I got a bit long winded, so you can just read this first bit and skip down to the pictures, but I have been given a beautiful 1965
Overlander. It needs some work. I have to figure out if I want to just patch it up and get it on the road, or completely strip it down and rebuild it. I also have to figure out how to get it from MI to NC. (hopefully in June). It would probably help somewhere along the way to get a tow vehicle as well.
But we are hugely excited and can't wait to get it on the road and start the AIRSTREAM experience. I'm sure I'll be asking a million questions, so thank you to these boards in advance.
The Trailer's Story:
Back in 1965
my father-in-law's aunt and uncle bought a brand new 1965
Airstream Overlander. The tow vehicle of choice was a huge black Caddy. They were hitting retirement and went everywhere in it. This continued for almost 20 years along with fanatical maintenance. As items broke, they replaced things like the Dometic with a Montgomery Ward dorm style fridge, and put a new furnace system in around the late 70's.
By the early 80s they were slowing down some and my father-in-law offered to buy it from them. They accepted then turned him down (talk about a heart breaker), only to show up a few days later title in hand to give it to him for free! So the Overlander hit the road again and was used until around 1990 or so when all the kids were in college. My FIL had plans to refit it as a bunkhouse for when all the family was there to visit, but the years continued to pass and it never happened. 8 years ago when he retired, a tow vehicle was bought and new plans were made for my FIL and MIL to restore the trailer and travel everywhere like his Aunt and Uncle did. But again as other projects took priority, the years passed and it never happened. Basic maintenince was done, but it mostly just sat outside in Michigan.
I've been going up to my in-laws for 12 years now, since the mid 90's. Almost every time we are up there my wife and I go through the trailer and talk about how cool it is and how much we would love to restore and travel with it. We didn't have the time or the means and knew that my FIL still had plans for it.
Fast forward a bunch of years and we now have 3 kids, hotels are getting extremely expensive, and we seem to be traveling less and less every year. Opting more for day trips, than the frequent weekend getaways we used to do. Getting multiple hotel rooms, eating out every meal, gas, entertainment, etc quickly makes weekend trips cost way too much. So we started looking at pop-up trailers, since I wanted a few more luxuries than tent camping would afford. That search turned into looking at SOB hybrids with the big white box and foldouts to accommodate kids and their friends, and us. They were light, 'cheap', slept lots of people, and still had nice kitchens, bathrooms, and eating areas.
Over the past several years we have also bought a '65 house that had significant water damage and needed to be gutted and restored. Doing almost all of that ourselves I felt I had learned enough that tackling a similarly aged Airstream wouldn't be a complete disaster. So before we pulled the trigger on a SOB we wanted to at least ask my FIL if he would sell us the Airstream since it was still sitting in his back yard.
Last Thanksgiving my in-laws were down visiting us. My FIL told my wife that he wanted all the kids to let him know if there was anything specific they wanted to inherit. It would be easier to get it to them now if they weren't using it, and would prevent unpleasantness down the road. Since this was the perfect in to ask about the Airstream, my wife went for it. Now 5 months later I have all the paperwork, the title, and just need to move it from MI to NC. It gets the double cool award for being an Airstream and for being a family heirloom.
I'm sure there will be times I wonder why the heck I didn't buy a nice new trailer, but we can barely contain the excitement we are feeling about our 'new' Airstream right now.
The only thing that we KNOW is wrong with the trailer is the vent/skylight right in from the door was busted in by thieves. I mean why go through the open/unlocked door to get at an empty trailer when you can make that difficult climb up and break in through the roof. There was also an unknown amount of water damage right underneath that point before it got properly covered. Rodents got in through a vent pipe one winter, but that was resolved and we didn't see too much damage from them.
Now for the good stuff you have been waiting for.
Full gallery if you are really interested