This is an excerpt from my book – “Restoring a Dream”. Available on Amazon.
Why would anyone one want an old trailer anyway? I originally chose to ‘go vintage’ because I wanted to get into trailering inexpensively. Where there better reasons that that? I wanted to understand why some people would choose to have an older trailer over a new one.
Why would someone buy a 100-year-old home, or a car from the 1950’s? Things that are older have a certain character or charm about them. They were made in a simpler time with simpler technology. A lot of the components were hand-crafted. This in itself doesn’t
make them better than new, but for a certain type of individual it does. They can look beyond the dilapidation and see the potential.
Think of a vintage Airstream as a blank canvas. One that you can paint your own picture on, and create whatever vision you personally have. You can restore a vintage trailer to showroom condition of yesteryear, or you can update it to something new that suits you. The problem you have when looking at a new trailer is that you’re saddled with someone else’s idea of what you might like. You have to compromise from the start.
When you choose to restore a vintage Airstream, you’re essentially restoring history. By restoring a trailer you’re not adding to a landfill, but saving something from it. As I mentioned earlier, it does require a certain type of individual. Someone interested in restoring an Airstream needs to look past the issues of an ‘As-Found’ trailer and see its potential. Patience and perseverance are words that come to mind when you choose to ‘go vintage’. Once you commit to restoring a vintage Airstream, you have an open canvas. There will be hurdles to overcome, guaranteed, it’s all part of the journey. You’ll also have great satisfaction when you’re camping in a trailer that you restored. Often times when camping in our restored trailer, I look around and think about all the work I put into the restoration. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing that we are enjoying the product of my labor.
There are many advantages to ‘going vintage’. One advantage is that you can select the type and quality of the appliances, furnishings, and layout that you like. Almost anything that you can imagine can be on the table. Another advantage is that many of the older Airstreams used a higher quality of aluminum that has an alclad coating, which is stronger and more resilient than modern Airstreams.
Vintage Airstreams are lighter and often have better layouts than newer models that allow you to see all the way through the trailer, from the front window to the rear window while towing. There is a lower entry price when buying vintage, which you can add to as funds become available. Don’t forget that vintage Airstreams can be polished to a mirror shine. Folks, let’s face it, vintage Airstreams are cool!
Ok, I got it, going vintage is the way the go. The next step is to find the right vintage canvas.