Sunday, September 30, 2012

Journey to Oceanside to purchase Serro Scotty

Summer, 2012: Entering June and a languid summer, I was 4.5 months from retirement (mid-October), and thinking of doing much more traveling when spouse Susan retires, summer of 2013.  We have greatly enjoyed short camping trips in our retro teardrop trailer, a Kit camper replica, but, those few times we've been caught in bad weather, it is too tiny and confining!  Lots of fun, but cannot see touring much of the US and Canada in it.  Below, the little back-end kitchen area, a good place to store camp gear and cooking implements, inside, a very cozy place to sleep - but during a cold rainstorm at Lake Shasta, not much fun!

So, I spent the summer scanning Serro Scotty and Cree trailer ads, finding lots of Serro Scottys in the midwest and east (they were made mostly in PA, in the late 50s to 80s), with the 1960-models being both collectible and cute, and they fit in a standard garage.  That was important to me, for both the trailer being handy for quick weekend trips, and, not having to pay $100/month for inside storage!

During summer (scanning Craig's List and Ebay), I only found a few Scottys worth looking at, one in Phoenix that looked great on Ebay, but it went off Ebay just before the auction was to end.  Then I found another, really cute, in the SF Bay Area Craig's List, but when I wrote the seller, I got this cockamamie story about "she was out of town with injured sister, dealing with doctor, caring for her nephew, and the trailer was now listed with ABS (an escrow service)" and I could deal with that service.  Smelling a rat/scam, after my third leading email, my question was not answered, and the trailer disappeared from Bay Area Craig's List. 

And, just after I bought our Scotty, I saw the very same "scammed Scotty" on Denver Craig's List, and turned it into CL as a scam; beware the "too good a deal"!  Then I saw a Cree (somewhat similar to Scottys, and, able to fit in a garage) in Bend, OR, but it went for $1,400 on Ebay, more than I thought it worth.  After about 4 months of scanning ads, had pretty much decided "needle in haystack" to find a good Scotty in our area!  Then, I had some luck, finding that "needle"...

Late August:  I spotted a 1964 Serro Scotty 13 Sportsman, advertised by a classic motorcycle dealer in Oceanside, CA, for $1,500.  Looked reasonably solid and complete on Craig's List, so, called down, talked to a salesperson who indicated some willingness to dicker, and took Friday, Aug. 17 off and drove my Nissan 300 ZX down to So Cal, leaving at 3:30 AM for the 400 mile trip.  Arrived about 11:30 AM, and found this cute little trailer tucked among other trade-ins on the cycle dealer's lot.

I gave it the thorough look-over, found the interior a bit beat-up but all complete, with original two-burner Maynell range top, sink, original ice box and an un-modified interior (best as I could figure).  Looking in back end, noted a good bit of water damage (Scottys are known for water damage), and, under the back bed, daylight showing through at the floor area (not a good sign).  But, still a cute little trailer.  So, chatted with the cycle dealer, noting the water damage and dryrot, and asked what he would take.  He noted "$1,000"; I offered $750, we settled on $900.  Before I set off, I had to purchase the right electric trailer coupler, and the missing safety chain, from a nearby auto parts store (that chain proved a good investment).  So, off I went, into LA stop and go traffic and 96 degree temps. 

Finally got through the metroplex, up over the mountain pass and down into the Great Valley.  During the trip, I worried that the trailer hitch was not functioning properly (could not get the hitch clamp to "clamp and stay down"), so had duct-taped it down.  At about 8:30 PM, in the dark, cruising along I-5 doing about 60 MPH near Patterson, went over an I-5 overpass and felt a "jerk".  That was the trailer hitch leaving the hitch ball and, with hitch no longer connected, the safety chain going taught!  Next observation, a huge cloud of orange sparks behind my car, as the trailer tounge dropped to the black-top; next sensation was a "whack" as I slowed down/moved to shoulder and the "semi-free" trailer whacked into my rear bumper.  Fortunately (make that very fortunately), no real harm done; I discovered, the next morning, how the old hitch lock worked.  Dumb, yes I am!

Home with Scotty: Got the trailer home, and did a good, thorough exam of the exterior and interior.  Inside, fully complete, and no real modifications, other than the ugliest "brick wallpaper" and paisley fabric added to walls, ceiling and cabinets.  All original appliances there, and seems the front 2/3s of the trailer are pretty solid, but backend, and back right side seem heavily dryrotted.  You will see water damage in the back bed area, in the third picture, below.  In the area on right side of Scotty, above the bed, found it almost entirely dryrotted (it was hidden by cheap paneling screwed over it; should have guessed that).

At any rate, I now have the Scotty tucked into our garage (a tight fit, what with an old "built-on-site wooden garage door", but, it is inside).  The last few weeks, I have been scanning the National Scotty web site (lots of good sources, and lots of good Scotty rebuilds documented) and the two Scotty Facebook owner sites.  Have worked up a pretty good "low and high" spread-sheet of what I need (what with cost of trailer and varied rebuild parts/supplies, looks to be around a $4,000 project).  Just yesterday ordered new teardrop running and side-marker lights, both red and amber, from  Three weeks to retirement, when I can really get serious and find out just how much of a rebuild this will be!  Am also hoping that this project will be "mostly fun"; we shall soon see!

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