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Old 06-23-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
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Please forgive me for multiple postings, when I don't even own an Airstream... I do like to get into the groove of something like this, to make sure that's the direction we want to go.

If you folks will indulge me...


It appears to me that the wonderfully organic shape of Airstreams is almost always heavily cluttered with extraneous appurtenances. Bulky awnings, huge A/C units, roof storage pods, clunky spotlights and rear cameras, goofy fake "woodgrain" trim, etc. My pal; Woody has a 76 GMC coach, as well as a newer diesel pusher. The GMC also has tons of junk cluttering up the superb aero design. The diesel pusher is remarkably clean in comparison. The A/C units are in compartments under the coach, no roof rack or ladder, low profile refer vent, etc. It looks far better, even though it's really more of a block of wood style versus the GMC (or Airstream). I read a lot about how slick the Airstream design is, but in reality, most of them are pretty dirty aerodynamically as well as visually. I would love to see some "clean" Airstreams. Under-coach air conditioner, no spotlight in the middle of the roof, no huge rear camera, low profile vents, etc. There are sleek awnings that do not require the ugly bent supports that grace Airstreams & GMC's. All those are commonly available on modern motorhomes, so why not retrofit to a classic?

Another easy trick, is to paint everything on the roof semi-flat black. That greatly diminishes the visual distraction effect, and your eyes remain drawn to the overall coach, not the clunky junk up top. I thought that the whole premise of the Airstream was to go with a slick, clean look.

Finally, the classic coaches would look great if lowered just a touch. The front end seems to ride especially high, giving it a slightly ungainly appearance. Any reasonable way to lower that P30 suspension a bit?

My mind's wheels are turning... I abhor projects with huge diminishing returns, but it seems an Airstream classic coach could be a worthy subject.

Ed
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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I am have a little trouble understanding what you are trying to say......Why don't you buy an Airstream ....do all the improvements you refer too in your post and then take some pictures and Post them, that way we can SEE what your talking about....Pictures do speak a thousand words.

Good luck on your search for the perfect RV....Let us know what U end up with.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Automobilist View Post
Under-coach air conditioner, no spotlight in the middle of the roof, no huge rear camera, low profile vents, etc. There are sleek awnings that do not require the ugly bent supports that grace Airstreams & GMC's. All those are commonly available on modern motorhomes, so why not retrofit to a classic?





Finally, the classic coaches would look great if lowered just a touch. The front end seems to ride especially high, giving it a slightly ungainly appearance. Any reasonable way to lower that P30 suspension a bit? Ed
Ahhhhh - I see you mean Airstream Coach/Motorhome. Well - with that now fully secured in my mind, I only have one comment:

(edit deletion of a portion of my post)



Your idea of painting the top *stuff* black does intrigue me.... I'd love to see one done that way and see if it truly does distract from the vents (which aren't that obtrusive IMO) and the A/C unit.

Laura
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:06 PM   #4
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It would take a really stupid person to paint the top of a unit black,most who know anything about camping know that white is the way to go.Even our school board paints the tops of the buses white.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
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It would take a really stupid person to paint the top of a unit black.
Ouch - uncalled for. A simple "black absorbs heat, making it too much work for the AC unit" would suffice nicely.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:30 PM   #6
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Paint it black...

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It would take a really stupid person to paint the top of a unit black,most who know anything about camping know that white is the way to go.Even our school board paints the tops of the buses white.



Thanks for the kind words... Re-read my post, and you will find I suggested painting everything ON the roof black, I did not suggest painting the roof black. this technique has been used on a couple GMC's I've seen, and looks great.

We don't camp, we RV...
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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A lowered Airstream could look really good - but ground clearance for off road or gravel roads might be an issue. Course you could always go with hydro pneumatic self-leveling suspension ala CitroŽn - that would be waaay cool.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:18 PM   #8
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Funny you mention Citroen... We recently sold our '85 Citroen CX Pallas (diesel). Cool car, but man is that suspension a pain if it breaks... Airbags would probably be a better solution. Our diesel pusher had airbags all around, and you could drop it down pretty low for freeway flying.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:04 PM   #9
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I would assume that you are being theoretical, rather than actually wanting an AS motorhome...you can't have mine, bumps/lumps/gothic features/et al...the allure, to me, is as it is...good luck in your endeavors...m
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:15 AM   #10
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Great. Good for you. You like it as it is. Terrific. Is there a problem with wondering how it would look "cleaned up"? I'm puzzled, because the AS motorhomes could be far sleeker than they are, and it wouldn't take a whole lot to achieve that. As a long time vintage sports car owner / restorer / collector, there's frequently the conflict between those who worship the strictly original, and those who want to "improve" a good design. I see the possibility inherent in the Airstream model.

