View Poll Results: Gut it? or Keep it?
Out the door !! REMODEL at will !! 10 40.00%
Only if last resort. Keep the originals when I can. 10 40.00%
Gutting is a sin against Wally!! Restore Restore !! 5 20.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-15-2003, 09:26 PM   #1
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Poll !! Interior .. Gut it or Keep it ??

So how do you feel about "remodeling" vintage Airstreams??

Do you think its OK ... a good thing? ... better functioning? ... a sin against Wally? .. updated materials ?? ... etc ......

The post "someone killed Bambi" got me thinking about this


I am keeping mine as "stock" as possible ... everytime I see someone that is "gutting the interior" .... I get kinda weepy

What do you think? Restore or out the door !!


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Old 05-15-2003, 09:43 PM   #2
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1981 28' Airstream 280
Griffin , Georgia
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difficult to vote on this one.
the great part of these forums to me is the creativity.
so go create something.

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Old 05-15-2003, 10:02 PM   #3
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1964 22' Safari
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gut or redo

This one is easy for me, redo. But this is a very subjective subject. The P.O. of many a vintage model has been unkind in very bad ways. Then the new keeper gets to use a little CREATIVITY.
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Old 05-15-2003, 10:41 PM   #4
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1984 29' Sovereign
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Thumbs up Agree~!

If it's at all possible, try to keep it as close to the originial as possible.~

The final decision should be based upon the condition of unit's interior.

With the exception of adding two Fantastic Fans and, replacing several shades, our unit is 100% originial.
Oops forgot the LP Tanks, the tires, the wheels, brakes, shocks, battery, univolter, exterior lights all the way around including back lights, interior light covers, closet light, pantry light, repairing one awning, replacing A/C shroud, addition of stainless steel rock guards, repairs to the water heater.
Oh well...Forget it~!!
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Old 05-16-2003, 04:29 AM   #5
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I think it comes down to three things:

Is the condition of the interior such that it can be salvaged or restored?

Do you have the time, energy, and money to do the restoration?

Or, Does your creative side scream for an outlet?

The '63 Flying Cloud we just gutted had an interior that was beyond salvage. There wasn't a piece of original paneling that wasn't rotted or water damaged. The floor was shot. So, the choice in those cases is whether to do a full stock restoration, or to do a custom new interior, cause either way there's a substantial investment in time and money! Since 'Our' Flying Cloud is being pressed into service for a use other than a recreational travel trailer, we're building a custom interior.

I restored a '61 Bambi a number of years ago, not to Concourse standards, but back to original useability. It was quite nice. The lady who bought it was an artist and had it gutted and then a very expensive new custom walnut interior installed by shipwrights in Seattle. And I must say, although I was horrified that she would gut MY Bambi, the finished product was absolutely gorgeous. That old trailer will easily be around now for another 40 years.

After that experience, I realized that Wally Byam was a realist. He stripped trailers on caravans for spare parts. They stripped and left one in some remote location on one. He experimented with windows, interior design and materials, and was never satisfied with the last trailer built. There was always something to be done better, and he was determined to do it. So, in some ways, I think whatever we do to a trailer that keeps it in service is probably how it was intended to be used!

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 05-16-2003, 10:15 AM   #6
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1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
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If anyone must gut a vintage A/S....

Please make the gutted parts available to those who have need for them, as I have seen some members do on these forums.
The PO who partially gutted my '57 26' Custom...fresh and black water tanks, water heater, bathroom toilet, tub and sink, fridge and furnace... simply took them to a landfill.
This rare trailer would be a prime candidate for restoration if those items could have been salvaged.
One man's junk is another man's treasure.

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Old 05-16-2003, 01:47 PM   #7
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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I agree with most of what's already been said here.

I think if you got the time and money to restore to orginal (or as close to it) and have the desire, go for it. It might be a fun thing.

On the other hand, if you don't, and just want to camp, I say gut it and do it like you wish too. Who knows, as Roger suggests, selling some of the older parts could help pay for the upgrade/renovation of the older unit.

