The Boles Aero Is a Vintage Trailer Worth Owning
Only the most savvy RV owners know that Boles Aero travel trailers are vintage travel units worth owning. Being fortunate enough to find, let alone own one, especially a vintage model, is a highly unique and satisfying experience. I know, because I owned one and lived full time in it for a good number of years.
There is much to be said about some of the older recreational vehicles like the Boles that were manufactured at a time when RV travel was in its infancy. Back then, builders were innovative and did not cut corners when it came to creating quality, durable motor homes and campers.
I have owned several coaches over the years and can honestly say that my old girl was undoubtedly the most well built and structurally sound of all of them. To put it bluntly, she was a tank!
Most people have never heard of this brand, but after reading this article, you not only will know about it, you will wish you owned one! If you check out the Tin Can Tourists website, you will see just how popular they still are and that there is a large community of fans who still own them and take loving care of them as well as other makes of older RVs.
Boles Aero Travel Trailers Are Oldies But Goodies
If you love recreational vehicles you probably have heard about these travel trailers, but have wondered why you have never seen one on the road. The reason is that they were so well built that their quality literally put their manufacturer out of business!
People kept them forever and saw no need to upgrade or replace them because there was nothing on the market that could match them!
Unless you had an accident with one of them, there was very little you could do to them which could create problems. Proof of this is that there people scattered around the US that still own. live and travel in them today.
Those in the know have fan clubs such as the one mentioned above, and some are even fortunate enough to own these beauties right now. To this day, I am sorry I ever sold the one I owned.
Some Boles Aero History
Don Boles, who was living in California back in the day, began manufacturing all aluminum, all riveted lightweight travel trailers shortly after the end of World War ll when he realized that there was a great deal of interest in such vehicles.
It is likely that he got his ideas for building an aluminum trailer from his training in the aircraft industry and also from another company, Airstream, which was founded in the 1920s and had many of the same attributes as the Boles. (See my article: "Are Airstream RVs As Good As They Say?" to learn more about them.) However, having owned both at one time or another, I feel that the Boles Aero was the better of the two.
Don named his new company Boles Aero, and built his first unit in his garage.
Before long he was producing various sizes of these coaches, and people were coming from all over the United States to watch their personal units being manufactured at his factory.
His trailers were put on the market long before the pricing for RVs became expensive, but ironically, there is no brand on the market today that can match his for quality and durability.
If you want more detailed information about the history of these trailers, you can find it on the Tin Can Tourists website.
Boles Aeros Were No Frills Trailers
Boles Aeros did not have luxury amenities such as stand up bedrooms, slide rooms, fireplaces or washer/dryer combinations. Nonetheless, they were well designed, spacious and comfortable.
They had roof air conditioners furnaces, large bathroom/wardrobe combinations comfortable beds and plenty of storage. They were also easy to tow and easy on gas.
The exterior shell was made of thick aluminum that was held together with airplane rivets. It was also extremely easy to maintain.
The cabinetry was made of a solid base and covered with a material that seemed like Contac paper but was much sturdier. It looked like a shiny, dark wood but was easier to clean , and it never showed scratches.
I originally assumed that at some point it would tear, but it never did.
Inside a Boles Aero
Made For Long Term Living and Travel
Boles Aeros were built for long term living and travel.
Unlike today's RVs, nothing "shook loose" due to road vibration. These coaches were solid and well sealed, so no matter what the weather, the internal climate was easy to control. Although they had only minimum basement storage, there was more than enough inside to make up the difference.
In my particular model, the bathroom was located in the rear of the coach. It not only had a tub and shower combo, sink and toilet, it also housed a large wardrobe area. It actually was as large as many household bathrooms, and was extremely user friendly.
Internal and external care were easy, the biggest chore being to keep the exterior well waxed to protect the aluminum from oxidizing.
I owned and lived year round in one for several years and also traveled throughout the United States in It. There were few mechanical problems, and all were minor. My 35 foot fifth wheel was truly a pleasure to own.
Vintage Boles Aero Trailers Are Still On The Road Today
Old as they are, some of these vintage units are still on the road today. If you are ever fortunate enough to come across one, and can handle simplicity of design and minimum amenities, I advise you to buy it.
I have owned many sizes, styles and types of motor homes and campers in my life, but my Boles Aero Fifth Wheel holds a special place in my heart. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was solid and dependable. This unit did a great job for us, and I have never had one moment of regret about buying it.
Inside a Very Old Boles Aero Trailer
Have you ever seen or owned a Boles Aero RV?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
I’m interested in buying a 1966 Boles Aero 28’ trailer. This one has been gutted and redone, but water and electric were capped and not used. It seems to be in good shape otherwise. However, I will redo some of the inside. What do you think about these, and do you have any idea about what they go for price wise?
I would find out why the water and electric were capped and not used. This could mean there were serious problems that might not have been repairable. Boles Aeros are great units, and are highly prized by vintage RV buyers. Prices, though, are relatively low. You can purchase one for only a few thousand dollars in many instances. You might want to contact Tin Can Tourists to see if someone can give you further information.Helpful 2
What is a fair price to pay for a 1973 Boles Aero Nonpareil 31’?
According to NADA.com, the average retail price is $2080 and low retail is $1725.Helpful 4
I just got a 1977 Boles Aero 340 5th wheel camper. It's all original and everything is in working order. A light interior restoration may be in store for the future, but that considered, do you know what it might be worth?
Lucky you! These units are very hard to find, especially in such good condition. Values can vary but it likely would be worth less than $10,000, maybe even only five. Go to tincantourists.com and see if someone there can give you a more definitive answer.Helpful 4
I have seen some "RV restoration in process" photos and was surprised to see wood framing, at least on the roof. Did these trailers ever get aluminum framing in walls and ceiling? if so, what years were they produced this way?
This is a question you need to ask someone on the tin can tourists website as these are all folks who restore vintage RVs such as the Boles Aero. Since I don't do that sort of work, I can't honestly give you the answer you seek, but those guys will know: tincantourists.com.
We just purchased a 1977 Boles Aero trailer and are having a hard time locating the fuse area for the 12V system (it's not under the sink). Any idea where to look?
Can't remember but it's got to be inside of the main cabin...possibly inside of one of the closets. It wouldn't be located anywhere near water, though. Sometimes these boxes are located in basement storage areas if a unit has one.
© 2013 Sondra Rochelle