This Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home remodel is a perfect example of using a vintage mobile home as a base for small living. The condition of this 60 year old home proves that American pride and workmanship was at its finest in the mid-1950’s, when mobile homes were experiencing their Golden Age.

Pacemaker Trailer Company

Pacemaker Corporation, once known as Pacemaker Trailer Company, is a well-known mobile home brand. Their headquarters was in the trailer capital of the world, Elkhart, Indiana.

If you enjoy vintage mobile homes, you’ve likely heard of or seen advertisements for Pacemaker. While their most well-known model may have been their Tri-Level mobile home, they also manufactured several single story models.

Earlier Pacemaker Models

You can see several of Pacemaker’s earlier models at Atlas Mobile Home Museum.  They even have a complete brochure for a 1949 Model 30 Tandem Delux.

A full-page advertisement for the 34′ Pacemaker Tri-Level 6 Sleeper.

Bi-Level and Tri-Level Mobile2

Pacemaker TrilLevel Mobile HOme Ad

Specifications for Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home

The Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home’s were manufactured in the 1950’s with high-quality materials for the era.

Below is a specification list from an advertisement for a 1956 Tri-Level of the same size (text has been typed for better viewing):

Model: 34′ Two Bedroom Tri-Level (Possible 3 Bedrooms)

Length Overall: 35′

Body Length: 31′

Width: 8′

Interior Height: 7′ to 6’2″

Exterior Height: 9′ 5″ to 12′ 1″

Chassis: Box Channel Frame, Electrically Welded

Axels: 2″ Heavy Duty

Wheels: 4 Commercial Truck Type

Tires: 10-ply Commercial

Brakes: Four-Wheel Warner Electric plus Car Control Kit

Hitch: Atwood for Large Ball

Doors: 2 Die Stamped Aluminum

Screen Doors: Aluminum Shade Screening

Construction: 4″ Floors containing heat ducts and plumbing, double-insulated side walls, roof, and floor dodo screwed and glued

Roof: Pitched metal roof, rafters of 2″ x 6″ lumber with 3″ pitch, liquefied aluminum roof coating to deflect heat

Insulation: Vapor seal barrier, glass, wool, and reflective paper insulator, triple layers of insulation in roof, double insulation in walls and floor

Plumbing: Trapped and vented to single outlet, sweated fittings

 

Undercoating: Floor completely sealed with automotive undercoating compound to inhibit moisture and insects

Windows: Extruded aluminum windows with house-type interior trim. Windows made to receive storm sash. Jalousie windows available in this model at no extra charge.

Floor Covering: Inlaid linoleum tile. Carpeting in bedrooms optional.

Heater: Fuel oil with forced air to reach bedrooms and bath

Refrigerator: 8 cubic feet, Deluxe

Cooking Stove: 4 burner deluxe apartment sized

Sink: Double bowled sink set in formica sink top

Bedding: Box spring and inner spring mattress

Wiring: Romex cable, breaker box, 110 volt Bargman connector plus no-freeze outside plug, numerous outlets

Interior: Limed oak lacquered for smooth satin finish

Exterior Covering: Aluminum three-toned automotive paint, Pittsburgh seamed, fastened with screws

Bathroom: Complete with house-type flush toilet, lavatory, shower, and tub, medicine cabinet

Weight: 9100 pounds

Hitch Weight: 900 pounds

Pacemaker Specifications in 1956 Tri-Level Model

Pacemaker 1956 TriLevel Model Graphic

1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel

We can thank Reddit user, GoogleJuice, for sharing this lovely 1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel, in the subreddit, Tiny Houses. A page dedicated to living small.

1954 Pacemaker Bi-level Mobile Home Remodel - Exterior paint complete

1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home After Remodel

This Pacemaker Tri-Level mobile home is 8′ x 34′ with a second story of about 8′ x 8′ for a total of  about 336 square foot of living space.

GoogleJuice writes “My good friend Ellie bought and restored this old trailer and lives in the Northern California mountains. This is a link to an album of 96 pictures of her work. She did it all by hand, with no help.”

Ellie did a great job of remodeling her vintage mobile home!

Before the 1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - exterior

These images show the home’s condition when Ellie purchased it. The home was in fair condition to be more than half a century old!

