Shelly and Greg’s 1958 Universal Terra Cruiser trailer — original pink perfection uncovered under 1980s paint


gregIt was quite “the project” when they first bought it, but now Shelly and Greg — along with Looly the Shih-Tzu — love spending time at their 1958 Terra Cruiser Trailer vacation home in Arizona. Their real estate agent recommended they tear it down — but once Shelly and Greg spotted all the pink perfection beneath coats of 1980s paint, they were hooked. 16 bottles of Citristrip later — and this rare trailer is back in original form. And it’s a real beauty!

vintage-love-shack-trailerShelly writes:

Here are photos from my 1958 Universal Terra-Cruiser trailer in Arizona (aka the Love Shack).

midcentury-terra-cruiser-trailer vintage-terra-cruiser-trailerAbout seven years ago we were looking for a cabin in the pines in Arizona. Everything was crazy expensive, but then our realtor said she had a great lot for us. “Never mind the icky old trailer on the property… tear it out and build your dream home!” she gleefully recommended. It was an amazing lot (creek, pines, oaks, fruit trees, etc.) so we sealed the deal, and the newly-dubbed Love Shack was ours.

retro-living-room small-midcentury-couch retro-dinette-setsmall-vintage-dinette-set vintage-rocker-chairretro-end-tableOnce we cleaned heaven-only-knows-how-many-years of grime off every surface imaginable, took out all the kokopellis and navy blue *everything*, we started noticing the trailer’s charms… birchwood paneling, groovy original hardware throughout, jalousie windows, etc.

vintage-pink-trailer-kitchen vintage-pink-stove midcentury-kitchenMost importantly, however — the smidge of pink peeking out from under the white paint that covered the toilet, sinks (bath + kitchen), tub, shower surround, kitchen backsplash, and gas stove. After about 16 bottles of citristrip (and many scraped knuckles), we uncovered gleaming, mostly pristine pink 1958 beauty!

[Editor’s note: Precautionary Pam reminds: Readers, there can be vintage nastiness such as lead paint and asbestos in the layers of our vintage homes. Be sure to consult with your own properly licensed professional to be sure what you have so that you can make informed decisions before remodeling. Be Safe / Renovate Safe. ]

retro-terra-cruiserI posted some pictures of the place on the internet, and the very knowledgeable and helpful trailer expert Juergen Eichermuller pointed out that it was a Universal Terra-Cruiser model, and quite a gem at that. Even had a “how much do you want for it?” purchase offer from someone!

vintage-slubby-floor-tileWe decided then to fully embrace the original vibe of the place. Hubs pulled up the living room carpet to reveal the original vinyl flooring (light brown with neopolitan ice cream-colored streaks). It had sustained some water damage in places, so he rooted around inside cabinets, under the bed, etc. to find replacement tiles, and it now looks wonderful.

flamingo-sign pink-flamingos pink-flamingo-wind-chimeLast year when I turned 50, we had a big “party in the pines” and our guests brought every piece of flamingo swag imaginable, so the exterior is now as fun and retro-licious as the interior.

Next on the agenda is to re-paint the exterior with the original streamlined design based on a 1958 magazine ad. But….while hubby appreciates the historical aspect of the pink stuff inside, he is leery (okay, understandably) about reverting the trailer to its original pink-trimmed exterior. Boo-hoo! 🙂

midcentury-mini-pink-tub midcentury-marbled-tub-surroundAbove: Pink & gold swirled wallboard surrounding bathroom sink and tub.

retro-pink-bathroom-sink The bath has its original pink tub, toilet and sink as well as the pink-gold marbled tub surround and sink backsplash…all lovingly scraped inch by square inch to remove the awesome Navajo White paint that someone thought was somehow (gasp) preferable.


vintage-trailer-bathroomvintage-light-fixtureAbove: The original bath light fixture.

retro-pink-kitchen-sinkIn the kitchen, we also have the original pink gas stove & (double) sink!

vintage-starburst-wallboard retro-starburst-wallboardYou might also be able to see the pink checked & gold starburst wallboard in the kitchen.

retro-porch-glider jalousie-windows-vintage-trailer love-shack-bird-house

vintage-aluminum-glider-patio vintage-aluminum-patio-furnitureAbove: ’50s-era glider on deck, matching rocker.

vintage-pink-tile-mosaicThis trivet was made with broken pink tiles salvaged from the demolished ladies’ restroom at a local Senator Drive-In Movie Theater (gives you an idea of the extent of my mania, perhaps?).

vintage-dressing-table midcentury-sparkle-laminate-countertopAbove: Built-in desk in kitchen with a close-up of “cracked ice” formica on desk top. [Pam interjects: I would not call this cracked ice; I woudl call it an abstract mosaic with glitter. I would also call it: Fantastique!]

retro-bedroom vintage-kitsch-shelf

Wow, Shelly and Greg: Underneath all that paint — a real time capsule trailer beauty. It sure sounds like restoring your trailer was “some therapy” — you are definitely a contender for this year’s The Hard Way Award, Pam says!

I’m not sure I could pick a favorite pink piece from your home — but if I had to try, it would be a tie between the laminate countertop on your built-in desk and that adorable pink vintage stove in your adorable pink and white kitchen.

“… the extent of my mania”… you say? Heck yeah, we get it!

Thanks so much for sharing your little slice of retro heaven with all of us!

  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    David, I am so delighted to hear that you are doing this restoration work. My husband and I recently gave up our 1982 Terry Fleetwood, which we had restored, repaired and redecorated over the years until we discovered a mold problem in the floor that required completely gutting the inside. We sold it to a guy who loves to do this work and will appreciate it.

    We, too, have run across those age rules in RV parks, sometimes totally inflexible in banning older trailer models. We understand that park owners don’t want to have run down old rust buckets on their property, but they ought to (and some do) allow restored vintage trailers. They should consider the condition rather than the years of the models in age. And our problem was that we wanted to replace the trailer for summer camping but we couldn’t afford a new to five-year-old trailer. Some park owners out there ought to begin a vintage park.

  2. Heart says:

    Agreed! Sustainability! Consumption is a thing of the past & we need to get people up to speed. Vintage trailers were made in the USA, most of the new ones (parts) are made in China.

    “Restored Vintage Trailers” Are Prestigious & an asset to any Park owner! Not to mention, after restoration, they age well like a classic car, built to last & far outlive the current 5 year models. Spread the word!

  3. Elaine says:

    This is fantastic! I love that you brought it back to life . I hope you have many happy years in your love shack!

  4. Cyndy says:

    When my husband and I were newlyweds we lived for two years in a Universal Terra Cruiser with a slightly different floor plan but with all the pink! That was in the early 90’s. In later years our landlady replaced the appliances and did some painting but the kitchen sink and bathroom fixtures remained pink. We have sweet memories of living there.

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