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Old 06-25-2004, 03:20 PM   #1
hiyosilver
 
1954 22' Flying Cloud
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Question Originality VS Renovation

A general question for all enthusiasts of vintage trailers .. advance apology if a can of worms gets opened here.
I'm wondering being involved in yet another restoration process of a vintage trailer (last year a 1965 Silver Streak, this year a 1955 Airstream Flying Cloud) what is preferred by most enthusiasts ....Of course leaving the exterior restored to originality is a no brainer but what about the interior? Keeping everything original even should it include rust pitted light fixtures, a bit of interior paint chipping, less than perfect flooring (sound repaired subfloor of course) many years old mattresses or restoring a trailer to soundness, shiny fixtures, new flooring such as a laminate wood, new paint, new mattresses. as long as say the cabinets & appliances stay true to the vintage?? What in your opinion(s) would help the trailer hold it's value & desirability??
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:17 PM   #2
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Just my opinion.

I like to step into a restored vintage trailer and have it look like it was about a year old. i.e. I like to see revarnished woodwork, unworn flooring, shiny fixtures, plus all the little things folks do in the first few months of ownership to personalize their trailer.

All materials and fixtures should be appropriate to the era. I like to see nice little touches such as tiles cut down to 9"x9", especially in the smaller trailers.
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:39 PM   #3
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I can tell you what I'm doing to my 58 - The outside will be original except for some modern hose hookups, cable tv connection, new hot water heater etc. The interior will be all new - I'm rebuilding cabinets exactly like the old ones using a 50's maple stain and varnish.

When I got this trailer I threw out the mattresses, original trashed stove and other stuff thats junk. I'm planning on a new stove top, refrig, water heat, a/c, potty, plumbing etc. I also replacing the original electrical box with new breakers and some light fixtures.

I'm also replacing all the running gear, axles, springs, brakes, wheels and putting on a new coupler. I'm also going to replace the floor since I've got all the cabinets out.

So a combination of old and new. I had a 59 Traveler before this one that was in beautiful shape and in that one, I tried to keep everything original - the only thing I changed out were the mattresses.

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Old 06-25-2004, 05:20 PM   #4
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So, New is Old

OK, so new is ok as long as it looks appropriate for the vintage? So, like new light fixtures if the old are too badly pitted or damaged would be ok if they look vintage.
Not say, like neon with pom pom fringe, sequins or shiny dingly bobs.
What about a laminate wood floor that matches the revarnished cabinets?? That's not vintage, but sure is pretty.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:28 PM   #5
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Restoration vs. originality seems to be a popular topic around this forum. Here is an earlier thread with alot of good discussion on this topic:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=10858
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Old 06-26-2004, 12:27 AM   #6
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At some point, a desirable model Airstream, like a Bambi of the early 60's, in exceptionally clean original condition, will be worth more than a refurbished one.
My only problem with refurbishments, even those done by professionals, is the shoddy work one encounters...sorry - but it's a fact.
I believe that a good quality rebuild is as desirable as a nicely kept original.
The trailers fall somewhere in between classic homes and classic vehicles.
I for one would want a classic, unmolested exterior, with a greatly updated interior.
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Old 06-26-2004, 12:49 AM   #7
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I have started the restoration of my first Airstream which is a 1957 22' Custom. I've had to rip out 1/3 of the floor and put new old looking Marmoluim in, respray the Zolatone and tons of plumbing. Thae 12 volt was removed and I want to put that back in. I'm having new beds made and upholstered as the sofa will be in a 50s fabric, which will cost an arm and a leg. When you add up the new window gaskets and beading and putting glass in the frames that now have plexi glass, screens, aluminem propane tanks...it get's up there..and then there is the polishing, blinds for the windows...and some new halowgan lighting (low voltage for under the shelfs in kitchen) a new awning (vintage looking with poles) well...once it's done I'm the onlyone that has to be happy with it so I guess it's more or less....what ever makes you happy
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Old 06-26-2004, 07:48 AM   #8
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Personally, if the item is in good shape, I would leave it alone. If it is broken, or badly worn, then I replace it with a modern equivalent. Since my trailer is a little more spartan than the average Airstream of its era, I have less of these decisions to make than most vintage owners.
When my air conditioning took a puke on me recently, I had no problem deciding to purchase a brand new unit, rather than searching the ends of the earth for a working vintage A/C. If and when my refrigerator dies, rather than trying to find a functioning decades-old unit, I will get a comparable new one. I go for function over appearance, as long as it isn't too garish.
I respect the people who restore, say, a 1928 model T to as-built condition, but these vehicles are trailered to events, and never used. I want to use my trailer, and I feel that putting everything back in it that came with it when it was new would cause me not to want to use it, for fear of damaging something vintage I couldn't replace. These trailers were built to be used, and I feel that keeping it "as original" as possible would likely make it less likely to be used as intended.
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Old 06-26-2004, 09:18 AM   #9
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I'm going to put in lamiate floor in the front half of the trailer - yup sure is pretty.

