Rebuilding Vera Jo, our Monitor Camper

Restoring a Vintage Camper

Rebuilding Vera Jo

For those who haven’t heard, I bought a 1965 Monitor “Canned Ham” camper.   The plan is to use her for an admissions booth/moving billboard for the Markets. She”ll be our “mascot” for all the Vendor Events we have. This is the second installment in the series about our adventures rebuilding Vera Jo.

Vera Jo, a 1967 Monitor Coach Camper

Restoring Aluminum Siding

In spite of a few mis-adventures when we started, things are going along pretty good.  But here’s the thing: rebuilding Vera Jo is slow going. I spent three weekends just prepping the aluminum skin. I stripped paint, filled holes, scraped goo, pounded out dents, repaired a few rusted out areas, and Bondo’d a few more. Then I sanded, and sanded, and sanded.  Finally got it all done, and the aluminum siding is ready for painting.Restoring a Vintage Camper

Rebuilding the Trailer

Next, we sanded and painted the trailer. It’s gold to match the gold stripe on the side of the camper.  Then we built the deck and cut the flooring, which is a super-cute retro black and white check vinyl. Had to order new wheels and tires cuz the old ones didn’t fit in the new wheel wells. We thought they fit. Realized they didn’t fit after we drilled all the holes, and new wheels are cheaper than new wheel wells. So there ya go.  New wheels it is.  Then I found out I can’t put baby moon hubcaps on these wheels. 🙁  Still mulling that one over, and haven’t really decided if I can live without those baby moons.

Rebuilding a Camper Deck

I also ordered a new axle, suspension, and brakes, and are waiting for those to come in. I’d hate to rebuild a cute little trailer and then wreck it cuz the 52-year-old axle broke.  Do you  see why I was getting impatient with this? Where’s the fun stuff?

Building New Wall Frames

FINALLY, last weekend we started on the actual build. After getting back from the RV place so Vera could be measured for her axle, we laid out all the panels that made up one side, and started framing. It took a little bit of figuring out, but we had the photos of the original framing to go by. The window in the middle is going to be larger, so we can use it for admissions.

As you can see, this is a tiny little camper. Head clearance is about 6.5 feet, and she is 11.5 feet from end to end. She is the perfect size for what I want to use her for!

A Vintage Camper wall frame

Well, we can never do as much as we think we can on a day’s project, so this weekend we built the other wall frame, and got the lauan attached for the inside walls. After much internal debate, I’ve decided the walls will be stained, rather than painted, in keeping with the original finish.

Once the glue dried, we bolted both walls to the trailer deck, and added some of the supports before calling it a day.  And at last, I have something that resembles a camper. Next weekend we’ll finish the interior walls, put on the roof, and start on wiring and insulation.  And rebuilding Vera Jo gets closer to done.  I really think we can debut her at the Holiday Market in Decatur; so exciting!Rebuilding Vera Jo to use at our Vendor Events