“Oh it’s an addiction,” gushes Amada Hoppe, standing in front of her 1973 Boler trailer, handing out business cards for the Boler Bitches club. Hoppe is BB#001 and her sister is BB#002, for those keeping track. Her trailer, Rusty B, made the trip with Hoppe from their home in Alberta, Canada, providing a ready accomplice for shopping at vintage shops along the way. Hoppe hopes her newest Boler trailer, Delicate Dolly, will make the trip one day soon.
Since debuting at Modernism Week in Palm Springs in 2010 with just a handful of Airstreams gathered at the Ace Hotel, the Vintage Trailer Show grew to include 60 trailers this year. A rare 1936 Airstream Silver Cloud shimmers in the desert sun alongside a 1963 VW Sundial Campervan, Shasta Low Flights from the ’60s, and a Spartan Manor trailer tricked out by Hollywood Airstream to include recessed LED lights, a stainless steel shower and plenty of flashy barware.
Longtime friends Jay Delong and Jason Silverek formed an obsession for their hometown trailer, the Little Caesar, and brought a few to the desert. The trailer was built by a family company in Sebastopol between about 1947 and 1963, and the guys say, “Between us and all our friends, we have almost half” of the 25 or 30 models still available in the world. “They’re for being used,” Silverek says. “The best thing is to see all your friends having a good time; you can get a lotta dudes in them.”
All morning and afternoon, visitors step in and out of dreamy, well-designed mini-homes on wheels. Wearing a plastic name tag identifying himself as “Whale Pilot,” Chuck Hanson greets a constant stream of visitors impressed by the 1969 UltraVan he drove down from Mesquite, Nevada. Truckers in the 1960s referred to the model as “the Whale,” and the name stuck, though Hanson admits the motor home also looks like a 20-foot-long giant burrito. “What’s not to like?” he smiles. “It’s the most beautiful vehicle on Earth.”