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Old 07-22-2008, 01:17 AM   #1
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Talking A really old Bowlus Road Chief

Hi all,
I'm new to this forum but I really wanted to share this with all of you. We own a small paint shop in the Indiana/Michigan area. Mostly we paint RV's but we were contacted by the RV Museum here regarding restoring a 1933 Bowlus Road Chief. According to the gentleman we spoke with it had been neglected and sitting in a barn for, well, a long time. As crazy as this sounds we really enjoyed the project. It was a nice change from painting.
In any case to make a longer story short we were extremely proud of our project and although anyone can stop in at the RV Museum in Indiana to see it I thought people on this forum would appreciate seeing it the most and to tell everyone there is a great satisfaction in seeing the finished project. I hope all of your airstreams shine when your done. It's worth all the hard work. I have a new love for Airstreams now.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:20 AM   #2
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Very NICE! Thanks for sharing the pics...is the interior still intact? Any pictures of it? Looks like you did a fabulous polish job ~

Shari
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:21 AM   #3
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Wow, pretty cool. Got any interior pics of it? Did you guys just handle the polishing?
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:22 AM   #4
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First of all, sorry about the excessive picture overload. Wasn't sure how to add them and I guess it added them more than once.

As far as the interior... no, we did not restore the interior. It was in questional shape.

The rear bed compartment was probably the only area still in tact. It did have all the original parts in it, just not where they belonged. Looked as though someone planned to work on it, got started, then left it half done. I was pretty impresses with what was still in it and in good shape though considering the age. It still has the wooden wall/ceiling interior with some minor water damage and the original upholstry and flooring material. I also found the registration showing it actually belonged to a Bowlus family member before the museum bought it.

After we restored the outside they were going to display it in the new wing until they are able to get the interior done as close to the original as possible.

I still smile when I think about the strange door-inside-a-door entry door it has. I had never seen that before and was amazed at how well it's hidden. Do they still make those on the newer models? M~
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:39 AM   #5
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You guys did a great job with the exterior of the trailer.

1964 was the last year for the door in a door as far as I know.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:02 AM   #6
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Beautiful job.

That blunt front end couldn't have helped the aerodynamics much! And I wonder how much rain leaked in the door while traveling?
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:54 AM   #7
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I still smile when I think about the strange door-inside-a-door entry door it has. I had never seen that before and was amazed at how well it's hidden. Do they still make those on the newer models? M~
The last time Airstream used a similar door within a door design was 1964. I agree, it's a very sleek design.

Shari
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:42 AM   #8
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Great Job!

What happened to the Ford in the barn?

I have stopped at the RV Museum. It is worth a stop or even a side track.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:51 AM   #9
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Beautiful job.

That blunt front end couldn't have helped the aerodynamics much! And I wonder how much rain leaked in the door while traveling?

I can't speak to the aerodynamics except to say the rear looked like an upside-down boat. As far as the door leaking.. it actually had a wrap -around design that made it fairly waterproof. The only water damage we saw was from the little vents in the roof, one of which was stuck open. We did get it loose but it still wouldn't stay shut well.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:10 AM   #10
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Great Job!

What happened to the Ford in the barn?

I have stopped at the RV Museum. It is worth a stop or even a side track.
If your referring to the before picture with the green Ford front end visible, Yes, it is stilll there and being restored. Unfortunately, the museum runs on donations mostly so the funds are not available to do all the restoration that needs done on some vehicles. We donated our time and supplies to restore the Bowlus.

I'm not sure when you were last at the RV Museum but it has moved to a new location on CR 17 right off the toll road exit 96 and, yes, I think it is worth stopping to see. They have more room now and have added a lot to the collection. The Bowlus was part of a new wing they opened just a couple months ago. There is a small admission fee but I think it's worth it to see some of these older coaches and hear the stories that go with them.

The Museum used to be downtown in not the best area and was harder to find before. Now it's easy to find and access by several directions with much wider roads. No more trying to squeeze your coach down a narrow road. Also a much larger parking area.

PS: Thank You to the person who was able to fix my post. Looks better now.
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:14 PM   #11
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Great trailer. Thanks for sharing...
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Old 07-22-2008, 12:33 PM   #12
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Great Job

M, you and you're crew did justice for that lovely old Bowlus. I'm sure there are only a handful of them left. It certainly looks museum worthy, really sharp.

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. . . I have a new love for Airstreams now.
Is this the beginning of a case of aluminitus?
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #13
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Thumbs up Wow

That's awesome, thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:55 PM   #14
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That is a truly amazing job you did on the polishing. I hope the museum is able to finish the interior soon. Hope who ever does the interior does as good a job as you did on the exterior...it deserves it now.
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