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Roadside Chuck Wagon Trailer Plans
Build This Vintage Towable Camp Kitchen

Vintage roadside chuck wagon trailer plans
Roadside Chuck Wagon Trailer Plans
Build a Vintage Towable 
Camp Kitchen
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Get a restored copy of these vintage Roadside Chuck Wagon Trailer Plans with 13 Pages of Enhanced and Enlarged Figures and Illustrations and Searchable Text.
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Vintage towable cap kitchen trailer
Roadside Chuck Wagon
By Walter H. Gerber
OUR FAMILY can't wait for summer, this year. There'll be a two-week vacation and three long, holiday weekends for open-road exploring. And we've solved the irksome problems that marred our fun last season. We've built a carry-all trailer that contradicts that old saw: "You can't take it with you."

Like most U.S. travelers, we're budget conscious, and we've never seen the point of crowding into a stuffy diner, anyway, when we've a chance to enjoy an outdoor lunch. So, we always picked up a few groceries each morning, crammed them into the already crowded car, and kept watch for those welcome signs (along the highways of most states) that announce: "Roadside Rest Area, 1000 ft." But we weren't the only ones on the lookout, and often, when we reached our lunch site, we found all the tables and fireplaces already in use. Lacking even camp chairs, we'd then end up trying to make sandwiches in the car and now have red-and-yellow-polka-dot upholstery from the catsup and mustard stains!

Then, too, when we're in National Park country, we enjoy pitching a tent, but not when it means dragging our luggage into the rain to dig out the tent and bedrolls. Also, there are times on most trips when you need to dress up to visit friends; but jackets and dresses from a suitcase always looked creased, and trying to keep them on hangers while driving along is rather like wrestling with a tent in a windstorm!


 
Father and daughter at roadside rest picnic table
This summer we've taken care of these travel problems in advance. The trailer shown here and detailed on the following pages provides us with a hot-meal kitchen at the flick of a wrist. And there are storage compartments that let us stock up on several days' provisions (including an ice-box for perishables), keep our dress clothes hung up, and get at our sleeping gear without unpacking anything else! Though we designed it for a small foreign car, the trailer is guaranteed to take the travail out of travel whatever size car you drive. We even built in a hi-fi speaker for music while we dine. Since long-distance travel keeps your battery charged, it's safe to tie this speaker into a car radio, though for a better selection of good music, we carry a tape-recorder in the car which runs off its own battery.

There's no fuss involved in setting up the kitchen; lifting up and swinging back the hinged leaf opens up the stove pit and creates a work counter with two handy drawers for utensils and paper plates. For cleaning with one wipe of a moist cloth, I covered the work face of this leaf with plastic laminate. You can also plastic-coat the stove platform. The detail below shows how you
bring the stove up to working height (our two-burner uses LP gas). When the folding legs are tapped out from under it, by inserting fingers through the grip slots, the platform sinks into the pit, leaving plenty of space around it to pack pots and pans.

Camp kitchen trailer hitched to a vintage VW Beetle
Meals become a vacation high point when you take your kitchen along.
To keep the closed drawer leaf from flying up when you sail over a bump, you can tie it down with slide-bolts or turn buttons, although if you lash items to the railed-in deck, this will probably anchor the leaf. We usually tie down several folding chairs there. In a pinch, the leaf's large enough to serve as a snack counter for several people, and these chairs provide comfortable seating.

Access to the other compartment is by means of 1/2-in. plywood doors - each, of course, provided with a lock to prevent theft when the trailer is parked unattended. In the details provided, there are no lateral partitions, so each compartment runs full width. In the case of the luggage section, in front of the stove pit, access is from one side only. The slats on the floor are to provide clearance of the bolt-heads, and to protect the plywood from wear when sliding heavy luggage, boxes - or even your spare tire - in and out.

Exploded view of the chuck wagon trailer construction.
Get a restored copy of these vintage Roadside Chuck Wagon Trailer Plans with 13 Pages of Enhanced and Enlarged Figures and Illustrations and Searchable Text.


