Tuesday, July 11, 2017

DIY Metro-Drop Camp Trailer

Geo Metro Camper Setup

I recently went camping with family and friends at the Oregon coast. Our friends had arrived and set up a little earlier in the day. Once our tent was up and our camp set up, my friend Jeremy and I went out on a supply run. As we set off he said, "There's something you've got to see on the way out." Boy was he right!

As we took the long route out of the camp site and came around a corner, I was greeted with the awesome project you see above. Of course I had to stop and chat with the owners, and they were super friendly.

The DIY teardrop trailer movement has taken off in the past few years. There are plenty of websites with tips and plans on how to build one. With an inexpensive Harbor Freight trailer, some modest supplies, and a little elbow grease you can be the proud owner of a home built camping trailer. Of course it was inevitable that someone would take the next step, and who would be more appropriate than a Geo Metro owner.

Geo Metros have their own rabid following of fans. Of course they've gotten some more visibility in recent years since only a Toyota Prius can rival their mileage, but for the true fan it goes much deeper than that. They love the car for what it truly is: a quirky little econo-box that just keeps running.

This lovely project you see here was built by Matt Bennett of Hubbard, OR for less than $300 all in. The car that became the trailer was actually a running car owned by his friend, originally purchased for $400 US. Matt bought it from him for half that and proceeded with the conversion. The interior was removed and a trailer tongue attached to the front end. Obviously Matt is a pretty capable guy, both in fabricating skills and material acquisition. He took a piece of vinyl sheeting and bent it up to create the nose. The windshield was replaced with black painted plywood and the windows were given a "rattle can tint" for privacy.

No spray cans were harmed or even considered in the making of this paint job. Matt purchased a 5 gallon bucket of Chalmers tractor paint from the local supply store for $50 and took a roller to the car and trailer. The result came out remarkably well!

Geo Metro Teardrop Trailer

The inside is still mostly unfinished except for a few basic shelves. Matt did have plans to fully fit it out, but the good camping weather had a stronger allure than completing the project. He hit the junk yard to get as much Geo door edge trim as he could find, covered up all the sharp edges inside, and called it good. I'm sure he'll finish it out once the camping season passes.

Matt says the car pulls the trailer surprisingly well, even on mild hills. As a camper it works quite well too. There's plenty of room for two people to sleep comfortably, storage in the back is pretty good and super accessible through the existing hatch, and the rear pop-out windows are great for ventilation. There's plenty of privacy with the tinted windows and you get all the built in security and weather resistance of a standard car with door locks.

If you see this awesome setup while you're out and about, stop and chat with Matt and give him a compliment.


Anonymous said...

That looks pretty cool, but I would be concerned with the tongue weight of the trailer since the wheels are so far towards the rear. But, I suppose a Metro wasn't all that heavy (2000 lbs?) and they've removed all of the bits that actually weighed something, so the remaining body shell is probably relatively light weight.

Unknown said...

Saw a dodge caravan set up the same way. The front clip and subfame unbolted ,a hitch installed and a camo paint job. Made a nice little camper!

Unknown said...

1650 lbs is what the whole car weighs. A stripped down Geo at the scrap recyler is close to 450 lbs so he must be 550 to 650? Looks like a fun project. A fifth wheel hitch on the roof would make it tow even better. https://www.facebook.com/zack.kounkel/videos/10155479653626823/