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Old 08-18-2009, 08:21 PM   #1
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1953 25' Cruiser
Dumfries , Virginia
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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.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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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!

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Old 08-18-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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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.

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Old 08-18-2009, 10:43 PM   #4
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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 ~

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Old 08-18-2009, 11:02 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:53 AM   #6
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Keep that one original and use it. Buy another to customize and modify as you want, as it takes a long time to do.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:00 AM   #7
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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?
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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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!
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Old 08-20-2009, 06:10 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:17 PM   #10
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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.

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Old 08-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:14 PM   #12
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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?
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:43 PM   #14
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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
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