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In the first (full-height) compartment of the wider front section, the right door opens onto a 25-lb. commercial top-icer, in our case, Coleman's Station Wagon Cooler, held in place by heavy foam-rubber pads at the sides. The left door gives access to the wardrobe closet, where jackets and dresses are on hangers hooked over a clothes rod that bridges the partitions. The "stacked" front compartments are, in our trailer, accessible through two right-hand doors and a single full-height door on the left side. These compartments can be altered to suit whatever you wish to carry in them. And if you don't require a center shelf, you can simplify the framing of panels A and B and use a single door on each side.
Details of chuck wagon trailer wall construction with dimensions.
Get a restored copy of these vintage Roadside Chuck Wagon Trailer Plans with 13 Pages of Enhanced and Enlarged Figures and Illustrations and Searchable Text.


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Towable camp kitchen lateral framing dimensions.
Lateral Framing (Shown in Red, Left)
The two-wheel chassis is a steel ready-made half-toner, bought from the Sears catalog for under $90, complete with tires. The 6-ft. bed is cut from a single 4x8 panel of 3/4-in. plywood. Trim 2 ft. off its length and 2 in. off its width to make the center panel, then edge-join two 6x28-in. wings to this to form a blunt T with a crosspiece 58 in. wide. Bolt this bed to the chassis securely, using large washers between the top face of the plywood and the nuts.
Roadside chick wagon framing materials list.
Roadside Chuckwagon Trailer Framing Bill of Materials
All vertical panels, plus the roof, are 1/4-in. plywood; the deck is 1/2-in. plywood. Use good-grade exterior type throughout. The framing is mostly white pine 1 X 1s, which actually measure 3/4 in. square. All dimensions on the plan are actual sizes.
Front Partitions are anchored to the bed with screws through the framing feet.
Front Partitions are anchored to the bed with screws through the framing feet (above); add lateral bracing, then apply side panels with glue and screws (below). Rear deck laps all verticals, ties assembly together.
Rear deck laps all verticals, ties assembly together.
Drawer Leaf swings back from stove pit, is held level by its own thickness.
Drawer Leaf swings back from stove pit, is held level by its own thickness. Water cooler bay (below) is screwed to the front. Drop door rests on the tongue to form shelf for setting glass or pan under the spigot.
Water cooler bay is screwed to the front and the drop door rests on the tongue to form shelf for setting glass or pan under the spigot.

 
Assemble all parts with waterproof glue and flathead screws, countersinking the heads. Plug all screw holes and cracks with a good spackling paste. When attaching the fenders, be sure there's a minimum 2 in. clearance above the tires.

 
Assembled view of the roadside chuck wagon with dimensions.

 
To protect all outside corners, I capped them with trunk-type metal corners. For a finish, I used marine primer and enamel on the exposed surfaces, but applied aluminum paint to the chassis, under carriage and kitchen pit. A tough outdoor varnish is all that's needed on the inside of the other compartments.

 
Exploded view of the trailer folding stove platform and cooler bin with dimensions.

 
My wiring diagram is shown as a suggestion. The two lower taillights, the amber clearance lights (toward the car), and the license plate light are burning whenever the car's headlights are on. The upper taillights come on only when the brake pedal or turn-signal is operated. I used 1956 Impala style lights. The heavy black line is the ground wire to all lights and to a utility outlet mounted in the stove pit. The green wire is a direct line to that outlet from the 6 or 12-volt auto battery. The light line to the clearance lights can be hooked into the car's taillight, but I made them independent of the car lights for use in city traffic or rain.

 
Electrical schematic of the trailer signal lights and stereo system.

 
All the wires are brought together in one place, to an 8-pole strip of binding posts. From here, two 4-wire cables run through the trailer tongue, emerging near the hitch, where they connect to two 9-prong connectors mounted on the bumper. My chuck wagon's been thoroughly road tested, at speeds up to 70 mph. It tracks obediently, hugging the road without sway. But you can tell it's rarin' to follow us into the wide-open spaces this summer. Maybe we'll see you there.
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