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Old 03-27-2006, 01:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
<snip>I would get out the oil soap and work over the wood<snip>
I believe 73's have the laminate cabinetry...


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Old 03-27-2006, 01:35 PM   #16
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1973 31' Excella 500
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again
I'm in Virginia Beach probably less than 25 miles from you. 53FlyingCloud keeps one of his Airstreams in Virginia Beach too, and I've seen another in Chesapeake on Centerville Turnpike. There are a few others scattered around locally too. We should get together for a local weekend rally!
That sounds great. We're dying to do an inaugural shakedown trip down to Oregon Inlet on the OBX sometime Apr or May.

I'm hardly a restoration expert, but 53FlyingCloud (Vern Townsend) has done two, and he'll be visiting Va. Beach next month. Send him a P.M. and I'm sure he'll be delighted to walk through yours and help you start a list of "gotta do" and "wanna do" items.

It's always nice to see another Airstreamer in the neighborhood.

Paula Ford
Thanks for the info! I just PM'd Vern.


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Old 03-27-2006, 01:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Vinoblanco

Does Colin have a username?

Thanks for the info!


His user name is colin h, his web site is: and his email is:

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:19 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
Just wondering what kinds of $$$ we're talking about, but how much would you guess a restoration like this one would go for?

My wife and I have a 73 Excella that we'd like to have restored. We're going to do as much as possible with the existing layout, but seeing as how we both have very little time in which to take on such an immense product, we'd like to have a pro restore it for us.

So, if you all would be so kind, what would a professional restoration cost?



Our restoration cost us in the neighborhood of $42,000, give or take a little. The way I figure it, I'm getting a more or less new 1971 31' for half the price of a brand new A/S. Check out my pics for the finished product and see if it was worth it. It was to us. By the way, Craig Dorsey is one of the most knowledgeable and talented people in this profession. Talk to him and get his opinion, but I'll tell you right now his services will cost almost double what we paid for our resto. You do, however, get what you pay for, and what you get from Craig is pure beauty. Good luck in your decision.

1971 Sovereign International - SOLD

2004 F-350 King Ranch

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Old 03-27-2006, 04:59 PM   #19
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Sun Tzu,

Nice restoration job. $42k is just a wee bit more than we have a budget for, so it looks like the DIY route is becoming more and more attractive.

I should post a complete "inventory" of the condition of our A/S and see what the forum thinks I should do. Vern (53FlyingCloud) has graciously offered to come out to my house to do a walkthrough with me.

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Old 03-27-2006, 05:11 PM   #20
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Wow...I am about $24k into the Sovereign of the Road restoration...and will hopefully top out around $30k. The quote for the cabinets came in around $5k alone....oh the trials and tribultions of Airstream restoration. Once I get the totals from Colin, I'll post totals for our entire restoration of the trailer on the blog.. and look back at the start, through around Feb for SOTR pictures. The frame, windows and panel replacement have driven the cost up some...mainly the labor on the windows! - lots of them (why I like the 50s) on the SOTR.

Good luck!


Oh yeah, on 8 April - come up to Upper Marlboro, MD (Colin and I will be there) to the Cherry Blossum Rally - better yet - bring your trailer. CBR - 6-9 April, Upper Marlboro, MD. If interested, contact me and I will send you contact info.
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:01 PM   #21
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Just to polish the exterior....

To just polish the exterior to the finish you have a picture of could cost way in excess of $5000.........

Something to consider is, if you are willing to budget $25,000 or more on restoring an Airstream......

The value of the Airstream from a a resale standpoint once you are finished
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:50 PM   #22
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White Wine-

Lots of good thoughts on this thread. VA is a little far from CA, but check out this website, I will be picking up my 2001 Bambi from him in a couple of days. When I took this trailer to him I toured his facility and really liked the quality of work that he was performing. Barry is the gentleman's name. My trailer was not in need of restoration but some exterior work and I wanted to customize it a little with wood floors and such. Barry's pricing is high, like any of these guys. Of course, you know the old adage, 'you get what...'

Barry's website is a great place for ideas, even if its too far to come for the work.
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Old 03-29-2006, 09:10 PM   #23
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How much would a restoration cost?

Greetings Brian!

Originally Posted by Vinoblanco
Just wondering what kinds of $$$ we're talking about, but how much would you guess a restoration like this one would go for?

My wife and I have a 73 Excella that we'd like to have restored. We're going to do as much as possible with the existing layout, but seeing as how we both have very little time in which to take on such an immense product, we'd like to have a pro restore it for us.

So, if you all would be so kind, what would a professional restoration cost?

In reading through the responses that you have received, I took a slightly different approach. I am not terribly handy, so wanted to have professionals handle much of the work. You might say that I acted as a sub-contractor over a period of about five years on my Overlander.

My initial project was to get the coach into such condition that I could use while I decided just what I wanted to have done in the restoration/refurbishment. This allowed me to have several different shops perform small repairs while I found one that I was comfortable with trusting the chassis/system repairs. I was fortunate to locate a Vintage Friendly Airstream dealer just a few hours drive from my home.