Exterior 1954 Tri-Level Mobile Home Before Remodel

Exterior Before Remodel

On the back bottom of the home, at end of the home with the tri-level bedroom, there was some damage that needed to be repaired. This area is susceptible to damage on campers and tow trailers due to tires throwing water. At 9000 pounds, this mobile home could be towed by a fairly standard, but powerful, vehicle of the 1950’s.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - End of home before remodel

Ellie replaced the damaged wood frame and added new aluminum siding.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - exterior damaged repaired

 

The Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home during the exterior paint project. The home would have been coated in a metal primer before the paint was applied.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - After exterior paint

Interior Before Remodel

The living room and kitchen of the Tri-Level mobile home had been remodeled previously. The limed oak paneling had been painted or replaced.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - Interior image

Pacemaker Tri-Level Living Room When New

Brochure image of a newly built Tri-Level living room.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - kitchen before remodel

Pacemaker Tri-Level Kitchen when New

Kitchen of new Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home

The bedrooms have a very unique design. In the image below you can see a detailed, expanded view of a similar Pacemaker Tri-Level as represented by the builder in an advertisement.

Pacemaker Tri-Level 2 story Mobile Home Model Floor plan - interior layout

The 2 story section of the home holds the bedrooms, one on the top and one on the bottom. There are steps leading up to the top bedroom. The two small beds are separated by a built-in dresser.

Pacemaker Tri-Level Bottom Bedrooms when New

The bottom bedroom in a newly built Tri-Level.

Below, you can see the steps that lead up to the master bedroom and the lower bedroom.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - bedroom areas

While the master bedroom is small for its size, the Tri-Level had more than enough built-in storage. Closets and dresser were scattered throughout the home, especially in the bedrooms.
1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - bedroom layout

1954 Pacemaker Tri-evel Mobile Home Remodel - bedroom before paint

Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Master Bedroom When NEw -

Built-in dresser in master bedroom of Tri-level.

Finally, a look at the bathroom before the remodel. The Pacemaker Tri-level had all the amenities of a regular home:

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - bathroom after remodel 3

 

After the Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel

 
Ellie did a fine job on this 1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home remodel. Here you can see the the furnished and decorated living room after the home was repaired and painted. It is a cozy place indeed!

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - living room after remodel

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - Interior after remodel

 

The kitchen is stylish and modern, especially to be in a mobile home that is 61 years old! Vintage mobile homes are a great example of American ingenuity and workmanship.

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - Kitchen after paint and remodel

 

1954 Pacemaker Tri-level Mobile Home Remodel - after new flooring in kitchen

Ellie, the owner describes her home a bit more on her website, Studio 18:

“This is my 1954 Two Story Travel Trailer…….I feel this trailer was meant to be mine. I love it so much. I am happy to share my story and pics with anyone that is interested. Living tiny is the best!!”

After Ellie added her photos of the Pacemaker Tri-Level mobile home remodel to her website, the previous owner’s granddaughter found it and commented:

This trailer belonged to my grandparents. My grandfather once restored it in the 70’s. Then it sat on my parents property and we lived in it as a young married couple 34 years ago. Then, my mom donated it to Wolf Mountain Camp where we lived and served until 2008( but lived in a different abode).

My son and his wife and first child lived in it there for a year and various other WM staff………Very nice work. Grandpa would be so happy!              —–   Pam Hassler of Reno, NV

One of the best things about vintage mobile homes are the memories they conjure up for many of us. Seeing a mobile home model where many great memories were made is pure nostalgia!

Living Simple: Letting Go of the Rat Race

Here’s what Ellie had to say about her mobile home remodel and small living experience:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE living small!! My life is so much more simple. Easy to clean, easy to maintain, easy to afford. Letting go of the rat race and trying to keep up with the Jones has been an eye-opening pleasure!!

I no longer struggle to make needs meet. I live on very little and spend very little. I walk right past all the expensive THINGS others think they need and keep my money in my pocket.

My bathroom is a little small but I love my 1954 two story trailer. I fixed it up and continue to fix it up. I did build a small 10×10 cabin for an office but it is now a guest room. No toilet yet though. But I want to remedy that soon I hope.

