Portion of Sale to Benefit CARE
John Watkins, an architect/builder who volunteers at CARE building kennels and cat condos, has a sideline restoring old trailers. The most recent one is an aptly-named Scotty trailer.
Watkins describes it as “a cute little camper with a canned-ham body style that people fall in love with.” He says, “She’s basically a brand-new old camper, total frame-off restoration with all new plumbing, electrical, insulated, siding and trim.”
The 10- by 7-foot Scotty has been made cozy with 1½” rigid insulation and a fully remodeled interior that includes new birch and alder trim, a table, a new three-burner stainless steel cooktop powered by propane, the Scotty’s original ice box, a sink and a 10-gallon water tank. A fan and a roof vent keep the trailer cool in summer. The couch opens into a bed and the table drops down to form a second bed.
The Scotty is the latest in a long string of restorations done by Watkins, who teamed up with Dennis Bracegirdle, a Carbondale native with a construction background, after the 2008 recession. Calling themselves DJ Custom Restorations, the two have a shop in the Basalt Business Center. To date, they have restored nearly 30 vintage campers, showing them at the annual Glenwood Springs antique auto show and selling them online to people across the U.S. and Canada.
“When you tear into these old gals, they are completely rotten,” Watkins says. But after six years of on-the-job, in-the-trailer learning, Watkins and Bracegirdle have become expert at removing the ravages of time. They hope to eventually share their restoration process via a TV reality show.
“A restored camper is like a quality, restored vintage car,” says Watkins. “Our campers are restored to the highest quality and rebuilt to last another 50 years. It is our belief that as long as you maintain and care for your camper, it will not lose its value. I look at them as a fun investment!”
Watkins is selling the Scotty for $15,000 via an online site called “Tin Can Tourist” and via Western Slope Craigslist (search for “1970’s Scotty”). DJ Custom Restorations is located at 155 Park Avenue, Unit 10 in Basalt. They can also be reached by phoning John Watkins at 970.379-2592 and Dennis Bracegirdle at 970.404.2602.