Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-18-2009, 08:21 PM   #1
New Member
1953 25' Cruiser
Dumfries , Virginia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4
Gut the original or restore on a '53?

I recently bought what turned out to be a 1953 Cruiser, with the intention of installing a totally modern interior. To my surprise, the interior cabinetry appears to be original and in very good condition. Even the appliances are probably from 1953 (the propane interior lights are frightening). My question to those with more Airstream experience--would it be a travesty to destroy the interior? I'm tempted to sell it and find another in much worse condition that I can finish the way I want.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	CIMG3080b.jpg
Views:	79
Size:	157.5 KB
ID:	85654  

FinallyGot1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
1 Rivet Member
1976 23' Safari
acworth , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 10
Since you are asking for opinions, I would say, from what I've read here, most seem to agree with the idea of customizing a trashed or poorly modified Airstream much more freely than one in restoreable shape. Of course you own it either way ,but the truth is no more nice originals are being made ,but ones in poor shape will inevitably be "created" as time moves on. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

nhdubfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
tallytwo1994's Avatar
Currently Looking...
tallahassee , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 226
I agree - buying another would be my recommendation. In fact for a modern interior I'd want the large front wrap-around windows, and a more streamlined exterior.

tallytwo1994 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
Rivet Master
Wabbiteer's Avatar
1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,886
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 2
Having the real hardwood interior is the whole ball of string - if you want the Scandinavian or other minimalist effects grab a later trailer that has the plastic wood grains and vinyl everywhere and have at it ~

Wabbiteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2009, 11:02 PM   #5
Rivet Master
goransons's Avatar

1963 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Yakima Valley , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,822
Images: 10
Blog Entries: 1
Send a message via MSN to goransons
I agree, with craigslist filled with started but not finished gutted trailers there are much cheaper/better options that aren't good restoration candidates begging for an owner like you that is creative enough to build a custom interior.
Scott & Megan
WBCCI #8671 Oregon Unit


Tappan range oven (for spare parts)
baby moons for stock rims with clips
twist drawer knobs and their face frame screw in hook


Marvel Refrigerator

goransons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2009, 07:53 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Aerowood's Avatar

1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 2,684
Keep that one original and use it. Buy another to customize and modify as you want, as it takes a long time to do.
Aerowood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2009, 08:00 AM   #7
Rivet Master
Sugarfoot's Avatar
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Congrats on your find!

I've got to admit, I'm for retaining originality if the interior is in good shape to begin with. These old ones are rarely found with usable interiors in good condition. But ultimately, it is your trailer and your choice.

Now, when are we going to see pictures?
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

• • • Aluminocentricity • • •
Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
Rivet Master
tphan's Avatar
1972 27' Overlander
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 951
Have to agree here- I'd only re-do a 50's interior if it was totally trashed. Sounds like you have a very restorable classic- lucky you!
tphan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2009, 06:10 PM   #9
New Member
1953 25' Cruiser
Dumfries , Virginia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4

I appreciate the advice, and welcome more. I really don't think I have the heart to rip out the original equipment. The little radio speaker mounted inside the closet, and the submarine-looking shower/sink/toilet, are a long way from the open 1950s chrome & steel diner look I've been visualizing for years. Plus, there's no way I can handle twin beds. Otherwise, it's great. I bought it based on a poor exterior photo, and was surprised when I saw the inside. It sure towed nice, though--had to look in the rearview every once in awhile to make sure it was still there. The old ones really are lightweight. I have more polishing to do, so there's time to think about it.
FinallyGot1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2009, 08:17 PM   #10
Rivet Master
utee94's Avatar
1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,633
I'm way too contemporary for the taste of many Airstreamers I know, and even I will say that if the interior really is that nice, then it is an excellent candidate for true restoration. I would never presume to tell someone what do do with his trailer, but from your writing, I can tell that you know deep inside what you think needs to be done with this trailer.

I'd love to see some interior pictures with as much detail as possible, and then maybe the good folks on the message board can tell you if it's truly restorable or not?

If so, then you could either keep it intact and use it, or sell it to someone who wants to restore it, and buy a gutted model that is a better candidate for the retro-mod design you have in mind? If it really is in great shape, I have no doubt you'll find an interested buyer, and sooner rather than later.

utee94 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #11
Rivet Master
66Overlander's Avatar
1962 22' Safari
2016 30' Classic
Somewhere , in the USA
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,822
Images: 41
Since you asked, my opinion is to keep it mostly original or sell it and find a gutted or trashed trailer to receive a custom interior. I always hate to see a restorable vintage Airstreams heavily modified or modernized - they are getting harder and harder to find and they certainly aren't making any more of them. But there definitely are lots of candidate trailers out there that are in need of a new interior and that would be better suited for a custom interior.

That said, if you do decide to keep this trailer and upgrade it in any way, definitely make all of the old parts available to those that are restoring old Airstreams back to period correctness (more or less). I rescued the interior of a '53 Flying Cloud from the scrap heap a few years ago and so far some of it's parts are helping to restore three other old Airstreams. The remaining parts are in my basement waiting to see if I will need them as I restore my '55 Safari.
Wally Byam Caravan Club International Historian
Vintage Airstream Club Historian

66Overlander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2010, 07:14 PM   #12
New Member
1953 25' Cruiser
Dumfries , Virginia
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4
Interior Photos

I had a few setbacks (slight disagreement with a motorcycle, and other distractions), but I got around to taking a few interior photos. Given the consensus here, I'm thinking of selling this one and finding an empty shell.

A previous owner put in a linoleum floor, and as visible in the photos, the linoleum in the kitchen is missing. The floor seems solid throughout, though. A few parts that I have are missing from the photos (I took 'em off while polishing). I kept the original two-piece rims, but won't use them. Also, the (apparently) original dining table is in my basement.

Now for the question--does it look worth keeping original? And what are these things worth?
Picasa Web Albums - trippandbrenda - 1953 Airstrea...
FinallyGot1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #13
Rivet Master
Dave Park's Avatar
2005 22' Safari
Hyde Park Place , Ohio
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 972
That IS in very reasonable condition. It would be a shame to see that interior go to waste. If you do decide to dispose of it, make sure it all goes to a good home.
Dave Park is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2010, 07:43 PM   #14
Birdie Momma
NJtoNC's Avatar
1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 901
Now for the question--does it look worth keeping original? And what are these things worth?
oh, id be willing to take it off your hands for say... $300?

'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Time involvement to gut a 31' Sovereign WineStream Interior Restoration Forum 22 02-20-2009 01:34 PM
Bathroom - gut, recondition or both? TBird156 Interior Restoration Forum 15 02-11-2009 06:03 AM
Some Katrina Victims Gut Trailers 1956Safari Off Topic Forum 10 06-12-2007 09:01 PM
Should I gut PhilMateo 1965 Overlander 9 12-18-2005 09:36 AM
Poll !! Interior .. Gut it or Keep it ?? airstreamcaravel General Interior Topics 11 05-17-2003 12:18 PM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.