Thursday, August 15, 2013

Airstream Caravel 1969

 I have been dreaming of a vintage trailer since I can remember. And ever since then, I have been nagging my husband to get one. Now, before you go off thinking "why did she need her "husband's" permission ?? Isn't she her own person??". The answer is simple-an old trailer is going to need some major reno and he's very good at that!! So, despite his rejection to the idea I just kept plugging away on Craigslist and looked at thousands of trailers over several years. Once in a while, I would show him a picture and he would say "that one is too big", "that one is too heavy" and so on and so forth.  But, during my hunt, I had come to the conclusion that an Airstream was the way to go. It made sense, they are so light weight and most of them have a bathroom and let's face it, they are just stinking cool. Where was I--oh yes, "resistance is futile", I saw an Airstream on Craigslist which was very close to home, so I talked my hubby into looking at it and we both fell in love on the spot. Who knew ??

We brought her home-she was in rough shape but she was ours. A 1969 Airstream Caravelle!!

So, this is a 1969, Airstream Caravel, in slightly rough shape.

Interior shots

Out on the road:

Most trailers are measured by the size of the box but Airstreams are measured from the ball to the end of the box. So, even though this Caravel is considered an 18 footer, it is actually only a 15 footer since you must deduct 3 feet to account for the length of the tow hitch.

We named her Charlene and fell in love with her on sight. But, alas, after taking her to her first Airstream rally and spending a couple of nights in her we decided that she was just a wee bit too small. Maybe her size wasn't right because we took our four chihuahuas with us, maybe we had size envy because lots of folks at the rally had very large Airstreams (27-31 footers), or maybe it was just because the bathroom was right next to the bed.

So, it was time to fix her up and send her on her way.

We did a lot of scrubbing and cleaning. And re-built some of the missing features. Although we didn't realize it at the time, we were extremely lucky that the sub-floor was in excellent shape.

The sub floor always seems to look better than what was on top of it.

Now a word about renovating an Airstream. At first we thought that it was important to stay as original as possible and there are still many folks out there who stand by that rule. However, we have met many more who did their own thing, gutted the insides and just did whatever they wanted to. It was liberating to realize that there was so much freedom. There are however a couple of things to keep in mind. The original engineers put certain items where they are for weight distribution. For example, the fresh water tank is located in the front of the unit and balances out the weight with the black water tank, which is located in the rear of the until.

The front of the Caravel came with a Gaucho bed. It's kind of like a futon and folds from bed to couch and back again. after living in it for a bit, we decided that what it really needed was a dinette. So, we tore out what was originally the front gaucho (what was left of it  anyway) and built a dinette instead.

As you can see, the table can be pushed down flat for an additional sleeping area.

Underneath the new seating area is the new fresh water tank.

The galley kitchen needed some wood replaced and some re-finishing.

We took out the wood cabinet above the fridge to make room for the new retro so cute microwave.

And now for the bedroom area.

The bed slides back to create a couch with storage bins underneath it. At bed time, the top piece slides out to be a bed.

We angled this piece slightly to make more room to walk when trying to get to the bathroom.

Here is the new fuse panel and a new converter.

Gotta have new tires and red rims!

Charlene"s wet bath:

What is a "wet" bath ? Basically, it means that the shower floor is also the bathroom floor.

So, we feel really good that we left Charlene in much better condition than we found her and after three months of hard work we sold her to one of the "sisters on the fly" and was renamed Hi Ho Silver.

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