APRIL 22, 2915 (MAY 2015): ’57 METEOR PLUS A VINTAGE ’61 SHASTA ASTRODOME TRAILER EQUALS A TIME WARP

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Baby Boomers are well aware of how people used to take vacations.

 

They’d load everything into a basic 4-door sedan and hook a heavy trailer on a bumper hitch and hit the road.

 

Most of these old sedans were taxed to the limit so you could spot one hauling a trailer at night because the headlights were usually aimed at the moon.

 

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Mike and Lisa Maissoneuve wanted to relive the glory days of old school vacation time so they bought a vintage car (’57 Meteor) to haul a vintage trailer ( ’61 Shasta Astrodome).

 

This was one of those ‘cart before the horse’ scenarios because Mike admits he “owned the trailer before the car” and he “bought the car because the lines matched up with the ’61 Shasta”.

 

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Mike had a story book plot on tap because he explained how he, “fell in love with the car and couldn’t resist it” when he saw the car. The majority of car guys can definitely relate to his experience.

 

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Mike and Lisa wanted to recreate a textbook Baby Boomer era vacation experience so he found some vintage luggage on eBay to add to the period correct look but his Shasta and Meteor have a few nods to the 21st century. He explained how he has two 20-watt solar panels at home for it so they can literally “overnight anywhere” plus he custom built a console so he can get satellite radio.

 

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Most veteran car guys would have many questions about what this car is like under the same load it would have had back in the late 50s or early 60s.

 

The first casualty was gas mileage as Mike explained , “The car got about 22 miles per gallon when I picked it up and drove it back” but the trailer made a big difference. The thrifty Meteor turned into a serious gas hog and the car dropped down to “about 9 ½ to 10 miles per gallon because it was a lot of work for that 292”.

 

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Naturally the other big question is how does it handle with that vintage trailer behind it? Mike is a student of old iron so the first thing he did was add gas shocks and he said “they really smartened up the ride”. Gas shocks are a minor upgrade in 2015 but they are clearly an asset to a ’57 Meteor with a Shasta trailer behind it.

 

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Brakes are another big question with a car nearing its 60th birthday but Mike was philosophical about his old tech stopping power. He reported, “They weren’t too bad because the car has all new drums and and shoes” and Mike added he, “had to do a quick stop with it so I hit the brakes and it wasn’t too bad”.

 

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Mike’s biggest concern is found under the hood because he admitted the old Meteor “does about 55-60 but it bogs down a bit on hills” and he watches the gauges “like a hawk” and he had some worries about overheating the transmission.

 

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Despite his obvious mechanical concerns about pushing an old car past its limits Mike and Lisa see the real reward with this mode of holiday travel, “You get lots thumbs up and horn honks all the time plus it’s a dream to camp in”.

 

Mike and Lisa’s future plans for this time machine holiday maker are pretty clear because they admit to a bad case of “OCD”.

 

That stands for Old Camper Disease.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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