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Old 07-15-2019, 12:53 PM   #1
Minister of Propaganda
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1963 28' Ambassador
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4
Howdy from LA (the one near Georgia)

Hi y'all from Lower Alabama! Or, as we call it around here, "L.A."

I'm new here, and the wife will likely be along shortly. We're new Airstream owners, living in Deep South Alabama, near the Florida border.

We've lusted after Airstreams for ages and have recently acquired one of our own. We camped in a Jayco 10B popup prior to this, and really wanted something that was more than a tent on wheels, had brakes, enough room to move around without turning a seat into a bed or a table just to have coffee, and enough storage that we didn't have to load everything we take into the tow vehicle. It still had to be a bumper pull, and even better if it was below 8,000 lbs and had some character.

An Airstream fit those and then some, but we assumed an Airstream was financially out of our reach. We started looking at older Airstreams and quickly found that they were either $40,000+ and restored or they were a disaster that would cost that much to bring them back to life. Some we thought about buying just for the scrap value of Aluminum... few were in between.

However, my wife is relentless and found a 1963 Ambassador for an excellent price and in pretty good shape. The outside has one small dent in the top, but otherwise in great shape. The previous owner had just recently repacked the bearings and put new tires on it, but couldn't guarantee any condition on the brakes or lights, as someone had cut the 7-pin connector off some time back. The interior wasn't in terrible shape, but it could use a bit of TLC.

The only problem- it was in Omaha Nebraska and we're a little more than 1,100 miles away.

The good news is that I'm crazy. I also travel a lot for work and kind of like seeing new states, plus I don't mind windshield time as much as a lot of people. So I loaded up my truck with tools and headed out Friday morning at 2:00 AM, driving straight to Nebraska.

I met the owner Saturday morning, gave it a quick once-over to make sure it stood a good chance of making the 1,100+ mile trip back to Alabama without a disaster, and exchanged a wad of cash for a title and a tin can. I wired up a new 7-pin, replaced some light bulbs, checked bearings and brakes, then brought her home to the excited wife.

I put in ~2,250 miles in just over 48 hours, burned A LOT of fuel, consumed a lot of caffeine, and made a solo trip deep into the Midwest to bring home a rolling tuna can. I'm a bit tired and sore today, but the smile on the wife's face when I pulled into the yard was worth it.

She pulled beautifully, although I did lose one window on the interstate somewhere in Illinois. It was a plexiglass replacement that didn't really fit too well. Despite my best efforts and taping it into the frame, I looked in my mirror in time to see it flap about twice and then fly off- thankfully it made it to the median and didn't hit any vehicles behind me.

Anyhow- we're planning to gut the interior, replace sub floor, repair and replace electrical/plumbing/gas lines as necessary, and shine her up like a Christmas ornament. I have an A&P license and previously worked restoration for a museum of aviation, so a travel trailer built like an airplane seems like a logical project to take on. I'm also experienced in electrical and plumbing work, as well as rebuilding trailers (I built a good car hauler out of an abandoned utility trailer a few years ago). I also build wood furniture as a hobby, so the interior should be a fun place to create.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:56 PM   #2
Minister of Propaganda
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1963 28' Ambassador
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4
Oh, and we do have the original propane tanks and the original hub caps. I took them off for the trip home, but apparently they're hard to find as several people have mentioned that in a facebook Airstream group when the wife posted this picture there.

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Old 07-15-2019, 01:07 PM   #3
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2009 25' FB International
2018 27' Globetrotter
Hanover , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,568
Congrats on your new AS and welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn and share.

You've got a big project but it should be fun!

Best wishes!
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:48 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5,239
Images: 1
Hello from Colorado: Welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. Judging from your very good introduction, you will all the necessary skills to built this vintage Ambassador into a very fine travel ready Airstream.

I enjoy working on these old Airstreams. I've got experience with a 66 Trade Wind 24', a 69 Globetrotter 21', a 75 Overlander 27', and a 86 Limited 34'. They are all built differently. Your trailer is likely built from 2024 T3 Alclad aircraft aluminum. Airstream stopped using this expensive material in the early 70s. Your trailer will indeed polish up very well, it will just take considerable time.

You might enjoy starting a "project thread" in these Forums where you can "blog" about your project, both good and bad. Find the Airstream Knowledgebase toward the bottom of the Forums page, then find Ambassador, and then the correct year range. You can read about others renovation adventurers there as well as maybe start your own project thread.

Below is a link to my 75 Overlander Improvement Journal which is my project thread. You might like taking a quick look to see how they might work for you. Forum members like following along with your project and helping out when possible. I've been working on this Overlander for the last two winters. Just last weekend I took it out for the first time with good success. It is indeed a very satisfying experience. See photo. But nothing like the first flight of a homebuilt aircraft.

I respect your A&P certification. What a nifty career that would be for me. There is a "working" aviation museum in Colorado Springs where volunteers restore these old military aircraft. It looked very interesting to me. Here is a P-47D in worse shape than your Ambassador. They will restore it.

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Link to my 1975 Overlander Improvement Journal:
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 976
Congratulations on getting your 63. Looks like there werenít but 56 made. With your skill set it will be more fun getting it to your liking. Airstream built a good mousetrap now itís up to you to make it better. Good luck and ask the questions if needed.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:55 AM   #6
New Member
Boston , Massachusetts
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 2
Hi nice to see you and to know about you i am from Boston hope will have good time here.

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