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Old 05-08-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
kaneable991's Avatar
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Grand Rapids , Michigan
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 15
Not Sure What I Got Myself Into

Hello. Thought I better say hello. My wife and I have recently discovered Airstreams, and are particularly fond of the "more mature" styles. We have seen spoken at length with a local Airstream dealer, seen some restored trailers, and looked closely at what is currently available close. So at what we consider to be a modest and reasonable investment we took the plunge today even though I am a novice at all of this. I hope we didn't bite off more than we can handle. I am hoping I can get some help from this group if you all are willing.

Purchased 1955 Flying Cloud (O 3261) today. Outside it was pretty rough, but it is what is beneath the surface that has me worried. Exposed portions of frame at bumper and hitch are completely rotted through by rust which suggests the frame is very likely the same. Outriggers are beginning to penetrate through sides of pan which suggests rot and/or electrolysis corrosion. A shake of the bumper revealed that skin is detached, and powdered woods falls from joint. Exterior has minor issues, but I could see several skins being replaced. I am sure that is the tip of the iceberg. We are working from the assumption that everything else is either in need of replacement or repair but for a majority of the shell.

This week we will have it thoroughly inspected by the local Airstream dealer and see just how bad it is. If anyone else was interested in this particular trailer, we can let you know what you missed (lucky or unlucky).
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:14 PM   #2
Rivet Master
2005 22' Safari
Gresham , Oregon
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 621
Oh dear, good luck. and welcome there will be many here to help you.

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Old 05-08-2011, 10:39 PM   #3
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Commercial Member
Colin H's Avatar
1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
Peru , New York
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 740
Greetings & welcome to the Forums,
Getting the trailer checked out by an Airstream dealer is probably a waste of money. Based on the photos you've posted along with your description, the chassis either needs to be replaced or at a bare minimum, requires extensive repairs. This is not uncommon for trailers of this era & often newer Airstream's as well. I have done numerous "body off", chassis "Rotisserie Restorations" & have found that this approach addresses all of the structural issues & allows upgrades to suit the trailers "new life". This type of work can be accomplished at home as well, however it is no small undertaking. Numerous people on the Forums have done this work at home, so don't get discouraged. A 55 Flying Cloud is a wonderful size & have fun with it.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:45 AM   #4
Well Preserved
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,656
It's just me, but I think I'd see if I could get a welding guy out to fix that A frame and coupler before I tow it too far. Other things might not be as bad as you think (they could be worse--or better), and the trailer you now have has the virtue of being less complex than more modern ones. Good luck with it.
Oh, I'll second the idea of not going to a dealer, the trailer is older than most of the techs, and management will likely not want to mess with it anyway.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:39 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
kaneable991's Avatar
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Grand Rapids , Michigan
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 15
Thanks everyone for their comments. We chose to do a frame off restoration suggested by Colin. Details of how that is going can be found on the tailer forum entitled, Another '55 FC. We are restoring it back to 1955 condition, but with minor hidden upgrades and amenities. First thing you will notice is that the entire frame was rehabbed. the rotten parts removed and replaced. I also modified the frame to accept a spare tire near the front of the A-frame. Please check into the updates and feel free to provide any suggestions.
Here is the link to our discussion "Another '55 FC" -
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1955, flying cloud, mistake, restoration

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