In the interim, while enjoying my coach, I had the opportunity to research the various specialists that I would need to employ to reach my restoration/refurbishiment goals. A local custom mattress manufacturer made custom mattresses for my center twin beds; while another loacl bathroom refinishing contractor refinished my bathroom fixtures (changed from stained avacado green to antique pewter).

The last year of my project included having the interior refurbished/restored by Fowler Interiors of Symsonia, Kentucky. Arlene and Henry Fowler specialize in refurbishing/restoring Airstream/Argosy interiors and did a fantastic job on both my Overlander and Minuet. After the interior was completed, the coach made a trip to Helena, Ohio where P and S Trailer Service polished and Plasticoated the coach to its original sheen. The final operation was to return to Ace Fogdall RV in Cedar Falls, Iowa to have new Zip Dee patio and window awnings installed on the coach.

I am left with only one major project, and that is to have new axles with the disc brak upgrade installed on the coach. In all probability, Ace Fogdall RV will handle this project as they have been my usual servicing dealer.

Following this method, my expenditure has been a little over $25,000 spread over a little more than five years. The new axles with the desired upgrade will likely add another $2,500 to $3,000 to the overall expense. Depending upon the cost of the axle replacement, I may add a set of aluminum wheels for the coach as well. (The main portion of my coach's restoration/refurbishment was completed a little over three years ago.)

Good luck with your project!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:48 PM   #24
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Rob is correct, I will be attending the Cherry Blossom Rally next week. I will have assorted photos of previous work as well as samples of interior finishes that are available. I welcome the opportunity to discuss your restoration direction, even if you have no intention on bringing it to my shop. As mentioned in previous posts, there is a wide variation in "restoration" costs & quality of work. Everyone needs to make up their own minds as to their intended use of the trailer & how custom they want to make it. I have seen many restoration attempts that just cleaned, polished & painted the various surfaces of their Airstream without taking a really good hard look at the inherant structural issues that come up with every Airstream. We rebuild from the ground up, making sure the chassis, axles, sub floor & aluminum skin structure are all in perfect shape before thinking about the interior or polishing. Just like a house restoration, you need to start from the foundation & work your way up. This does not necessarily mean that all of these components need to be replaced, however each one of them will need some degree of repair work before getting to the fun stuff. Keep in mind that well done, documented restorations are worth every penny when it comes time to sell.
I hope this helps you out.
PS Listen to the podcast that Rob, Tim & myself started about six months ago. You may be enlightened.

PSS Thanks for the plug Bill & Rob
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Old 04-05-2006, 12:34 PM   #25
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We will also be at the Cherry Blossom Rally. Our 1976 Overlander was redone by Trailer Buff here in Virginia.
Hope to see you all soon!!!
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1976 Overlander "Spirit"
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Old 04-05-2006, 01:50 PM   #26
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Ouch - Hide this one from the Wife

This thread is beginning to scare me. I hope with purchase to spend under $25K on my Caravel. I do plan a frame off but will do all the work myself. That includes polish, just got my new cyclo today (I'm not home but UPS shows it deliverd today) and ordered the awning from Vintage Airstream yesterday. Next the Rolite I need. Have about $1500 in her + purchase price, and I see no end. But first - I have to get some use out of her to justify the buy. Hope to make Creede this fall - that's my goal. Want to show my Wife the west half of the US.
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Old 09-14-2006, 06:10 AM   #27
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As I am new to airstreams I can not talk to the cost of a restoration on one, I have been involved with other restoration type work, cars, homes, boats, etc. Restorations all have one thing in common time and meterials. The best thing is to do your home work. Get a reputable company to do the work, look at the work the company produces, not just current jobs but jobs that are several years old. I have a customer who recently won his first car show with a car I painted in 91'. Any quality restoration shop will work on time and meterials as they can not forsee what has been hidden over the years and will be up front with you about this. Also make sure that you trust the person you are dealing with, you will not be around to watch the progress so you will have to trust that it actually took 100 hrs to repair your frame even if you do not understand why(agian a good shop will expalain why).
Start with a good plan 6 "p"s Proper Planinig Prevents Piss Poor Preformance. Know exactly what you want to accomplish this will help both you to budget the project, and the shop will have a better idea of how to proceed with repairs in the quickest manner in order to accieve the results you desire. What ever you do do not tell the company your not in a hurry, check up on the project regularly to make sure progress is being made. Lastly be patient, a restoration of almost any thing takes alot of time and one should not get discouraged as the project progresses. A custom or restoration should also be attempted if your needs are special or you have a special love for that particular vehicle as when the smoke clears you will have spent more to restore somethng than your would have spent to buy a restored one. Custom stuff the skys the limmit. Just remember to have fun and enjoy the process if restoration or custom is what you want. If bitten buy the bug you will do other restorations, if not it could be an experience you do not soon want to relive. Hope it helps and good luck, Jay
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:47 AM   #28
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Vinoblanco - unless someone was born in the trailer or it has other great sentimental value pass it on to someone with less of a budget and idle hands - you would be better forfilled with a $20K trailer and $5K of personalization than with a $5K trailer and $20K spent just to get it ready for your detailing...

I am wishing I had.


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