We attended two vintage camper rallies in October 2018. At both rallies, strangers walked in to visit our Fireball. Both visitors shocked us by saying they own Fireball campers and that both are original with no restorations or changes. The first was a 1963 Meteor with toilet (16ST) in Missouri. The second is a 1964 Meteor (16S) in Arkansas. When I checked the Arkansas Meteor VIN, its VIN and ours differ by only six digits. I can only assume both were completed the same week if not the same day. His Meteor didn’t have the red ‘arrow’ on both sides like ours and all the brochures: it had a red “bar” on the sides. His has two loft bunks, but only one set of the small, upper windows normally associated with loft bunks. When he bought it, he found the original melware plates, silverware, cups, glasses, dish cloths, etc. It was like the original owners went camping, rerturned home, and sold it as is. The owner bought it 15 years ago from his brother who paid $500 for it at a garage sale. It (like the first one found during the Carthage rally) has never been restored or changed from the original. Like two time machine visits to 1963 and 1964.
Thats awesome,, Just proves ya cant build em like that anymore.. 50 plus year old trailers still rolling around.
Well, yes and no. Any camper this old still on the road means someone/many owners dumped a lot of money, time, and work into it. Derel is still on the road despite having more money into him than a comparable NEW camper. The one in Webb City was the result of being shut inside a building for more than 25 years and not used. It still has major issues the owner doesn’t know must be there based on limited observation. Derel’s twin is pretty much rotted out. I enjoy vintage campers, but I suffer no illusions about construction quality on these derelicts. Although I only worked directly on Derel, I habitually inspect other folks’ vintgage campers when I can and offer any assistance to other owners. Common to these campers is substandard materials by modern standards (non-galvanized nails, screws, bolts, etc; wood too thin for longterm strength; electrical components insufficiednt for modern use; etc). RVIA standards would likely not allow sale of many I see at rallies or on the road. There is a reason these old ones are still on the road: some idiot like me dumped a lot of good money into a project..or the common issue of someone pulling/using a rotted out derelict with danger of crashes. Too many cases of those crashes in the news. And the amount of restoration videos validate how many campers are constantly being rebuilt. But these are just sooooo much fun.