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Old 03-07-2012, 06:05 PM   #1
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Local Restoration Businesses

Hello,
My first post.
I don't have an Airstream as yet but it's definitely on the list.
I've been searching the various classified ads in hopes of finding something that catches my and my wife's eye, no luck as yet.
Thought I would ask if anyone might know of any Airstream Refurbishers or builders in Washington State, in case we are unable to find something that meets our wants.
I do not have any experience in working with trailers of any sort so I am a bit hesitant in just gutting one and screwing it up. Especially since we are considering living in it full time.
Looking forward to any feedback that may be offered.
Thanks, Nick
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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hi nick-
i bought a 57 flying cloud in october and took it straight to brian morrow, of brians vintage trailers in bonney lake. he did a fantastic job on my trailer and i could not be happier with his service and work. i have some before and after photos here at 1957 flying cloud i also have a ton of photos on fb.
feel free to contact me if you want more details.
chris
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for responding.

Hi Chris,
Thanks for getting back to me.
I'll check out your pics and keep Brian Morrow's name in mind.
Was this your first Airstream or trailer?
I'm some what anxious to find something in order to get an idea of potential costs.
This will be down sizing to the extreme I think. This was actually the wife's idea and not exactly sure how it's all going to play out yet.... she tends to be a little claustrophobic.
Thanks for offering more details, I'm pretty sure I'll have enough questions to be annoying.
Don't hesitate to say enough, I don't want to wear out my welcome before we happen to meet on the road.
Thanks again,
Nick
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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1957 22' Flying Cloud
portland , Oregon
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hi nick-
i had a vw westfalia for years but found it to be not quite right with 2 kids and a dog. i bought a 57 cardinal had it refurbished. we used it for a summer, loved it but since my real dream was an airstream- i began obsessively looking for one. i knew i wanted a 50's model with a mid bath. i had no idea what size but not something huge. my plan is that i am taking my kids ( age 6 and 9) on road trips each summer to the national parks.

i found one in walla walla that had been sitting for many years. it had changed hands more than a few times among collectors. the guy who owned it was downsizing, so was not really in a rush to sell. i knew that it would be in "as found" condition based on his description on the phone so there were no surprises when i saw it. the bones were there but it needed everything. my only hitch was that i knew i wasn't able to do the work on it . so my purchase was contingent on getting someone lined up to do the restoration. i met julie on line on a trailer forum and knew she'd had her 1959 19 foot globster restored . i spent some time on the phone with her, got brians name talked to him and sealed the deal. i made arrangements to retrieve the trailer and take it straight to brian.

in the meantime i had to sell the cardinal ( which i had way too much money in) and get a new tow vehicle. most of my friends think i am looney- i am a solo mom who works full time and now i am a trailer nut.

i have a few things to do for the cloud ( curtains and beds) before we can go out for our shakedown cruise.

brians work was fantastic. you can look at the restoration photos here on fb

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...3&l=8fc8654f48

happy to answer any questions. chris
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
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Hi Chris,
Thanks for getting back to me so quick.
How long is your Airstream?
I'm thinking about something between 26' and 30'. The little Bambi type are cute but for two people full time, with one leaning towards claustrophobic, we have to be realistic.
Would you be able to give me Brain Morrow's email address or business phone number?
I think I need to pick is brain a little to see just what he will or won't do.
I've seen some for sale that don't even have wheels, so I can only imagine what the frame or axle might be like.
How close were you able to work with him regarding planning and layout?
Does he help with suggestions and better ideas than I may have? Unfortunately, I'm considering on doing this based on what I've read, not from any practical experience as you have had.
I liked your photo update sequence, is that a service he provides or did you have to sneak in when he wasn't looking.
Thanks again,
Nick
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:58 PM   #6
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Also looking for Brian Morrow's contact information if someone can pass it along
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
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Hi Nick:
Del. here, from up near Bellingham. I full time in a 25' with twin beds, the other half visits on week ends (when I'm not visiting her) and loves it.
Due to our weather up here I chose to keep it in a barn and add a little more living space as you can see from the pic. (in winter it's too cold to use the out door "inside" space....but it's certainly do-able.
At first I found it a little confining but living in a trailer is so easy (cost efficient) that it leaves me more time for other hobbies.
As regards to restoring an older trailer.....keep in mind that the newer ones are wider than the vintage ones and that the cost of a refit might put you over the cost of a later model one. They seem to devalue at about a grand per year to a certain point (depending on model, extras and maintenance).
I'm only into this for about 10months but from what I've learned on this excellent forum is that the 25/27 foot ones seem to be in more demand and I can understand this from the simple fact that at that size you have a separate bed room from the rest of the kitchen/bath room/living space.
You can tow one with a F250 (mine used to be towed with a mid-size van...but that was in Kansas where they have no hills).
I think you would need to go to a F350 if you went to a 30' model here- where its all mountains and hills.
So there's my two cents worth. I feel I made the best choice buying an Airstream over less expensive/quality models. But it's really all down to what you want out of this experience. Good luck and don't hesitate to PM me any questions.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Del Gurney View Post

