Pete’s 1964 Shasta trailer — an Astroflyte — a gorgeous restoration

Since pretty much Day #1 of this blog, readers have been hocking me to write about restoring vintage travel trailers. Just like remodeling a midcentury house, right? Except all the rooms — kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom — are all crammed into one small space, on wheels, and you get to go on vacation in it.

shasta trailer restored interior So here I am, finally, with a story — and it’s a fabulous one: Reader Pete shows us his 1964 Shasta Astroflyte travel trailer, which he gut-renovated inside and out. Wow, you must admit this baby has the va va voom goin’ on! Click on through to read Pete’s story…and to get to links of more photos chronicling the entire restoration process.
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Shasta interior restoredPete writes:
Hi Pam,
About five years ago we (wife Cindy, daughter Charlotte and Lane) were in the North Georgia mountains near Clayton, Ga., and I saw this strange looking trailer parked in the Walmart parking lot. It had large silver wings on the back, and I thought it looked awesome. Being a fan of late 50′s early 60′s cars with fins (I have a 1961 Comet) I did a u-turn in the street and pulled into the Walmart to take a look. It was an early 60′s Shasta Airflyte. After marveling over it, my wife and I decided that one day we would get one of these.
pete working on the shasta trailerAfter doing months of research on all types of vintage trailers, we decided that we had to have a Shasta with wings, so we found one on Craigslist in Virginia. It was not an Airflyte but a 1964 Astroflyte, which is just like the Airflyte but it has a cabover to sleep two more people, which we needed with our family of four. Living in Atlanta I didn’t go up to Virginia to look at it (mistake), but had it shipped down. I knew that it would be a restoration and would be in rough shape, but when the courior pulled up to the house and we walked in the trailer, we were horrified. It was totally trashed. Dead mice on the floor, infested with ants, and the biting stink bugs were all over the place. It stunk like nothing else and rotted wood was everywhere.

Renovation in progress. Look familiar to RR readers?

I thought, “I just spent $1,200 on this.” We talked about selling it, but I decided to give a restoration a try. I’m a mechanic at Delta Air Lines and like working of things, but I’ve never restored anything of this magnitude. I worked on the weekend shift, so I had four days off during to week to work on it. A year and a half and $6,000 later it was all finished as of June of this year.

shasta astroflyteWe have camped in the North Georgia state parks about six times and LOVE the trailer.  It really gets a lot of attention, and it is great, inexpensive activity to bring the family together. On Wednesday we take our longest trip yet to Disney World Fort Wilderness and are really looking forward to it.
Shasta Astroflyte 1964

The Shasta Astroflyte all set up at Disney World Fort Wilderness. Don’t try to tell me you don’t Wish You Were Here!

[Update: Photo live from Disney World, provided Friday, above. - Pam]

Restoring this trailer is the best decision we have made. It’s not perfect and I make plenty of mistakes but we enjoy it. I received a lot of help from the internet, especially Repairing Yesterday Travel Trailers.

Congoleum vinyl-type tile

Thanks to YOU for giving me the flooring idea [slubby retro Congoleum tiles] !

1964 Shasta Astroflyte restoration
What an amazing job, Pete — thank you. And I have to say, this is yet another example of: Disasters make for better stories. I love, also, how you talk about how the trailer brings the family together. It’s those trips in the vintage trailer that the girls will remember — not more toys.

How many readers have a dream to buy and restore a vintage travel trailer? (Me!)
Or do you have one already?

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Comments

  1. lauren says

    yep, own a few airstreams and a spartanette! They’re addicting! so much fun to have multiple ‘houses’ to do up in different styles.

