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Old 01-12-2005, 07:27 AM   #1
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Obtaining an original frig?

We have just entered the world of vintage airstreams with the purchase of a 1958 Overlander and putting together a restoration plan. The orginal frig is missing and wanted to ask the groups advice on replacing it. Is it possible to obtain an orginal frig? If so where? Are there any current manufacturers that maks new frigs that look like ones from that period that would fit our AS?
Thanks to all for your adivce. Please checkout our gallery and let us know what you think.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rat Pack
We have just entered the world of vintage airstreams with the purchase of a 1958 Overlander and putting together a restoration plan. The orginal frig is missing and wanted to ask the groups advice on replacing it. Is it possible to obtain an orginal frig? If so where? Are there any current manufacturers that maks new frigs that look like ones from that period that would fit our AS?
Thanks to all for your adivce. Please checkout our gallery and let us know what you think.
Greeetings! The 1957 Overlander that I had briefly had a standard period residential AC compressor type refrigerator installed from the factory. It had no holding tanks. I would recommend replacing it with a modern RV LP/AC unit. Although it may not be 'concours restoration', if you plan to actually USE the trailer, you'll be much happier with a modern RV fridge.

I haven't seen any modern fridges built to look like a mid-50s period fridge, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there.

Good luck!

Roger
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:53 AM   #3
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Obtaining an original frig?

Greetings Rat Pack!

There are two broad areas of opinion in this area - - maintain originality (detailed restoration) or restore/refurbish for active use. I fall into the second group, and tend to replace LP appliances with modern units for both peace of mind and modern safety features. While it isn't likely that a new refrigerator will be a bolt-in operation, there is a wide variety of sizes meaning that you will likely be able to find something fairly close to your opening size. I was in a similar situation to what you are facing - - a previous owner had removed my Overlander's original refrigerator, and my path was to have a new Dometic 3-way (Americana) RV Refrigerator installed in the Americana series. You can peruse the Dometic offerings via the links below:

Dometic Americana RV Refrigerators

Dometic Classic RV Refrigerators

Dometic Royale RV Refrigerators

Dometic RV Refrigerator Cross-Reference

The Dometic Americana has been such a wonderful refrigerator that there is no question in my mind that my Minuet will have one very similar to the one that I had installed in my Overlander when its original refrigerator fails.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: There are several firms that specialize in repairing/rebuilding the older absorbtion refrigerators. You can find a listing of some of them on R J Dial's website at: Vintage Airstream Refrigerator Repair and Replacement.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:03 AM   #4
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I still have the original Frigidaire refigerator for my '59. It's 120 volt only model.

You can tell which refrigerator your AS had by the presence or absence of the 'vent scoop' and roof exhaust. If the scoop and roof vent are missing, then the original refrigerator may have been a 120 volt, non-LP model like mine. It uses ice while in transit, with a drain tube through the floor.

The 120 volt model had more internal space. Do you want a picture?
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:09 AM   #5
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Roger's advice to go with a modern refrigerator is excellent, and a 2 way (propane/120 volt a.c. electric) combo fridge allow you to use it either plugged in at a park or when remote boondocking. Some people use a birch (or other wood) panel insert in the new fridge door stained to match the trailer's interior wood paneling and make the fridge blend in to a vintage environment. More ambitious restorers find, restore and install attach to the fridge door a second door from a junked out vintage fridge, so the new fridge appears vintage. Other ambitious restorers shape a piece of composite wood (mdf?) into the old style refrigerator door out, paint it appliance white, add a handle (and maybe a vintage emblem) and glue it to the new fridge door. The most serious restorers buy a new separate compressor and cooling coils and install them in a restored vintage fridge shell. There are many ways to go, choose the one that suits you best.
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:47 AM   #6
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I believe, and don't quote me on this... that Craig Dorsey over at Vintage Vacations (www.vintage-vacations.com) retrofitted either an old refrigerator cabinet, just the old door, or just the outer skin of the door - with all new guts. Again, not sure where I read it on the site, but I think it was there.

Here's an old original looking one (perhaps a new fridge with old latch?!) from his '61 Globetrotter renovation:

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Old 01-12-2005, 03:18 PM   #7
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Don,
Thanks for the reply. A picture would be great. I believe we have a vent and scoop, but I will double check.

Rat
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:32 PM   #8
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:17 PM   #9
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now for the million-dollar question, does anyone know where to GET the original refrigerator door? ours was missing it as well. no external vent, so i assume it would have been a 110, though we would probably want to get one that works of gas as well. we want a vintage look in our 59, too... kind of a combo of retro-hardware, and modern cabinets and stainless. we still have the original princess unit in really good shape.
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