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.
.
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?

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Comments

  1. Bill says

    Thanks for the memories. I grew up camping in the same trailer and it stayed in our family until about 10 years ago…Best times!

  2. Pete Whitley says

    Hi Tina,

    Basically I used the space where the propane fridge was and the storage space above it to add an 8,000 BTU A/C window unit, dorm fridge and microwave above that. I used a the old propane heater exhaust for a fresh air intake. I put a drip pan under the whole thing with a tube draining to the outside. It’s hard to explain in words so here is a link to the Facebook entire restoration. The A/C pics are at the end. If it doesn’t work get in touch with me and I’ll get pictures to you another way. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1186698585812.2028249.1178720020&type=3

  3. Gary Talbott says

    My parents had the identical trailer back in the sixties. We traveled out west every summer with seven people crammed inside! The three boys would sleep in the cabover, two girls in the dinnette below and mom and dad in the back. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories. The quality of your restoration is beyond words Thanks for the memories.

  4. Erica says

    This is the cutest trailer EVER!! I really want to find one to fix up. Its just my husband, 7 year old daughter and me. A trailer this size would be perfect. Vintage trailers are the best, they have so much character.

  5. Cindy Keeping says

    I want one to renovate for my two granddaughters and myself to play in and go camping…I can’t imagine anything more fun than a totally feminine camper where girls can hang out and enjoy life!!

    • Denise says

      Girl, you need to look up Sisters on the Fly. We are an all female sisterhood that loves camping, fishing and all things outdoors. We are 3300 strong all across the U.S. and love vintage everything, even clothing. We have national events and also regional events that cross over to whoever can come. Check it out on our own website, http://www.sistersonthefly.com and also a facebook page, Sisters on the Fly. Fly has to do with fly fishing as our main charity we raise for is Casting for Recovery, a rehab organization for women who have had mastectomies. Check us out. We welcome new Sisters everywhere.

  6. Hunter says

    i have a 73 yellowstone 17.5 ft long that is pretty nice inside. I would like to do a little updating but don’t know where to begin???? i’m good with tools but noy good on vision of the redo. any one have ideas???
    Hunter

  7. Robin - Conway, AR says

    Hey Pam,
    My husband and I drove all the way to St. Augustine, FL from Arkansas a few years ago to purchase our 20′ 1972 Airstream Argosy trailer. Luckily, the previous owners took good care of it, but with the updates we did (replaced copper pipes, added metal underbelly) we will never get our money out of it. But, we love vintage stuff (I guess 1970’s really isn’t that vintage)….we get lots of looks when we go camping. We had a brand new camper in 2006 and the quaility wasn’t as good as our current trailer.

  8. Kev says

    It was Petes trailer that got us looking for a cabover style vintage camper. I was already mid restoration on a 1971 Shasta Airflyte but I knew I wanted one with that funky overhang bunk. Just last month I found a 1967 Fan Sunseeker with the optional cabover bunk and bought it for $800. It is in my garage now for cleaning and some new paint.
    Thanks for the great website, I really enjoy it~
    ps. Here’s a picture of our Fan- (it even has aqua appliances)
    http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd149/turbokev_photos/1967%20Fan%20Sunseeker%20Camper/DSCN0211.jpg

  9. Tracey says

    Hey Pete~ Wow, wow! She is a beauty, you must be soo proud! I have been all over the internet the last few days after just purchasing a 1962 Shasta compact trailer. She’s arriving this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to get in there and start really checking her out. Gosh, I hope she’s as good as she looks. She for sure needs some tlc and some work but I think I’m up for it. All this coming from a mom of 5 and a grandma to 3 lol. This should be interesting so say the least. My hubby says this is my empty nest project :). Now understand, I have no experience in any of this, but I am a mean cleaner and a great decorator. I do have a question: I need to have the bed/dinette set cushions made because there are none. Where can I have those made? Yours are beautiful! An upholsterer, an rv place, a boat place, I haven’t a clue. Luckily they kept the original table that was in it and it is in good shape. The birch inside seems to be in good condition (that’s what everyone thinks lol) with only a small amount of a previous leak (that they said they fixed right away) in the roof vent. Any advice would be helpful! Mines red/white

  10. Amy says

    Love what you did to the trailer!! I was lucky…10 years ago I picked up a 63 Shasta in very good condition!!! Just missing her wings. :-( But I love it and wouldn’t part with it!! She’s my little Chickadee!! Enjoy your baby!!!

