My name is Steph and my partner is Paige.
We have just purchased a very rough older airstream, and now that we have her, we have no idea where to start. We found this group and figured you all would be the right group to help us along, as there is so much info on this site.
Maybe yall (sorry, but we are from Texas LOL) can help us identify our new toy. We think it is an early 60s model Tradewind.
Inside measures 18'6", but we aren't sure if measuring on the inside or outside is what makes the measure. And if the outside, do we include the tounge?
She is gutted, and needs a TON of work. We plan to use it as a mobile workspace for a cool and groovy biz, so we don't need to put in the whole interior... but man... this is gonna be a job!
Here are a few pics. I hope you guys can help us figure out the year. She has a single ax so we know it is earlier than 64. The guy said it was a 59, but we don;t think it really is...
Thanks in advance for being here and any support you can give during our massive learning curve! We didn't really think we would find one cheap enough to buy, but sometimes things work out!
She has a new floor, 3/4 inch plywood. The frame is old, but intact. Minor rust patches. The interior has a few big patches, but is basically stripped. Needs all new wiring, new lights, and we would really like to get rid of the aluminum patches at least on the outside, even if it means doing some new skinning... but we have no idea how much this project will cost, and if we can really do it... no we can do it... but we'll need your help! THANKS!
My partner does massage therapy, and will use this as a mobile unit to work in primarily. Kinda like the "hey Cupcake" airstream on congress... But we do love to camp. We have a horse trailer with LQ for that, but more room would be great. SUmmertime travels are always fun.
But, we are a LONG way from taking this unit on the road.... O.o
I am a little bummed that we were "sold" on the seller's promise that so many don't have titles anymore, and that we didn't need one, just a bill of sale... We were so excited to get a hold of one for cheap, that it may cost us in the end...
My initial thoughts on lack of title...
I think we may try to register it as less than 4000lbs and as a 'homemade' park trailer. This was the advice of a guy that is a dealer of RVs.. this on is gutted and super light. We will have to have it weighed to make sure we can do this... So much to learn...
We do have mechanic friends that can file a lien, and we also have family in OK if we need to try other methods... we just want to make sure we can haul around.
Hey Steph, Welcome to the forums. The length is measured bumper to ball. Looking at your serial # it looks like a 24footer. My question is on the pic underneath, it looks like one of the original elevator bolts is sitting in midair. Is this the same wherever you can see? If so, you have the same problem I have. The POs told me they "fixed" the floor when all they did was cover up the original with 3/4 plywood. The problem is the combination of floor bolted to frame , shell bolted and screwed to floor is what gives the strength to the whole unit. I hope this is not the case because of the labor and time and expense involved. Good luck and welcome again! The best thing is there are all your answers waiting on this wonderful forum. Good luck and wiil be watching for your progress.
Welcome to the forums from a nearby fellow Texan. There are quite a few Texans, and actually several from the Austin area, who post fairly regularly on this forum. You've definitely found the right place to come to for information on all things Airstream.
I have a '63 Overlander which is the next size up from yours. I'm having a tough time making out your serial# on the name plate, but judging from the jalousie windows (those louvered windows to the right of your entry door) I don't think it's a '59. Yours appears to be a California-built trailer, and I'm more familiar with the Ohio-built trailers since that is what I have, but the drip-rail over your door is small, like the one on my '63 Overlander. Up through '62, on the Ohio-built trailers, the drip cap was much more pronounced, like a large eyebrow-- so that makes me think yours might be a '63 rather than a '61. But the California-built trailers might be different, and there are more experienced folks on this forum who can probably offer better insights.
Here is a link to a vintage Airstream image archive where you can look at the various models to see what yours originally looked like. One thing I do know is that yours would have had a rear bathroom and midship twin beds, one to either side of a center aisle. I understand you're not going to go back to the original configuration, but it will probably be useful to see how yours was originally outfitted, so that you will understand where and why various holes and fictures are in your trailer. I'd sggest checking the '61, '62, and '63 Tradewind pictures and serial numbers to help you lock down the year on yours:
I'm afraid the news is not great on the title. Here in Texas, these travel trailers are treated just like vehicles, so you'll need a title in order to obtain registration and insurance. It's best to check with your local DMV to see what they have to say-- I've received conflicting information from various "official" sources here in Austin, and I think it largely depends on who you talk to, and what their mood is on that day. About 6-8 months ago, I participated in a rather lengthy thread regarding titles in Texas here:
Also, it sounds like you are in for a "Major Renovation" on your trailer. To all newcomers who are about to do something this involved, I always suggest reading through the "Major Renovation" threads on this forum. Some of them are quite lengthy, but they are invaluable as far as information, and inspiration, are concerned. Since you're thinking of using it as an office/studio space, one that might be of particular interest to you is this one, the renovation of a 1962 Safari by a travleing artist named Carlos Ferguson, who made an incredible space out of his:
I was gonna recommend that you PM Marcus (utee94), but, that boys' attention is near omni-present.
The reading he recommends is long, but fruitful. There are some VERY talented restorers around here . . and some who have become much better than before. I don't even own an A/S but I can easily get swept up into it.
Think of an RV as being that which utilizes the skills of both a car mechanic and a carpenter. If you've done houses or cars before you'll see what I mean.
The one nice thing about a trailer is that it is limited in size, limited in what can be done, and the whole project can be viewed in about three steps. The temptation towards perfectionism is always there, but reasonability intrudes as you look to insure it. I'd actually start at those threads
on insurance coverage
as an adjunct to the question of title. There is a limit to how much it may be worth.
This is one way of looking at where to start . . to have in mind what it may be worth when totalled. Not simply sold. With that in mind, I'd get the numbers for all road-travel items set first: axle replacement, tires, brakes, exterior lighting; trailer/car hookups, etc.
With these basic numbers the rest can begin to be assimilated.
Man you guys are AWESOME!!! Thanks for the welcome everyone.
Slvring, thanks for pointing out the floating elevator! I have got to check out the floor structure better. I didn't think about this, and I see it needs more inspection. I will go over there and scope it out further. Thanks for this heads up! Good thing we were planning on a major project... A little intimidating to me right at the moment... Am I going to have to pull the shell?? yikes.
utee94, thanks for the amazing post with all the links! I had already browsed the titles in Texas this morning, and I think I have remedied this hurdle today. I have a friend that has a towing company. He says can file a 'storage lien' (but does want the trailer to be actually stored there) and then file everything to get title, and then sell it back to me for his fee. Seems fair and pretty quick. I was advised not to go the homemade trailer/registration route as they say that is too "grey" and might end up costing me. I feel pretty comfortable with this so far. What do you guys think about this one?
Rednax, the insurance cap is a good thing to take into consideration, and I like the way this group is already making me think! Thank you!
Ok, so I have to ask the question.. I gotta get a feel for how bad we may have messed up...
Man, inquiring minds want to know...
so, knowing what you know now about the title and the overall basic condition.. what's it worth? Go ahead.. it won't hurt me... (that much)...
You guys (gals) are great! Thanks for all the help. MOre will be revealed!
Going to check out the renovations! So inspired by this site!
Fantastic! Another great project to follow. Welcome aboard.
From the picture it appears that the subfloor was replaced or patched but not correctly. IMHO it looks like the PO stripped the frame with 1x4's and attached the subfloor to that. If you look at the picture the subfloor is not touching the crossmembers directly so you will need to re-do that. No biggy. Nothing is impossible and you will hopfully find that these things are a lot of fun to bring back to life.