Tin Can Tourist Camp being resurrected on Saturday

Danny Kent watches a fellow Tin Can Tourist pull in to the Sunset Isle RV Park and Motel in Cedar Key on Thursday. The Tin Can Tourists, a group of vintage camper enthusiasts, are in town for an annual gathering.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 5:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 9:30 p.m.

CEDAR KEY — Tim Heintz might still be looking for a wife, but in the meantime, he has given his heart — as well as his time and his cash — to Rosie the Riveted.


If you go

What: Tin Can Tourists
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sunset Isle RV Park, 11850 State Road 24, Cedar Key.
Admission: Free tours of vintage campers and trailers.
Contact: (352) 543-5375.

"That's what I call my 1950 Spartenette trailer," said Heintz, from Tallahassee. "It was built by the Spartan Aircraft Company like they build airplanes, so everything was riveted."

Heintz is one of the dozens of Tin Can Tourists who are pulling their vintage campers into Cedar Key this weekend for their fifth annual gathering in the island city.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restored and refurbished campers built between the 1940s and the 1970s will be open for public tours at no charge. The campers are parked at the Sunset Isle RV Park on State Road 24.

Heintz, an architect by training and a self-proclaimed vintage trailer addict since his college days, said his Spartenette had been abandoned for 40 years when he took possession of it several years ago. "When it was built in 1950, it cost $4,995, or about what two houses would have cost back then," Heintz said.

A few spots over from where Heintz set up his trailer was a gleaming 1962 Globe Trotter Airstream trailer that Hunt Jones pulls with a restored 1955 GMC pickup. Jones, from New Jersey and Bradenton, said the advantage of a trailer built of aircraft aluminum is that it will not rot like wood. But he conceded that rust can be a constant threat, especially when parked next to salt water like his trailer is this weekend. He buffs or polishes the classic trailer at least five times a year, he said, and each time it takes about a week.

So why haul an aluminum trailer to a saltwater environment like Cedar Key for a weekend every winter?

"This place is great — it's kind of lost in the 1950s," Hunt said. "That works for us."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top