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Old 02-24-2014, 06:24 PM   #1
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1960 Caravel
Palo Aloto , California
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New to Airstream Restoration - Palo Alto, CA

Hello, we just bought a '61 Caravel that appears to be in fairly bad shape. We'd love some tips on where to start: resources, books, videos we can consume. Can we get hold of original plans etc?

It's currently gutted and we plan to turn it into more of a mobile office than a home. Therefore we'd like to restore it just to the point that it's stable, safe to tow and generally sound and as sealed as possible.

First issue we're tacking is the whole chassis to shell connection and general condition of the rear left corner, which seems to be collapsing!

Any help much appreciated. We're based in Palo Alto if anyone's near by and wants to swing by to take a look?

Cheers, Chris.

















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Old 02-26-2014, 06:50 PM   #2
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1964 22' Safari
1962 28' Ambassador
enosburg , Vermont
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You do have what appears to be a '61 Calif. built caravel, more rare than a cold beer in hell. Classic style small enough to tow with the vehicles coming in the future. A useable investment. The top endcap segments both front and rear look OK. The frame looks good except the rear cross member, easy fix, even the steps look good and the roof vent appears intact. If the door and window frames are good you have more positives than negatives. The lower left rear panel is beyond any reasonable repair, hopeless, change it out. Lower panel aft of door is questionable in the pics????? There is no diplomatic way to ask the next question. Did you tow it without a floor? If so you are very lucky it didn't totally collapse. Frame holds up floor, floor holds up body w/assist from front and rear "hold downs". If that trailer was in my area I'd pursue it w/out question.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:59 PM   #3
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
Folsom , California
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You've got a gem! Nice find. Just a "heads up", I believe this is the vintage and model where they've had a significant number of Spindle/Axle failures . . . something about an undersized spindle diameter. If it's a leaf sprung axle you might want to change it to a torsion axle anyway.

oh, and here are lots of photos:

http://vintageairstream.com/photo-ar...61-caravel-18/
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
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1960 Caravel
Palo Aloto , California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by putback View Post
You do have what appears to be a '61 Calif. built caravel, more rare than a cold beer in hell. Classic style small enough to tow with the vehicles coming in the future. A useable investment. The top endcap segments both front and rear look OK. The frame looks good except the rear cross member, easy fix, even the steps look good and the roof vent appears intact. If the door and window frames are good you have more positives than negatives. The lower left rear panel is beyond any reasonable repair, hopeless, change it out. Lower panel aft of door is questionable in the pics????? There is no diplomatic way to ask the next question. Did you tow it without a floor? If so you are very lucky it didn't totally collapse. Frame holds up floor, floor holds up body w/assist from front and rear "hold downs". If that trailer was in my area I'd pursue it w/out question.
Well, good to hear it's not utterly worthless as we feared. We did indeed tow it without the floor .... about 300 miles! I guess we're lucky it didn't fly off or collapse then. Phew.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:40 AM   #5
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1964 22' Safari
1962 28' Ambassador
enosburg , Vermont
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Well, good to hear it's not utterly worthless as we feared. We did indeed tow it without the floor .... about 300 miles! I guess we're lucky it didn't fly off or collapse then. Phew.
Just saw the pic of the "door within a door". It appears to be in the average condition for the year. Usually loose rivets and somewhat out of shape. Nearly impossible to find a replacement, expensive to custom build. A forum search will show many ways to make it work fairly well. The solution would be to remove / disassemble as much of the door as necessary to straighten individual components and replace all loose rivets. Be very carefull in general, particularly when drilling the rivets. Some of the rivet holes may be enlarged after years of being loose. In that case you use the next size up rivet. Also learn how to make a safety hold for that door. They have a nasty habit of opening up in transit destroying the door, door frame, hinges, and aft panel. Oh, with that 300 miles of luck you should go out and buy a lottery ticket
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:11 PM   #6
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1960 Caravel
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Thanks everyone for the infor and advice. I'll try to post back regularly as we go. Chris.
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