wendy tyner

1937 pierce arrow travelodge A class

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 My had this camper for years..I lost him in 2016. I have been on the internet to try and see what it maybe worth. The prices go from low to high no matter the condition. If anyone knows anything about this travelodge please let me know..thank you Wendy  Right now it is not for sale just info about it.

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They came in three sizes, there is one at the Gilmore museum, never seen one for sale, prices likely have a wide range.

37PiereceTravelLodge.jpg

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http://www.rvmhhalloffame.org/  This is the RV Hall of Fame.  They do have a library so they may be of help.  However, my ace staff just informed me that in America's Automotive Library, the AACA Library & Research Center they have files on this as well.  Apparently they reside in the Pierce Arrow Society archives which we house.  I had no idea Pierce Arrow was involved in this product (didn't even see the title, duh!).  Got my lesson in for the day!

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I also pointed this thread out on the Pierce Arrow Society members forum and hopefully someone there will be able to give you some advice.

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Classic Car enthusiast Clive Cussler has a Travelodge at his museum in Arvada, CO, open to the public May-September.

photo from www.cusslermuseum.com:

 

1936 Pierce Arrow with 1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge1936 Pierce-Arrow & 1937 Pierce-Arrow Travelodge

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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There's another beautifully restored one at the Stahl museum in Michigan. In good shape I imagine they would bring a fair dollar.

Jim

Stahl's and Mariner's Museums, Michigan 038.JPG

Stahl's and Mariner's Museums, Michigan 039.JPG

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The Model A Travelodge was the largest offering, at almost 20 feet.  They also offered a Model B at 16 feet and a Model C at 13 feet.

 

They were manufactured in 1936 and 1937, with production only in the hundreds.

 

Aluminum skin, metal frame with independent suspension and vacuum brakes, they tow beautifully.

 

I know, I towed my Model B over 500 miles to bring home, behind a Suburban you really don't know it's there.

 

Values are all over the place because of condition, they are dreadfully expensive to restore, and if you don't have the original interior and all fittings and fixtures, then you'll probably never get it back to original.  Also, the Model A, being larger, is even more expensive to restore.

 

I'm well versed on these trailers, any questions email me at David.coco@comcast.net   If you send me inside and outside pictures I can help you put a value on it.  

 

 

 

 

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I have a neighbor that has one of these.

I looked in it once and it is totally empty, and no floor. Just a body and frame. The body is handsome in my opinion but it does have some rust.

It looks like it must have had some sort of vinyl top in its history.

Everything he has is for sale, however I never asked him how much.

I am guessing it would be a Model B. Its not as long as those pictured. Heck it might not even be a PA.

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Call these folks and see if they can give you an idea on value or put you in touch with someone who can - they specialize in vintage travel trailer restorations

 

http://www.flytecamp.com/

 

Bob

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Here is a Model B when they were new. Notice the step stool to get in the trailer. 

IMG_0047.jpg

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Here is the ultimate accessory for ANY Packard car..........A Pierce Arrow! Just ask the man who tows one!😁

IMG_0049.jpg

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FYI - The red trailer is extensively modified. Under carriage was a modern replacment when I inspected it about two years ago. 

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Ed's photo with the tall chimney in the background shows a Model A Travelodge because it has TWO roof vents.  Some mods including a wonderful custom paint job (added cost option) and 1936 Buick fender lights as front running lights.  Photo was taken in Litchfield, IL and I spoke with the son who found the photo among his late mother's effects ca. 2002 (she was one of the young women).

 

I've owned Model A Travelodge serial no. 1149 (last one known to have been built) for 15 years. 

Model A serials began at 1001, and the highest known to PAS is 1149.

Model B serials begin at 10001, and the highest known (to PAS) serial as of 2005 is 10261.

Model C serials begin at 20001, and the highest known to PAS as of 2005 is 20100.

Therefore, we can assume that there were AT LEAST 1,149 Model A + 261 Model B + 100 Model C for a total of AT LEAST 510 Travelodges produced.

As of today, we know of about 525 total built by serial number.

 

These trailers tow beautifully because they have no axle--the wheels are independently sprung with a tubular leading arm and a quarter-elliptic spring trailing arm.  They just walk over diagonal railroad crossings.

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There were may special order options on them, including commercial applications, and other unusual uses. Here is a shot of Cusslers in his museum. I have the IDENTICAL car and trailer, and if you like good fiction, read INCA GOLD by Cussler, as it features the Pierce car and trailer in it.

