As an RV owner today, you’re likely accustomed to traveling with a camper that resembles a luxury hotel room on wheels. Modern campers often come with amenities that surpass those of an average home! If you’re in search of a camper that will transport you back to the 1950s, then the 1955 Mobile Lodge house trailer is exactly what you need. This camper, once a museum exhibit, showcases what lightweight aluminum-walled campers looked like nearly seven decades ago. Now available for purchase, its price is surprisingly affordable.

This trailer is offered by the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois, a unique venue that combines a variety of attractions. The museum boasts an impressive collection of movie vehicles, military artifacts, farming equipment, and much more. Visitors can marvel at a Back to the Future DeLorean one moment and explore an exhibit on the Titanic the next. The blend of a classic car dealership and an antique mall within the museum ensures there’s always something new to discover.

Volo has a special interest in rare vintage campers, showcasing a diverse range of historic models that are seldom seen elsewhere.

Occasionally, Volo makes some of these campers available for sale, offering a chance to own a meticulously preserved piece of history. The Mobile Lodge is one such opportunity.

This particular camper intrigued me, known affectionately as a “canned ham” due to its compact, lightweight design and distinctive shape. These trailers are ideal for weekend family outings, often featuring eye-catching designs and interiors lined with elegant wood.

Typically, canned ham campers have rounded walls and roofs, resembling the shape of a ham in a can. This Mobile Lodge, however, deviates from the usual design with its more angular shape, prompting further investigation.

Volo acquired the camper in 2017 from its original owner. The title, dating back to 1955, indicates it was financed through the Pikes Peak Bank Of Commerce in Colorado, with a weight of 2,900 pounds and a length of 14 feet—indicative of a loaded weight, given that trailers from this era usually weighed around 1,600 pounds.

After purchasing the trailer, Volo added some modifications, including fins, and placed a flyer inside suggesting it was manufactured by Shasta—a claim I find dubious.

Shasta began manufacturing trailers for the U.S. military in 1941 and, post-World War II, started selling to the public. Despite Shasta’s popularity and the abundance of information on its trailers, this Mobile Lodge does not match any known Shasta designs, suggesting it might be a unique model or from a defunct brand.

The camper has undergone a thorough restoration, featuring a polished aluminum exterior, new roof, locks, door hardware, and more. The interior boasts new wiring, outlets, and replaced maple wood finishes, maintaining its vintage charm with period-correct appliances like an ice box and a Meynell stove from the era.

Though Volo hasn’t mentioned holding tanks, the trailer is equipped with water and electric hookups, along with a new Thetford cassette toilet. The museum has also staged the interior to enhance its homely appeal.

The camper, priced at $17,998, offers a blend of historical charm and modern conveniences. Located in Volo, Illinois, it represents a value proposition compared to many of today’s campers, combining historical allure with practical features for contemporary use.