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Old 11-11-2006, 09:41 AM   #1
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new auburn , Wisconsin
Join Date: Nov 2006
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'stream dream...?

hello out there!
First, I have to tell you that this is the first forum I've ever participated in , we go- many years ago while helping with a shuttle of river boats and equipment along the Green River at the Dinosaur Nat. Monument in N.E. Utah I had the occasion to stay overnight in an old U.S. Parks Service Airstream trailer. It was late at night when I arrived at the campsite- not to mention I was exhausted and very happy to have been offered a bed to sleep in. Un fact I hardly remember going to bed. BUT, when I awoke in the morning , I was stunned by the space I was in! I had been in few travel trailers in my life and of them I never felt ANY connection at all. This home was very different, it had a sense of not only efficiancy, but of , of I can't think of a word-beauty will have to do. Many years passed until I experienced another "close encounter" with an Airstream that was parked- maybe even abandoned at a beautful remote spot known locally as Indian Point on a lake in Northern Wisconsin near where a friend of mine has a cabin. Again I was enthralled with this species of beast. How Romantic, quaint, essential! I asked around about the owner of the the home and was told they lived in Illinois somewhere... and never came around much, if at all... I enquired some more, but it came to a dead end. Anyway, here I am- 15 years later, an I have an opportunity to purchase what I think may be that same trailer! I'm excited and, truthfully, a little scared.
What I am looking for is a little advice and some wisdom about whether or not this is a smart move. I really don't know where to begin in making this assessment myself. I have a strong attraction to this home, but not bundles of cash to pour into her! I am a remodelling carpenter with some cabinet making experience and a lot of repair know how. Unfortunately, I have never owned a trailer, RV or motorhome and when I have looked at them the components and parts seem very foreign to me. Thus my anxiety.
Sorry this is sooo long winded!
Bottom line: here is what I have available to me.
1957 Airstream Flying Cloud
No title.
Exterior in what seems very good condition.
Interior very bad shape.
Price: $750
Thanks for taking the time to read this rambling post and thanks in advance for any wise advice you may offer!!
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Old 11-11-2006, 09:56 AM   #2
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
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Welcome! Thanks for sharing your stories about your first encounters with Airstreams - and to think that you have the opportunity to purchase one of those trailers - wow! Now for the serious stuff: if you have experience as a carpenter and can "tinker", then don't let an Airstream project intimidate you, since most components are very similar to what you would encounter in a home. Carpentry experience will be helpful to you if the interior is trashed, since you'll essentially be starting from scratch. It would be important to sit down and figure out exactly what the trialer will need, as far as appliances, axle, etc. - those are the things that can be pricey and add up quickly. I would also check with the local DMV to see what process you would need to go through to get a title, since that can be quite a hurdle in many states. Also check out the search feature on this site to see what kinds of things to look for when inspecting an Airstream - floor rot, etc. If the outside is in good shape, I'd maybe offer $500 and see what happens. Good luck!
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Old 11-11-2006, 10:18 AM   #3
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
OlyPen , Washington
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$750 for a flying cloud in any shape with a good body is a great price. Dented segments are hard to fix and expensive to replace (if you can find the part). You should expect to have to replace most of the systems on a trailer that age. Pluming, electrical, water lines and some appliances. Bigger issues will be floor rot from leaks and frame issues. But.... that is a very cool trailer you are looking at and collectible. Learn to use the search tool on the upper blue bar.

Others have restored trailers like this on and there is a lot of help available. You can fix these old beauties with some time and patience. Welcome to the forums.
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Old 11-11-2006, 10:44 AM   #4
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Venice , California
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 672
Originally Posted by mizizak
hello out there!
What I am looking for is a little advice and some wisdom about whether or not this is a smart move.
well, your in the wrong place if you're looking for a fair, unbiased opinion , seeing how this is an airstream forum and everyone here loves airstreams, especially forgotten ones that somebody wants to purchase and restore.

with that said, i just bought a 1956 flying cloud and paid a fair bit more than the $750 asking price. i knew i would have to replace everything and do a complete shell on or shell off restoration. it turns out it will be a shell off. you'll probably have to replace the subfloor and perform work on the frame. i've never done anything like this before but i've been perusing the forums for a year and now that i finally own an airstream, i couldn't be happier. i spend my days trying to figure out how i can squeeze in an hour here or there to drill out some rivets.

there is a certain amount of money you will need to do a basic renovation, but there are a ton of choices and ways to control many costs. you can find all that info here in the forum. there are several flying clouds that have been renovated and are in the process of being renovated on the forum.

good luck and i'd say buy it (like janet said, offer them $500) because it would put another neglected airstream back on the road (not to mention another flying cloud).

