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View Poll Results: Should older airstreams be restored OR customized?
Totally gut the older airstream and start over? 96 47.52%
Keep older airstreams totally original! 111 54.95%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 202. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-19-2004, 10:29 PM   #1
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Rivet Should older airstreams be restored OR customized?

<moderator edit>

I have split this poll from another thread with a different topic...

Shari
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:49 AM   #2
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When it comes to vintage...

I would say it would depend on the condition of the trailer to begin with.

1. If it is in good original shape, with all the original cabinetry, appliances, etc. In my opinion, it should be retained as an original...look for another candidate for a gut & redo. Once it's modified, it is near impossible to go back to original. Personalizing fabrics and "soft goods" like capet, drapes etc. no problem.

2. If it has had a hard life or a PO has made bad modifications or there are more pieces missing than not...go for a totally new look!!! Have fun...rescue it from mediocrity.

Bottomline...if you own it, it's yours...do what you want!

Just my two cents...I want one of each

Shari
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut
I would say it would depend on the condition of the trailer to begin with.

1. If it is in good original shape, with all the original cabinetry, appliances, etc. In my opinion, it should be retained as an original...look for another candidate for a gut & redo. Once it's modified, it is near impossible to go back to original. Personalizing fabrics and "soft goods" like capet, drapes etc. no problem.

2. If it has had a hard life or a PO has made bad modifications or there are more pieces missing than not...go for a totally new look!!! Have fun...rescue it from mediocrity.

Bottomline...if you own it, it's yours...do what you want!

Just my two cents...I want one of each

Shari
I agree with Shari...I want one of each.... year...model...custom and stock!

Aaron
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:29 AM   #4
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I'm with Shari as well. Way too many varaibles.
We are frame restoring a 59 Caravanner. This coach has been in my wifes family since 1980. It's going back close to original andwe happen to like the lay out a lot and think it will be good for the way we plan to use it. The interior is in hornedous condition and will require a lot of work to repair. Still because of the family history it's what we want.

There have been a few coaches that ar already partly disassemble that if I owned I would concider a custom floor plan.
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Old 04-20-2004, 07:09 AM   #5
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I have to play follow the leader on this one.
I would restore mine if it had the interior, so I go custom...
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Old 04-20-2004, 07:40 AM   #6
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Exactly right. If you start out with something that looks like this,


(courtesy Diana Langley's album)

... then I'd try to keep it close to what it is, and enjoy it as a wonderful example of the style of the period, and goes well with the whole idea of Airstreams as being rolling pieces of history.

However, if you start off with something that looks more akin to this,


(courtesy my album)

I'd view that as a potentially clean slate. With no usable furniture or appliances, you may as well draw up a new floorplan and make it completely your own!
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:13 AM   #7
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Rivet to restore or customize.....

I posted 'bomb and AS' as to what I found when I went to my mothers' yesterday and found out what shape my AS was in. I will post pics probably Wednesday or Thursday to see what you guys think. I really don't know what else I will find once I get all of those darned old boxes out of the way. We had redecorated it about a year before we took it to her house as we can not park it here only to find it full of ants and packed to the ceiling in boxes! She had been using it for STORAGE! I am heartbroken....boo hoo. Maybe that is just a sign to start ALL OVER AGAIN---
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:20 AM   #8
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I'm with the rest. It depends.
I would have to ask myself is it a historically important piece or is it a daily user?
That would be the determining factor for me.
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:19 AM   #9
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My kitchen had to be removed to fix the floor . So I decided that
rather than put back the worn out old stuff, I would have it redone the way I would have decorated it in the first place. And the avocado green clashed
with my shirt. But I am an Airstream user more so than a handy hobbyist.
I am keeping what I like about the trailer, original. Does anyone want
a green sink....Bidding starts at $ 1500.
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Old 04-20-2004, 12:33 PM   #10
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My focus is any given situation is to restore lost functionality, preferably by repair instead of replacement. On any given “widget”, if I have to replace a part, I try and find a new part as close to the original as possible, so it both looks original, and performs like it originally did. But I seldom get carried away - If, for example, a plastic pin broke repeatedly, and I could get a steel one of the same size, I would do it.

In a different thread, I was considered a purist because I replaced my door seal with Andy’s OEM material, which was probably more expensive than “Ronco Door Seals - available at fine stores everywhere”. No, I used OEM because they had an established, positive track record, and there was a better chance they would work better longer.

Compared to many, my Overlander was in good shape (as long as you did not want to walk in the bathroom), and amazingly original when I bought it. If I simply wanted to use it, I could have just replaced the bathroom floor, and hit the campground. My wife, however, did not share my level of enthusiasm. She pointed out nit picky things like the disintegrating drapes & rock hard foam under mildly threadbare coverings. She even gave the thumbs down to the 37 year old carpet.

Fine. One of my preferences in life are smooth floors as opposed to carpet. But I could not do that - 1967 Overlanders only had carpet. Deciding that hordes of angry purists with torches would not descend on me in the dark of night, I announced to the masses, well…uh...to my wife, that the finished Airstream would be something fun to camp out of, and not a time capsule display trophy.

The original cabinetry is in reusable shape. All the [original] appliances except for the toilet work or could be repaired. But the drapes, cushions, countertops, and carpet are history. I finished installing the new smooth coverings this past weekend (Overlander is gutted due to bathroom floor replacement). My Airstream originally came with a center double bed, which will be replaced with two twins (which was an option in ’67).

So, although I still have a somewhat original floor plan, no one familiar with Airstreams is going to think it has the original interior. I have no plans to sell it, so recouping costs is not an issue. My four year old enjoys “Daddy’s trailer”, so I hope he will be the next owner. But I am happy with the way it is looking, and know we will enjoy using it for many years to come.

