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Old 01-16-2007, 11:54 AM   #1
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Hello to all,
well I don't own a trailer yet, but I am considering the purchase of an old 1948 22' Airstream. I probably really don't know what I am getting into, but I am not afraid to try it any way. My skills include carpentry(cabinet building) some light metal (steel) fabrication skills, and currently I am an artisan working in fusing and slumping of glass. I have done lots of home remodeling both in cosmetic and structural however, given the skill set I possess, I know there is a ton I don't know about when restoring something like this. So with that said,
what things should I avoid or be looking out for on a trailer like this, what can I expect?
Thankyou Brock
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:10 PM   #2
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A 22' Liner? WOW!

Hello Brock -- and welcome to the Forums!

There are many vintage folks here who would be enthusiastically nodding their heads, "Yes, yes!" You know this link? Vintage Airstream Photo Archives I'd think a '48 might have a pipe frame. It almost needs a welded frame to make it roadworthy. You'll get much advice here but ultimately you will be the one putting in the time.

Be sure and get into The VAP.

I don't think we can say too many times: Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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The VAP episode 30 has a good interview about this period with Fred Coldwell, VAC historian and frequent contributor here as 47WeeWind.
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:42 PM   #4
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Hello Bob,
yes I frequent that archive a lot and yes it is the pipe frame. I don't know much about them other than that they were lighter weight, and that they were replaced in the 50's because they were having problems. Could this be something that will plaque me?
The seller claims that it is towable, he said he has tested it out on the freeway and it did well.
Brock
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:44 PM   #5
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Go for it

Greetings Brock! Yes, you must go for it. One thing that you will learn with VAC members is that they are real good at helping you spend you money !

As mentioned, yes it is a pipe frame so you will need to build a new frame, but an AS of this vintage must be saved. You will make lots of friends here, get lots of support and input, advise flows freely and sometimes differs which can at times either drive you crazy or show you other options. So in true VAC style I encourage you to buy this AS and save it!
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:50 PM   #6
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Welcome!
As an alternative if you decide not to buy it, let folks here on the forums know about it so if someone would be interested in it, they can purchase it and keep another Airstream on the road.
Nice to have you here on the forums.
Dave
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:52 PM   #7
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Hello Rick and Sandi,
thanks for your input, and also your support for me spending lots of money.
Does the frame almost always need to be rebuilt? The seller claims that he has taken it out on the highway and driven it 20 or so miles at 55mph, he said it did very well. So could this mean I might possibly be able to put off a new frame rebuild?
Brock
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Old 01-16-2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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Brock -- Before running it any distance I would want to be most certain when the wheel bearings were last repacked. Other issues before towing include brakes and lights. Tires? The rubber could be ancient (10 years is old!) and you won't get much help if they're mounted on split rims -- might need new wheels -- ask here on the Forums. A blowout while pulling home would be heartbreaking. With attention to these it could be possible to get it home.

With a pipe frame and other close-to-original mechanicals, your question might be asked of a totally original Model A. The answer there might be, "Yes, you can drive it at 5mph in the 4th of July parade." You probably have to figure that a 1948 Airstream is effectively a bare trailer without any functioning electricals or braking system. Strictly speaking you won't even be street legal without breakaway braking.

This could be a precious Airstream if handled appropriately. I would go as far back as the early 1990s for people who want some assurance they could step right in and begin using an Airstream. Are 1970 & 1960 Airstreams usable as-is? Only some might be but all will need significant attention. 1950s Airstreams? Laws of nature cannot be repealed and I'd say "no" to all, unless actively used, maintained and updated through their entire existence.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:20 PM   #9
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Welcome neighbor!

Hey Brock!

A 22' Liner would be very cool! I'd love to see it restored & brought back to life. There is a very active VAC group here in Denver that can assist you if need be. Fred Coldwell (47WeeWind) has a same generation WeeWind (smaller) and I'm sure he would love to have a sibling at the next rally!

Not every pipe frame needs to be rebuilt, but unless it has been pampered for it's 60 years, it most likely will - if not now, someday soon. They just aren't as heavy-duty as the ladder frames, which is why they are lighter, but it also is why you can't load them up the same...it just depends on how you are planning on using it. Is the interior intact? Are you thinking of keeping it as is or gutting it? All these would make a difference in whether this is the right trailer for you...and the about of work involved.

Please feel free to post specific questions or PM if you want some opinions or someone to go check it out for/with you.

Shari
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