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Old 05-16-2012, 09:15 PM   #1
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A complete change for a 1966 Globetrotter

I'm fairly certain I didn't have the right forum for this, I couldn't find a repair/fix blog, so if a mod wants to move it please do.

I've posted here before for some very basic advice, but now that I'm knee-deep and working pretty much 9-7 every day on this project, I thought I'd post some of the photos I've been using for my blog here, as well as to just share what's been going on.

The general story is that I purchased a 1966 Globetrotter from an awesome lady in Houston, with the idea of turning it into a professional studio quality photobooth for weddings and events in the Austin/Dallas/San Antonio/Houston area.

I had come back from the annual Professional Photographers of America convention with the intention of working on the general photography studio I've been running for about 4 years now. After a few days, I came up with this wacky idea using the Airstream. I think a lot of it had to do with the general impression of just how trailer business friendly Austin tends to be.

Anyways, as I'm sure most people here could confirm, it's been a lot more work than I had anticipated, and certainly a bit more money. I haven't even touched the electrical system yet, so I'm a bit worried on what that's going to cost me, but it's probably my last BIG expense. I hope.

The interior, except for the bathroom area has been removed, and I'm a good distance along with the interior carpentry work, with maybe a week left... I hope. I'm still dealing with various complicated cuts brought up by the curvaceous nature of trailer itself.

The wall closest to the bathroom area is where the computer, 32" touchscreen monitor, printer, and professional flash/camera unit will sit. Over the wheel wells I've built curved benches, which will have vinyl diner-style cushions. The monitor and camera are mounted to a heavy duty door, which can then swing open for work access, something inspired by a friend who works on Pinball machines. The back window will have a fairly standard LCD installed behind the newly replaced glass that plays a slideshow of images already taken from the current event.

The side wall where vents and doors for the fridge will shortly have a magnetic metal sheet placed to cover the holes up towards the highest roof vent. It will also have strips of chalkboard. People will be able to write, and place any extra photos they've taken there for the wedding clients to have at the end of the reception.

The area towards the hitch is where people will stand. I've built in some side walls that will serve as places for people to set drinks if they so wish, or just a place to lean. I don't think I've ever worked a wedding where people didn't have some sort of drink with them at any time. At the very front will be backdrop system that I can replace and change as the client wishes, though behind that cloth will be a storage area, as well as a speaker system for music.

The Airstream itself will be a wireless HotSpot, which will allow the music system to stream online music as a client may wish, and the computer will automatically upload photos to a website or Facebook gallery.

The biggest issue so far has been the window over the hitch. At some point before the previous owner, another person had removed the entire housing, and decided it was a good place to install a residential window-styled air conditioner. Every piece of hardware is gone, and the best solution I've come up with is to put a lit-from-behind sign with the logo over that area. If this was a typical restoration, I'm not sure how I would solve that problem because someone mangled the hell out of that area.

I've been trying to come up with a few fun ways to deal with various other exterior issues that wouldn't come up with a typical Airstream restoration. The heater vent cover is going to be replaced with a letterbox styled mailbox. The antenna is going to be used for various flags, most commonly Texas and UT flags I'm guessing. There was a poorly replaced panel repair under the small window opposite the door, and either a sign will be going there, or a removable planter. for flowers.

I did have to replace all of the windows in the unit, and since it was 1966... it has been quite an expensive chore. One of the bottom latches was completely missing, and about three of them had to be disassembled and repaired.

That's it for the story, I'll certainly have a few repair questions in the next few days. I really hope that this rather unusual take on an Airstream project is well met, and no one holds anything against me for not doing a straight restoration project.

So far this has honestly been one of the most rewarding projects of my life.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:21 PM   #2
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A few quick questions actually.

Is there a specific gray that the hitch/frame/bottom door areas were painted? I've gone through and used POR-15 on all of those areas, but the only place I could find it in Austin had the gloss black, I need to find a suitable topcoat. I'd also love some advice on what kind of metallic paint people might suggest for the replacement vent covers, and the bumper area.

The replacement lights for the turn signals are slightly smaller than the originals, has anybody found a decent metallic ring to use as a sort of rim to cover up the old holes and provide a finished look?

The current wheels are a 6-bolt style, I'd like to purchase a new set of wheels because the currents aren't in great shape. The local Airstream dealer in Buda only carries the newer style wheels, but I'd prefer the retro look. I still don't know what size those might be off hand and I'd rather not pay the shipping of purchasing them online. Also, and I may be insane, I'm considering putting white walled tires on these wheels, any advice on matching up tires to wheels would be great.

A detailer near my house has taken a look at the trailer itself and quoted me $480 to go over the exterior. It's in fairly decent shape, but I know that won't get it to the mirror shine that I'd like. I've heard of a few people in Dallas that do good work, and one person in Bastrop, but I honestly can't afford a $1500 polish job at the moment. Would I be insane to go with the detailers offer, and consider doing a full polish myself next year during the offseasion?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:50 PM   #3
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I'm not up to speed on some of your Q's, but have recently seen both wheel conversions and WW tires.

Glad you find it rewarding. Forget the purist stuff. Airstream trailers are a dime a dozen and with the damage you describe it's enough to put off many who might want to do a resto (in which case we all wish for unmolested original as it will have enough problems alreay).