*by asking the above question,
i verify that i have already used
the search feature to the best of my ability...
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:27 AM   #5
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St. Cloud , Minnesota
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David? Your '56 has leaf springs? (not torsion axles?)

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Old 11-11-2006, 12:34 PM   #6
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1964 24' Tradewind
dousman , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 86
Title issue in Wisconsin

Welcome from Wisconsin

Title issue in Wisconsin can be tricky, depending on what you mean by
' No Title '.

If the seller is not the last registered owner - one of 2 things need to be attempted:

The following info and correct forms can be obtained from the
Wisconsin DMV Research and information Dept.

1- establish a chain of ownership - back to and including the last titled
owner. - or -
2 - ( the less complicated of the two )
Attempt to locate last titled owner via registered mail w/ hand receipt -
explain situation - and see if they will sign a bill of sale for the
trailer ( legal - info from DMV ).
(Hand receipt is proof that attempt was made to contact last registered
owner ) ......
-- If last registered owner cannot be found, the DMV decides if you are
going to get a Title.

*** I would not let the title situation or the condition of the trailer dissuade me. The price is unbelievable - think what you will have when you are done ( you're never really done ) - Some things worth having require some hard work.
And it is not as difficult as you might think to tear things down and redo them. The people on this forum are great and always so helpful.

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Old 11-11-2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
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The price sounds good for what you describe, especially with a good outer shell.

The title issue should be investigated prior to purchase. It depends somewhat on where the Airstream was last registered. Some states did not title vehicles back that far, some titled motorized vehicle but not trailers. Keep in mind that VIN's as we know them today did not exist in 1957. In some staes, trailers were not even registered.

I would go to my local DMV and ask to speak to a supervisor. Explain the situation and provide what information is available. That person should be able to instruct you as to what needs to be done to secure a valid registration and/or title.
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Old 11-11-2006, 02:52 PM   #8
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Venice , California
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 672
bob, i do have leaf springs which i'll replace with a torsion axle. i think airstream changed over sometime in '62. maybe someone else will know for sure.

*by asking the above question,
i verify that i have already used
the search feature to the best of my ability...
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Old 11-11-2006, 06:23 PM   #9
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1968 20' Globetrotter
Albuquerque , New Mexico
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to many issues for for me to handle,take them one step at a time---------

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Old 11-12-2006, 12:12 AM   #10
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1963 16' Bambi
1962 22' Safari
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Go for it!

I agree with Janet... if the outside isn't dented and the trailer rolls, it is worth the fix. You can fix the frame, floor, and a axel and brakes/tires, electrical, and it may cost you some hard cash. But, then you can work at your liesure and make cabinets, plumbing, add things as you go along. You can camp in your "empty" trailer with just a floor. Sort of like a moveable tent! We bought our Bambi and after purchase just paid as we went ~ as we could afford. It works. We currently have a flying cloud and are doing the same thing.

Here is the link to our restoration of our Bambi ~ it is long but it will give you an idea of the processes my husband went through:

Welcome to the forums, and post some pics of your potential buy if you aren't sure and you might get more specific feedback. But it could be a real beauty when restored/renovated! If you purchase it, don't throw the interior away even if it looks terrible and is full of mousy presents... sometimes there are knobs and such that folks will give a right arm for! The old cabinetry can be used for patterns. I have seen several folks who gutted their streams and some of us just cry... we could have used that part! You have potential to sell most of the things that come out of the trailer, except old mattresses, and stuff that is like that...but they still can be used as patterns for some...

Good luck. Let us know what you finally decide!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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