IMG_0826.jpg

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

FYI - The red trailer is extensively modified. Under carriage was a modern replacment when I inspected it about two years ago. 

 

I have to admit I didn't pay much attention to the trailer. The '40 Packard "tow vehicle" is what caught my eye !

Stahl's and Mariner's Museums, Michigan 037.JPG

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Ed touches on one point about these trailer, they rust and corrode.  Most of the trailers that are left unrestored out there have corrosion of the aluminum along the bottom edge of the skin.  Frames are sufficient for the task but not super heavy, so a little corrosion on a frame can mean that components have to be replaced.

 

One advantage that a Pierce trailer has is that the shell was installed on the frame, THEN the floor was installed.  A lot of period trailers built the frame, put in a floor, then built the trailer over the floor.  Thus, it's much easier to replace a floor in a Travelodge.

 

As mentioned too, one key to value is how complete is the interior.  If it's gutted and just a shell, then value is greatly reduced.  A lot of the interior components for these trailers are just basically unavailable, such as lights and kitchen sink hardware.

 

I wouldn't say that they are rare, as they seem to pop up quite often and there are many known to the Pierce Arrow Society.  What's rare is to find one that's complete and in excellent, original, condition.

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The Nethercutt Model A Travelodge is indeed awesome. and photographs magnificently, inside and out.

 

Then-curator Skip M allowed me to crawl through and under, and to photograph it to my heart's content, about 2001 and very generously color-photocopied some photos taken during restoration (1969, if memory serves).

 

Some liberties (or enhancements, depending on how one looks at it) were taken:

 

* They replaced the independent suspension with what appears to be a Pierce-Arrow passenger car straight front axle, dropped about 6 inches, perhaps to allow use of 17" Pierce-Arrow passenger car wheels and hubcaps to match those on the 1937 V-12 tow rig.  (From the factory, the Travelodges used 16" GMC truck artillery wheels and hubcaps--the latter with the "GMC" impression planished out.)  As a result, the Nethercutt trailer stands about 6" to 8" taller than a stock Travelodge.

 

* Interior wood was finished in a much darker-than-stock hue and appears to have a semi-gloss lacquer finish.  This makes for wonderful photography, but I found the glare and "too much dark" almost oppressive after 3-4 minutes inside.  If you were there just for photography, you'd never notice it.

 

* A period 3-way Servel refrigerator was added, far superior to the ice-box furnished by the factory.

 

I am not denigrating the restoration, just pointing out deviations from stock for those who would use it as an authenticity source.  Its condition, now FIFTY years after restoration, is absolutely amazing.

 

 

Edited by Grimy
added one word for clarity. Find it! :-) (see edit history)
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These trailers were built with many items and materials that are either very rare or unavailable now.  

Such as: the interior walls were covered in thin, Red Gum plywood.  It was molded to fit the contours of the interior, when it was laminated or glued into sheets.

 

The kitchen hardware is very different than a home kitchen of the era:  The faucet has a built in air pump. to pressurize the water tank.  The stove was an alcohol fuel unit, like used in marine applications.  

 

As mentioned several times, value is mostly based on condition an originality.  An extensively modified Travelodge is pretty much a used travel trailer. The only collector value is in the exterior appearance.  Sort of like any Classic Era car that has a modern drivetrain and suspension: it's just exterior appearance that has any collector value.  

 

An original Travelodge with all or most of the original hardware, the doors and paneling in good condition, and sporting the original Coal/Wood cast iron miniature Pot-Belly heating stove,  well get two or more interested, knowledgeable bidders, and I think a Model A might be bid to over $40K-$50K. 

 

Post some photos of the interior and exterior, and underside of your Travelodge, and we can help you much better.  

 

GLong

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Trailer sales exploded in the 1930s, from almost zero before 1934, to where there were 300,000 on the road in 1937. One economist predicted that year, that if the trend continued, in ten years half the population of America would be living in trailers.

 

The Travelodge was Pierce's attempt to expand their product line into this fast growing market. Cheap trailers were made of masonite or leatherette, the better trailers were made similar to a car body with wood frame and metal panels. The Travelodge was one of the highest quality and most expensive trailers on the market.

 

They sold a few hundred in 2 years but it was not enough to save the company.

 

As others have pointed out, they were a beautifully made trailer and a real show piece. But if one has been allowed to run down and parts are missing, almost impossible to restore.

