Bargman L77 alternatives
I've not owned a vintage Airstream even a week (1959 Ambassador) and I've already discovered the bane of many owner's existence. Alas, the insides of my Bargman L77 are gone, lost by the previous owner, and I've discovered the difficulty in finding parts. It's been recommended that I patch the door and put something different on it and that makes great sense given the difficulty in finding L77 parts and the fact that I just don't really like the L77 anyway. The thought of cutting new holes in a door however, frightens me almost as much as spiders.
So here is my question to the group that may be most concerned, or at least involved with, the L77; what, if any, alternatives have you come up with that do not involve altering the door?
What I've been referring to as "the guts" of the L77 is actually called a mortise latch, sometimes referred to as a mortise housing. I'm presently looking for a mortise latch that could be modified to work with the existing handles, but I'm not holding much hope. I'd settle for a standard door latch that would work with a 'T' handle and a couple of fabricated plates to cover the existing holes in the door.
The L77 just doesn't look like I want it to either. It's too much like a 50's refrigerator handle and not enough like a vintage space ship door handle. I'm still a little on the fence about whether to steer towards original or go nuts. About 80% of me wants to make this thing look so cool that it would make Captain Kirk weep. I am, of course, on a tight budget so that may not quite work out. Remember that show with Andy Griffith called "Salvage 1" where he built a spacecraft out of junk? I think I’d like something with a little more refined appearance than that.
Eagerly awaiting replies,