By Tony Barthel
There are plenty of examples of “retro-style” trailers that have come and gone. I believe most of them have gone because they just seem like a cheesy imitation of the original. That is not true of the new Holiday House line of trailers which includes the Holiday House 18RB, a very close replica of the highly collectible Holiday House trailers of the early 1960s.
One of the reasons I think that most of the retro trailers have gone by the wayside is that, while their styling had been eye-catching, the quality was often disappointing. Thus customers who had them would have a chance to tell the story of how much they liked them and the complaints would flow.
Furthermore, not all of the reproduction looks even were all that convincing, so now there was not much reason to recommend them.
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The Holiday House trailer is a true heir to the Holiday House name in every way but is actually better built than those original trailers. While the originals were framed in wood and skinned with aluminum, these new versions are completely framed in welded aluminum including the chassis itself and all the framing and chassis components are made in-house right down to the entry steps.
The exterior screams vintage/retro as does the interior. Instead of swooshes and swirls and stickers making up the exterior, there is a beautiful combination of painted and clear coated aluminum panels and even matching painted steel wheels with baby moon hubcaps. To my eye, it’s a refreshing difference whether you like vintage trailers or not.
Inside, the walls are covered in vintage-looking birch paneling and cabinetry that makes it feel inviting. The paneling and cabinets are all actual wood instead of being a man-made substance with a wood-look sticker on it.
But despite the vintage appearance, this trailer really features a lot of very modern in-demand features like MaxxAir fan, air conditioning, plenty of 110vac wall outlets including some with USB charging ports, power awning and pretty much all of the features you normally find in a modern RV.
So is this a travel trailer that you’d buy for logical reasons like build quality and value for the money or because of your sense of style? Yes.
The layout of this new trailer and the vintage ones on which it was patterned features a front dinette surrounded by the huge windows that are the hallmark of this design. Out back is a gaucho couch that is built in-house and flips down to form a bed.
By design, this trailer can accommodate four adults, but all sleeping surfaces are multiple-use so the rear gaucho is a seat by day and the bed in front is the dinette by day.
While the beds may do double-duty, the bathroom is a dry bath featuring a porcelain toilet and full shower. There is no sink, but one is close by in the kitchen.
Considering that this is a relatively small trailer, the original designers back in the 1960s and the company today have done a pretty good job of space utilization. Any of these are always a compromise between sleeping space and day use, which is one of the challenges of shorter trailers.
In the plus column for smaller trailers are the maneuverability and towability – life is always about compromises. There’s good news for those who like this style quite a bit but want something larger – the company has three larger two-axle models that offer the same style in a longer trailer. We’ll have a review of one of those, the 24TB, in an upcoming article.
But this trailer is not about compromising on quality – so while it won’t be the cheapest trailer on the lot, it may still be here in the future and could well be as collectible then as its predecessors are today.
Editor: Click here to see the Holiday House 18RB floor plans.