Photos of Our Own Home-Built, Custom Teardrop Trailer

We built our teardrop trailer in 2011, from the tip of her trailer hitch to the top of her roof racks! She was inspired by the first teardrop trailer we ever saw–a used Camp-Inn brand trailer.

We built her (Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing) before we saw all the amazing variations of teardrops there are nowadays . . . old and new. Still, we love her for the custom trailer she is and for the mere fact we never built such a thing before, but we embarked on the challenge anyway . . . together. We built her without plans. We built her with only a picture to go by. We built her loosely on what we saw, but specifically on what we wanted in her, from her.  And we couldn’t be happier!

We love her and hope you do too!

Our teardrop trailer

 

teardrop trailer, vintage, vintage-style, gathering, Perris, CA, Southern California, 2014
The galley of our home-built, vintage-style teardrop trailer
Foot-bed area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Foot-bed area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Headboard area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Headboard area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.

Galley Resized

 


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1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine

THE CHASSIS

So, as you might recall from our first post on this project (1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project), we acquired this lovely hunka junka 1989 Chevy S10 for it’s chassis . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

This is the same truck, stripped of the worst part of the truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . or so we thought.

Surprise!

And here was our first surprise . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Errrrr . . . those two big bars that look shifted to the right isn’t a trick of the camera. This baby withstood significant impact and the result was a seriously misaligned front end. Still, Mark decided he was willing to keep working with it.

There, that’s better . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Now for a bit of cleanup . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and a few restored parts (cleaned and painted) from a variety of trucks that have now been added to the mix . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and we have ourselves a half-decent looking, rolling chassis, ready for an engine .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

THE ENGINE

Seems we were destined to put this demolished 2004 Chevy Silverado Extended Cab to good re-use. We were happy to pull from it the LS 4.8 engine we would use for our vintage truck restoration project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

The Silverado had seen better days, but her engine only had 112,000 miles on it. Plenty more to go, as far as we were concerned.

The engine looked a might frightful at first . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog . . . but not so bad after we stripped her of her wiring harness and computer, and gave her a good cleaning. Next, we used a forklift to lower the chassis over the engine (rather than trying to precariously dangle the engine over the chassis) . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and checked her for proper fit before we committed to the rest of the project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

She now looks good to go.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Next, we’ll install the truck bed, cab, engine, and transmission. And then we’ll trailer her back home where we can tackle the rest of the project in the comfort of our own garage.  Definitely something we’re looking forward to.

You may have noticed we’re pulling parts from a variety of vehicles for this project. Part of that is out of necessity. We were limited in our choice of chassis to match the 1950 Chevy 3100. Part of that is out of Mark’s desire for certain performance and reliability features. We will continue to walk that line and, in the meantime, have assembled a detailed spreadsheet, tracking where in the heck all the parts came from (especially VIN# of donor vehicles). Otherwise, fixing anything mechanical on this baby down the road (getting the right parts, in particular) would be a nightmare.

At the moment, our truck is in good company at the aircraft junkyard among several impressive rat rods (rusty on the outside, radically wicked power on the inside!).

Chassis Engine__IMG_1339

And by the time we’re done with our 1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restoration & Rebuild  project, we’ll have a hybrid truck that is retro and highly functional . . . a truck Dr. Frankenstein himself would be happy to ride in!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project


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1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project

As the old timers used to say,

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

Along with the resurgence of love for vintage teardrop trailers, vintage, full-sized camping trailers, and pimped-out vintage decor, there’s also a significant resurgence of interest in vintage vehicles. Most everyone who owns or will own a vintage camper eventually toys with the idea of pulling it with a similar-year vintage vehicle.  But most folks don’t necessarily want to put up with the slow-moving, old-time nature of a vintage vehicle.

In the spirit of preserving one of those beautiful babies a.k.a. the fabulous vintage vehicles of the 40s, 50s, and 60s that look stunning pulling vintage trailers, we set out to acquire ourselves a vintage truck by keeping the babythe beautiful body that we loved so much. And disposing of the bathwaterthe old, under-powered, under-performing engine and chassis of a vintage truck.

The baby in question for us is a 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck. I’ve wanted to own one of these all my life. I mean way back, like when I was in a teenager, growing up in the 60s and 70s.

About a year ago, my interest was re-sparked, when I spotted this old beauty in a supermarket parking lot . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The Chevy 3100 I saw that became the inspiration for our vintage truck hybrid rebuild.

That natural green hue. Those beautiful curves. It was love at first sight.

Mark took a picture of her, because I uttered the words, “Someday, I want a truck just like this!”

When we talked about the possibility of acquiring a truck like this, we realized we wanted something not only vintage, but practical, too. We wanted it to be powerful enough to pull a large camping trailer, if we wished. And strong and safe enough to use for long-distance driving or short hauls with a heavy payload in the truck bed.