To me that kinda stuff can be easily ripped out if the next owner doesn't like it.

There is a trailer on the vintageairstream site that someone painted green and white stripes on the interior - to me thats a diaster. If you keep it kinda period appropriate with some modern materials I think its great. After all, there are some things that are better now then they were 40-50 years ago.

We have Pergo in our 75 and love it - very easy to take care of, always looks great. The reason we are doing 1/2 in the 58 is for weight - pretty heavy stuff.

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Old 06-26-2004, 11:57 AM   #10
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It's your's you do what you want. I terms of doing either and then selling it to make a profit I don't think it can be done unless you have a famous designer name to hang on it and it is one of a kind.
My 68 Caravel was well cared for and is original in a lot of ways. However my comfort is what drives the decision process. "Airstream" is an essence of quality. Do a hack job with original parts and it will not feel as "Airstream" as updated parts and good design and workmanship for me. And afterall, it's mine (and hers) and if others like the 68' Cork floor that's cool. If they have the,"you know the orginal floors were.... and were so nice.... and to bad you couldn't find something... " that's cool to. The first one is going to be a more interesting guest at happy hour. I have found Streamers are very polished at polite for the most part, more than I usually am. You'll have a hard time finding one who will tell you what your unit should be.. For me the 59 Overlander will be state of the art inside (expect no TV) while keeping the orignal layout. It is very hard to change with all the windows and where they are located on the walls. I'll use a yachting cooktop because they give more heat to cook and don't cost anymore than the magic chef stoves. Stuff like that which addresses functionality over originality.
Speaking of which I now have parts available from those into the latter. I'll post them elsewhere. Things like hinges, lights, maybe water heater.
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Old 06-26-2004, 12:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiyosilver
A general question for all enthusiasts of vintage trailers .. advance apology if a can of worms gets opened here.
I'm wondering being involved in yet another restoration process of a vintage trailer (last year a 1965 Silver Streak, this year a 1955 Airstream Flying Cloud) what is preferred by most enthusiasts ....Of course leaving the exterior restored to originality is a no brainer but what about the interior? Keeping everything original even should it include rust pitted light fixtures, a bit of interior paint chipping, less than perfect flooring (sound repaired subfloor of course) many years old mattresses or restoring a trailer to soundness, shiny fixtures, new flooring such as a laminate wood, new paint, new mattresses. as long as say the cabinets & appliances stay true to the vintage?? What in your opinion(s) would help the trailer hold it's value & desirability??
My $.02:

If the trailer is such an original condition state as to be restorable as a concours show trailer, then everything ought to be restored to the day it came out of the factory. Those trailers are wonderful, but there aren't very many of them left out there. They are a time capsule to a different time. They, like concours restoration cars, shouldn't and probably won't be used for camping. They're for show.

If your trailer is in any condition other than near-perfect when you start your restoration or refurbishment, and you plan on using it for it's intended purpose, then it's my opinion that you ought to make it the way you want it so that you enjoy it!

Mixing and matching vintage and modern is fine if it suits you. The value of the trailer won't be harmed in the least, and you'll be happier with your results. Quite honestly, most of the modern conveniences are pretty nice to have!

Roger
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Old 06-26-2004, 04:15 PM   #12
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I figure it this way:

The more freedom one feels in their choices when restoring a trailer, the longer they're likely to keep it.

The longer one keeps a trailer, the smaller the role that resale value plays. (Market value means nothing if you love it too much to ever sell it.)

Thus, the more personal, unique and enjoyable one makes their trailer is opposite in equal force to the importance of keeping it perfectly original!

Caveat:
The only cases where I'd disagree with myself are when discussing totally unique examples of things that can't be replicated...
A vintage, 1930's Bugatti hardtop shouldn't have it's roof sawn off just because the owner wants the wind in his hair, and the owners of Fallingwater shouldn't dam the waterfall because the sound of running water keeps the owner awake at night.

But 99% of the time this isn't the case - so we need to love our trailers in our way, and let them reflect our personalities. Hopefully the owners of Bowlus-Tellers or '36 Clippers will keep their rare examples wonderfully original, to keep that time alive inside and out - but for us regular folks, lets do what makes us happy!
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:32 PM   #13
hiyosilver
 
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Thank You All!!

I want to thank everyone for their responses that I have been quietly watching & reading. I ask because we are currently in the restoration process of a 50's Flying Cloud (http://home.earthlink.net/~nanstuff/) & while we are totally addicted to bringing these old beauties back to former glory it also begins to occur to us that with such an addiction one must occasionally part with a trailer to feed the addiction in aquiring another.
Thus the question occured, as we wouldn't want mess with a trailer so much as to make it unwanted by any other home at some point.
I agree that a lovingly restored trailer is what truly counts in the long run, we all see the beauty in that even though we might occasionally diagree on such things as, say, purple tye dyed upholstery.
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:51 PM   #14
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You've got it. Function, coolness, classy and ability to pass it on to someone else when you finished. Purple dyed upholstery would probably not be a good thing

Ken
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