I HIGHLY recommend downsizing your life so you can enjoy what really matters. Because life should not be just about surviving, it should be about living!!”

Buying a vintage mobile home and remodeling it is a perfect way to live a more affordable and simple life. It’s usually not difficult to find an older mobile home that has good bones but needs a little updating and TLC. The idea has been tested time and again and the results are always amazing, just like this one.

8 Responses

  1. Randy

    Crystal, in all your resources, do you know of any website for buying vintage trailer homes (for those wanted to refurbished and reuse? There are a lot of sites out there with vintage homes but they never seem to be up-to-date. I began inquring about a unit, only to learn it was posted two years ago and never updated. Then I learned the owner had finally just junked it. What a shame. And, a waste.
    I love all the comments about living small and they are all so bang-on. There is immense freedom in simplicity. So, I just wondered if there was any meaningful source of vintage homes for sale that you might know of? Thanks

    Reply
    • Crystal Adkins

      Hi Randy!

      I think the best resource for you will be Search Tempest. Search Tempest allows you to set alerts for keywords like Spartan Trailer, Airstream, vintage mobile home, vintage camper, etc either nationwide or within a certain area on both Ebay and Craigslist. You can get an email daily or weekly.

      Craigslist is the probably the most updated ad listing online so you won’t have to worry too much about outdated ads- they make it really easy for a seller to take the ad down once it’s sold. Problem was, you had to search for whatever you wanted in each area (WV only has 2 sections but I’ve seen some states have 20+ towns listed separately and you’d have to search each one. Search tempest solves that problem completely.

      Here’s the link to Search Tempest: http://www.searchtempest.com/

      It’s really easy to use! They also have a Search Tempest for automobiles. Just type in your keywords (vintage camper, vintage mobile home, etc.) and how far you’re willing to drive to buy and it will do the rest for you.

      In addition to Search Tempest I know of the following:

      – Tin Can Tourist Classified Ads: http://www.tincantourists.com/classified/

      – Little Vintage Trailer: littlevintagetrailer.com

      – Oodle: http://rvs.oodle.com/1965m/for-sale/trailers/

      -Vintage camper Trailers for Sale: http://www.vintagecampertrailers.com/for-sale.html

      – Vintage Campers: http://www.vintagecampers.com/

      – Vintage Trailer Crazy: http://www.vintagetrailercrazy.com/

      I bought my vintage 1965 Airstream last year off of a local Facebook page/group called something like ‘Weekly Trader for Southern WV’ (there is a weekly printed newspaper where you call in your ad by phone, I think they just started a FB group). The owner listed it and I commented within 2 minutes. It was meant to be!

      Best of luck! I’m positive the right one will come along for you!

      Reply
    • TerryW

      Randy, I don’t know where you live but Richard Oldham in Quartzsite, Arizona has a mobile home sales lot, where he also started selling classic cars, and last I was on that lot he had tons of vintage mobile homes. Tri-levels and all. They fascinated me as I explored as many as I could. I assumed they were trailers he removed from lots or took as trade-in on new mobile homes, he wasn’t actively trying to sell them like he was the new ones. Anyway, here is the website for their cars, you could give a call and ask about the old trailers – http://www.desertgardenscars.com/

      Reply
  2. Shirlee

    What an interesting trailer. I’ve never seen one with a second story on it. The homeowner has done a great job of making it her own.

    Reply
  3. DweezilSFV

    I’ve always wanted to see actual pictures of the inside of these. Thanks. The cutaway was never enough to put it all in perspective. What a great unit !

    Reply
  4. Linda Vazquez

    I have really enjoyed your newsletter. I moved from a 4 bedroom/2 bathroom., to a 2-2 small trailer. I have really enjoyed my new lifestyle. I also added a long porch with 6 post and it looks awesome. I have never lived in a mobile-home park. I also had other folks follow my porch upgrading they are not all as long as mine. I designed since I work in construction. I do have some remodeling I want to redo the cabinets. I just removed the garden tub that was just a dust collector. Anyway thanks for all the ideas. I will be retiring in about 15 years so my home will be paid for in 6 years. I also worked part-time at Hobby Lobby so I see lots of goodies. Space being limited. Any suggestions for hanging a flat screen on the wall. This is for Christmas present for my boys.

    Reply

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