The big Algonac Show is this weekend, and for some, okay anyone that owns a Chris – Craft, a pilgrimage. And rightfully so. This is where is all began, and keeps on delivering. The gang up there is beyond cool, welcoming and fun. And the best part is the show is on sacred ground and water. Right at the old Chris Craft Plant. Now a very cool Marina that fellow Woody Boater Pete Bauregard restored and maintains. Fellow Woody Boater David Irvine will be there in his Land Cruiser Trailer and made this cool collection of Trailers to invite others out there to share info. So today we expand that joy to reach out to anyone out there that wants to shack up with David. Take it away David!
This poster presentation lists the six known Chris Craft Land Cruiser Camper Kits known to exist. My 8th Grade History Teacher and friend Spencer Adkins, Sr. knew I had acquired this camper and found an original 50-page instruction manual that no one knew existed. I have shared it with the six owners, as well as the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA
I had read an article about the Chris Craft Land Cruiser that the co-owners, Mike Teusink and Kirk Wingard, had found and restored. After fully restoring theirs, I “heard” that they acquired a second one only 10 miles from their shop. I had lunch with Kirk at an ACBS event in Cassopolis in April 2017, and had asked if their shop Wooden Runabout Co. had to restore the second one before they were ready to sell it. Kirk said, “No!” so, for about a year and a half, I continued to think about it and finally decided, “If I don’t get this camper, I might lose my opportunity.” It made its debut at our house on Christmas morning 2019 nestled in the pines by a campfire. I’ve worked on it over the past six months and it’s now in usable condition. Continued restoration will be ongoing over the next two years. Our family has owned a wooden boat since 1973, built by Chris-Craft employee. I’m from Algonac, Mi, home of Chris-Craft, so this purchase is very meaningful for many reasons.
Shelbyville, Southwest MI
I was looking on the back roads up by Reed City and saw some old campers. I liked the look of this one the best. It had been used as a chicken coop with no interior at all. I couldn’t find any information on it. I happened on it when I was looking at a West Michigan Vintage Boats type of club on Facebook. I paid $300 for it, which was way too much, I thought, but I liked it. The guy thought I was buying it to make a small hauling trailer.
Big Rapids, West Michigan
This photo was the original ad from when I bought my trailer in August 2018. I found the ad on Facebook marketplace and it was simply titled “vintage camper for sale”. I drove to Holt, Michigan, and was able to talk the guy down to about $1,100. We had no idea what it was until a vintage trailer expert told me it was the elusive 1954 Chris-Craft Land Cruiser. When it came to me the interior walls were covered with carpet squares and some cheap light-colored paneling over the original birch. Since the birch was not salvageable, we are in the process of minor rebuild. The wood framework in the front is being replaced and we are going to use a light maple for the interior to brighten it up a bit. I use the trailer for family camping as well as vintage trailer rallies. With it being a Chris-Craft, we chose to go with a nautical theme. The exterior will be somewhat polished up, but we are keeping the original skins. We like the character.
Carrie Schmidt aka “Sakibear”
Deerfield, Southeast MI
From what I remember, the trailer was found in Maryland. It was purchased by an attorney in southern California who restores Chris Craft boats. He completely disassembled it and rebuilt it from ground up. It is totally restored. There are a few very minor things I want to do to it, but nothing to change its originality. It is a museum piece for sure. Please feel free to give my contact info to any other Chris Craft Land Cruiser owner or interested party you know or meet.
Colorado Springs, CO
I needed a challenge. I had been on the hunt for a small vintage trailer to completely gut and redo. That’s when I came across a Facebook post of this little silver trailer located in Maryland. I didn’t know what it was or if it was worth anything. I was more excited of how little it was. My husband and I grabbed the trailer and were on the road. Once we got to the house where the trailer was located, I found out it had been in the family since it was assembled. The lady I bought it from inherited it from her dad. I tried to do some research on line and there was basically nothing out there. That’s when I posted on the Tin Can Tourist Facebook page and found Carrie Schmidt and David Irvine. They clued me in to just how rare it was and how neat it is to be a part of such a small community of owners. I don’t have plans to restore to original but more of a mostly white, nautical theme per say. I haven’t officially done anything with it but I can’t wait to actually get started.
This is a rare 1954 Chris-Craft Land Cruiser. We know of only five or six of these trailers in existence. Chris-Craft produced them as a kit for fewer than 6 months during the 1954 model year. We found this rare Chris-Craft Land Cruiser in northwest Minnesota. Chris-Craft produced these trailers as kits for less than one year. With the exception of the plywood floor, which we replaced, all of the components that came with the kit are still original to this trailer.
Wooden Runabout Co.
If anyone has any information on the Chris-Craft Land Cruisers, please contact David Irvine [email protected]
Also if you want to find out more about the ALGONAC BOAT SHOW THIS WEEKEND, CLICK HERE, or just step away from the keyboard and get outside.