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Old 06-11-2008, 12:22 PM   #1
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1961 26' Overlander
Prairie du Sac , Wisconsin
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New owner introduction: '61 Overlander

Hello everyone, I towed home a 61 Overlander last weekend that we found slowly rotting away at the "storage lot" of a trailer park.

A bit of the back story- My fiancee and I have been looking for an Airstream for a while now. We couldn't afford to pay a ton of money for one that was already mostly restored, so we've been keeping our eye out on the side of the road, looking for ones that are somewhat abandoned or disused but not in horrible condition. The one we brought home was actually one of the first ones we looked at and ruled out as it had several broken windows, was full of debris and other garbage, had clearly not been used for some time, and clearly hadn't moved in some time. The tags on the trailer expired in 1986.

However, a month or so ago, my fiancee decided to stop by and look at the trailer again. It had been cleaned out, the windows replaced, and was in much much much better condition than we originally thought.

We contacted the trailer park management and from them got the phone number of the woman that owned it. We called her and asked if she was interested in selling it; mentioned a low low price, and felt her out for what she would be willing to let it go for. She was very nice and told us that the trailer was unlocked, that we could go in and look around, and that she would be interested in selling. She lives a couple hours from where we found the trailer, and I think just hadn't really thought about what she was going to do with it.

We went back and looked around some more, poked around in the interior of the trailer some more, and decided to up our offer and see if she'd take that.

To make a long story short, we picked up the trailer this last weekend. The tires need to be replaced, the propane tanks are essentially gone, the trailer needs a thorough cleaning out, floor replaced, (and repaired in some spots) all of the marker lights need to be replaced as the screws that hold them have rusted to the point that you can't even get them out, the plumbing is in unknown condition, but the electrical seems to work, and we haven't tested the gas yet.

Anyway, here she is; We're going to name her "Surely" as the lady that owned it is named "Shirley" and she's been very nice to us.

I have some more photos to show, but haven't pulled them off the camera yet. I'll get them up and ready to show off soon!


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Old 06-11-2008, 12:41 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums and the '61 Overlander "club". It sounds like you got a great deal. I'm sure everyone would enjoy seeing some interior pictures. Good luck with your project.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:44 PM   #3
Mel
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Welcome, and congrats on your purchase. Looking forward to seeing more pictures of your new project! Good luck.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:08 PM   #4
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1961 26' Overlander
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Sure!

Keep in mind, these are before we moved anything out of the trailer at all:

I haven't seen anyone's trailers with the paper/foil/wax paper holder that's on the wall here. I'm not sure if it's OEM airstream or just an owner add on? On the floor you can see the original awning mechanism, but I don't think that we'll be able to re-use it as it stands right now. It's missing the curved outrigger things for the awning mount. The back window was replaced with lexan. The white plank in the bathroom is a table that may have once been mounted but no longer is.




There's some water damage to the cabinet finish, but overall they're in pretty good condition!




I don't know if this is interesting to anyone else, but we found this inside one of the closets and were pretty excited:


There's definitely some work to be done, but the windows all crank, the screens are 99% intact, and while the appliances are pink, they look virtually unused. I'll have to pull out the add on curtain rods, and either figure something else out or just fill the holes with rivets, but we'll see...




Those propane tanks are 20# tanks; I'll more than likely go ahead and buy some new 40# tanks and rebuild the bracket outside.

We're pretty happy though! I'll get those pic's pulled off the camera soon.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:18 PM   #5
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It looks great, what a fantastic find, congratulations!
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:21 PM   #6
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1966 17' Caravel
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Very Cool Pix ...

thanks for sharing! She looks pretty good on the inside for sitting idle so long.
Good Luck on what is sure to become your obsession of fixing her up! Keep the photos coming - they are great.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:24 PM   #7
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Cool! You're right - finding the original warranty in there is pretty exciting. We had that happen in our '60, and carefully worked around it during restoration.

I love the pink oven, too.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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The interior looks great and should cleanup very nicely. Our '61 Overlander did not have an awning so we ordered one from ZipDee. It fit in the lip at the roof line--looks just like yours. I like the double bed configuration in yours. We replaced our propane tanks, the rack, and all the lines for saftey reasons.

Oh yeah, since we have a retired ex-Packers quarterback now living full time in our area----Go Pack, Go!
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:42 PM   #9
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WOW!!! What a find! Congratulations!
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:12 PM   #10
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1961 26' Overlander
Prairie du Sac , Wisconsin
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Here are some pictures of the trailer with air on the tires and the tires on pavement for the first time in a loong while I'm sure:








I'm hoping to get some work done on her this weekend.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:48 PM   #11
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Welcome to the Airforums, Sabre...what a great trailer you've got there! And those appliances! Cool. You're gonna have a ball with it...

Good luck as you begin the adventure...well you've already begun, but now the fun really starts!

