News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

VINTAGE TRAILERING Part Four; Classics and Kitsch.

  • 1950 Happy Home. From
  • 1957 DeVille. Restored. Courtesy,
  • Copyright; American Museum of Motoring, 2010.
  • Circa 1950. Trailer brand unknown. Promotional image. From the Internet, attribution unknown. "Hey! That's my Mom!"

By Wyman Kinders

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Editor’s note; this is Part Four of four segments of the popular “Memories of El Monte” column to which our late colleague Richard Cortez contributed. They are about travel trailer manufacturing in El Monte and are guest written by author Wyman Kinders in tribute to Mr. Cortez.

Mr. Kinders owns a 1954 Empire 12 footer. Proudly, “Made in El Monte”.
Readers are encouraged to contact us at with their recollections of those days.


Each generation it seems has its fascination with what came before. For the Baby Boomers, it has ranged from classic cars, to Rock ‘n Roll music record collecting. So hand in hand with classic and hot rod cars has come the restoration of vintage travel trailers. Not only do they look the part of the 1950’s and 60’s scene, they serve practical needs for touring or vacation lodging. Many car clubs have adopted the use of vintage trailers as an integral part of their tight communities and shows. They often rendezvous in places where they can visit and play together all the while having another project to dote upon. The range of trailers mirrors the cars involved; some being originals, others accurately restored, some updated for modern living and still others completely new adaptations or replicas. Some aficionados even drive $60,000 classic cars, towing new or restored “Tear Drop” trailers, in which two very compatible people can sleep with enough room left over for, um, two sandwiches and one beer… No cups…

Of course, no vintage trailer would be complete without the plastic, metal and cardboard kitsch we all associate with the 1950’s and 60’s. Owners scour the Goodwill and thrift shops for vintage dinnerware, lamps, board games, fabrics, yard art – especially pink flamingoes, and all the other campy paraphernalia of the era. Whole swap meets dedicated to the preservation of vintage trailers and the “stuff” that goes with them have proliferated in recent years. The Blogosphere is full of chat rooms, postings and advice from the “experts”. Of course, social network web sites include hundreds of images of projects.

See you down the road!
Wyman Kinders.
Baby Boomer and vintage
trailer enthusiast.

Thanks for taking this journey down memory lane with us at the Mid Valley News. We hope the next time you roam our great communities; you’ll gaze at that old warehouse and ponder what was once made there. Like Richard Cortez, we still are amazed at what came before and what was “Made in El Monte”.




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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
VINTAGE TRAILERING Part Four; Classics and Kitsch.