  2. Shelia Deakin says

    Pete….What a beauty you have & congrats for a wonderful job done! please contact as I have just purchased a 1964 Shasta Airflyte and she is in great shape but still needs some TLC and I don’t know the first thing about this kind of adventure. My husband and I just built our dream home, a 1600sqft log cabin from the ground up from my design so I think we are up our little Shasta but need advice. Thanks for any information you can give. Blessings to you & family!! Shelia

  3. Diane Boileau says

    Reviewed Pete’s blog, hope to ask him what color of exterior paint and type used, and if he sealed the roof. Thanks so much! Diane and Grant

  4. Barbara says

    Pete, Your trailer looks awesome. We have a ’62 Shasta Astrodome and have almost finished the reno on the interior but exterior needs to be repainted. Did you do the repaint job on yours and if so do you have any suggestions/resources OR if you had your done professionally can you recommend whoever did it? This has been very difficult to find someone in Ala/Georgia area that will do this. Thanks for any help….

    BMc

  5. Pete Whitley says

    HI! I painted it myself with a six inch foam roller with beveled edges. I found a piece of trim with the original aqua and had Serwin Williams color match it. I used SW oil based industrial enamal. Three coats Dover White(top) and four coats aqua. I did not strip the old paint but sanded it smooth. No need to strip. The z stripe is chrome spray paint the turned gray when I tried to seal it. I would just go ahead and polish the z stripe to bright aluminum like it is supposed to be. The enamel is extremely tough. Much more so than car paint. It was very easy to do myself. I just did the top one day and bottom the next and kept alternating. It might not be as nice as auto paint but I’m happy with it. Saved a ton of money also. I have a picture of the aqua formula that I can send if you shoot me an email. Not sure how to post it here. pete_whitley@yahoo.com.

  6. Pete Whitley says

    Aluminum roofs in old trailers and not meant to be sealed like new rubber roof trailers. I didn’t remove the edge rails and put in new putty tape but shot a bead of sealant down each side of the rails and at the roof seams where the aluminum sheets connect. So far no leaks! (<:

  7. Mike says

    Hi Pete,

    Mike here with the ’63 Airflyte. Just a question on your door. Did you replace the seal around the door and if so what type was it and where did you source this? I’ve looked on Vintage Trailer Supply and can’t seem to find one.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

    • Pete Whitley says

      Hi Mike,

      I don’t think I use a seal around the door. It’s metal to metal contact. I did put a seal on the hinge side. I used this black foam tape from work that sticks on. I don’t think it helps much.

      Pete

  8. Lorrie says

    Love your trailer! I’m remodeling a 62 Shasta Delux right now. What countertop laminate did you use and where did you find the blackspash. Great Job ;-)

  9. Monica says

    Hi, Since you had good luck with SW and a roller, I am going to try that too. Did you use a primer first? And are there any choices to satin, gloss, etc?
    thanks for your help!

    • Pete Whitley says

      Hi Monica,

      I didn’t prime it. I sanded down the old paint until smooth using first 180 grit then 320 on an orbital sander. Since there was no bare aluminum showing much I didn’t prime. I used Sherwin Williams industrial oil based enamel which is very glossy. Never need to wax your trailer.

      • pam kueber says

        Precautionary Pam reminds: Peoples, be sure to remember that old paint may have lead in it. Consult with a properly licensed professional to determine what you have so that you can make informed decisions how to handle.

      • Monica says

        Thanks Pete! Going to Sherwin Williams today. I have a lot of dings on my old camper, and was wondering if satin would be better. I called them but the industrial doesnt come in anything but glossy. They recommended that I use an exterior house paint. What do you think about that suggestion. I am skeptical. thanks, Monica

        • Pete Whitley says

          I loved the way the industrial enamel worked out. I’m getting a new vintage trailer soon and will use it on that also. It’s tough as nails. I dropped a peice of lattace against it that slide down the side of the trailer. Not a mark. It would have left heavy damage had I used auto paint.

          • Monica says

            One more question: between your two colors you have an aluminum color. Is that actual metal or paint? thanks, Pete!

            • Pete Whitley says

              I would polish the aluminum to shine if I were you. I painted mine a recommended aluminum color spray paint and when I wiped it after dry it started coming off. I then sprayed it with a coat of poly and it turned gray.

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