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Why would a gift basket company build these trailers?

Quite possibly the holy grail of the trailer world is the Geographic Model X, produced by Harry & David, better known for their mail-order fruit and gift baskets. Looking for a way to keep workers busy during the January to July off-season, the president of Harry & David, David Holmes, decided to have his workers build a new travel trailer.

Holmes was already making the Holiday House brand of travel trailers that were based on the standard aluminum skin over a wood frame construction. The Geographic X was to have a very modern and “space-age” look. The new design was created by Chuck Pelly and the unique styling was very different than the “canned ham” trailer styles produced in the late 1950s. “Holiday House” trailer production began at the Medford, Oregon, plant on November 2, 1959, and reached full production level by February 1960.

Holiday House Geo X
The Holiday House Geographic X – Photographs by Hal Thoms

The Geographic X: Originally named the StarCraft

In February 1960, the completed Showroom Model of “GEOGRAPHIC,” one of only five manufactured fiberglass trailers, was shipped to Van Nuys, California. It was to be introduced to the world during one of the largest trailer shows in the country. During the preliminary design phase in 1958, the trailer was named “StarCraft.” Later, marketing referred to it as Model X, and ultimately, it was introduced to the public as a “Geographic.” One account says: “Less than 10 Geographics were ever made.” It is also thought that maybe only five were ever completed. The other trailer bodies were probably never completely built and were eventually destroyed in a fire at the factory.

The Holiday House Geographic X
Interior view of the Holiday House Geographic X

The reason none were ever sold

The Geographic had an expensive price tag of $8,495. In 1960, you could buy a house for $13,000. The high price was likely the reason no units were sold. In 1962 the showroom model was sold to Joyce Woodin, the showroom manager, for $5,000. She kept all the original sales and service receipts and brochures that came with the trailer. The story goes that in 1999 a Los Angeles architect named Bardy Azadmard bought the trailer and spent a decade restoring it. After the trailer was completed, it toured some RV shows until it was sold to someone (in 2011) for a reported six-figure sum. It was then shipped to France. Until recently, it was thought to be the only survivor.

The Holiday House Geographic X
Plenty of built-in seating underlit with LED lighting.

In 2016 another Geographic X turned up. The owner was storing car parts in it and was willing to entertain the idea of selling it. Justin Scribner of Flyte Camp found out about it and was interested in acquiring the only other (known to date) surviving Geographic. Justin and his wife, Anna, were able to make a deal with the previous owners and trailered this rare jewel back to Flyte Camp in Bend, OR. The trailer was gutted and in need of a complete restoration.

The original fiberglass molds survived a factory fire at Harry & David on June 17, 1962, but they were discarded in 1985 when the company was acquired.

The restoration

The restoration of the fiberglass body proved to be extremely difficult. The fiberglass had black mold throughout that had to be removed. The ceiling was buckling and had to be replaced entirely. Once those repairs were made, getting the trailer to line up correctly was another challenge. Flyte Camp only had an empty shell to work off of, so they were recreating the interior based on vintage photos with their flare. Anna wanted to highlight the design-forward window lines, so the cabinetry was customized to expose them more than they were in the original design of the trailer.

Geo X
Creature comforts like the galley, bathroom, and flat-screen TV blend this mid-century design with modern amenities.

Well-equipped

The Geographic comes fully equipped with a solar/inverter battery system to keep you off the grid indefinitely. It has four, 6-volt AGM batteries and a portable solar panel from Zamp. An on-demand water heater is the only way to go for long showers. Accent LED lighting is in, above, and below the black walnut cabinets. A surround sound, DVD player, and TV add a home theater element to this luxury build.

The HVAC system is climate controlled, with the heating and A/C unit tastefully hidden under the front couch and ducted throughout the trailer. Custom Axalta paint with pin-striping by Kurt Silva and DiamondBack whitewall radials finish off the exterior with the same level of quality found in the interior.

The flat-screen television fits flush in the wall on the left and the spacious bathroom spans the rear of the coach.

Since this restoration in 2018, the Geographic was featured in issue #37 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine and two additional Geographic Model X’s have been located and rescued. That in itself is incredible. What is even more unlikely is that one collector owns this one and the other two that were found since. One of those that was found is undergoing a more traditional restoration, and no telling what may be in store for the third one.

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About the Author: Paul Lacitinola and his wife, Caroline, have published the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine for ten years. The Lacitinolas also host The Trailerfest Vintage Trailer Rallies and The VCT Boot Camp Restoration Learning Experience. They have authored two books on vintage trailering and are advocates for the hobby from coast to coast.

##RVT1049

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Carl Jones
2 months ago

This picture was taken at the Palm Springs Vintage Trailer & RV Rally and it was parked right across from my Ultra Van. Flyte Camp did an amazing job on the rebuild.

Bob M
2 months ago

Looked like a nice travel trailer.

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