Great description, and pics. More of all as you may wish to show & tell.

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Old 05-16-2012, 11:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome Rednax. I'll be taking photos at various points through each day just to keep people up to date on the progress. It's fun to show what's getting done.

Airstreams may be a dime a dozen in Texas, but I grew up in California and they were rare. I once went somewhat crazy over the Airstream I saw in a workyard/metalshop of a client I was shooting for an editorial piece in Oakland, CA. Behind a gate, in the middle of the worst neighborhood in Oakland, surrounded by massive amounts of various pieces of metal and plasma cutters... here it was.

He became a great friend of mine, and when I moved from California I traded him some studio backdrops for a piece of his artwork. We unfortunately lost him in the last year, but I've got plenty to remember him by.

Here is the one photo that ended up getting published that also included his Airstream, I'm not sure what model it was, but I'm guessing 50's because of the windows/panels. I remember it being small too.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:41 AM   #5
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Welcome

Welcome to the forums.
I recently finished a refurbishment of a 1966 Safari, so I'm pretty familiar with your questions. I'll see if I can help.

As far as the paint for the A-frame and vent covers etc, if you are planning on using a rattle can I recommend Rust-oleum Prfessional Aluminum.You can use nearly any shade of silver/gray and it will look fine as long as it is the same color throughout. Don't forget the POR-15 instructions for top coating.

What tail light replacements did you use? There are exact replacements from Vintage Trailer Supply. Post a pic please.

These wheels will work. They are 15" with a 6x5.5. You can get whitewalls from Diamond Back. They are not cheap.

There are many stories of auto "detailers" that give a low quote for polishing. The price usually goes up considerably after the "detailer" sees how much work is involved. I recommend you wait until you can afford a pro polish job or DIY.
There are plenty of things to spend your money on before you fork out 1,800 for a quality polish job.

Take care,


Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinToast View Post
A few quick questions actually.

Is there a specific gray that the hitch/frame/bottom door areas were painted? I've gone through and used POR-15 on all of those areas, but the only place I could find it in Austin had the gloss black, I need to find a suitable topcoat. I'd also love some advice on what kind of metallic paint people might suggest for the replacement vent covers, and the bumper area.

The replacement lights for the turn signals are slightly smaller than the originals, has anybody found a decent metallic ring to use as a sort of rim to cover up the old holes and provide a finished look?

The current wheels are a 6-bolt style, I'd like to purchase a new set of wheels because the currents aren't in great shape. The local Airstream dealer in Buda only carries the newer style wheels, but I'd prefer the retro look. I still don't know what size those might be off hand and I'd rather not pay the shipping of purchasing them online. Also, and I may be insane, I'm considering putting white walled tires on these wheels, any advice on matching up tires to wheels would be great.

A detailer near my house has taken a look at the trailer itself and quoted me $480 to go over the exterior. It's in fairly decent shape, but I know that won't get it to the mirror shine that I'd like. I've heard of a few people in Dallas that do good work, and one person in Bastrop, but I honestly can't afford a $1500 polish job at the moment. Would I be insane to go with the detailers offer, and consider doing a full polish myself next year during the offseasion?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Hey Top.

Thanks for the answers so far, super helpful. I'm worried about the cost of white walls but it might be something I'm willing to splurge on.

As far as the lights go, the ones that are currently on the trailer are I believe out of production even at the website you mentioned.

Reflect-O-Lite 110 150

The ones I ended up purchasing were these. Which are a touch smaller.

Trail Lite No.99 Complete Taillight Assembly

I think the detailer situation is something that is almost like a stop-gap measure if that makes sense. Since it's really being made to go to peoples weddings and other events, I'd like it to be in somewhat better condition than it is now. Like I said though, finding the budget for a full mirror shine may be stretching things.

I should probably contact a few people who own Airstream food trailers around Austin to find out where and how they did it.

I could probably do it myself, but I'm running short on time before wedding season as well, so things are starting to get rushed.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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Also, a bit of new work today. The vertical boards have been nailed into place over the door side wheel well's bench., but they still need to be sunk in. Eventually this will be covered with a white vinyl seat that is removable for access and storage inside.

I also managed to finish up the drink/side bar underneath the front door side window, complete with an awesome curvy cut that I'm quite proud of.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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So I didn't do a spectacular job of keeping up on here with the work that was done. I did however keep a gallery of the work open and public on my Facebook page.

The project is almost entirely done, with a few odds and ends to fix. All in all... I can't wait to work on my second.

Here is the gallery:
Facebook

Here is us parked on the Congress Bridge during our grand opening at Bat Fest 2012.


Here is the general set up from when we were down at Austin's Bridal Extravaganza.


This is our fun little glamour shot that I took before at event at Jester King Craft Brewery.


Here are some very happy couples having fun with the photo booth!


And most importantly, this is myself, my girlfriend Dora, as well as our friends Dan and Eriq, all of whom put in huge hours of helping me out. Gotta love friends!



Thanks to everyone who has answered questions for me on the boards, and inspired me in general.

I'll get some interior pics up soon.

Come check us out one day!

The Photo Toaster | Facebook
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:07 AM   #9
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Great!!
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:56 PM   #10
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Looks great! Also the personal pictures are fun! it is great to see some faces behind the AS having fun
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