Well, it was been 5 years since I was laid off from my job of 20 years and the money to continue restoring our custom classic 1973 Krager Kustom Koach dried up. I have not been able to afford to get the hydroboost system fixed let alone complete the interior rebuild. It sits in our driveway begging for the attention that I would love to lavish upon it. I power wash the outside of it every year to keep it looking as good as I can, despite its need for a completely new paint job.

Our financial priority has become one of not loosing the more important things in our lives, like the house, for instance. Although sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to sell the house, put some of the money into finishing the restoration and living in it. After all, we are planning to retire to a few years of living on the road.

I have tried to sell it a few times but have never been able to find anyone willing to commit to the project with the same fervor I have displayed. It is truly a labor of love for me. Also, I get woozy thinking about how much I have sunk into it already and realizing I will never be able to recoup the investment by selling it.

The couple of times we used it before it was put up for restoration, it was quite the head-turner at the campground. It was considered ahead of its time when it was new in 1973. It is a very unique vehicle since it was rebuilt by Ford Coach Works of Pelham, NH in 1988; truly one of a kind.

It was put up for restoration because I found that some of the woodwork and the floor in what is called the bunkroom at the rear of the coach had rotted due to an improperly installed ladder to the roof. It was after that when the hydroboost gave out right in the driveway. Also, I removed the grill in front of the radiator to gain full access to the engine compartment. I intend to replace the grill with something lighter and better looking.

I removed the water systems because there were leaks and I wanted to install a valve manifold to control the water flow throughout the coach. I had started replacing the 1970s red shag carpet with industrial-grade rubber sheet flooring.

Recently, I have started teaching part-time at a local community college. It does not pay much or include any benefits one would normally expect in a job. However, it has given me hope that our situation is changing and I may be able to entertain the thought of picking up where I left off on the restoration. I have family and friends telling me I should just cut my losses and "get that heap" out of the yard for whatever I can get for it. They think I am out of my mind to still be considering putting in the effort and the money.

After such an impassioned description of the project and my commitment to it, it may seem unnecessary that I ask you folks if you think I should continue or just get rid of it and wait for the day when the wife and I can afford to get a more prosaic rig that does not need any work. Please look over the pictures of the rig in its current condition that I have posted with this article and let me know what you think.

Thank you for your input.

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Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 14, 2014 at 6:23pm

I went through a pretty rough patch job-wise a couple of years ago. I had been working since I graduated college for over 20 years without interruption when I unexpectedly was laid off. It's a lot to go through - priorities shift from the fun stuff to keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. It was a tough adjustment. 

Eventually I took a job that paid 1/3 of what I had previously been earning. After a long hiatus, it felt good to be back in the "real world". Well, one thing led to another and I'm back where I was before financially. I sold a lot of stuff out of necessity - cars and things that I had loved. Lots things that I poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into but had to sell to pay the rent and feed my kids. My advice is to keep what you can, but be realistic about it. If the rig has little to no value to anyone else, set it aside until you can get to it. Preserve it the best you can until then. Worst case is you'll have to have it towed out of there at some point in the future. Best case is you'll regain your footing and be back at the restoration sometime soon.

I like to think things fall into your lap for a reason. I stumbled across my "classic" around Christmas time last year. It had been sitting for a long time but I could tell she had good bones. Someone cared about her a lot and I figured I owed it to whoever that was to bring it back to life. I think I've succeeded in that regard, but time will tell if she returns the favor.

Good luck to you!

Comment by Lakota Wolf on June 14, 2014 at 3:39pm

You do what your GUT tells ya. It's a hard decision, but in the end, you have to make the decision.I bought my first *Keeper Rv in 1984,(its a 85 model 5th wheel).I was still young, but I fell in love with it on the dealers lot. It screamed,,take me home,,and I did. And 30 yrs later, the ole gal is still in my life. Yes, she was put in storage over and over as I went through life and even buying upgraded,so called better and bigger Rv's, But it all fell back on my ole sidekick 5th wheel, I have restored/rebuilt over 100 RV's from trailers to coaches and everything inbetween, and it was the satisfaction of handing the Keys over to a worthy person, (99% of the restored rigs went to homeless Vets). There is a bond between YOU and that big chunk of metal (with rust included), lumber and paneling and aluminum siding, sitting on old delapitated tires and rusty rims.,Sometimes the bond is strong, other times its not. Its almost like going to the pound to find a puppy,,, That one cute puppy with them sad beautiful eyes looking at you saying take me home, and its then you find that bond. It takes alot of soul searching when it comes to a machine, to make it part of the family.  You will feel it in your GUT, which is the right thing to do. Maybe a family is out there, looking for a piece of Americana, and your Rig fits the profile.  And another Rig is out there with your name on it..  Its a tough decision, and I hope all goes well with your decision.  (a great saying,is, A Man has to know his limitations ).

Comment by Jim Louiselle on April 20, 2014 at 5:28am

That is a tough call. Most of us with older rigs are in similar circumstances at least when it comes to trying to re-sell. No matter how much we love our older RVs, the memories of trips and travel that we have enjoyed, or even the satisfaction of taking something broken and fixing it will not translate into the money and time, sweat etc. that we have poured into our campers. I have always worked on any camper I've had as much as I've camped in it. It becomes more of a labor of love and self satisfaction of keeping old machines of a bygone day on the road.But honestly, as I begin to get a little bit older, I long for the day when I can simply buy something that I don't need to "restore". I guess you have to decide whether getting on the road is actually realistic. The way I have looked at this in my life is will cost me more to rebuild what I have or buy something else? We had to sell our first RV for this reason. It was going to cost too much to get it where we needed it to travel any great distance so we sold it. We ended up getting a fraction of what we paid for it years before, but I'll never forget the day we turned it over to its new owners. A couple with four young children and a rusted out old car that looked like they were having a tough time in life financially. The dad counted out the few hundred dollars we agreed to in tattered old bills all the while talking of how much he missed camping with his dad when he was young and wanted to show his kids what life was like outside of the city where they lived. What I'll never forget is the looks on his kids faces as they crawled in and out of that beat up old RV.You would have thought it was a gleaming new super coach by their reaction. They were already imagining the fun and trips they would take in their "new" camper. No matter how much I missed that old Dodge class C,I have never forgot how good it felt seeing those kids faces as they fell in love with that run down old rig. And I knew they would take good care of it even if I couldn't any longer. I have no idea if it's time for you to let your rig go, maybe it's not.Maybe it never will be. But I'm just trying to say that it really isn't that terrible when you know someone else will actually feel just as strongly as you do and love your old RV too. Sorry for rambling, good luck with it.

Comment by doug powell on April 14, 2014 at 8:37pm

Roger, As Johnny Cash would say,One piece at a time.... one of the greatest  things my dad would tell my brother and I... It's not the destination of the journey but it's the road in which you take to get there... I myself  like you have to do one piece at a time...But when the days get hard and you need a place to find your self do like I do.... Go out side and sit on her couch and look around at her and say...One day you will be new again..You can run through your mind a 1000 different ways to do something.. I'll go out and sit in her for a while and.my wife ask me we well what did you change... The thing about it is it don't eat it don't drink so why do I have to worry about it....Do what ever you want... Our pastor was preaching yesterday,,The reason we don't full fill our dreams is because we listen to  friends and family tell us we can't do that...You can do what ever you set your mind to do... Good luck on your journey....     



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