See you down the road soon we hope...keep us posted as you progress!
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabre View Post
Here are some pictures of the trailer with air on the tires and the tires on pavement for the first time in a loong while I'm sure:

I'm hoping to get some work done on her this weekend.
Sure looks better up on rubber and out of the weeds. Welcome and good luck!
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:35 AM   #13
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Looks very cool, (granted I'm biased). Good luck with your clean-up.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:31 AM   #14
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Wow Nice Find!

Sabre welcome to the forums and the 61 Overlander Club - I think there are enough of us now eh???

Sure does look like you found a little diamond in the "weeds" I have looked at lots of Overlanders over the years and there are not too many that had the interior intact as yours....however there are a few still out there as you have just proven.

But as you already know they can be pretty on the surface -but they leaked liked sieves when neglected primarily through the windows. And if sitting the years would just drip onto the frame and rot it away. The good thing is mostly the frame would only rot in one or two spots where the constant drip of water would be.

Caution you will have the original asbestos tile floor. So take precautions to handle that very carefully - just do not make the floor friable (in other words don't break out the big grinder or sander) it should all be kept wet and use scrapers and doing it by hand is better than machines that can quickly dry out the work area with exhaust. Same precaution should be used when you get to the wood floor and the residue tile glue which is black it also is made with asbestos - wear appropriate protection and dispose of it responsibly and you will be just fine.

I just had to comment on a "comment" that I have heard so so so many times and actually even have said it myself.

Not too much money to spend on the baby Little do we all know that by the time you put ALLLLLLLLLLL those receipts together at the end of the day - anyone with a Vintage trailer has plowed at least 4-5 years of Monthly payments on a NEW Airstream into their baby before they even know it.....

Dig deep in your pockets.

Love the cool pink appliances - Did the bathroom come in pink too???

Love to say we have started working on our 61 - but not yet - still working on the little 63 LadyBug first. Our 61 is playing host for the 99 salvaged parts at the moment until the new garage is built - then there is no stopping us

Great find, and have a great time with her "Surely" she is going to make you very Happy

Not to hi-jack your thread - but who's got the oldest off the line?? Ohio and California???

Come on cough up those serial numbers - lets have some fun.....

You never know a reunion could be in order - now that would be fun....a field full of 61 Overlanders....

Maybe I will start another thread under this community so I actually don't hi-jack this one on you Sabre...
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:32 PM   #15
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1961 26' Overlander
Prairie du Sac , Wisconsin
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I think the serial number is: 261721-D- that's what it looks like based off this picture:



Yes, you surmised correctly; the bathroom is pink as well! Honestly, I'm not hot over the pink, but we'll see....




Here's a pic of the inside of the fridge; it looks brand new in there:



My first goal is the running gear- breaks, tires, wheels, etc. After that I'll work on the floor. It's rotten right at the door, but other than that, I'm not sure where it may have issues. I need to check the bathroom and up in front as those windows appear to have had the worst of the leaking problems.

Thanks for the tip on the floor tiles! That's what my research had given me too. I've done it before in our house, and ended up throwing out about 200 ft.sq. of nice oak flooring that had that black crud on it. I tried various solvents that were supposed to take care of it, but couldn't get it off and had no desire to sand it. The easiest way I found to get the tiles up in the house was heat- that melted the glue and they popped out without too much hassle. I had a few break, but they broke in big pieces.

I'm sure I'll be coming to y'all for help and advice. I'm going to cross my fingers as I dig into it though and hope that we can get away with doing some basic rehab of the trailer for now and down the road do the full blown restoration. We'll see - as I dig into it, I'll know more.

-S
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:57 PM   #16
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I like how there's always some unique feature on these vintage Airstreams. Yours is the first '61 Overlander that I've seen that has a rear access door below the back window, maybe because it's a double bed configuration, I don't know. Mine has a rear access door on the curb side behind the rear wheel well.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:11 PM   #17
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1961 26' Overlander
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Hmm, not sure what happened to the first pic of the nameplate, here it is again:

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Old 06-13-2008, 02:53 PM   #18
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Wonderful trailer you have there, I bet you'll have lots of fun putting it back on the road and camping in it.

That Dometic fridge reminds me that there was a recall for safety you might want to look out for.

I would also suggest that it might be worthwhile leaving a couple of mousetraps out in it for a while. If it sat in those weeds for long, it's quite possible it already has "residents".
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:55 PM   #19
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For your enlightenment ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabre View Post
...Yes, you surmised correctly; the bathroom is pink as well! Honestly, I'm not hot over the pink, but we'll see.... as I dig into it, I'll know more. -S
"That's not pink...it's California Coral!" - Lana Turner (1961).

Dig this: you are blessed. Your appliances compliment the flamingos you undoubtedly will soon acquire. And they will grow on you as you become attuned to the Ways of Wallyhood.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:24 PM   #20
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Nice find! You got one of the good years. I've got a 1961 Ambassador, and I have the same pink appliances. Sorry, California Coral appliances. Check out my blog to get an idea of where mine leaked. I'll bet you find the same areas on yours.
1961 Airstream Restoration

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