The History of Teardrops: Benroy Style
Benroy Trailer Products was a Burbank California company founded by Bennet Petersen and Roy Greenwood. The name Benroy came from a the combo of both founder's names. The original prototype was build by Bennet Peterson in 1953 and is now known as one of the classic teardrop styles. For the next two years they manufactured 480 trailers, which sold for $420.00.
With its smooth design, bright silver body with fire engine red trim, the Benroy was a saucy little two-door trailer. Built on the standard 4'x8' plan form, it was 10' long and 68" wide overall, and weighed 760 pounds. The sidewalls and floor were 3/8" fir plywood varnished on the inside, the deck lid and door ribs were made of laminated birch plywood, and the deck lid interior was made of 1/8" bending birch plywood. The exterior was .032 mill finish aluminum. The kitchen area contained a two-burner propane stove, a porcelain sink, a 25# ice box, a six gallon water tank with outside filler cap, a drop leaf table, and a 6-volt dome light. The interior featured cabinets and shelves for storage, a three-quarter size mattress, and another dome light. The chassis was framed with 1/4"x2"x2" steel, using 1250 pound springs and axle. Steel fenders covered standard 600x16 tires and wheels.
Benroy produced four units at a time, and only sold one unit direct. The rest went to dealers in southern California, Portland, Seattle, St Louis, Texas and Virginia. Many went to rental lots (such as Humes Sporting Goods) where families could rent them by the week. Dealers like Stout Motors, with 5 sales lots, paid 80% of the wholesale price until the unit was sold.
He experienced what big-company competition could do to the little man, eventually went out of business. King Richard's, a trailer dealership in El Monte, CA pick up his mold but only produced a few units. Many other manufacturers came along and reproduced some of his ideas. Then the teardrop market bottomed out for several decades.
When asked if he ever thought teardrops would become popular again, Bennet says, "I thought they would come back, as they have, with limited production." Those of you out there fortunate enough to own an original Benroy know their worth.
According to Bennet's family, there was also a larger Benroy trailer, but so far no photos or examples have been found. Ben's nephew remembers playing in them as a child. The Gilstein family sold this trailer to Ben's nephew. The family now owns 2 of the trailers made by Ben.
Bennet H. Petersen passed away in December of 2008.
This beautifully restored 1956 Benroy DeLuxe is owned by Debra Kellerman of Hope, ID.
Do you own or know of an original Benroy still in use today?
Cool Tears would love to see pictures and hear the story!
Be ready for cold weather teardrop camping!
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