Vintage RV

Vintage RV: 1970’s Scamper Trailer

The renowned Scamper trailers remain a popular choice among many trailer buffs and vintage enthusiasts.

Vintage scamper camper in background, with handsome Golden Retriever dog in foreground.
"We've been camping in our early '70s vintage Scamper trailer for over 20 years. It's been all over B.C. and Alberta!" says RVwest reader Lesli Christianson-Kellow. — Photo courtesy RVwest Gallery/Lelsi Christianson-Kellow

We always enjoy seeing a vintage trailer in use, squirreled away in a campground, doing exactly what it was designed to do – offering the benefits of the RV lifestyle. We have written fairly extensively about the renowned Scamper trailers and their near iconic status among many trailer buffs and vintage enthusiasts.

We were happy to hear from RVwest reader, Lesli Christianson-Kellow of Quesnel, when she submitted a picture of her Scamper to our photo gallery.

What a vintage beauty! No, we’re not talking about the handsome Golden Retriever standing in the front of the unit, but rather the little Scamper trailer all set up for few days of good ol’ campin’.

As the Lethbridge Historical Society writes on their FB page, “If the names Scamper, Skipper and Trans Camp, Skylark, Empress Motorhomes, Sportscraft and Conestaga mean something to you, then you know that many different companies have built trailers and motor homes in Lethbridge at different times. The company was founded by C.O. Merriman, who was co-owner, the firm’s first president and its sole employee at the time. The first year he did $30,000 worth of business."

Scamper was highlighted during the 1988 Winter Olympics (held in Calgary) in Lethbridge:

“Scamper Canada Ltd. is Lethbridge’s major Olympic connection. It’s a rolling one, linked to the cross-Canada Torch Relay and to the winter Olympic mascots Heidi and Howdy. The Scamper presence will be seen across Canada, from the moment the Torch Relay caravan starts rolling westward next Tuesday from St. John’s, Nfld."

According to a quote from an article from the Lethbridge Herald newspaper of August 1989, “Scamper Canada Ltd., is winding down its recreational vehicle manufacturing operation in Lethbridge in preparation for its move to North Battleford, Sask. Donn Armstrong, who moved to North Battleford last year to take over management of the Vanguard recreational vehicle manufacturing plant, will make Scamper trailer, fifth-wheels and motorhomes on the Vanguard line, starting in September…."

Armstrong said the agreement with Vanguard will allow the manufacturing line to operate more efficiently, and to run through the winter. He said that efficiency is what forced him to leave Lethbridge. "I had to run the Lethbridge operation at maximum to be run reasonably efficiently,’ said Armstrong. ‘I had to expand or quit. I am a little disappointed that is how the world is.’”

It appears that Vanguard trailers operated in North Battleford Saskatchewan until their plant was destroyed by fire in 1992.  After taking a $12 million loss from the fiery destruction of his manufacturing facilities, owner Harry Bondar then moved the company to Edmonton.

The Scamper line of trailers continue to be popular with collectors and vintage enthusiasts to this day.

Share your classic RV restorations, or tell us your favourite story about a cool vintage unit you've encountered by filling out our Classic Vintage RV form.

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