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Old 03-27-2006, 12:43 PM   #1
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How much would a restoration cost?

Just wondering what kinds of $$$ we're talking about, but how much would you guess a restoration like this one would go for? http://www.vintage-vacations.com/1977_airstream.htm

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?

Brian
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:52 PM   #2
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Brian,
Great question. I would suggest you call Craig Dorsey at Vintage-Vacations and ask them when this project would run you. Like anything custom, it all depends on the what you want done combined with the current condition of your trailer.

My guess would be a restoration like this would be well into five figures. But it's only a guess. Most of these shops come down to materials + labor rate so it's almost easier to define a budget and then figure out what you can accomplish within that number.
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:57 PM   #3
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Thanks, Steven.

My wife and I initially had budgeted about $25,000 to buy a new trailer. However, since we were able to buy my mother-in-law's camper for $5000, we thought we could use the other $20,000 to apply to restoring the beast.

When I cam across the Vintage-Vacations site, I was really struck by the quality of work he did on that 77 Excella. I love the blend of interior space planning and utility.

Brian
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:00 PM   #4
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I believe a Craig Dorsey (Vintage Vacations) restoration STARTS around $30,000. But to find out for sure, give 'em a call or email: trail-R-boy@vintage-vacations.com ~

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Old 03-27-2006, 01:21 PM   #5
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Vinoblanco,

Since you are in Virginia, I would suggest that you contact Colin Hyde, GSM Vehicles, in Plattsburg, NY. Colin contributes to this site and he is a lot closer to you than Craig Dorsey, plus I have heard that Craig is moving to Washington state or Oregon soon.

Bill
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:23 PM   #6
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Bill,

Does Colin have a airstreamforums.com username?

Thanks for the info!

Brian
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:34 PM   #7
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It depends...

One of first things taught in Law School is to use this answer a lot... I agree with Steve that best answer is to simply call them up and ask.. There are so many variables inside and outside and with "systems" that it is probably unfair to speculate on behalf of the half dozen or so restoration shops as to what they'd charge.. Rumors of Tim Burton and other celebrities paying more than price of new trailer for restoration/custom work give hints as to where high end could be... Among the variables to discuss with any shop:

1. Time schedule - Hurry up and finish quick, or work on it when you're not busy and we'd like it back by the summer of 2007..
2. Interior trim quality - Do you want fine hand-formed exotic hardwoods and polished metal, or can you live with veneers and vinly clad aluminum or bare metal.
3. Do you want similar layout, including appliances and plumbing where they live now (meaning no majore re-wiring, re-plumbing and rebuilding..) or do you want the shower and hot water heater and funrace swapped around?
4. Is the exterior good enough that it can live with maybe just a wash and clean and some color stripe touch up, or do you covet the mirror-finish super polish jobs featured here? Polishing and replacing skins and re-doing exterior trim is also expensive...
5. Flooring and Paneling? Is simple carpet OK, or perhaps laminate flooring, or would you like real plank hardwood and other interior trim that must be fitted and tweaked and then fitted some more? There was a reason Airstream used inexpensive and flexible panels with vinyl wood "contact paper".. They were easy to fabricate and inexpensive...
6. Finally, the condition of the appliances and tanks and plumbing and wiring? New refrigerators, water heaters and furnaces, stoves and plumbing fixtures, Corian counter tops etc are expensive... You may be ready for all of these, plus water tanks, electronics, Big Screen TV, Satellite Dish, etc, but these will all increase the cost..

Most shops are going to price their work at some multiple of the cost of their hourly labor, and pass along components at retail, assuming they can buy wholesale.. Depending on the part of the country, that could mean charging rates of $60 to 90 per hour, or more for skilled technicians. Back issues of Airstream Life and Blue Beret feature stories about and ads from shops who do refurbishment, if you want to contact others besides Vintage Vacations. One suggestion I'd make is to find a shop close enough you can drop in from time to time to observe and participate in decision-making, since there will be changes along the way and supervising by telephone is riskier than in person..

John McG
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:40 PM   #8
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Vintage Vacations is well know as the vintage RV restorer for the stars. Very high end work...and all to order. I honestly have no idea what a professional charges for something like that but I can tell you I wish I had about $20K for mine

Good luck with your conversion and keep us all posted!
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
Vintage Vacations is well know as the vintage RV restorer for the stars. Very high end work...and all to order. I honestly have no idea what a professional charges for something like that but I can tell you I wish I had about $20K for mine
Now you all are scaring me.

I would like a nice interior, but I'm not planning on inviting Elizabeth Taylor over for mint juleps.

This is almost exactly how our camper looks right now:


Everything works, but it just looks *so old*. If I do most of the grunt-work like ripping everything out and "prepping" for a restoration specialist to rewire it, make cabinets, new furniture, etc. I think that should be worth something.

I will definitely keep you all posted.

Brian
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:52 PM   #10
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How much you got?

Quote:
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? http://www.vintage-vacations.com/1977_airstream.htm

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?

Brian
HI NEIGHBOR! My first gut reaction was "How much you got?" but others have already responded with much more detail. I think there's also an outfit in southern New Jersey which does a lot of vintage restorations. Check that in "Search".

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!

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
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:53 PM   #11
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My guess. $35-$40 thousand. The only true way to know is to call them. Beautiful work and nice interior design. Good luck.
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:54 PM   #12
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That looks good to me. Were I you, I would get out the oil soap and work over the wood, maybe update the floor and what have you..... maybe spend 5-6K...........
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:58 PM   #13
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My Guess

Depends,
IF I had $25,000 I would buy a good used rig. Some go unbelievably cheap just a couple of years old.
Ours is getting fixed as we can pay for it.
"Talk is cheap, Airstreams aren't," is a quote attributed to Wally Byam.
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Old 03-27-2006, 02:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Now you all are scaring me.

I would like a nice interior, but I'm not planning on inviting Elizabeth Taylor over for mint juleps.

This is almost exactly how our camper looks right now:
You would be amazed at what a nice stain, some upholstry and a new laminate floor will do for your trailer. It'll cost a lot less than $20K too.

Of course, you will need to give up your weekends for a while but it's doable. We're working on a "rolling" restoration on our motorhome. Section by section, system by system, but we've kept it working and useable almost the entire time. With three young kids we've been better off investing stolen moments than cash and/or a lot of time. Besides - Airstream resotration is a form of therapy and this website is it's largest support group.

Definately check out those east coast restorers...and consider doing some of the work yourself, especially if you don't plan a major floorplan re-arrangement.
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