In other words, we knew right away that we wanted a hybrid restoration/rebuild. So when we talked about “someday” making a truck like this a reality, we realized we’d have to wait for when we might also someday live on a big piece of property with a large garage and no HOV-community restrictions. In other words, someday wouldn’t be any day soon.

Then. An opportunity.

Mark knows the owner of an airplane junkyard who said he’d be willing to allow us space on his property to tackle a build project. The fella and his sons were deep into building rat rods–some nasty, some fancy, but mostly big ole rusted-out trucks, chopped up and stripped down, powered by over-the-top engines, just perfect for street racing and fun.

IMG_0546_resize

The offer was the answer to our prayers. Mark jumped right on it.

Within a week, we found a 1950 Chevy 3100 on a Texas-centric Craigslist ad. We live in Arizona, but soon found we had to extend our reach if we hoped to find the exact truck we wanted. For $575, we found someone to transport the slightly drive-able, but definitely not road-worthy truck.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The body of this 1950 Chevy 3100

After a massive amount of research, Mark found that if we wanted to preserve the vintage body, but beef up the underlying power and handling, then we needed a late 1980’s Chevy S10 chassis to match up with the Chevy 3100. One week later, we scored a 1989 Chevy S10 chassis on Craigslist from a local seller.

So, the body of this vintage Chevy 3100 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chevy 3100 pickup from Texas

PLUS the chassis of this [technically an antique, I suppose!] 1989 Chevy S10 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

EQUALS the TRUCK OF MY DREAMS in the making.

The rest of the build is all magic a la Mr. Google and Mark.

“Mr. Google, let me introduce to you the relentless research skills, metal fabrication expertise,  and mechanical prowess of my partner, Mark.”  🙂

Granted, it’s an ambitious project. But Mark is just the guy to tackle it.

About one month into the project and Mark has scored the body, chassis, low-mile engine, and transmission, most of which are originals, except for the transmission, which has been rebuilt. He has cleaned up the old and made much of it look new again, or at least new’ish. And he is finessing the heck out of figuring out how to pull it all together.

I can hardly wait!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine


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Details, Details, Details: Adding a Side Grill to our Teardrop Trailer

This week, Mark added a side grill to our home-built, custom teardrop trailer, because, you know, he can! (I LOVE this man!)

When we initially designed our teardrop trailer, which really was a bit more like winging than designing (check out my blog post:  Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing) we made note ahead of time of some key features we wanted to include.

One feature, right off the bat, was to install an extra deep stainless steel sink that could easily hold a large spaghetti pot.

Another was to install rails all around the rear of the trailer to accommodate table tops wherever we might need ’em. Our thought on this was to stay modular in our design, ready to accommodate future needs.

Well, this week, a need (really a “want”) arose when Mark decided he wanted to add an extra grill besides the neat slide-out, cast iron, double-burner grill we already enjoy.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, The Mighty Five, Utah tourism, vintage teardrop trailer travels, U.S. road trip, Utah national parks, hiking, sightseeing, photography

As you may note in the picture above, besides the rear-right rail being used by our fold-out table, there’s also a rail on the right side panel of the trailer near the electric socket. We have the same exact two-rail configuration on the left side of our teardrop trailer as well.

So when Mark decided he wanted to make use of an old barbecue grill, we talked about a design for making it safe and stable so our 80-lb Lab/Shepherd couldn’t accidentally knock it over. All said and done, we came up with this:

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

“Is that grill smoking,” you ask?

Why, “Yes, it is!”

How can one set up a grill and not fire it up?

Salmon burgers, here . . . we . . . come!

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

We love our ever-morphing teardrop trailer! We especially love all her details, details, details!

Make sure to have fun with YOUR teardrop trailer! Even if you buy it new or already customized by a previous owner, make sure to add those details that make it your own!



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Lemmon Eye Candy: Sunset Photo Gallery, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

Valentine’s Day 2016. Desert cactus. Snow skiing. Stunning sunset after hiking. Prepare yourself for eye candy a.k.a. a photo gallery of our day trip to Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.

We started with desert cactus at the base . . .

and wound up in snow at the peak . . .

followed by hiking and spectacular Lemmon candy at sunset . . .

and perhaps my favorite photo of the day . . .

LemmonMtn_DSC02028_UR‘Nuf said!



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Happy trails, y’all!

Hope your Valentine’s Day was just as special.

XOXO

Sue J signature

Get Yer Kicks in Williams, AZ: Gateway to Grand Canyon’s South Rim

Need a ROUTE 66 fix? Need a GRAND CANYON fix? Need a CAMPING fix? Need a FOOD fix or a MUSIC fix? Get Yer Kicks in Williams, AZ, just one hour from the GRAND CANYON.