  11. Shawn says

    WOW that looks great you wouldn’t happen to live any where near Seattle would you I have a 1962 Layton that could use some of your love. :)

    • Tracey says

      Shawn~ I live in Sequim, WA…….I have a 1961 Shasta that needs love! It’s being delivered tomorrow so I can start taking everything out to see what I have to work with. Hope I made a good decision or the hubby will kill me :).

  12. Kathy Redding says

    I have this exact camper. Needs a bit of work but is in remarkably good shape. I am looking for a couple of the light fixtures. Any info greatly appreciated. Kathy

    • Pete Whitley says

      Do you want the Humphrey gas lights that are original to the camper or are you looking for just a cool light?

      • peter russell says

        Peter I just picked up a 1964 astroflyt… it needs a lot but she’s all there… I have a question… it does not seem to have a furnace… would they have sold one without heat… anyway I will be starting on her next week once I finish up fixing some rot on the Ace we have… hope to chat about the work you did soon… peter. ..peter.russell09@gmail.com.

        • Pete Whitley says

          Hi Peter,

          They all had a furnace. In different years they were in different locations. It should either be a floor furnace or on the side of the closet.

        • Pete Whitley says

          I take that back Peter. I just learned that not all of them had a furnace. Yours might be one on those.

  13. peter russell says

    I have just started working on my 64 Astroflyte and have a few questions for you. Where did you find the Birch plywood… I was able to locate some at one local distributer but they want 39.00 per sheet. Seems like a lot since I need between 10 and 17 sheets. Depending on just replacing celing or celing and walls..

    Did you remove the roof panels or do most from inside?

    Im in Danvers Ma if anyone out there is local and wants to talk campers..

    Peter

  14. Kathy Redding says

    I have this exact camper… Mine is in really good shape but on a trip to sturgis the original oil light fell & broke. Are these easy to find do you know? Thanks for any info

  15. Sherrie says

    Hi there,

    I saw the article you have on the restoration of your Shasta trailer, it is awesome! We are currently restoring a 1967 Aloha trailer and I was wondering if you could tell me what the exterior aqua color you used was. There are so many out there and I love the one on yours.

    Thanks for your time,

    Sherrie

  16. Gary Phillips says

    I have just purchased a 1969 Shasta Loflyte . Would like to find the stove as it is missing. Do you have any good suppliers. Thanks Gary

  17. Dave Alley says

    I have the identical twin to your Astro. It currently is exactly as how you described yours upon arrival. Still mulling whether to tackle the project or pass it on…

  18. Nora Stengrim says

    This is a beautiful job of renovating this trailer. You mentioned mistakes, but I believe if you did, they are well hidden. I love it when they are restored to be like they were originally, which it appears you have done. I would love one day to have a vintage trailer of some sort, a Holiday House would be the dream, but they are rare. Thank you for sharing this beauty and the sites you found helpful. Hopefully I will have need to research those sites one day. Job well done and enjoy your outings in this beauty. That is the most important aspect of a project such as this.

  19. mid mid jobs says

    Here again, the paths cross. Amy B. from Mod StL sent me this link cause she knows I ‘m waist deep in it. Literally waist deep in a 61′ Shasta Deluxe 1900. That’s the “self contained” 19 ft with toilet and shower. Everything this guy Pete said was true. I have seen his work in my own research. Let me say this, these things are cute and all, but you might need someone to talk you out of the bell tower. They aren’t for amateurs. The other thing is you never know what your gonna get til you open the can…peel the skin. You might find rotted wood all the way down. If you want to do it right, you need to get down to the trailer frame and grind it down to refinish. then you build it back up.
    Good news is you do it better, most of these cute old campers were
    built for production, quickly, cheaply, and shabbily, sorry to say. I can count how many nails I’ve found that missed the mark, split the wood they were supposed to adhere, and just left that way. Oh I could go on for days. Demo took 4 weeks of nights and weekends.
    This is not for the faint of heart. Trust me, houses are easier, cut your teeth there. Keep in mind Pete is an Airline Mechanic. I have been rehabbing, and building furniture for a few years, have a big shop full of tools, and I have used almost every one. Just know what your getting into. I can’t tell you how many days I have gone out there and become overwhelmed and thought WTF were you thinking……Then I suck it up, grab the tools and hunch back over again. I am prying it will be worth it when I am done. Check our Vintage trailer Forums for real war stories and the most accurate info.