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Old 04-20-2004, 12:50 PM   #11
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If anyone really wants orignal fabrics, I carefully removed orange plaid from our 70's argosy cushions in order to make patterns for the new covers - it's still in my garage. Any takers? I'll throw in a free set of sunglasses...
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:02 PM   #12
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I agree with both Shari [wahoonc] and Tom [tcwilliams].

I rescued my 67 Overlander from use as a storage shed. Since it was 'gutted' and all the appliances had been removed [except the rear bath], my choice was limited at best [purist or custom]. The frame and shell are in very good shape.

I hope to retrofit this model near it's initial configuration [layout] with use of new and upgraded components available in today's marketplace. Am I straddling the fence?

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Old 04-20-2004, 01:18 PM   #13
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can't decide...

I'm keeping mine original, or maybe doing some little mods to make it more functional. Like I've been updating the appliances to make them easier to light and work better, but it's stuff you can't see. I'd like to make some changes to the layout, but I'd still want it to look original when it's done.

I've got no problem with other people modifying theirs. I say do what makes you happy. People sure have done some nice interiors in the reworked ones I've seen. Mine makes me happy just the way it looks now, simple, and uncluttered. Everything you need, and nothing you don't.
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:19 PM   #14
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I have owned four Airstreams now - the first (63) won best of show in 1994 and was about as perfect original as you could get - the second (59) and third (75) were/are also all original. On those trailers I've tried hard to keep it original as possible - in fact on the 75, I just rebuilt the toilet - cost about as much to do that as buy a new one.

I also have a 58. In that trailer, someone spent a lot of time resurfacing all the cabinets with genuine house paneling - yeah the tacky stuff. So in that one I'm in the process of completely rebuilding all the cabinets, planning to use any vintage part that I can find that's in good shape, but I'm also trying to reduce as much weight as possible and going to put in all new appliances, new axles, springs, a/c, wheels rims, toilet, new bedding and upholstery, counter tops. So I should end up with a pretty cool vintage trailer that has modern mechinicals in it. I'm not as worried about keeping it absolutey original as I am it being functional and reliable.

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Old 04-20-2004, 01:40 PM   #15
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Deja Vu. I seem to have had this conversation before.

Anyways... Just about everything I own I have redone, refurbished, restored, renovated, redesigned, retrofitted, remodeled, and fortunately... have not had repossessed.

I think it is really cool to remake (did I use that one yet?) a trailer back to it's original state as if it were new. I love seeing houses done this way, cars, and why not trailers? But for me, I like to modify and redesign things to suit my needs and tastes, which is what I am doing with my trailer. If I could have afforded a new CCD with the options and modifications that I wanted, and gotten back the last few years of my life, I would probably have gone that way. $$$ says otherwise for me. I have no intentions of selling my trailer, even though I know to never say never. It is just my opinion that restoring a 70's trailer with fake dark wood laminates to it's original look wouldn't do anything for it's value should I ever decide to sell it. I believe that the modifications and modernizing of my interior would certainly make it easier to sell, and would make it more desirable. I will say though, that if my trailer had real wood in it that I would refinish panels if needed. I would most certainly change out countertops, fabrics and curtains, and most likely flooring. So in the eyes of Airstream purists, I have sinned. An Airstream sacrilege. I'm having great fun, as should everyone else in their creations. What a great medium aluminum is to work with.
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:51 PM   #16
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Actually, Sneakinup, your trailer is the one I was thinking of when I said I'd seen some pretty nicely done modified trailers. I think your's is great! Not sacrilege at all!
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:54 PM   #17
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Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2004, 02:26 PM   #18
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I don't see how one could improve on the Caravel layouts. I have the dinette in front and it's great. New cushions and fabric and expert made curtains. Replaced fridge with some modification. Oh, cork floor. Wife loves the cork floor.
The 59 is in tough shape. It will be rebuilt/customized/reoriginalized as practical. Meaning good for trips of months and dry camping for a week. That will require departures from the original systems. As far as layout I think AS's are hard to improve on. I draw and draw and draw. End up with there format's or very near everytime. There is only so much you can do different and still have it work as well in 8 feet by something space.
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Old 04-20-2004, 04:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
It is just my opinion that restoring a 70's trailer with fake dark wood laminates to it's original look wouldn't do anything for it's value should I ever decide to sell it.
My point exactly..."it would depend on the condition of the trailer to begin with."

Shari
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Old 04-20-2004, 05:50 PM   #20
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Red face

I spent literally hours on the member's photo forum and am extremely impressed with all of the results. I am really considering gutting it and customizing it for several reasons. One, is it's age and two, I am concerned with the rear separation issue. We want to move the bath to a better location and put a bedroom in the back. Also, we noticed when replacing the old carpet with linoleum some rot. It makes me very curious as to what rust may be on the frame and also just how much plumbing needs replacement. I think I am going to use the quest pipe when I take everything out. The lights in the front gaucho area no longer come on and someone said that I could have a leak from the old antenna located on the top of the trailer. It is so covered in old goo that has been caked on by the PO, that I am hoping that a small leak is the only reason for the light failure. I did not go to mom's today to remove boxes from the trailer because of the weather and am hoping it won't be raining again tomorrow. I will have camera in hand when I go though. Question--we are thinking of using some aluminum on the interior but do not know what thickness to get or where to get it from. We saw some flashing, but it scratches and is flimsy....Has any one used a hand riviter? Let me know if it is worthwhile because I am going to Lowe's tomorrow to look at them and also what size of rivets are best for the interior and exterior????
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