Walter Sayers calls it “the graveyard,” a swath of Plant City parking lot littered with dead campers. Fractured aluminum frames conceal plywood panels rotting to black. Cracked windows and loose doors hide smashed stoves and exposed wiring. It’s difficult to picture how these busted-up junkers might ever move again, but move they will, once they’ve been worked over and brought back to life by Sayers’ company, Second Chance Camper Restoration.
Sayers, 43, got into rebuilding campers after a “miserable” experience camping in a tent with his wife four years ago. Long passionate about restoring and maintaining vintage trucks and cars, Sayers rebuilt a camper for his wife. When family and friends saw her camper’s sharp midcentury lines and glimmering colors, they wanted their own, and Sayers saw a business opportunity.
What’s driving America’s renewed interest in campers? Our post-Mad Men mania for all things midcentury is no doubt a factor, and Sayers says reality shows like Flippin’ RVs have made viewers take a second look at forgotten campers rusting away in back yards. Shown a little love, vintage campers are durable, convenient and adaptable throwbacks, and they’ve got style to burn. Sayers dismisses new RV models with palpable disgust: “They’re 30 feet long. They’re fiberglass. It’s a box.” (813) 928-9614, secondchancecamperrestoration.com