  20. Mike says

    Hi Pete,

    Awesome job! I’m in the process of restoring a ’63 Shasta Airflyte and was looking at your interior shot. Did you spray your interior with Shellac or did you brush it? I’ll be working on the interior this spring and loved the way yours looks.
    You sure set the bar high!

    • Pete Whitley says

      Hi Mike,

      Thank you! I brushed three coats of amber shellac in the whole interior. Wish I would have put down four.

  21. Mike says

    Hi Pete,

    Probably a dumb question, but did you sand between coats. I usually do with urethane but haven’t had much experience with Shellac.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

    • Pete Whitley says

      No, I did not. I don’t see how it would do much good. Shellac melts into itself. That is why it so easy to repair if you gouge it. Do four coats if you can. It will darken it more and I believe look nicer. Whatever you do do not try to apply it when the temp is over 75 degrees. It will dry before you finish the brush stroke.

  22. says

    Thanks for sharing the story and pics of the 62 Shasta. I am currently restoring and customizing a 1962 Shasta for a customer. Your trailer looks great good job!
    Scott.

      • Grant says

        Pete, what type of Rock Guard did you purchase to protect the front front of you trailer? We are considering Rock Solid or Rock Tamers of which both are removable. Researching the best options to mitigate our newly acquired rock dents. thanks

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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! (<:

  29. 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

  30. 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 ;-)

  31. 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.

  32. Sherri says

    I just got a free 1956 16′ yellowstone. It’s one hot mess!!!! But I’m hoping we can restore it!!!! Fingers crossed!!!!

  33. nita says

    Hi, I’m thinking what have I got myself into. I just purchased a 1963 Shasta camper. The body looks pretty good except it needs sanding and painting. The inside has bad rotten boards in it but also lots of good boards. I have no clue where to start or even what to do. I want the rotten wood gone and the mice droppings and I found a dead snakeskin. It has to be super clean before I’ll use it. Should I get someone to redo it frt me? I don’t know how..help

  34. Anita says

    Great job! We have a 29 foot 1967 Avion Travelcade that we fixed up….not to original condition, but it is just the way we like it. We bought ours for a thousand bucks and it was in pretty sorry shape…with shrew nests, various animal droppings etc. everyone thought we were crazy, but we proved them wrong…lol.
    . I am amazed at how beautiful your restoration turned out, and I am sure your family will make many memories in it!
    Happy Travels! Anita in Alaska

  35. Rhonda says

    Yes, it is true, we were bitten by the vintage trailer bug approximately 10 years ago. Eight years ago we brought an 1975 Airstream to reside at our home, and have since added “Frankie” and “Kenny”, a 1967 Globetrotter and a 1966 Kencraft. Several other family members have joined in the vintage trailer restoration and to see the end results is amazing. We love it!

  36. Jennifer says

    Pete,
    I saw your trailer at the Tyrone Vintage Trailer show last weekend, and it is beautiful. We are thinking about restoring one, too…a family project. My son-in-law’s father is a retired Delta mechanic as well, maybe he can help! : ) Can you contact me via my email on this post? We are in Fayetteville…

  37. Bill Knight says

    I really like what you did with the trailer. I am not that handy so,I’d have to buy one that’s already finished. I am truly a retro guy (former DJ ) almost 70 & my wife and want tour America and Canada in the next four or five years.

  38. Pete Whitley says

    Thanks Bill. The new 1961 Shasta reissue that Pam mentioned is one option. They are limited edition and getting snapped up so if you want to go this route act quick. This is another new one to consider.

    http://www.riversidervs.net/

    If you want a restored original there are several places to look. If you want to buy an unrestored vintage trailer and want someone to restore it for you there I can guide you in the right direction. Plan on spending $15,000-$20,000 for a new vintage style trailer and $20,000 plus to have someone professionally restore the trailer of you dreams for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *