A vintage El Jay advert on Tin Can Tourists claims, “Built for fast travel over rough roads, insulated against New England weather, and time tested by hundreds of users.”
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Other than that, there’s limited documentation of the El Jay Manufacturing Company. Constructed in Winchester New Hampshire, this 1956 travel trailer proudly boasted the post-war attitude and workmanship that define products of this era. When it arrived at our Popular Grove site after nearly 60 years of use, however, this single-axle “Toaster”, was truly time tested.
It took over three months for Reparadise to refurbish this light and easy-to-pull El Jay and bring it up to modern standards. And true to our mission, we retained the feel and quality these trailers warrant. To start with, the interior was gutted, including the floor all the way to the frame. We replaced all rotten wood, which was minimal, as this New England tough trailer was originally built with white oak.
3/4″ exterior plywood provides a solid sub-floor while a 100% waterproof and super-durable country pine vinyl top retains richness while ensuring easy clean up. For the walls, 3/8″ Birch-wood paneling, more than twice as thick as normal trailers, allows for better insulating values and more rigidity in the El Jay’s overall structure. Additionally, before the new walls were installed, we updated all of the 12V and 120V wiring, along with new insulation.
The original springs of the bench seats were retained with new, custom-made retro vinyl to complete the dinette and all of the cushions have zippers for easy removal. The dining table also drops down to become a second bed.
Moving on, the El Jay’s systems are completely new. Starting with electrical, we used a Progressive Dynamics Power Center. This is a 45 Amp, all in one unit with battery charger, converter, and 12v fuse center. Also included, is a new deep-cell battery, voltmeter with digital display, and dual USB 12v outlets to charge personal electronics.
On the water side of things, there’s a new 15 gallon fresh-water tank, water pump, and PEX plumbing. To assist with clean up after an active day, the exterior has a Stow-Away high-pressure hose converts to an outdoor shower. For the propane side of things, we ran all new gas lines and included a new L.P. tank that’s color matched to highlight the El Jay’s character. The propane also powers a Wave 3 catalytic heater, and a custom-built exterior slid-out grill.
The exterior reflects the years and miles of this charmer so we felt it was best to let it tell stories rather then polish or paint over history. We did, however, ensure everything is operational. After sealing the top and sides for water tightness, we installed all new running and side marker lights. Additionally, to confirm safety and integrity, the original sixty-year old tongue was removed and a new 2in-ball coupler, safety chains, and trailer jack were installed.
Finally, the hubs were dissembled, inspected, cleaned and re-packed. A new rear bumper with tow hooks and a 2in reciver for a bike rack or other accessories was installed to make traveling a breeze. This 1956 El Jay bumper pull is 16 feet from bumper to tongue, 12 feet body length, and 6 feet 6 inches wide and is ready for a lifetime of adventures.
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