as the wheels look almost centred on the body.
    I’d rather see dual axels mounted further back as that back end looks like a dragger!

    Like 4
    • Al

      JimmyJ you are probably right!
      Probably why it was abandoned in the first place. Still, it could be used as an office or a chicken coop. But 7300 USD plus shipping to the USA is kind of steep.

      Like 4
  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    Looks like a candidate for the British TV show, ‘Amazing Spaces’…

    Jimmy, realise that when this caravan/travel trailer was built, it would have been towed as quickly as 30 mph on relatively flat roads. The single truck axle was probably considered to be sufficient.

    Like 3
  6. JimmyJ

    I’m sure you’re right B.B. but I live on the coast in B.C Canada and this thing would hang up 10x on a short trip😄
    No chance it would even get up my driveway….

    Like 4
  7. Matt steele

    Forget it

    Like 3
  8. LAB3

    Glamping for the mechanically inclined! Decided to move the floats one millimeter down.

    Like 5
  9. joe backer

    Never heard of this word. I’m not going to spell it on top of that..

    Like 1
  10. Lance

    Better use: office space for a junkyard.

    Like 2
  11. chrlsful

    bute: middle axels & 5th wheel could get it into anything I imagine?

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