“Pee-Wee’s” Gypsy Wagon for Sale

This beautiful gypsy wagon, which was used as a prop in the 1988 movie “Big Top Pee-Wee” has been available for sale since the middle of last year. The wagon, restored by Gary Votapka, was originally purchased for his land in Montana, but it is still sitting in a California neighborhood waiting for its next owner.

The vardo was in terrible shape when Gary purchased it for $10,000 and towed it from Barstow to his home in Fallbrook, Calif. The wagon had been sitting in the sun for over 20 years and gallons of desert dust and sand had settled onto the floor. Since the wagon had also been used as a prop in a movie with Pee-Wee Herman and Valeria Golino, none of the drawers opened and the cabinets were facades. Over the course of four years, Gary, his wife and son restored the gypsy wagon (by using a DVD of the movie) to its original colorful state and added a few workable cabinets and a comfortable bed.

Gary has created a website to sell the vardo and hopes that someone with a unique B&B or a penchant for tiny homes will be interested in the whimsical wagon.

Photos courtesy of Gypsy Vardo Wagon. Bottom photo courtesy of North County Times.


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]


19 Comments “Pee-Wee’s” Gypsy Wagon for Sale

  1. OGuin

    I LOVED this wagon as a kid! There were always thoughts of where it had gone…and now I know! It is soooo beautiful!

  2. Angie

    I love the interior and how neat the exterior paint job is.

    For me it’s a dream, but I sure love looking at this.

  3. sesameB

    Wonderful, excellent. I just love this wagon! This is so Arkansas!!!
    Barefootin’ in rural south central sunny Arkansas and drinking spring water!!!!!

  4. ginmar

    OMG, why can’t I win the lottery?! I would buy a big piece of land and have lots of little houses and vardos all over.

  5. Abel Zimmerman Zyl

    First, I love seeing a bit of Pee Wee history on tiny house blog!

    Second, as a builder of little houses, and someone who has also a bit of experience working in the theatre — note that this wagon was built as a movie prop. Keep that in mind, whoever buys this very charming little vardo. Props are not usually built to last as regards to weather, travel, or as a real living space. If so, it might do better parked under a nice dry cover.

    It certainly is an important collectors piece for the PeeWee inclined. Aaaagh, haha!

    1. Gary Votapka

      Abel, Good observation about the durability and functionality part. I am the owner/restorer of this wagon. Whowever originaly built this was a talented craftsman. Parts of it are extemely well made (example, it is tubular steel framed and good quality pine wood was used) but the wagon was a prop. So unless the part was used in a scene (like say a door or window), the rest was just show and mostly a facade. Thats where we came in. Using the original as a template we totally rebuilt the furniture and all other parts (drawers, bed, couch, heating) to be functional. We saw where the “weak” componets were (like the roof) and rebuilt it to last. It certainly isn’t as durable as a stick built house but it should last a couple of decades (or until the next owner restores it again). Neat, wonderful project for my whole family to undertake.

  6. Madonna Weaver

    This gypsy caravan is beautiful. Is it still for sale and how much. Pity I live in Australia. I was thinking of a gypsy caravan here for a paying guest area outside.

    Regards Madonna Weaver


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *