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Old 08-04-2015, 11:19 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
2000 31' Land Yacht
Tampa , Florida
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Keep vintage? How exact? Ok to modify?

We have a 1979 sovereign in excellent condition. Flooring has been replaced, upholstered (p o).
We want vintage, but are concerned about desired changes to interior. Must it be kept original? Can replace frige? Can paint some of the dark dungeon fake wood? What are the guidelines? For vac members? Any difference? Ours also has caning inserts in cupboards. We realize it's not a rare model, just not sure how many changes to make. Advice appreciated.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:02 PM   #2
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It is yours. Unless you are planning to resell it as a vintage time capsule, make the changes that you will make it enjoyable for you to use.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #3
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Well executed changes are, IMHO, no big deal.Slathering on gallons of latex paint over every hinge, cheap 110V fridges followed by construction with drywall screws and 2 x 4 lumber are a mess and detract from the value.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:23 PM   #4
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Anything that lasts long enough to acquire the "vintage" label will have bits and pieces that wear out and need to be changed.

When I was still working for a living, the Army Corps of Engineers had a lot of facilities that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Which made maintenance, repair, and improvement somewhat problematical. What we had to do was discover what made the facility historically significant, namely the unique features of the era in which it was built, and keep those features as-is to the best of our ability. Any replacement had to be replaced in kind. But any feature that was not historically significant could be changed with no problem.

I think it's the same way with a vintage Airstream. In your case, figure out which visible features were unique to the late 70s, and preserve those as best you can. But anything that wasn't unique to the era— or isn't visible to an admirer— can be changed without affecting the trailer's essential vintage-ness.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:12 PM   #5
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1964 26' Overlander
Richmond , Virginia
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I don't know that the 79 plastic fake wood is going to be an issue to maintain that fake plastic. Dark isn't a problem if it's steam bent mahogany, but I haven't seen a lot of people trying to replicate the fake dark oak of plastic coated particleboard. You can probably lighten that up without a major change to value. There could be some sort of revival in the future of late 70s decor, but even then, I don't know that people would go all out to keep that look. I think you'd have more leeway to update that era.

I think the worst I've seen, other than the slathers of paint referenced above, is a large mix of modern and vintage. Sometimes it's tasteful, but not often. I think your bigger concern will be to just make sure things work well, and you maintain. If you want, go big on flexible things - curtains, rugs, decorations, that limit the exposure of the laminate.
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Old 08-04-2015, 02:08 PM   #6
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I got rid of a lot of the old dark wood look with some paint, not slathered but judiciously applied and replacing door fronts and the kitchen base cabinet with one made with cherry veneer plywood.

I doubt the 70's look will ever come back in vogue (I sure hope it doesn't) so there you've got nothing to loose. Tasteful renovations in a trailer are like tasteful renovations in a house, just make sure it all goes together and is done well.
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:03 PM   #7
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Much of the interior of our '64 was in rough shape. I was able to reuse the frame for the front gaucho/bed and the upper cabinets, though the curbside cabinet was remade to fit the space. We also created a new floor plan more conducive to our family's needs (who says you can't sleep four really comfortably in a 17' trailer? Bunk beds!!)

In trying to keep with the vintage vibe, all original hardware was reused when possible. This was a challenge, but worth it in the end.

I like to make things look old and fool the eye of someone who is not totally familiar with older trailers...things have to look right, but they do not have to be original...
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:18 PM   #8
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Our 1978 is all original except the frig that I replaced and a few other improvements. The fake wood on the frig is a bit lighter but that is fine with me. I like the vintage 1978 look but for me comfort, reliability, and ease of use is more important. I also replaced the shag carpet with a laminate floor, replaced the front and rear ceiling vents with fantastic fans, replaced the univolt with a progressive dynamic's unit with charge wizard, added a second battery compartment, and went all LED. I think it is more how you do things than what you do. Whatever you decide to do just do a good job and it will look great. When you travel a lot it is nice to have the few improvements to make the trip more enjoyable.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:37 PM   #9
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... What are the guidelines? For vac [Vintage Airstream Club] members? Any difference?
.

Can't answer those, seems like it would be very rare to find one completely original with everything still working.

For example our 75 Overlander has a newer 110vac/gas water heater, newer 3 way fridge (12vdc/110vac/gas), original furnace (with new blowers) and original range top. We replaced the original non-working oven with a microwave that someday may get upgraded to convection microwave. All of the plumbing is new, as is the charger.

Originally it was a twin bed rear bath. However a PO removed the street side bed and did a partial AS cabinet install for a full bed model. The remaining curb side bed was replaced with the front goucho. The front goucho had some inventive framing to create a sofa with the original goucho cushions.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:59 PM   #10
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Thx all for the tips. I'm going ahead with the newer fridge and losing some of the vinyl, especially the ugly room divider curtain!
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:02 PM   #11
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What are the guidelines? For vac members?
Welcome to the forums!

Do I infer correctly that you are concerned about acceptability to Vintage Airstream Club? The only requirement for full VAC membership is that the trailer be at least 25 years old. Beyond that, you can do anything you want with it. I have seen vintage trailers meticulously decorated in "period" style, and others completely gutted and reworked to suit their present owner. They're all good.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:35 PM   #12
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Actually there are two other requirements: 1) own an Airstream and 2) have $20. If you meet those two but don't own an Airstream 25 years or older, you can still join as an associate member.

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Welcome to the forums!

Do I infer correctly that you are concerned about acceptability to Vintage Airstream Club? The only requirement for full VAC membership is that the trailer be at least 25 years old. Beyond that, you can do anything you want with it. I have seen vintage trailers meticulously decorated in "period" style, and others completely gutted and reworked to suit their present owner. They're all good.
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