This rare 1937 Pierce-Arrow travel trailer could be your personal time machine
Anyone who knows anything about time travel knows you go Back to the Future in a DeLorean and Somewhere in Time simply by dressing in period clothing and believing you’re living in the year 1912. Pretty sure it also helps to have some movie magic, Superman’s chiseled good looks, and the firm belief that the old woman who just placed a pocket watch into your hand and pleaded, “Come back to me,” was your girlfriend… like 60 years ago. But I digress.
For the rest of us—at least those who have $40,000 to $60,000 burning a hole in their overalls—there’s another way to travel back in time: Snap up the jaw-dropping 1937 Pierce-Arrow Model C Travelodge trailer at RM Sotheby’s Guyton Collection Auction May 4–5 in St. Louis. (Sorry, baseball fans, the Cardinals are on the road that weekend. I checked.)
The most luxurious and desirable travel trailer of the classic era, the hand-built and beautifully constructed Pierce-Arrow Travelodge is one of fewer than 20 known survivors. Can you imagine towing it behind a 1937 Pierce-Arrow sedan? Daaaaang.
At a time when American automakers were struggling to survive the Great Depression by branching out and offering other products, Pierce-Arrow knew its wealthy clientele well and began producing luxurious travel trailers that could be towed behind the company’s equally luxurious automobiles.
Although the Travelodge appears fairly spartan from the outside—it was built on a steel frame and wrapped by sheet aluminum outer panels—its well-appointed interior is anything but ordinary. It features gorgeous birchwood all around, booth-style seating, a linoleum table that folds into a double bed, an insulated icebox, hand-pumped water spout and sink, Prentiss-Wabers Auto-Cook-Kit camp stove, wood-burning stove, plenty of counter and storage space, and linoleum floors. It has six windows with screens and a rooftop hatch for ventilation. (That way you can cook s’mores and not asphyxiate—nifty!)
The smallest of three models Pierce-Arrow offered, the 13.5-foot Model C is mounted on fully independent suspension and features a Bendix hydraulic brake, activated by a vacuum cylinder connected to the car. The Model C sold new for $784, which is more than $14,000 in today’s money.
The Travelodge is accompanied by numerous period accessories, including a Philco table radio, blue speckleware dining set, three-piece set of leather luggage, several antique pennants, a wicker fishing creel, and a Travelodge sales brochure.
If you should win this thing, however, please do yourself a favor: See that stupid Big Mouth Billy Bass on the shelf? Toss that thing ASAP. Desecrating a period-correct trailer with modern nonsense like that is sure to bring you back to reality quicker than the Lincoln penny that gut-punched Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) in Somewhere in Time. Trust me, that’s one fish story you do not want to tell. Unless, of course, you’re expecting a visit from your old girlfriend. And I mean old.