At the very end of 2012, we bought our first vintage camper: A 1988 Perris Pacer fiberglass “egg” camper. I first fell in love with these lightweight trailers after reading about them on the blog of the peripatetic artist Lily Stockman at BigBangStudio. After months of scouring Craigslist, Ebay and other sources, and driving all over Southern California to check out used egg trailers, we finally found one we loved.
This is what it looked like when we first brought it home from San Diego. Yes, it was cute even then. The awnings were a nice touch. But the photo flatters it. The shell was covered with rivet holes, and it had an overall dingy feel about it. The interior was unbearable.
Get the picture? (Here are more “before” shots.) We spent the first half of 2013 fixing up the interior, and found advice and support from the generous community of fellow egg owners at the online site, FiberglassRv. One man, Robert Johans, who restores these eggs professionally at The Egg Plant in Oregon, was the most inspiring and helpful, offering tips on every step, down to where to buy certain light fixtures and types of paint.
Weekend after weekend, my husband, Charlie, and I worked on it. We put in a new floor, replaced the cabinet covers and fixtures, made curtains, had new seat cushions made, added new lights, painted the entire interior, and a lot of other little improvements. My husband is handy, and the small scale of the projects made it all doable.
But how much of this can you take? So by the time we finished sprucing up the inside, we were ready for someone else to take over.
Then we found these nice guys. Jerry and Armando from Pacific RV Body Shop in Garden Grove, California–about 40 minutes from our house.
They mostly paint the giant campers, but took great care and pride in our little Pacer. They did an amazing job, painting the exterior, upgrading the lights, replacing the frig, and building a custom storage box. (If you liked it better before, keep it to yourself!)
Here are some shots of the inside (taken with my cell phone). We took out the bunk bed option and made the bottom bunk into a permanent couch, or bunk for one.
The two-burner gas stove and sink are still original and work great. It’s all very simple and utilitarian, but we love it that way. (Pillow fabric by silkscreen master Harwood Steiger.)
If you aren’t familiar with these campers, this little table comes off the support pole and drops down to make a platform for a small double bed. The seat cushions cover the surface, and are comfortable when you add a topping of memory foam. We learned the most about the trailer and what we need to do next when we finally took it camping…
So far, we have taken it out to the desert near Palm Springs, twice. This shot is from a visit to Joshua Tree, where we camped next to a house some friends were renting. They also had this amazing vintage trailer up on blocks. We have also camped at Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County (about ten minutes from our home in Laguna Beach) and at San Onofre State Park (about a half hour south in San Diego County.) My goal is to test out all the campgrounds in Orange County and publish a little local guide (just another one of those projects!).
I’ve saved the most exciting news for last. We have been invited to be part of the Vintage Trailer Show in Palm Springs during Modernism Week. How cool is that? We went to the see the show last year and it was so much fun! I noticed, however, that they didn’t have any of the “egg” style of campers featured, and thought I would offer ours if they were interested. The director of the show, Mona Heath, was enthusiastic and said they already plan to include two other “egg” style campers this year, a Scamp and a Boler, and would love to have our Perris Pacer there as well. Wow!!!
Ours is nothing like almost all of the other vintage trailers, many of which have been professionally restored inside and out. But Mona liked the idea of featuring campers like ours to demonstrate what people can do with these little gems–even newbies like us with no real rehab experience and working on a DIY budget.
The Vintage Trailer Show is the weekend of February 22 and 23. Tickets are $15 and kids are free. So please come and say hi!