Ward Manufacturing, Inc. - Wayfarer
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Ward Manufacturing, Inc. produced two distinct lines of camping trailers, the Nimrod and the Wayfarer. To read about the history of Ward Manufacturing follow this link for Nimrod. Wayfarer was part of the Specialty Products Division of Ward Manufacturing.
Wayfarer made its debut in 1962 as the economy trailer offered by Ward Manufacturing. This first year model was an on-the-ground tent trailer combination of all steel construction. It was designed to be more narrow than a compact car. It sold for $499, or $3,459 in 2009 dollars. In addition to being its economy trailer Ward Manufacturing used the Wayfarer brand to experiment with, adding unique features and changing designs each year of production. This allowed Ward Manufacturing to test the market, see what worked and what didn't.
The 1964 model, named the Mark IV, was built of lightweight aluminum with two pull out beds located on the sides of the trailer and an all canvas top. The original trailer was designated the Mark II but now featured an aluminum body as well. Both were built on an all steel frame. At the time both the Heilite and Apache trailers were built of aluminum and priced much cheaper than the Nimrods. Ward Manufacturing needed a product to compete for this market segment.
Going into 1965 Wayfarer introduced the Mark V as the top-of-the-line model. It featured the now-standard aluminum body and the stylish sculpted lines in tune with the autos of the day and light blue canvas. It had two pull out beds located on the sides of the trailer and an all canvas top. The trailer was priced at $729. New were the five large screened areas on the trailer. At the peak of the trailer where both sides of the roof met, one side was offset allowing for small screened windows. Wayfarer referred to it as a summer cottage. The trailer weighed 625 lbs and was 6'6" closed. It featured 60 cubic feet of storage space. The Mark IV and the Mark II were offered as well. The Mark IV was priced at $629 and the Mark II was priced at $449. Ward Manufacturing now referred to this division as Wayfarer Campers.
Leading the line in 1966 was the Mark VII and the Mark VI. The most significant change was in how the beds were configured to the trailer's body. The beds were now attached to the front and back of the trailer. It appears they both flipped out, and formed an aluminum hard-top when in the closed position. This new configuration allowed for a longer trailer body resulting in more indoor living space. This was becomming an industry standard for pop-up campers. The Mark VII featured the unique canvas design of the Mark V but added large screened windows all the way around and now featured a stove, sink, refrigerator, and table for eating which converted to a bed. No other trailer in the Wayfarer line offered these options. The Mark VI resembled the Nimrod Rivera. Rounding out the model line-up for 1966 was the slightly redesigned Mark IV.
Once again Wayfarer introduced an entirely new trailer design. The leading models of the 1967 line were the Mark VIII and the Mark VIII Deluxe. New features included a crank-up royalite hardtop and screened aluminum door. Both featured large beds that flipped out to the sides of the trailer, but the trailer was longer than the bed lengths of the past thus allowing for more living space. The deluxe model included a full-sized third bed that flipped out the back side of the trailer. The door was located in the front of the trailer. This was not a good design and would later be moved. Again the Mark IV rounded out the 1967 model line-up.
I have no further information past 1967 for the Wayfarer brand of campers. I found no reference, advertisements or newspaper/magazine articles. I tend to believe the brand was dropped, or merged into Nimrod's business, when Fuqua Industries acquired the camping trailer business from Ward Manufacturing in late 1968. But the 1967 design found in the Mark VIII trailers would surface again in 1970 when Nimrod introduced the Seventy model and then again in 1971 when Nimrod switched over to the modular style designs for their camping trailers.
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