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Old 05-16-2003, 02:13 PM   #8
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1970 25' Tradewind
Cincinnati , Ohio
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Difficult question

Our '70 Tradewind was probably in average condition when we purchased it. All the tambor doors were operational and continue to be. The material on the wooden doors below the two couches has deteriorated. I have all the pieces but just have to reapply some type of material (probably canvas) to fix them. The wooden doors going into the bathroom delaminated and deteriorated to the point of no return because of a leaky bathroom fan. We replaced the fan to stop the leak. Fortunately, with the help of my very talented father we salvaged the frames and fabricated new doors using birch plywood. The grain pattern is a little different and because we used Spar varnish, the finish is a little shinier but the doors turned out beautiful.

I did order new curtains and my next "cosmetic" project will be to reupholster the couches. Sorry, it won't be that ugly green and gold floral pattern (much to my hubby's dismay, he actually likes it!). With kids and dogs, I have been thinking about using a heavy denim. Washable and durable!

I would love for everything to be original but I have to be realistic...we didn't purchase this unit to be a show model but to enjoy with our family.

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Old 05-16-2003, 03:30 PM   #9
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It seems not many gut it at will folks are speaking up. I will. Let's face it some of the color choices are just not attractive today. Would you do your kitchen the same as your Airstream. Mine is original only because I can't afford to gut it. I think it's like a custom car.
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Old 05-16-2003, 03:41 PM   #10
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It comes down to practicality with me. Ours is not in what I would concider good enough shape to justify trying to make it original. We don't plan to sell it EVER so value is not super important. I like the floor plan and that will be the lay out we stay with but we have a few places where the plywood has been damp and delaminated as a result. The PO did a few things that also left screw holes in various places that I can't hide. I would be very hard pressed to cut new pannels and match the existing good wood in both quality of material and color.

My floor plan will stay but some of the cabinetry will be rebuilt and enough of it will be rebuilt that it would be less difficult to strip the remaining and match it to the new. The counter tops, gaucho table will all be redone in modern patterns and materials. The head will be lined in aluminum or SS sheet on the two walls to make it more water proof as well. We plan to lighten it the interror conciderably as far as the wood work goes. The walls already have a layer of paint over the Zolatone. Will will proably stip that layer and go back with a Enamal automotive paint in white that will be easy to clean for years to come.

Many of the the original components such as the Reefer and water heater are there. I have the princess stove and the heater. The stove top works, oven I don't know. That I would like to retain if I can. The heater is questionable. I know it hasn't been used in a long time. What it will take to be servicable and SAFE may not justify retaining it and I will then replace it with a modern unit. I will try to retain the air over water system but I'm dealing with a 40+ year old tank. It was fine last year but how long will it last? When it goes I'll probably rework the floor structure just in front of the axle and hang a polly tank there. I plan to do that in the rear for a gray water.

I will be reworking the belly pan. It will not go back as a single sheet. THe outer edges will be there so that unless you lay in the dirt you will never know but the center will be seperat so it can be removed so I can get to the underside if I need to do any maintance or repairs.

Depending on how much I have to pull out of the interior will govern how much I rewire. ALL the electrical will be check and double checked. All the 110V systems will be updated with circuit breakers and GFIC. Most of the 12v lighting will be replaced with hologen to lower consumtion rates. Our over head lighting are recessed in to the skin so they will stay but the fixtures inside will be replaced with Halogen. Cant bet getting the same light with half the power consumption.

We plan to enjoy ours often so function far outweight authentic in both cost and my time. Now the function was built into it from the word go so other then updating old tired systems were pretty content.

If It had been in great original shape when we bought it I would have been tempted to keep it as original as possible. It just comes down to what you start with.
1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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Old 05-16-2003, 10:24 PM   #11
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I gutted my Overlander 27' 1977....Mold-mildew-dirt-cigarette smoke and a piss smell all gone!...anyway an Airstream reminds me of a high rise apartment in Chicago on the LSD....everything under the sun packed into every nook and craney....Now less is more:space-light-kitchen-storage for large things-more toilet space-more shower space-better ventulation and air conditioning-more hot water-more heat because of foam in place all I have to do is see if I can stand life in a trailer.....guess I'll find out....geof
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Old 05-17-2003, 12:18 PM   #12
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Keep Original On The Surface

With the exception of the reefer, ours looks quite original but underneath all of that refinished wood lies many modern conveniences. New 2 way water heater, new poly fresh water tank (larger too), new Pex water lines, PVC waste water lines, new 12 volt system including IP w/CW. We like the modern conveniences and the comfort in knowing the new is going to last another 40 years.


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