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Old 12-03-2019, 09:36 AM   #1
Want to buy your Int'l 16
Currently Looking...
1961 16' Bambi
Panama City Beach , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 18
1961 Airstream Bambi 16 - Florida

Title: 1961 Airstream Bambi 16 - Florida
I just posted a new ad on Airstream Classifieds.



For Sale by owner-

1961 Airstream Bambi- $27,000 or best offer.

If the market tells me this is too much over time I will lower the price. Come see the unit and make an offer.

The Bambi model was offered for only 3 years (1961-63). It is regarded as one of the most sought-after collectible travel trailers ever built. Ubiquitous with the Airstream brand, the Bambi has been featured for over a half century in numerous aspects of pop culture (toys, television and film, photography, consumer products, etc and even has a dedicated exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Approximately 1,100 units of the Bambi were produced at two different Airstream factories in California and Ohio. Ours was built in Santa Fe Springs, California. My dad and I searched for our Bambi for 2 years and found ours in August 2015 in Canada. It was owned by a nice married couple- both school teachers. They were the second owners. It was mostly original and in good shape and it did not need a full shell off restoration. But it was still not in the shape we wanted it to be (functionally and cosmetically) so over the course of the next 2 years we rehabbed her.

To the best of my ability I will summarize everything we did. I know that I will forget stuff as some time has now passed. Pls feel free to ask questions – between the two of us my Dad and I should be able to come up with the answer…

The electric and the plumbing were redone and modernized. We are happy to provide pics but don’t have them handy at the time of listing.

We removed the original gas furnace (it worked but to be honest I was afraid to use it). I don’t trust almost 60 year old propane systems – I don’t want to risk asphyxiation or a fire/explosion. We considered adding a modern propane furnace back in but because we do not boondock (every time we camp in the cold we have access to power) we decided to go the route of a simple but awesome / modern looking Dyson unit (visible in the pictures). I have camped in as cold as 18 degrees Fahrenheit and even then it keeps the Bambi toasty warm (hot actually!). I was so impressed by how well it works that I never looked back on the decision to remove the old furnace. The Dyson is included with the Bambi unless for some unexpected reason the buyer doesn’t want it.

Because Airstream did not have in-roof AC units in 1961 models- it was important to me to NOT cut into the roof and alter the exterior appearance/lines of this classic. So we did some research and found some creative solutions on the Air Forums website. We installed a new LG A/C Unit in the closet. It is vented out of the old furnace vent. This has served us well every time except for once- when we made the mistake of camping in over 100 degree temps and the unit kept turning off its own compressor (as designed). I suspect it is because it was just too hot in the closet area behind the unit where it vents out. Other than that it’s been great. Tested the unit this past weekend on a warm Florida day and as always it worked fine.

The bathroom/shower compartment is original and in great shape. Everything works but it is so small that we generally do not use it when we camp. We replaced the toilet and it works. I do not know if the combined grey/black tank is the original (I don’t think but not sure). We had a plumber sign off on it so we haven’t messed with it.

When we took out the original flooring/tile to install the nice hardwood we have now- we discovered two small soft spots in the floor. We reached back out to the previous owner inquiring and he came clean that he did learn from the original owner that there had been a leak incident. It was the fresh water holding tank (More on that below).. We removed the two small areas of damaged wood (allowing some clean margins) and then we patched both- strictly following Airstream’s own procedure documented in their original Bambi manual. Once everything was solid as it should be we closed it all up with new subfloor and added gorgeous hardwood which we installed at a distinctive 45 degree angle. My Dad was annoyed by the degree of difficulty in installing the wood this way (too many cuts, triple the amount of work because such a small space) but he agrees the end result is well worth it.

We took apart and rebuilt/reused the materials for the original L shaped seating/bed. We shaped and added a beautiful aluminum accent/trim piece along the seating edge (see pics) and installed new legs. The cushions were remarkably good (which made us question if they really were the originals) so we kept them but had them professionally reupholstered in white leather.

