The Amerigo line of pickup campers was somewhat of a legend in its own time. With a heavier frame than most, it was built to last. It’s good to know that the company put some thought into a quality design.
The rot on this diamond-in-the-rough might have scared away more than a few DIYers.
Amerigo went out of business in the 70’s, and the campers are generally hard to find.
Dave MacQuaid knew exactly what he wanted when he set out to find one to rebuild. Two of his brothers had Amerigo campers when he was younger, so Dave knew the model well. When he found a 1976 version for $600, he had to buy it!
The Amerigo’s heavier frame makes it worth the rebuild.
Dave’s wife was not so sure. The camper had suffered through the years and was covered in mildew, mold and rot. Dave spent a couple of months tearing it down and rebuilding the frame in a friend’s shop before bringing it home for an interior makeover.
The camper got all new electrical wiring.
First, all of the exterior running lights were replaced with modern, LED versions and resealed. The exterior seams were also sealed to ensure the shell remained leak-free.
Cleaning the outside before sealing the seams.
On the inside, Dave started from the bottom up by laying new vinyl flooring. All of the electrical was replaced, including the electrical outlets. He installed the new outlets in the same locations as the originals to maintain functionality.
The interior was dated and in need of a complete rehab.
The outside electrical service has a brand new 30 amp receptacle that MacQuaid installed himself, along with a new converter for all of the 12 volt systems. He decided that he wanted a modern version of his memories, so the camper received an upgraded sound system and cable outlets.
Sleek looking Amerigo exterior.
The water system got a complete overhaul too, with the addition of an outdoor shower. They tried to reuse as much material as practical, including the old refrigerator, which surprisingly still ran well.
By reusing items as much as possible, they kept costs down and saved time.
Dave wasn’t alone in his build. His brother pitched in and he relied on friends for the parts he didn’t know how to fix, like the upholstery for the new dinette cushions. The foam from the originals was still in good shape, so they reused it after giving it a good steaming.
A friend who did upholstery helped install the new cushion fabric.
Once people started to see the project come together, they got excited for their friend and gave what they could! Dave and his brother had a trip planned, and they were able to get the finishing touches on the outside before they took it on the road.
After the maiden voyage, it was back to work. MacQuaid spent time painting cars for a living when he was younger, so the outside finish was not a problem. He removed as much of the trim as he could, and sanded all surfaces before applying the new paint.
The finished camper.
This is a pickup camper!? Hard to believe. The space is laid out more like a mid-sized travel trailer!
Dave said that redoing the camper was a family affair,
My kids were a part of the project as well. My son used an air stapler for the first time. Sometimes they would just watch what I was doing, even in mid-December when it was freezing out. The camper became a family project. I could have never finished it without their help and support.
Awesome memories – and an awesome camper! Double win for sure.