In 2022 I was able to purchase a restored vintage “canned ham” a 1959 FAN Sportsman’s Friend camping trailer. I then sold my original 1965 Airstream Caravel. Then in September I discovered a vintage trailer rally in nearby Brattleboro, Vermont, It was great fun, and I was able to sign up for the rally next year and their event in May – titled Merry May. Yes, Christmas decorating of your “canned ham” encouraged. While paying my deposit I was in a quandary, what do I display. Then it hit me, my vintage “bottle brush tree” collection. Well, with Ray one thing leads to another, and I aggressively bought more unique “trees” with my collection numbering now over a hundred. But still one thing leads to another, and at the end of September I discovered toy vintage campers. I already had three, but in about six weeks my collection grew to over twenty different. Thank you eBay, and profits from book selling.
You know I “write to remember and to share,” but how do I share my toy trailer collection, now assembled as “Camp 44”. And, then it hit me. There are a number of Facebook pages about Vintage Camping Trailers. Why not share my campers and trees over the holidays. THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS are the last six days of the old year (26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 December ) and the first six days of the New Year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 January). Thus, THE TWELVE DAYS OF “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS” was conceived to be posted on those days. But shared in toto here. You may click images for full screen view. ENJOY, and thank you for visiting – RAY
THE FIRST DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS — “The all-time classic American RV toy set,” per the only book on RV toys. This 1930s aerodynamic styled trailer was made by Wyandotte Toys in Michigan. The car for the set was a LaSalle Sedan. I have had this set for over forty years. The truck pulling my trailer came with it, and was also made by Wyandotte.
THE SECOND DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – brings you this 1950s set with trailer made by SSS in Japan. Sets were sold with different tow vehicles, or color combinations. This set is 16 inches long, the trailer nine inches of that length.
THE THIRD DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – finds two trailers on adjoining lots. On the left is a late 1950s or early 1960s camper made by Modern Toys with its matching tow vehicle marked MT on the trunk. Trailers were often sold with different vehicles changing the sets, or over the years as trailer ownership changed the “new owner” would use his or her vehicle. The trailer on the right is a “Vagabond,” a travel trailer made in the 1940s-50s. About eight inches long, the Vagabond, made in Japan, opens to the rear for the storage of its tow vehicle when not in “play.”
THE FOURTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – and, this Airstream inspired tin camper stopped at a Putz Church on the way to “Camp 44.” The six inch long trailer has an awning in front that opens up as does the front door. Versions of this Japanese made toy seem to be the most prevalent found today.
THE FIFTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – Airstream styling was imitated by the Japanese company Bandai in the 1980s. Silver-gray and complete with the curved panels on the rear end. Yes, I found this in an antique shop with the Volkswagen tow vehicle (7 1/2 inches long), made by another company. But, I have seen images of my eight and a half inch long camper model/toy with a Bandai branded VW.
THE SIXTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – features this eight inch colorful and detailed trailer made by the Haji company in the 1950s with a matching 1957 Ford convertible also eight inches long and marked made by Haji. The front side panel of the trailer pops open to show the kitchen with appliances. Removable furniture would have been stored here. There are skylights atop the trailer.
THE SEVENTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – brings in a sought after set with its original metal patio set. Made by SSS Toys in Japan, this highly collectible set is usually seen with a red car. The bottom of the trailer is hinged for the storage of the tow vehicle when “not in play.” The side doors open as do the roof vents. This set is just over 16 inches in length with the trailer being just over nine inches of that total.
THE EIGHTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – this House Van and Ford Falcon were made in Japan for Cragstan. I am fortunate to have the original box which has the Ford in blue, and the colors reversed on the camper. The Ford’s front license plate holder would have a 1961 or 1962 plate inserted, but my holder is empty. When I bought this set, because of the box in the box was a MT tow vehicle matching what I showed you on the Third Day. But the good “searcher I am” I now have the correct Ford Falcon to pull this camper. The Falcon is 8 inches long, and the trailer 8 1/2.
THE NINTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – Made by Motor City Classics in 2002, this heavy and authentic die-cast trailer is modeled after the “Airstream Bubble” made between 1956 and 1958. With a scale of 1:18 and weight of almost four pounds, the roof lifts off so you can see the fine interior detail, as original. Detail even down to the Wally Byam Caravan Club number 2782 on the rear. If you own an Airstream, you need this model.
THE TENTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – Shasta, the iconic “canned ham” this a 15 foot Airflyte made by Greenlight of Indianapolis in 2016, 1:24 Scale. Marketed as “adult collectibles,” I purchased a one owner collection of eight different vintage trailers made by Greenlight. They manufacture their models in several scales, but the 1:24 seems to be the most pleasing..
THE ELEVENTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – This twelve inch tin toy mimics an Airstream, but there is no maker name or marks. Only one I have seen like this, and if you search a great deal and see something for the first time, well, you just buy it.
THE TWELTH DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – Unmarked as to maker, this tin camper is a real classic shape and appears handmade. I have seen similar ones offered as handmade, but equally well done, and perfect for a holiday display.
THE BONUS DAY OF VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS – Everyone deserves a bonus. This MERRY MOMENTS trailer and station wagon were made for Aldi, Inc. stores and sold separately about 2020 with a few remaining in 2022. The trailer complete with lights and wreath on the door is 11+ inches long, and the station wagon with wreath and tree atop is 12 inches long.
Sadly THE TWELVE DAYS OF “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS” is over, but on January 12, 2023, this Post-War Minic Caravan stopped at one of my diners while on its way to “Camp 44.” First introduced about 1937 by the Tri-Ang Minic Company in England, this wind-up highly detailed example measures almost ten inches in overall length. Why Post-War and not Pre-War you ask? The Pre-War Caravans were lighted, and this one is not. Complete with key, the tourists must be inside my diner eating. More soon I hope – thank you for looking, yours, RAY
Arriving in my collection 25 January 2023, this Kingsbury Camper is pulled by a Chrysler Airflow. Chrysler made its streamline Airflow from 1934 to 1937, the era of this amazing toy made just down the road from “Camp 44” in Keene, New Hampshire. Founded as the Wilkins Toy Company in 1890 by James S. Wilkins, the name was changed in 1919 to the Kingsbury Manufacturing Company. As war approached, the company was closed by 1942. Both camper and sedan measure about 11 inches each.
Not quite another “VINTAGE CAMPER TOY” — but a “cool“ Airstream Cooler I saw 16 January 2023 at the Yankee Candle flag ship store in South Deerfield Massachusetts. If I still had my 1965 Airstream Caravel I would have been tempted. This cooler could have been mine for just $550 plus Massachusetts sales tax — will continue to look for “camper toy” treasures to share, come back to visit.
Would you like to learn more about what camper toys are available?
Below is the only book published to date on these collectibles.
RV & CAMPER TOYS – THE HISTORY OF RVING IN MINIATURE by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen. The only book showing the vintage toys made to resemble camping trailers, RVs, Airstreams, and early “canned hams.” I cherish my own copy, and have built a collection of almost twenty of these toys. Very good+, wraps (softcover), 126 pages, published in 2008, $22.50 plus $4.49 post.