Regular Retro Roadmap readers may already remember, but for those of you who are just tuning in, Retro Roadhusband and I are the proud but totally newbie owners of a 1964 Serro Scotty trailer. While we purchased it last year somewhat on a whim (i.e. we didn’t even have a vehicle to tow it with) we now are getting a push into our vintage trailer lifestyle, as we had to replace RRH’s car after it got hit by a deer. So now we actually own something that can tow our ‘Lil’ “Canned Ham”!
While our 64 Scotty had been well taken care of by the neighbors we got her from, being 45+ years old she does need some TLC, but we’re not the handy type.
So we were super excited to know that one of the only 2 Serro Scotty restorers endorsed by the NSSO (National Serro Scotty Organization) lives within an hour from us. A few weeks ago we paid a call to Mark Denlinger out in Akron PA to ask him about working on our Lil Camper, and after seeing his work we got our trailer in line for a makeover!
(Hoping our trailer looks this shiny someday!)
Mark has been working on vintage cars for a number of years and while doing that became interested in vintage trailers. Here’s a photo of one of his own trailers (waiting to be restored) – it’s a 1950s era Serro Scotty with the original aluminum finish.
Now, lest you think we’re getting any kind of kickback from Mark for this post- I just want to state that the reason I’m sharing his work with you all is because I came away from our visit so very impressed with his attention to detail and craftsmanship, and think he should be recognized for it. I would not know the first thing to do about fixing up our trailer, and have gotten many wild and varied opinions from people about what we should do, so I was uber-relieved when we met Mark, who knew what he was talking about. Consider this a shout-out to the good guys who do good work!
Mark only works on Serro Scottys – which originated in Irwin, Pennsylvania, so he knows them inside and out, and knows the areas to look for trouble. They were made inexpensively with light materials, so there are often places where leaks have gotten in and rotted out areas. If that’s the case, no worries, Mark will peel away the protective outer aluminum and replace the wood beneath.
He also will do up the interior to each owners liking. The Serro Scotty interiors were originally painted light blue with black and white flecks, but if you want a warm wood finish he can do that instead. Now these aren’t the same trailers- but take a look at this before and after example:
In looking at his workspace that was filled to capacity with trailers waiting to be worked on, I spied a trailer with a screen door, and immediately became smitten with the idea that we have a screen door on ours. Mark says that our 1964 didn’t originally have a screen door, but he’s been able to fabricate them, so we can put it on our wish list if we like. He also has recently begun reproducing door hinges and restoring windows for folks.
I also loved the original vintage travel decals on this trailer and this reminded me of seeing Uncle Atom’s application of them on his vintage Shasta. I made a mental note to incorporate those into our project (I’m keeping a Pinterest board with all of my Vintage Travel Trailer ideas so I don’t forget ‘em!)
In owning our little trailer even for just a short time we’ve learned about the alternate universe that exists where so many people own, love, decorate, take care of, camp in, show off, admire, and bond over their vintage campers. We also quickly saw that while many people could and were doing their own renovations, that there are many people like us scrambling for information about how to do things right, and who to trust in doing the work.
In every instance of Mark explaining where he was in a project, I could tell he was renovating the trailers as if they were his own, and sometimes even better. Always looking for the best materials for the job, from plywood to screws to finding the right fabric to make sure the cushions could be upholstered with the same color the Scottys came with. I can totally see why he’s endorsed by the NSSO!
You can see many more photos of Mark’s trailer restoration work on the National Serro Scotty Organization’s page for him, and (after we get our Lil Camper in line of course) you can email Mark about your own trailer. Sometimes he’ll have one up on eBay and if you’re the high bidder he will customize it to your liking.
So while I realize I’m shooting myself in the foot and probably making the line even longer of people who want to get their vintage trailers restored by Mark, I also could not help but want to give a public pat-on-the-back to him for his dedication to making sure these adorable little campers stick around for a long, long time. They’re a part of vintage roadside history and we hope to make ours a part of Retro Roadmap history – we’ll be sure to keep you posted!