When it comes to finding a vintage camper in the hidey holes of the Black Hills, Michele Tschacher Hieb is a pro. Here’s her story in her own words….
My glamper adventures started in the summer of 2012 with my 1961 Shasta, that I named “Prim to the Brim.” I found her behind a local car dealer and inquired about who it belonged to. They told me the owner was out to lunch, but he would give me a call when he got back. Thirty minutes later he called, and I purchased it for $75!! I couldn’t get the money out of my pocket fast enough; I was so excited. What a steal!
Once home, my husband packed the wheel bearing, changed the wheels, and updated the lights. She had good bones, sturdy floors, no broken glass, lighting that worked, a VIN that was visible on the hitch, and most important…a title. It took A LOT of cleaning, disinfectant and elbow grease, to make her road worthy. I also tore out the old flooring that was coming up, primed and painted with Kilz primer and stain block, put down my favorite vinyl wood grain floor, sewed new seat covers and curtains, changed the countertop and painted the cabinets. Then I decorated her in my favorite fall colors. I left the exterior its original color because I loved the patina.
Prim to the Brim was the first of my MANY camper renovations that I’ve done. I also rehabbed a 1965 Avion.
For the Avion, I cleaned, painted the bathroom walls, put in my favorite flooring, had the cushions reupholstered, sewed new curtains, made bed skits, and built wood walls in the back bedroom above the twin beds.
One of my current campers is “Cabin in a Can.” It’s a 1958 Leino that a friend owned. I was with her when she first purchased it and told her if she ever wanted to sell it, to let me know.
I sanded the exterior and that took over 22 hours. Then spent several hours priming and painting in a bunch of different colors. I couldn’t be happier! She is a birch beauty. I love the birch paneling that was used in vintage campers. Fun fact….camper manufacturers quit using birch paneling in these treasures in the early to mid 60’s.
My other current camper is a 1961 Nomad, “Ole Glory”. She is another birch beauty with unique rounded cabinets and 100% original inside.
I’ve fixed up and flipped several campers myself, with my husband doing the work on tires, wheel bearings and electrical when needed. But I’ve also done several glampers with my mom, Barb. It’s been a lot of work but great quality time with her.
Some advice I would give to anyone wanting to buy a vintage camper, is to take with you, when you go to look at the camper, a flashlight, a ladder to check the roof, an extension cord, and a couple of different trailer light plug ins so you can check the lights of the camper to your tow vehicle. Older campers are typically a flat four…inspect it carefully. Does the camper have the original keys? How well has it been taken care of? Just because someone says everything works……ask them to show you it works.
Michele Tschacher Hieb is a nurse by night and a plaid crazy camper owner by day. She fell in love with antiques in her twenties and vintage items ( wool blankets, thermoses, tweed suitcases, and log cabin quilts..just to name a few) and of course vintage campers.
Lesa McDermott |Girl Camper Guide to South Dakota
Connect with Lesa & her Girl Camper Group
Facebook Page – this is the link for where you can tag us and we can tag you! This is where I’ll share general Girl Camper news, events and more. facebook.com/Girl-Camper-South Dakota
Facebook Group – Please join the private Black Hills/South Dakota Group so you can participate in this supportive and fun community! Private Black Hills/South Dakota Chapter Group
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Events-Be sure to check out the Girl Camper Events I’m hosting.