~~

You can tow one with a F250 (mine used to be towed with a mid-size van...but that was in Kansas where they have no hills).
I think you would need to go to a F350 if you went to a 30' model here- where its all mountains and hills.
~~
Stepping up to a 350/3500 from a 250/2500 doesn't buy you any power, and I don't think it gets you bigger brakes either. It just gets you more payload in the truck and consequently a little higher rating for GVWR and GCVWR, and stiffer suspension and more tires to deal with.

The same engines, transmissions and differential ratios are generally available across the whole HD line of any of the big 3.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:53 PM   #9
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seattle duck-
sent you a pm re brians info
chris
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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Hello Del,
Thanks for your response and insight.
Still haven't found or committed to a trailer yet. I've been doing a lot of looking which may have been a bad thing. I seem to be drifting away from the Airstreams and leaning more toward the old Westcrafts and Spartans, the bread-loaf type.
All of that Birch-wood interior really appeals to my wife and I.
Unfortunately, they are a bit hard to find especially west of Utah.
And putting a 30' length into the mix makes it even harder.
I'm basically looking for something that needs to be restored so it can be tweaked toward our wants. I've been in touch with guy that does this sort of thing for a living and seems reasonable, he is located in the Tacoma area so that part is good.
Depending on what I end up paying for the foundation, it will be about half what I would pay for a newer Airstream. I've seen some Airstreams re-done in styles I could live with but they come in at over 100k or more.
Well, with that being said, if you know of or happen to come across something on my list of wants, I hope you'll let me know.
Thanks again,
Nick
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:11 AM   #11
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Hi DBK STAX,
Thank you for your input as well.
I've been wondering what the draw backs would be, getting an older 40's or 50's V8 type car to pull. I suppose it would mean I might have to do something with the rear end and transmission. Although, they use to be used to pull.
Not being mechanically inclined, I suppose my ignorance is showing.
Again, thanks.
Nick
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mncate View Post
Hi DBK STAX,
Thank you for your input as well.
I've been wondering what the draw backs would be, getting an older 40's or 50's V8 type car to pull. I suppose it would mean I might have to do something with the rear end and transmission. Although, they use to be used to pull.
Not being mechanically inclined, I suppose my ignorance is showing.
Again, thanks.
Nick

I'd rate that as "Doable, but you really need to want it."

For the sake of discussion I'll stick to 50s cars since lots of upgrades are available (you could almost build a '57 Chevy from replica parts, e.g.) You'd want to get a car that wasn't a well-preserved original because you'll be destroying some of the value in originality to make a decent safe tow vehicle.

Here's a not-comprehensive list of some of the upgrades I'd want to make before towing far with a 50s vehicle:

Modern engine:
Solid-state ignition
Modern carburetor or (preferably!) fuel injection
High-capacity modern radiator
High-capacity transmission cooler
Modern transmission with overdrive
Disc brakes (at LEAST on the front, preferably all around)
Modern electrical system (new wiring harness, high-output alternator)
Improved suspension (bushings, springs, shocks, etc.)

This is not to say that people didn't tow travel trailers with their '56 Biscaynes, they just did it slow and with less safety and reliability than we've become accustomed to these days. I have every confidence that others will chime in later with stuff I haven't considered in a few minutes of thought.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:13 AM   #13
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Hi DBK STAX,
And thanks for the list.
I'd guess what ever 50's type car I'll be looking at better be inexpensive with all of the other things I should be adding to not endanger any other fellow travelers.
Thanks again for your suggestions,
Nick
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