Photo Moment: Brothers share passion for restoring campers

Photo Moment: Brothers share passion for restoring campers

August 10th, 2015 by Dan Henry in Local Regional News

Daryl Bloodworth, left, and his brother Butch Bloodworth, inside trailer, work on renovating a 1961 Shasta Air Flyte while at D.B. Vintage Campers in Rossville, Georgia, on July 30, 2015. The siblings started custom rebuilds of period campers two years ago and have over a dozen to complete on their lot.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

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Hidden in the back of a small business park near the Georgia state line is a workshop where two brothers bring life back to what nearly all others have discarded and forgotten.

The mini-warehouse that Daryl and Butch Bloodworth work out of was originally rented to store family furniture, but now it's filled with carpentry tools, a skim of sawdust and campers in all stages of renovation.

"I just kind of fell into this." Daryl Bloodworth said. "I found an old camper one day and decided I wanted to rebuild it. Over the past two years, it just kind of grew into this business."

Daryl, a licensed home builder, worked on his first camper between building houses.

Upon completion, he gave it to his cousin — after he posted a few images of it on Facebook. Soon, people from all over the United States began contacting him for custom rebuilds.

As the emails trickled in, Daryl realized he had a niche and quit building homes. What started as a fun project turned into a full-time job where he could focus more on intricate details and be more creative in a small space, while not having to move about as much.

"I'm 57 years old, and climbing up and over and through a house got to be too much; building these, the lowest I have to get is to slide under it, and highest is the top of the camper. It's great."

Shortly after Daryl went all in, Butch decided to leave his job of 25 years as a machinist to join forces with his sibling. The two of them now work in tandem at D.B. Vintage Campers doing whatever needs to be done — and there is a lot to be done. These campers are rebuilt from the ground up.

"We buy these dilapidated, strip them completely down to the frame, redo the frame and then rebuild the camper from scratch on top of it using the original measurements." Daryl said. "To save these old campers you have to rebuild them, since the parts are not available."

The builds take anywhere from a couple of months to half a year to complete, depending on how lavish the interiors are, and they run from $8,500 and up.

The Bloodworths believe the main reason they have become so popular so quickly is that unlike modern campers, which have only a few available models, these are custom-made using the future owners' specifications. The interiors can feature everything from specific-use wooden cabinetry, custom-cut 9-inch period floor tiles and showers to flat-screen televisions and even dining tables that convert into beds.

The two have delivered custom units to Birmingham, Nashville, Indiana and even Texas. Despite not yet having built a camper for anyone locally, Daryl does have his eye on one mildewed white camper with a faded teal stripe buried in his lot. He sees it as a project for himself if he ever slows down enough to build it.