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Rare French Teardrop Trailer Makes Colorful Comeback

This post was updated on April 20th, 2024

Teardrop trailers come in various shapes, sizes and colors, but the Ailettear by Knox Retro Campers celebrates some of the smallest designs. Based on the French Ailette and the German Piccolo teardrops of the 1950s, this modern version maintains the original retro style.

The Ailettear is based on the French Ailette trailer from the 1950s.

Knox Retro Campers/Facebook

Knox Retro Campers in Tennessee is run by Michael Knox, a U.S. Army Veteran who’s fascinated with teardrop trailers from the 1940s and ’50s. The Ailettear was born from a few sketches, and Knox even welded the frame and handbuilt the teardrop shaped windows.

Built by Knox Retro Campers, this version weighs only 200 lbs.

Knox Retro Campers/Facebook

The trailer’s body is 100% aluminum, very lightweight and can be towed by smaller cars and even motorcycles. Made in the U.S.A with over 95% U.S.-sourced materials, the teardrop has a main 75 x 45 inch sleeping area and a portable, aluminum chuck wagon cooking station that mounts to the trailer’s tongue. The entire trailer body comes in at only 56 inches wide by 82 inches long. It’s 46 inches tall.

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Knox built both the frame and the windows for the trailer.

Knox Retro Campers/Facebook

Knox builds and sells various configurations of the Ailettear: the Classic is based on the original Ailette or Piccolo, the Custom has an insulated sleeping area, and the Moto is ultra lightweight for motorcycles.

The Ailettear ranges in weight from 200 to 400 lbs. and can be painted to match any vehicle. Knox also builds traditional teardrop trailers and the Standie, a stand-up camping trailer.

The Ailettear is very simple with just a single main sleeping compartment.

Knox Retro Campers/Facebook

Knox Retro Campers has several payment options for a custom teardrop trailer and will deliver the finished trailer for a reasonable rate.

Each Ailettear can be painted to match any vehicle.

Knox Retro Campers/Facebook

The 1950’s Ailette and Piccolo trailers were usually towed by the popular cars of the day. The BMW Isetta, Fiat 500 and Citroen 2CV could be seen towing these lightweight cuties around Europe. With the popularity of smaller cars today, it would be wonderful to see two lightweight options paired up again.

Some German Piccolo campers can still be found in Europe.


An original ad for the German Piccolo.

Courtesy of TNTTT

This vintage French Ailette and the Piccolo look nearly identical.

Courtesy of TNTTT

For more information about these small-scale teardrop trailers visit the Knox Retro Campers website.