Tuesday, April 17, 2012

1971 Cardinal Travel Trailer...the newest project

We recently purchased a 1971 Cardinal Travel Trailer.  It's 14' long and is super rad.  We knew going into it it was going to need some work.  Here's a few photos of it before we did anything but tow it home.

Entrance area
Interior.  Previous owner started to remove wall panels and insulation.
Interior.  The green thing is an icebox.
Last interior shot, the dining room table that turns into a bed.

The first thing we did was decide how bad the wall and ceiling panels were.  The kitchen area looked pretty good and we decided to leave it alone.  I kept the overhead cabinets in as well, I figure we can paint and panel around those.  

It took about half a day but I ripped out all the wood paneling and remaining insulation on the walls and ceiling.  

We found rotted wood at both back corners and around the windows. 

I knew this was out of our range of experience so I called in an expert.  Our friends came down for a couple days and we pulled out the windows, replaced the wood and reattached the metal skin with new stainless steel screws with built-in rubber gaskets.  Radness.

The crazy thing was figuring out that they build these things from the inside out.  All of the nails were facing in.  They were nailed from the outside.  First comes the framing, next the flooring, the walls and cabinets, insulation and finally they cover the interior and its guts with metal skin.  So removing and replacing the wood frame wasn't super hard, just different than usual stuff like this.  Made ya use yer brain!

We caulked around all the windows before re-installing.  Then a good couple tubes of foam to seal the cracks and nooks and crannies.

The electrical was mostly working.  Our friend came over and rewired it so that everything works now.  Tail lights and brake lights were a high priority for me.

Next stop, Discount Fabric on Morena Blvd.  The lady there was AMAZING!!!  I ended up buying four pieces of 76" x 27" foam pieces, 2" thick and 3" thick (realized now that I need two more!), fabric, notions, etc.

My girlfriend, who is a master at upholstery, taught me how to do the bottom cushions and we rocked those out!  Here's the finished product in the trailer.  

I thought it would go well with the avocado green appliances....work with it, not against it!  So that's the progress so far.  

Our next step is making sure she's water tight so we can do the new insulation and put wood on the walls!  We are hoping to at least get it road-ready for a lil' camping trip!

Until next time, happy trails!


Thanks to the Vintage Cardinal Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintagecardinal/
and Vintage Camper Trailers on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vintagecampertrailers


  1. Do you have any updates? I like the way you are posting pics and being descriptive. I too need to do the same. It is very scary to pull this thing apart. your pics have given me hope. I would love to see the rest of your restore!!

  2. Hey Jason! Yeah, I have a bunch more that I've done and a ton of pictures! I'll post them when I get a chance! Thanks for looking at my stuff!