 

Today there are collectors of vintage trailers, a phenomenon that does not go back much more than 10 years. But, collectors will pay high prices for a perfect original trailer. I would not be surprised if a really nice Travelodge sold for $50,000 or more BUT it would have to be practically perfect. One that was run down or missing parts might be worth a few hundred if a real junker, to a few thousand for an average specimen.

 

There are a number of vintage trailer web sites, including several dealers, but I don't know where you could go to find the value of your trailer.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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On 2/26/2019 at 1:23 PM, JACK M said:

I have a neighbor that has one of these.

I looked in it once and it is totally empty, and no floor. Just a body and frame. The body is handsome in my opinion but it does have some rust.

It looks like it must have had some sort of vinyl top in its history.

Everything he has is for sale, however I never asked him how much.

I am guessing it would be a Model B. Its not as long as those pictured. Heck it might not even be a PA.

 The 'vinyl' top - the Travelodge is what was known as a bread loaf style of trailer. Most of these had a canvas top made by stretching canvas over cotton padding then giving the canvas 2 coats of white lead paint to make it waterproof. Even trailers with metal covered bodies had this type of roof. I am surprised the Travelodge came this way because the roofs are painted body color not white. I thought they were metal, going by appearance.

 

Later... reviewing the pictures in this thread it sure looks like they had a metal roof riveted together. So JackM's friend's trailer is probably not a Travelodge.

 

About the vacuum brakes, they were common on the larger more expensive trailers and very effective. They were connected to the engine by a pipe that ran the length of the car and then to the trailer by a rubber hose. The vacuum was controlled by a valve on the dash board, convenient to the driver's hand.

 

I read an account of a 1937 Roycraft trailer some years back. It was  a real nice bread loaf trailer similar to a Travelodge, and this example had been in indoor storage for years and was in near perfect condition.

 

The new owner connected up the vacuum brakes and the first time he used them, nearly threw him through the windshield! Then, the trailer would not move! He figured out that closing the valve was not enough, he had to drill a tiny hole in the pipe to release the vacuum. The hole was not large enough to reduce the effectiveness of the brakes

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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31 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

The 'vinyl' top - the Travelodge is what was known as a bread loaf style of trailer. Most of these had a canvas top made by stretching canvas over cotton padding then giving the canvas 2 coats of white lead paint to make it waterproof. Even trailers with metal covered bodies had this type of roof. I am surprised the Travelodge came this way because the roofs are painted body color not white. I thought they were metal, going by appearance.

 

Later... reviewing the pictures in this thread it sure looks like they had a metal roof riveted together. So JackM's friend's trailer is probably not a Travelodge.

 

About the vacuum brakes, they were common on the larger more expensive trailers and very effective. They were connected to the engine by a pipe than ran the length of the car and then to the trailer by a rubber hose. The vacuum was controlled by a valve on the dash board, convenient to the driver's hand.

 

I read an account of a 1937 Roycraft trailer some years back. It was  a real nice bread loaf trailer similar to a Travelodge, and this example had been in indoor storage for years and was in near perfect condition.

 

The new owner connected up the vacuum brakes and the first time he used them, nearly threw him through the windshield! Then, the trailer would not move! He figured out that closing the valve was not enough, he had to drill a tiny hole in the pipe to release the vacuum. The hole was not large enough to reduce the effectiveness of the brakes

Rusty is right about the topping material on Masonite trailers.  Pierce-Arrow Travelodges were all aluminum with a steel frame, no topping material, the metals separated by what we would today call roofing paper which disintegrated over time and fostered galvanic corrosion.

 

Travelodge brakes are interesting:  Travelodges used 1936 GMC/Chevrolet truck hydraulic brakes, although Pierce stayed with mechanical brakes on their passenger cars.  Under the Travelodge front seat, there was a brake master cylinder connected to a vacuum chamber by means of a bellcrank.  1936-38 Pierce autos had vacuum boosted brakes with both an operating cylinder and tank under the rear floor.  For towing a Travelodge, a long hose with a check valve near the disconnect attached to the trailer.  When vacuum was applied to the piston in the vacuum chamber, the bellcrank would move to operate the hydraulic master cylinder.  Rube Goldberg LIVES!

 

Standard paint on a Travelodge was flat silver/aluminum, with wide relatively black stripes, but for a small additional charge, the buyer could have the Travelodge painted to match his/her car!

DSCN0255.JPG

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