Sunday, May 31, 2009


I recently purchased this 1955 Empire 12' travel trailer for the sole purpose of satisfying my desire to have a old canned ham style trailer. I've always had a passion for these style trailers. I've also come to the conclusion that as I get older my idea of camping has changed. I know longer want to "setup camp" with my tent and accesories. I'm looking forward to pulling into my spot and "setup camp" with my vintage trailer. I've spent the last few months doing a mild restoration in order to make it usable. My mild restoration includes a new dinette table and countertops in a gray boomerang formica, new cushions, new water tank, new or restored fixtures, restored original 3 burner stove, restored original icebox, new black and white checkerboard flooring, added shelving in the closet, restoration of the entry door, replacement of cargo doors, fresh temporary paint, stripping of the old blue paint on windows and polishing the frames and reassembling with new gaskets. The original birch interior is actually in really good condition with the only evidence of prior water damage around the vent area. This was my first attempt at a trailer restoration and I look forward to the next one. I eventually would like to find a 50's Shasta 12 footer. I have enjoyed the parts hunting and entire experience thus far. I'm looking for fellow Empire trailer owners or any information about them. Hope you enjoy.


  1. I have a 1954 12' (15' o/a) Empire Trailers, Inc., (El Monte, CA) "Ham Can" trailer. It is nearly identical to yours except it is un-restored, long-ago gutted and in poor shape.
    I plan to redesign the unit to serve as a self contained back country get-away capsule.
    I'm going to reverse the axle and add new springs to get a 6" body lift with added shocks to control sway. The exterior will be stripped of non-original, brushed-on paint and left a dull aluminum finish. All windows and door are good so with new weather stripping, should be fine. The rear will have a 50's narrow, chrome (Chevrolet truck) bumper, spare tire and a mountain bike carrier. The front will have an aluminum tool box with separate propane tank enclosure and twin deep cycle marine batteries inside. The frame/tongue will be black. The raised body will allow tall 15" wheels/tires, mud flaps, underslung drainage pipes and 20 gallon fresh and grey water tanks.
    The interior is empty except the overhead lockers where the front dinette belongs. Those will be relocated to over a new, rear U-shaped seating/table which converts into a full bed. Aft of the door will be a vintage cabinet with shelves. Across from that will be a new (vintage) galley with a two burner (no oven) stove, sink and portable ice chest. The entire forward area will be an enclosed bathroom with shower, porta potti and vintage clothes dresser. The walls/ceiling will be paint stripped and varnished to an original blonde Birch luster. Coffee colored indoor/outdoor carpet will complement the natural Birch and beige painted surfaces. Pressure water, propane, and an all 12V system will be installed. No propane lighting...
    My tow vehicles are a 1951 Chevrolet 3100 series 1/2 ton pickup for "around town" and a Toyota FJ60 Landcruiser wagon for the back country. The intention again is to have a vintage looking, gravel road capable, self sufficient "home base" for wilderness hiking, lake fishing and genuine get-away vacations...
    I too have found little on this manufacturer and plan to compile as much as possible, including an owner's registry, which I will share, (with each owner's permission).
    If you have an interest in or information about Empire Trailers, Inc. please contact me.

    1. I have a 1954 as well and it has the axle swap with the spring for anti sway. It sits pretty high and either you love the look or you don't LOL!!

  2. To Crazy About Vintage Trailers blogger.

    I own a 12' 1954 Empire.
    Would you please email me so we can exchange information?


  3. Trying to dig up all we can about our 1955 Empire 15'. Would love to exchange info. Find us on FB Po Boy Customs or email us @