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66Twice in the past year, we made a stop in Williams, AZ, with our teardrop trailer. We had a great time both times, enough to say that from now on, Williams will remain on our must-do list when heading up from our current home in Phoenix, AZ, to Grand Canyon National Park.

The town of Williams, AZ is a really great place to visit on your way to or from the south entrance of the Grand Canyon. We enjoyed it’s cozy, eclectic, old-town feel . . .

it’s restaurants (Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66
Excellent ribs at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe in Williams, AZ

it’s music  (Vincent Z performing at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66
Musician Vincent Z (www.vincentzmusic.com) providing excellent entertainment while we dined at Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe in Williams, AZ

it’s plentiful gift shops . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66

and even the shoot-em-up cowboy showdown that erupted in the streets (promptly at scheduled show times throughout the day) . . .

Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66 Williams, AZ, Arizona tourism, Route 66

We were even entertained by our friend, Dave, while we waited for our food to arrive at Cruiser’s Restaurant . . .

One more great thing in Williams, AZ, is you can wander over to the Grand Canyon Railway railroad station and treat yourself to a comfortable, scenic ride to the Grand Canyon by train. They have all kinds of events going on, including the popular Christmastime “Polar Express” ride (something I think I’ll make a point of doing sometime!). Check out the Grand Canyon Railway event page for more info.

We were in Williams, AZ, on the polar opposite of Christmastime . . . on July 4th, 2015, when we met up with other teardrop trailer and vintage trailer owners at a camping meetup at Kaibab Lake Campground. Kaibab Lake Campground is part of the Kaibab National Forest, which has a rather large footprint at the foothills of the Grand Canyon and beyond.

This campground is quite large and can accommodate anything from tents to large RVs. If you check out my previous blog post about the 4th of July trip, the photos of cool vintage and teardrop trailers give you a feel for the site layouts and terrain at the campground.

You can fish and kayak on Lake Kaibab, but in July, the lake was significantly lower than usual due to a dry summer. There is a boat ramp and a fishing pier, although the fishing pier at Kaibab Lake Campground led you out to a grassy area instead of to actual water. Remember to bring your bicycles, so if the fishing scene is a bust, you can at least enjoy tooling around plenty of roadway within the campground itself.

Downtown Williams held a great, old-fashioned 4th of July parade when we were there (plenty of pictures on my last blog post), exactly the kind of thing we were into with our vintage-inspired trailer.

In October 2015, we were back in Williams again when our friends from England came for a visit. This time, we camped an hour away in Grand Canyon National Park for a night, at Mather Campground at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Honestly, we didn’t care for the campsite itself (#147) at Mather Campground.  We were stuck in a parking pad that was really just a slight bulge in the roadway, a pullover really, with a few large rocks around it. Muddy. Muddy. Muddy.

We did, however, score a great view of a family of elk passing through the site across the way from us, and also scored some close-up pictures while hiding behind trees and bushes.

And we even saw this . . .

Grand Canyon Nationa Park, South Rim, Mather Campground

Again in October, we took in the splendor of Grand Canyon National Park, snapping photos, and looking down upon hiking trails in her belly that we planned to tackle some day.

Grand Canyon National Park South Rim Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

Overall, Williams, AZ, is a great place to situate yourself for a week while you check out some of what you’ve seen here and plenty more–like Flagstaff, AZ, (40 minutes away by car) or Sedona, AZ, (1 hour, 20 minutes away by car) both easy day trips from Williams.

All you have to do now is get out and enjoy it all!


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WILLIAMS_07042015_140Sue J signature

Cabin Fever Cure: January 18, Free Entrance Day in National Parks

Got cabin fever? Beat the winter doldrums with the perfect cure: FREE entrance days in the National Parks!

It begins this year with January 18, 2016, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And we’re ready to take advantage of it. Watch out, Joshua Tree National Park. We’re coming to see you again! (Check out our last trip to Joshua Tree here.)

Joshua Tree National Park Split Rock Loop Trail
Sue hiking on Split Rock Trail

The National Park Service has rolled out the list of fee-free dates for 2016:

  • January 18:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24:  National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28:  National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24:  National Public Lands Day
  • November 11:  Veterans Day

With 409 National parks to choose from, 127 of them normally charging an entrance fee, this is a great opportunity to cure yourself of the winter blues and simultaneously show all the folks who help preserve these incredible national treasures that you really do care about their efforts. What better way to prove it than to show up on one of the fee-free days and enjoy our National Parks! You’ll be so glad you did!


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Happy trails! Happy New Year!

Be safe,

Sue J signature

Life itself is the adventure! #nature #hiking #camping #travel #teardroptrailers #DIY #CoolStuff #CoolPeople #LifeBalance #StuffThatMatters