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Old 07-18-2017, 02:43 PM   #1
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New, excited, and just a tad overwhelmed...

Hi there! Iíve recently inherited an old Airstream from my grandmother. I know that itís a Sovereign of the Road, but am having trouble figuring out the year. I found an old paper inside titled, ďAirstream Service Tips How to Clean your AirstreamĒ dated 4-22-58. When trying to research online everything I found said to look at the plate located by the door that would have letters and numbers stamped into it. Iíve been stumped, because while there is a plate, there are only numbers on it. After doing some looking on this site, would I be correct to assume itís a 1959Öone of 14 made in that year?
Iíve included pictures. Sheís in pretty bad shape. My great uncle lived in it for years. After he died 20 years ago, my grandmother used it as storage and the mice and squirrels took it over. I know it's going to be a lot of work (more than I'm probably willing to admit.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Iím excited and overwhelmed at the thought of getting her roadworthy again.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums! Looks like you have quite a project on your hands--but worth the effort!

good luck!
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:49 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums! Looks like you have quite a project on your hands--but worth the effort!

good luck!
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:53 AM   #4
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New, excited, and just a tad overwhelmed...

Greetings kristind!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kristind View Post
Hi there! Iíve recently inherited an old Airstream from my grandmother. I know that itís a Sovereign of the Road, but am having trouble figuring out the year. I found an old paper inside titled, ďAirstream Service Tips How to Clean your AirstreamĒ dated 4-22-58. When trying to research online everything I found said to look at the plate located by the door that would have letters and numbers stamped into it. Iíve been stumped, because while there is a plate, there are only numbers on it. After doing some looking on this site, would I be correct to assume itís a 1959Öone of 14 made in that year?
Iíve included pictures. Sheís in pretty bad shape. My great uncle lived in it for years. After he died 20 years ago, my grandmother used it as storage and the mice and squirrels took it over. I know it's going to be a lot of work (more than I'm probably willing to admit.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Iím excited and overwhelmed at the thought of getting her roadworthy again.
While the project may seem a bit overwhelming, try breaking down the work into a number of smaller projects that you can complete in increments. One of the first will likely be cleaning and assessing both interior and exterior to determine precisely what is needed to meet your goals. Your approach may vary depending upon whether you want to retain originality (since the coach has a history in your family) or if you want to "customize" it to fit your specific plans for the use of the coach. If you are uncertain about assessing the coach, you may want to consider contacting one of the volunteer inspectors to assist you in the process -- these volunteer inspectors may be found by following a link on the homepage of this site.

There are a number forum members who have Airstreams that can be traced back in their families, and it can be quite rewarding to bring one of these coaches back to life. While my Overlander wasn't originally owned by a family member, it was owned by very good family friends so I have known the coach since it was new.

Good luck with your project! I am sure that you will find that it can be a rewarding process bringing back your Sovereign.

Kevin
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:09 AM   #5
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kristind,

Welcome to the forums and welcome to Airstreaming. Sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) indicates that your trailer (project) is a 1959 30 ft Sovereign of the Road. (309008)

I took a look at vintageairstream.com where there is a listing of each year, usually with a few photos of each model. Usually the VIN methodology is described. For your model that is true. It also confirms there were 14 of the 30 footers made that year.

We wish you great success as you dive into your trailer and want to let you know the forums have been a huge help for us. We recently finish our second Airstream and noticed a significant improvement in the "final" outcome. (I use the word "final" but, in truth, I think we never really finish. We keep tweaking and adding things and changing things.) Our most recent trailer is documented here, if interested, https://www.airforums.com/forums/f39...er-155180.html

The folks here have a tremendous amount of experience and are always willing to share, so don't be hesitant about asking questions, sharing a photo, or looking for help. Someone here has solved whatever problem you come up against and will help.

We hope you enjoy the project phase of the Sovereign as much as we're sure you'll enjoy the traveling and adventure phase,

Roy and Marie
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:23 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forums Congrats on your upcoming project. It can be done, and it will take time. I'm currently on year 4 of my 1957 Overlander renovation. Granted, my case isn't the case for everyone, but time and money play a huge factor. Just know that from the start, and you can break it up into smaller projects that are more manageable. These forums are a great resource! When you get started, you'll want to start with the frame and floor, and the axles. We did a shell on restoration. I look forward to seeing how this progresses!
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:29 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the encouragement! My enthusiasm sort of died down in the midst of the humid and buggy summer months. I'm excited about customizing our Sovereign to fit our family 7! If cooler weather will ever come to Florida, I plan to start this fall.
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:54 PM   #8
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Hello from Colorado. It is always cool and dry here in the foothills of the Rockies. BUT, Colorado is known for snow, like from November through April. The skiing is great here. Some say San Diego has the best weather in the USA.

My first Airstream was almost a 59 Overlander 26'. I passed on it due to the single axle. It just didn't look well balanced to me, see photo below. Your family 59 Sovereign has had a rough life in the Florida "moisture" and salt air. It is likely an aluminum shell and not much else. I think a good shell is worth about $3000. People here on these Forums lift the shell off the frame, then build a new frame, and install a new subfloor. Then they rewire and replumb the trailer with modern systems. Finally they build the interior they want. This is usually a multi year project involving more than $20k in parts and materials. Even restoring one of those old leaky windows can be quite a job.

Not to be discouraged though. It is a fun challenge resulting in a quite valuable camper. I like the longer Airstreams for comfortable traveling, but the shorter ones are cute, and worth more.

David
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kristind View Post
Thank you all for the encouragement! My enthusiasm sort of died down in the midst of the humid and buggy summer months. I'm excited about customizing our Sovereign to fit our family 7! If cooler weather will ever come to Florida, I plan to start this fall.
Welcome to the forum, and good luck with the project! Donít forget that the mouse droppings might contain Hantavirus, and that you should undertake various protective measures.

https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/index.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=Hant...=airforums.com

Have fun!

Peter
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Old 10-26-2017, 06:13 PM   #10
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I wonder how many times I've been around mouse droppings. Three belly pans, working in the park, and cleaning up at home. No wonder I'm half crazy!

David
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