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Old 09-21-2016, 10:53 PM   #1
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1976 25' Caravanner
Kent , Washington
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1976 Caravaner Renovate or Restore?

Hi, new here. I was looking for a long time for a 70's Trade Wind or Caravaner to renovate and competely modernize and redo the interior to fit us. Was looking for a good frame and shell while not caring so much about the interior. Didn't really think I'd find a Caravaner, but, then one fell into my lap. The problem is the interior is in such good shape I'm not sure if I'd be breaking any airstream Cardinal rule or ruining something that might be rare by taking out the interior and renovating instead of restoring. So a couple beginning questions for the good folks here. Any comments or suggestions welcome:

1- Renovate or Restore?

2- If I do renovate is their a market for all the original parts and where can I sell?

3- Am I throwing away something quite valuable by renovating?

I'll try and post pictures later if there is any interest.

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:00 PM   #2
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1979 31' Sovereign
Spring , Texas
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Before even purchasing, you will want to go over your prospect with a fine-toothed comb to make sure there aren't issues hiding anywhere. We got some valuable information from the Long, Long Honeymoon bloggers. They have an e-book about buying used and vintage Airstreams. It has a laundry list of things to look for so you avoid the money pit. There's plenty of info here too.

To restore or renovate? That is the question. Take your trailer out for a few short camping excursions close to home, and get all the systems hooked up. Then start looking for issues. Make note of said issues. If everything works properly and you actually like the trailer the way it is, leave it alone. Just make sure everything is cleaned up and kept maintained. (The original AC and furnace could have years of dirt that would keep them from working properly.) When it gets down to it, restoration and renovation are really personal choices. When you're talking about 60s and older trailers, restoration makes more sense when you're talking about real wood cabinets and all the mid-century modern fixtures & colors. Though some people may say it's OK to loose the earthy harvest colors of the late sixties and early 70s. When it comes to the 70s, there might be less screaming about updates. Then a lot more plastic components started showing up. The cabinets might have paper laminate. We're old enough to remember the 1970s so it was a no-brainer for us to bring our trailer mostly into the 21st century.
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:43 PM   #3
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1976 25' Caravanner
Kent , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starstream View Post
Before even purchasing, you will want to go over your prospect with a fine-toothed comb to make sure there aren't issues hiding anywhere. We got some valuable information from the Long, Long Honeymoon bloggers. They have an e-book about buying used and vintage Airstreams. It has a laundry list of things to look for so you avoid the money pit. There's plenty of info here too.

To restore or renovate? That is the question. Take your trailer out for a few short camping excursions close to home, and get all the systems hooked up. Then start looking for issues. Make note of said issues. If everything works properly and you actually like the trailer the way it is, leave it alone. Just make sure everything is cleaned up and kept maintained. (The original AC and furnace could have years of dirt that would keep them from working properly.) When it gets down to it, restoration and renovation are really personal choices. When you're talking about 60s and older trailers, restoration makes more sense when you're talking about real wood cabinets and all the mid-century modern fixtures & colors. Though some people may say it's OK to loose the earthy harvest colors of the late sixties and early 70s. When it comes to the 70s, there might be less screaming about updates. Then a lot more plastic components started showing up. The cabinets might have paper laminate. We're old enough to remember the 1970s so it was a no-brainer for us to bring our trailer mostly into the 21st century.
Thanks, makes sense what you said about 60s vs. 70s. We remember the 70s too. You're right, lots and lots of vinyl and plastic.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:42 PM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
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My 1970's laminate interior to so immaculate I'll probably never remove it! I'd rather sell as is and buy a wreck than destroy the vintage charm Click image for larger version

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Old 09-29-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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1979 31' Sovereign
Spring , Texas
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My 1970's laminate interior to so immaculate I'll probably never remove it! I'd rather sell as is and buy a wreck than destroy the vintage charm Attachment 272493!
Vintage charm is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to vintage, we're hardcore for 1930s-mid 60s for most things, not just travel trailers.

The POs of our trailer actually took very good care of it and were very proactive about keeping it dry. But they did travel quite a bit, including a trip to Alaska which was mentioned in their notes. Some of the paper laminate was peeling off some of the cabinetry and some of the upper lockers had some cracking where they were riveted to the ceiling. Removing all that old stuff not only allows us to stretch our creative muscles (1 artist and 1 former Navy Seabee with non-conventional construction experience), it meant we could get to 35+ years of dirt.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:41 PM   #6
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1976 25' Caravanner
Kent , Washington
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Slowly but surely. Got all the demo done, taken most all of the vinyl stuck to the inside aluminum off. Started to paint the bathroom before it got too cold to do any more coatings. Bought a replacement toilet and enough pex pipe to replace all the water lines. Good thing too because previous owners didn't winterize properly and the cooper was split in several places. Working on making penny tiles inside while it's cold to do the bathroom floor, the rest of the flooring is probably going to be a wood laminate.

These are before and after demo pics. Used the Jasco stripper, goof-off and WD-40 method to get everything off the walls.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:44 PM   #7
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1976 25' Caravanner
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My 1970's laminate interior to so immaculate I'll probably never remove it! I'd rather sell as is and buy a wreck than destroy the vintage charm Attachment 272493!
That chair you have right there in your photo, looks similar to an original chair supplied by airstream in some of these models. I kept a lot of stuff that might be worth something, what do you think an original chair might be worth? Our color scheme was orange, looks like yours is green.
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