The original overhead storage is intact but we removed the old sliding doors and replaced them with a modern translucent resin material (this was very expensive but worth it) purchased from a company called 3form. This is the company that Airstream uses for the sliding doors in the overhead compartments of their swanky International line. We outfit the unit with a flat screen TV, a Blue Ray player, an HD antenna.

A miscellaneous finishing touch to share- we added a custom made brass BAMBI badge to the top shelf on the interior front of the unit (see pics). It was created to match identically the BAMBI font present on the exterior badging of some of the later Bambi models. We have a second brass badge (included) that the new owner can optionally install on the exterior. We initially intended to but didn’t after learning it wasn’t present on the 1961 California model.

The original light fixtures in the seating area have been replaced with brand new mid century modern fixtures which we adore. The rest of the fixtures in the unit are original and functional. Same with the exterior marker lights and taillights which if I recall correctly my dad rewired..

The original accordion doors for the closet and bathroom compartment were nasty. We replaced these with brand new ones purchased from Vintage trailer supply.

The original kitchen is intact and in great shape. I watched the nice Canadian fellow we bought the unit from light the stove and the refrigerator (both propane). But again- I am afraid of old gas systems so we do not use it. We did not redo the propane lines. Again- this is simply because we do not boondock. When I camp I keep my drinks and food cold in a nice Yeti cooler and I cook outside either on my grill or on a campfire.. So- I decided that I’d rather keep the original kitchen items for their aesthetics/historical significance than replace with something modern that I would never use anyway. New buyer is welcome to optionally update as preferred.

The Bambi has been outfit with new wheels (baby moons) and new tires. These have under 1,000 miles on them mostly from the drive from my dad’s workshop in St. Louis to the Bambi’s present home in NW Florida. We have only camped locally since owning her (Grayton Beach State Park, St. Andrew’s, St. Joseph’s Peninsula, etc). There is a rear mounted full sized spare as well.

I consider the exterior of the unit to be 8.5 to a 9 out of 10. It isn’t flawless but for a trailer that was made right about the time JFK first took office it is in remarkable shape. It isn’t as mirror like shiny as it was when we bought it in 2015 but it is still a looker. If I was buying it from me I would consider a polish “touch up”. If I lived in a region of the country where a good polisher is located I would have had it done already. I won’t let just anybody touch it. Other exterior items to mention— we added some custom made louvres for aesthetic purposes over the side A/C vent (formerly the furnace vent) as well as in the rear of the Bambi under the small iconic window. We painted the propane tanks silver. My dad welded/refinished the trailer tongue making it as good as new. There is a new 7 pin wiring harness.

The Bambi has the original freshwater holding tank in place. For this unit it is located in the very front of the unit underneath the window and behind the seating/bench. We verified that the tank has a leak and after much research my understanding is it cannot/should not be fixed but instead needs to be replaced.. I came close to doing it. The company that makes the replacement to spec is called Inca Plastics. I think it was about $375… BUT I decided not to do it.. Like I keep saying- we don’t boondock. So I decided that I would rather keep the original cool looking galvanized tank intact and if we ever sold the unit the buyer would have the choice to get rid of the original and tap the new tank right into the updated plumbing. We installed a valve/switch that leads right to it so the unit is all set if buyer wants to add a freshwater tank and use it.

Miscellaneous- Included in the purchase is the original folding table (matches the kitchen colors) which we don’t use but kept despite numerous requests to purchase it from other Bambi owners. Instead of that table we use a small white stool. It is a better fit for the space and looks great. This is included assuming the buyer wants it. Same thing with the little faux plants and the red Keurig coffee maker. Almost forgot- we have the original fabric awnings but we do not have the poles. They are blue striped and will be provided to the buyer folded in a bag which is exactly how we received them.

I can’t think of anything else other than- we are including all of the pillows and bedding. Contact us if you have questions. Regards, George
You can contact us by filling in the form on the right hand column of the ad listing:
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