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Old 03-14-2016, 07:26 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Los Angeles , California
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 7
Vintage Airstream Questions

Hey All,

I am new to the forum and I have been doing a fair bit of reading. I am about to take the plunge and I thought I would reach out to the community to avoid as many surprises as possible.

I am looking to get into a 1960's 31' Airstream. My intention is to create a retail space for my girlfriends clothing line.

The exterior obviously needs to be appealing, so the skins would need to be in good shape or I would need to have the body restored to get that beautiful silver shine.

The interior would be gutted and designed to accommodate retail, most likely removing the need for plumbing (unless she demands a bathroom for days she is working). Having a construction background and a network of people in the field, I am not too concerned with this part of things, but any ideas regarding the type of costs/issues I can expect here would be helpful - IE electrical materials, best practices, etc.

Then there is the actual frame, ribs, etc - is there anything I should be looking for here? I am no welder and my instinct is to buy one already gutted and that has had some work done. I work on 1965-66 mustangs and have enough background for the axel and brakes, I think. Is this a mistake? If I needed to have work done on the frame and sub-panel what kind of cost and time turn around can I expect? The goal is to have this up and running in a few months - Money is there, but time is an issue...

Anyone have resources in the Los Angeles area for body work and frame work?

any/all insight is appreciated. I will be trolling the forums trying to gather as firm an understanding as possible...
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:46 AM   #2
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1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 12,375
Images: 108
First off, welcome to AirForums!

Sounds to me that you kinda answered your own question...

For what you are looking to do, in the timeframe you are looking at, it would be best to start with a gutted, but solid shell. You will save money & time in the long run. If you buy an "as found" trailer, then gut it, you may save money on the purchase price - but you won't know what you have bought until it's too late into the remodel. Then you will be at the liberty of someone else's timeframe and availability to get major issues addressed. If you start with a solid empty shell, it'll only be a "fit & finish" - not a potential total rebuild.

Vintage Airstream projects always take longer than expected...

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

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Old 03-15-2016, 08:45 AM   #3
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1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4,761
Images: 9
Sounds fun and pretty!

An empty trailer/gutted will be easier to inspect and less work.

Poke around for soft floors. Roll underneath for a good look at the integrity of the frame if you can see it under the belly pan. Find your leaks before you put in any product. electric cord for plugging in or a quiet generator should do for electric.

The old bathroom areas make nice storage areas or fitting rooms.

Put her seat/counter/greeting area near the door.

LOTS of images online or Pinterest.

Area 63 Productions, Uwe Salwender near Rancho Cucamonga is a great source and he may even have some empty shells sitting on the lot.

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