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Old 09-26-2007, 12:21 PM   #1
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Need model and year info

We are currently shopping for a vintage Airstream trailer to replace a unit we sold a few years back. I have seen a few Airstreams with the beautiful Birch interiors. Can anyone tell me if what I was seeing were customized Airstreams of if there are certain models and years that featured the Birch panelling interiors. Any help appreciated, MH
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Old 09-26-2007, 01:38 PM   #2
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The birch wood interior cabinets are from the 50's.

99.9% of vintage Airstreams have aluminum exterior walls - either exposed, painted, vinyl or fabric wrapped - depending on the year. If the exterior walls (not cabinet panels) were birch, that would have been a custom modification by an owner somewhere along the way. The aluminum walls are part of the structural integrity of the monoque construction of the trailers. The .1% with wood walls would be the "Holiday" or the home-built "Torpedo".

To get a better idea of the era of "vintage" you are looking for - you may find these two resources helpful:

Vintage Photo Archives
Vintage Features Matrix

Welcome aboard!

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Old 09-26-2007, 11:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
The birch wood interior cabinets are from the 50's.

99.9% of vintage Airstreams have aluminum exterior walls - either exposed, painted, vinyl or fabric wrapped - depending on the year.
err...Interior ??? I've seen painted or polished, but never vinyl or fabric wrapped on the exterior.

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If the exterior walls (not cabinet panels) were birch, that would have been a custom modification by an owner somewhere along the way. Shari
I think I'll stick with polishing. Can you imagine maintaining the finish on a wood exterior?
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:28 PM   #4
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I meant the inside of the exterior (shell) walls...not the outside of the trailer silly!

Shari
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I meant the inside of the exterior (shell) walls...not the outside of the trailer silly!

Shari
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:06 AM   #6
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Well maybe that solves part of the question, I've seen a couple where birch panelling has been applied to the inside walls in the same pattern as the aluminum on the outside. Maybe what I need to ask is when did they go from solid wood cabinetry that didn't have the "formica" look finish on it.
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:37 AM   #7
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The 50's had the solid birch cabinets. In the early 60's they went to oak, walnut & mahogany veneers - still real wood, but lighter weight cabinets & a variety of veneers. In '65 they added vinyl wallcovering "wrap" to the upper cabinets but still were predominately wood. Then in 70 or so they started going for the "Airliner look" with tambour doors and plastic laminate finishes throughout.

If it's the solid wood (no plastic) you are after - stick with the 50's - mid'60's.

Using the two references linked in Post #2 above will really help answer a lot of questions and show pictures of the differences.

Shari
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:07 PM   #8
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Vintage Airstream Photo Archives

This web sight has lots of photos of different years.

CJ of Okla
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 41woodie
Well maybe that solves part of the question, I've seen a couple where birch panelling has been applied to the inside walls in the same pattern as the aluminum on the outside. Maybe what I need to ask is when did they go from solid wood cabinetry that didn't have the "formica" look finish on it.
Hi 41woodie:

Welcome to the Forums. Airstreams with birch paneling on the interior walls in the same or a similar pattern to the outside aluminum skin were either: (i) pre-WW II Airstream Clippers built at the factory, or (ii) post-war Airstreams that have been significantly customized by an owner who installed birch interior panels on, or in lieu of, the interior alumninum walls. Post WW II Airstreams originally had aluminum interior walls which were painted (to 1965 +), covered with vinyl (1965 + to present depending on trim level) or, recently, left bare aluminum in the new CCD Series.

Real wood veneer paneling was used on the interior cabinetry up to around 1972, when wood-grained "formica" was introduced as a modern replacement. Hard to believe today, but in the early 1970s wood grained formica was the more expensive upgrade material from cheaper real wood, which could scratch, dent and have its finish marred. Formica was much more resistant to surface damage and easier to clean, making it the premium material.

Spend some pleasant time perusing the Vintage Airstream Photo Archives to become more familiar with the changes over the years.
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:23 PM   #10
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Thanks to all respondents for the tips. I'll retire to the archives to find a size, floorplan, and interior that suits us, then go shopping.
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