I spent the better part of my college years searching for the “perfect” vintage camper. I thought I wanted an iconic Shasta Airflyte, or an unmistakable Airstream, but when I saw the ad for this 1967 Cheltenham I knew it was meant to be mine.
1967 Cheltenham Puku 4
Purchased May ’18
Columbia Falls, ME
I’ll admit, there aren’t a lot of 21 year olds who would have seen an ad on Craigslist for a (British) camper in this shape and said to themselves “I need to see it tomorrow,” but that’s what happened. Twenty-four hours after seeing the ad online a friend and I drove 2 hours to Columbia Falls, ME to check it out.
You’ll note from the pictures below that the condition left something to be desired, but that didn’t bother me. I FaceTimed my parents who promptly responded with looks of concern, for both the camper and my sanity, but for $400 this “hunk of junk” became my labor of love.
The Journey home
If you’ve never purchased a non-roadworthy camper before, make sure you measure the width of the camper and the width of the trailer you intend to bring it home on, before you drive 2+ hours to pick it up. I’m telling you from experience.
Luckily, the couple that I bought this camper from were some of the nicest people I’d ever met, and happened to have a flat bed car hauler which they graciously let us borrow.
After two trips from Bangor, ME to Columbia Falls, ME (and 8+ hours later) we got it home without a (new) scratch on it!
After getting the camper to its new home, it was time to empty it out and assess the situation.
To say there was a lot of “stuff” in the camper would be an understatement. It was easy to tell that there was cabinet or two in there, but I had no idea what else I would find.
Amongst some generic “junk” that had accumulated, I discovered three full awning sets (two from Poulard in the UK), three of the original shelving/cabinet units, the original fold-out table, and a set of dishes emblazoned with the Cheltenham logo. The furniture was too water damaged to salvage, but I’ve kept it to use as templates for building the new pieces. The dishes, I later learned, came with the camper when it was sold to its first owner back in the 60s.
After the big clean-out it was easier to see what I was dealing with inside, which wasn’t much if we’re being honest. But hope is not lost!