Teardrop trailers sees upswing in sales

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September 25, 2010

The economy has influenced all facets of daily life and occasionally in a positive way.

Around since the 1930s, Teardrop trailers are seeing a boom in popularity, Auburn Journal reports.

2007 white Dutchmen teardrop trailer

In Auburn, California, American River Sales has sold American Teardrops for 10 years and recently began manufacturing them in response to increased demand, general manager Bud Hausman told the paper.

“We can’t build them fast enough.”

The trailers have been increasing in popularity for the last 15 years, “with the last two years seeing the biggest growth we’ve ever seen,” he said.

The teardrop is designed for convenience. “It can be towed behind any car, including electric cars,” Hausman said. “They’re super lightweight. They’re the RV for the next generation.”

The original teardrop design appeared in the 1930s. The March/April, 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft ran a story and plans for a teardrop trailer designed and built by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California in the 1930’s for his honeymoon coach. The 8’x4′ floor plan was on tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis. Rogers used a Chevrolet front axle with 28″ wheels and 1926 Chevrolet rear fenders. A curtain-enclosed dressing room outside the starboard entry door provided privacy while dressing.

Custom-made teardrop trailer by freshelectrons on Flickr

The February, 1940 issue of Popular Mechanics, ran a story and plans for an egg-shaped teardrop trailer. Built on a 1924 Chevrolet Superior front axle with disk wheels from a 1930 Chevrolet, this 9’x5’9¼” floor plan featured a pressurized water tank with running water to a sink, a stove, and ice box in the rear kitchenette. The cabin provided a small clothes closet, a chemical toilet, and a single entry door on the starboard side.

Teardrop trailers have come a long way since those original teardrops, but still offer all the enjoyment and fun that the original teardrop owner came to expect.

“The unit we build is a pretty close replica of those 1940s units, using modern-day materials,” Hausman said.

The average size of the trailer is 5 feet by 8 feet. There are windows on both sides and a door on one side. American River’s basic models range from $3,995 to $5,995.

You get the base model and then you outfit it the way you want. Among the options are air conditioning, pullout kitchen, and mattresses.

“If you added every option, the unit would still be about $8,000,” Hausman indicated.

The Auburn store started up its manufacturing site earlier this summer. Prior to that, the teardrops were manufactured at American Teardrop headquarters in Elkhart, Indiana.

The “cabin” of the Big Woody Camper is 4′ x 6′ or longer, and sleeps two people comfortably.

“This past year, we decided to open a factory here to cut down shipping costs,” Hausman said.

On November 1, the factory moves to a new, larger location. He expects to add another six to 10 jobs to the already six jobs created when the plant is fully up and running.

American Teardrop is only one of numerous brands that make the teardrop trailer.

“It’s becoming so popular that big companies are coming out with mini-models to compete with teardrops,” he said.

For sales and rentals of the American Teardrop trailer, American River Sales is located at 13230 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA 95603

Worth Pondering…

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