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.
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′
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 a 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 a 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
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.
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
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 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.
Ellie replaced the damaged wood frame and added new aluminum siding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below, you can see the steps that lead up to the master bedroom and the lower bedroom.
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.
Finally, a look at the bathroom before the remodel. The Pacemaker Tri-level had all the amenities of a regular home:
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!
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.
Ellie, the owner describes her home a bit more on her website, Studio 18:
“This is my 1954 Two Story Travel Trailer…….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. And 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.
All images © 2003-2015 Eleanor Caputo – Studio 18 Galleries
Thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living!
19 thoughts on “1954 Pacemaker Tri-Level Mobile Home Remodel”
Wanted ! Any Vintage Early 1950s Bi Level Mobil home for sale ? Thanks . James
Hi there, I am the owner of this trailer, Ellie. Thanks so much for this wonderful article and for all the comments. I am sad to say that I am losing the land my trailer sits on due to unforeseen family circumstances. I was going to let the trailer be sold with the land but it looks like my family has something else in mind, so I am seriously thinking of selling my wonderful trailer that I love so much and letting someone take her off this land. Moving it here, the tow truck driver scraped the tail end and I had to repair it. I am not sure how road worthy it is, But I towed it in worse condition for over 150 miles. The tires would have to be put back on and it would take some work to get her out of here but I am willing to sell her to anyone interested in giving me a good price. I have been living in it for 8 years now and am still living in it today. Everything works fantastic. Even has a brand new frig and microwave. The wiring was upgraded before I bought it. You can see how much I have done to it. I am willing to take a respectable offer. If you are seriously interested lets talk about it. I was told by an air-stream restoration lady from Sonora, that my trailer as it sits is worth $45,000 but if properly restored to factory would be worth about $120,000. I do not know how true that is but I do think she is worth something and I am willing to take a proper offer. Thanks so much. I want her to go to someone that will take care of her and not let her rot. I want her to be with someone that loves my trailer as much as I do. It breaks my heart to have to give her up. She is in Amador County CA. in the Sierra foothills and looking for a loving home. Thank you!!
Werr you able to keep your land that is so unfortunate and heartbreaking! Hopefully you were maybe able to keep your trailer pr found a proper family for it. I would love one of these .
I live in a 1968 Town and Country Split Level mobile home – That my parents bought brand new in January 1968 – it has been home to me since the day we moved in (Saturday February 3, 1968). I might have left at times, but I always came home. Now that my parents are gone it is my full time home. I wouldn’t live in anything else.
It has been moved several times over the years and is now in Phoenix, Arizona. I was hoping to move it to California someday – now that I am retired. I then could about say that my home is a true American Home since it would have crossed the country. We moved them in the old days, now they just sit.
That is a wonderful story John. How very cool to be living in it all your life. My trailer here, was made to be taken to Alaska, but it never went and ended up somewhere near Nevada City, CA. and moved around there for a while. Now she is here in Jackson, CA and I have to sell her.
Thank you for your reply. It is a shame you have to sell your home. Maybe some day some one will take it to Alaska.
Thanks again and have a good day.
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
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!
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/
I have a tri level 1956 8×40 that we live in. It came with our property we bought in 04. Getting a new dbl wide at end of sept 2017 Want to sell it when time comes. I know the article I saw was old but….. it’s located at 78884. Terrytowntx@yahoo.com
I would love to see it! If you can please email photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, thank you!
I will sell you this trailer Randy!
Do you still have your home for sale?? Im looking for a 2 story to love and call home.
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.
Thank you Shirlee! It was a labor of love!
It’s difficult to find educated people on this topic, however, you seem like do you know
what you’re speaking about! Thanks
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 !
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.
Hi Linda! Great to hear from you! I would love to see that porch – it sounds exactly what I’m wanting to do to ours!