Thursday, November 15, 2012

Introducing the Sunflower and a Little Teardrop History

I own a 5x8 foot bright yellow Pleasant Valley Spirit teardrop trailer named the Sunflower. It attracts so much attention that I thought I would finally put up a blog about my trailer as well as additional information on teardrops. Teardrop trailers are small (under 10 feet long) camping trailers and usually only contain a bed in the main compartment and a kitchen, or galley, in the back hatch. The main characteristic of a teardrop trailer is that you can't stand up in them. Teardrop owners refer to a taller trailer as a "standy".


Most teardrop trailers that you might see are built by hand by various builders. Some are owner built, while some are custom built for a specific customer. Many teardrops on the road today are manufactured by the Little Guy company, who also uses Pleasant Valley's building skills.

Teardrop trailers first became in the U.S. in the 1930s when magazines such as Mechanics Illustrated published plans. The first teardrops were designed around the idea of using standard 4 by 8-foot sheets of plywood with hardwood spars. Teardrop trailers remained popular until the mid 1960s, after which they disappeared from mainstream camping. However, in the late 1990s, plans became available on the internet and in recent years teardrop trailers have made a resurgence and are again growing in popularity. [From Wikipedia]



The Sunflower (most teardrops have a name) was manufactured by the Pleasant Valley Teardrops company in Sugarcreek, Ohio. It is Amish built and super tough for such a small trailer. Normally, a brand new teardrop trailer from Pleasant Valley can cost around $8,000 to $10,000. However, I was able to find my brand new trailer from a private dealer in Florida for $4,000. I paid a shipper from UShip (the Shipping Wars company) to tow it to my home in Nevada for $1,000. So for half the price, I was able to have my yellow beauty delivered right to my door. The Sunflower is towed by a 2008 Kia Sportage.




Photos by Christina Nellemann

14 comments:

  1. I love your blog and feel that it fills an important need, at least for me. And what could be better than a yellow teardrop? Here's mine: http://teardropbygary.blogspot.co.nz/

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    1. Thanks Gary. Wonderful color on your tear. :-) You did a great job with your build. I really love it when people document their entire build, I think it's really helpful for others who want to eventually build their own. I just wish I was that handy and had enough time. LOL!

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  2. I've just read your entire blog, thank you so much for posting all of your entries. I've enjoyed every bit of it!

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  3. It's wonderful! My husband and I are looking for one, too. We hope to come across a private seller as wonderful as yours!

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    1. Thank you KathMuse. It is nice and surprisingly well made. It's been down some bumpy roads and nothing has broken off. :-) Keep an eye on the teardrop forum and Teardrops.net for trailers for sale. Search around on all your local Craigslist forums too. It took me about 3 years to find mine, but don't despair.

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    2. I am planning to go to Whistler, Canada to run the July 27th, 2014 Ironman. I will travel from Grand Junction, Colorado to Vancouver, Banf and back. I need to rent a tear drop to accomodate my brother and wife who refuse to sleep in a tent "in grizzlies territory." Any suggestions?

      Wilmer
      wilmerperez@msn.com

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    3. Hello Wilmer. The Ironman! That rocks. I've done a few sprint triathlons and really admire the more hardcore competitors.

      Have you looked at this page on my site?:

      http://tinyyellowteardrop.blogspot.com/2013/01/rent-teardrop-trailer.html

      Colorado Vintage Camping might be able to accommodate you. If not, maybe you could put a post on the TNTTT forum for anyone in your area who may be willing to rent out teardrop.

      http://www.tnttt.com/

      The users of the TNTTT site are very helpful and might be able to give you a few options. I don't know too much about Canadian teardrops or companies, but maybe someone on the site can give you more information.

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  4. Well, color me jealous and curious! I just spent the last six months checking Craigslist daily, via the Craigslist Pro app, in a radius around my city within one day's drive. I finally settled on a Little Guy 4-wide with no power outlets or electric hookups, but for not much less than you spent on a fully appointed rig. It never occurred to me to look even further away and ship it. I'm curious what your search method was and how you found your private dealer? Just internet searches, ebay, internet forums, word of mouth? Anyway, thanks for your website. The thorough and varied topics of information you've curated here certainly comes in handy to novices like myself.

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    1. Hello csquared. Yes, it sometimes takes time to find your "perfect" trailer. Even then...you will always find another trailer that has details you may want.

      In 2006 I had a Little Guy Rascal and wanted more amenities. I looked for nearly three years for the trailer I wanted on eBay, Craigslist, Google searches and Google image searches. That's actually how I found the Sunflower. It was a random, Web-deep, image search. The company in Florida did not have great SEO, so their sales information was buried. That yellow color caught my eye. They were originally selling brand new for about $6,000, but I waited a few more months since the company was selling out their entire supply and it finally went down to $4,000.

      It's hard to be patient with things like this. Someone could snap it up from underneath you, or the company could go belly up before you get a chance to buy. I think the best thing is to know exactly what you want to have in a trailer before searching around.

      Thank you for your comments and I hope we meet on the road! :-)

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  5. Ok, I did it. I ordered a teardrop from tcteardrop campers. It will be Yellow to match my 2009 Jeep Wrangler. So now I just have to wait till March 2017,...!?!?!!?? omg, to get it. Am I crazy? A whole winter of looking at photos of it and making plans. Thinking about a trip down the Mississippi River from where I pick it up to just north of St. Louis just as a shake down cruise. Thanks for your lists, thoughts and ideas. I'm in. Dave O

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    1. Awesome! Congratulations on your new camper. I love the off-road capabilities of TC Teardrops...and you can't beat yellow. :-) That is a long time to wait for a trailer, but you can spend the time planning and saving money for your first trip.

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  6. Hi,

    I think your teardrop looks fab, and really enjoy the blog. probably the only blog I read. Keep it up!

    Just had a question about sunflower, is it a Little Guy silver Shadow? (yellow one obviously? ) and is it a 4 X 8 or a 5 X 8? I'm planning on building something very similar! (replica if possible, and yes in YELLOW! it just looks too good!!!) I'll submit pics if you let me!

    Also can you please remove desert tears from your links section, as I contacted and paid for plans over 3 months ago, and received nothing in return. I tried several times to contact the seller with no avail.

    Thanks Craig.

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    1. Thank you so much Craig! The Sunflower is actually a Pleasant Valley Spirit, the precursor to the Silver Shadow before Pleasant Valley Teardrop began building for Little Guy Worldwide. They are nearly exactly the same in shape, size and amenities. The Silver Shadow options include a sink and AC. The Sunflower is a 5x8.

      Thank you for the information on Desert Tears. They have been around a very long time and have maybe gone out of business.

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