Why does it offend you for me to explore the experiences of present owners prior to jumping in to a substantial project? I'm not criticizing your coach, I'm trying to learn if it would be feasible to modify a coach to my taste.


EED
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:16 AM   #11
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Automobilist,

Now THAT would be way cool, a sleek, lowrider Airstream MH!!! Would look like a plane taking off the runway.

Might want to talk with Jeff at Kelderman Air Ride who specializes in custom air ride suspensions. If it can be done, Jeff can do it.

Hey, how about some renderings of your concept?

Godspeed,
Trent
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:06 AM   #12
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'swinging in the reins...?'

[quote=Automobilist;713893]Great. Good for you. You like it as it is. Terrific. Is there a problem with wondering how it would look "cleaned up"? I'm puzzled, because the AS motorhomes could be far sleeker than they are, and it wouldn't take a whole lot to achieve that. As a long time vintage sports car owner / restorer / collector, there's frequently the conflict between those who worship the strictly original, and those who want to "improve" a good design. I see the possibility inherent in the Airstream model.

Why does it offend you for me to explore the experiences of present owners prior to jumping in to a substantial project? I'm not criticizing your coach, I'm trying to learn if it would be feasible to modify a coach to my taste.



Whoa!!! I'm not offended by your ideas...and while I do like my rig, it's my rig...I have seen some pretty neat adaptations to mohos, and we have made some to ours...no negative criticism was intended, and 'cleaned up' is a personal view...
We pulled out the barrel chairs and tv stand to put in a treadle sewing machine for a computer desk.
If you figure out how to undermount the AC's, I would be quite interested...the lowered front end might affect the steering, and the airbags would probably have to be modified...the mechanical stuff is mostly over my head.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:48 AM   #13
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No bristling needed on anyone's part here, guys. No one's going to take away anybody's motorhome. I like the idea of imagining better solutions, other possibilities - both in theory or to put into action.

It's tempting to twist Wally Byam's words into an ominous mantra: Make no changes, no changes, no changes... but the second half of that is that you should make improvements.

Without Christopher Deam tossing aside tradition and sliding new laminates and lexan in an old Airstream as an unauthorized experiment... you'd have no CCD model. To this day the interiors of Airstream's products would (arguably) still be less aggressive and forward-thinking than they are. Was that a change? You bet - a different way of thinking, and really giving a middle-finger to the trailer's interior which had been slowly manicured over 60 years. But it has been a boon in getting younger people to pay attention to the current generation of these trailers, and probably an economically beneficial payoff for Airstream.

As a Chicagoan (and thus obligatory) Wright & Sullivan fan, I'm always more impressed when something is undertaken not just for the sake of appearances, but when a change is made for a reason. Form follows function, according to those to guys - so when talking about streamlining something, I'm always impressed by decisions that are driven from the standpoint of functionality:

wind-resistance, more interior room, lighter weight, cost-savings and combined functionality, for example. It's about constantly examining how well our products perform for us.

I'll take the example of under-mounted AC: hiding the unit under the coach gives you a mixed bag of results. It would provide both aesthetic and wind-resistance benefits. It would also remove the possibility of overhead leaks.

On the other hand, it might be harder to vent the carbon monoxide, it would eat up interior square footage, possibly be much noisier, and maybe harder to pull out for servicing. So to play it smart, you'd have to weigh all those things and make a decision based on all those factors, rather than just change for the sake of change.

Besides AC placement, a good designer would also re-examine other options: fans, placement and size of windows, possibly coming up with ways to move air from a much smaller unit through the coach better, or cooling the coach without traditional AC at all!

I enjoy these threads about design, change, and improvements. I also love nut and bolt restorations that are faithful to the original. Maybe this is paradoxical, but I like to think there's a time and place for both.

Finding a balance that celebrates both heritage and nostalgia, while also taking advantage of new techniques and materials is my ideal for a smart way to enjoy a classic design.
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