Friday, December 30, 2005

Take a breath!

Tonight, I have been working on our photo album of this restoration, so that when we are done, we'll have this blog, but also, a hard copy to have with us in the trailer as we travel to show people the ins and outs of doing something like this. As I went back to capture all of the pictures we have, I found these, that I received from RichardT up in Bat Cave while we were considering purchasing this trailer. These are neat. Just look at those badges...."Sovereign of the Road" - I love it! I corresponded with Colin on it, and I'll post the email list of the things he sent to me to consider so that I knew what I was getting into upon buying it. So, here are some pictures of the "coolness" that the SOTR has, at least in our eyes! Here is what Colin told me to think about back on June 17th, 2005. So now, as we think back, this is exciting to see it all happening:

-Dent rear curbside (probably repairable without replacing the panel)
-Bent rear bumper (straighten & repaint)
-Needs front window frame(ebay) -Living room overhead light fixture is missing shade
-Non original fridge, possibly electric only
- Latex paint covering original Zolatone( probably just a scuffing required for prep work before re zolatoning)
-Woodwork appears to be stained dark to cover water stains. Probably white birch underneith. (we love the curved woodwork & the light wood color of ours)
-Original mattress covers (stained) nice single original looking bunk bed
-Original stove(needs cleaning of propane system)
-Missing onion skin from original front wall sconces (probably available from lighting stores)
-Original hot water cover + possibly original heater
-Missing kitchen side vent cover (ebay)
-Missing one Hehr roof vent cover (ebay)
-Missing original bifold doors. (ebay or Lowes)
-Original furnace not shown & may be missing or not ordered originally.(ebay or modern Catalytics)

All in all the body looks very good for it's age. It's a 7 panel model so possibly slightly less desirable than a 13 panel model from 57 or earlier. It will require a new floor & flooring, re zolatoning the complete interior, strip & refinish or replace most interior woodwork, possibly a new fridge or find an original one & refurb it, tub requires repainting, new bifold doors, upgrade the brakes with new backing plates, custom gray tank installation, upgrade to the AC & DC electric systems. It needs to be gutted to do it right but could be turned into a very comfortable, usable, light weight jewel that could be used for the rest of your life.

Our 57 Sovereign of the Road has similar pros & cons however this one has a much better exterior skin. If I charged myself for the metal work required on our trailer, it would cost several thousand $. This one has great potential however you need to be in for the long run & have something else to use in the mean time unless you have plenty of $ to get it done ASAP. We could do the major structural stuff and you could probably get your brother inlaw to do the cabinetry work to save a few $ or we could do it all.

Stripping and Repairing

Today, I received these three photos. The first photo is from this summer, in as found condition. It shows the bent window frame above the galley sink, and the missing vent fan cover - these let water in over the years. Colin's pictures show that the window frame is off and straightened out now, and the second one shows a vent I found off of an old Mobile home for $5, that I will use the cover off of. It is aluminum and identical. The last is of the inside panel in the paint booth having the old flaking white paint removed via high pressure. I can't wait for that to be back in and will be soooooo nice! Enjoy.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Man am I jealous. I haven't been able to get up to Colin's yet to see in person our trailer yet, since we took it up there at the end of October. But, Michele and Leon (myboyburt on the forums) were there at GSM Vehicles today and took some I jealous that Michele has been able to see our trailer. But anyway, here are some pictures they took as they dropped off their Excella for some APB work. That last picture is an Airstream optical illusion. See ya tomorrow!

More on the windows!

Here are a few more window shots!

Windows, Windows, and more Windows!

Well, on some things, we've been fortunate, and had luck with, like the frame and chasis. The floor is in without many issues as well. Now, the windows. These are consuming more labor than planned, but we are doing what we need to now, and doing it right in my mind. Sure, it's going to cost more, but hey, we are going to be using this for the rest of our life! So, here are the windows, freshly cleaned, new screens, and gaskets, being cleco'd in and then the new rivets being bucked back together.

More nakedness!

Here are the rest of the inside all out! Enjoy.
Windows will be posted soon.

Feeling a little naked!

Well, Colin and team, after getting all rested up over the holidays, have once again been tearing away on the trailer. Today, I received pictures that at first, took my breath away. The Sovereign of the Road now has no inside skin, it's being cleaned for Zolatoning, and the the windows are beginning to go back in. I'll put up another post in a little while concerning the windows, as that is a subject all of its own. So, here we have Colin's guys taking out the inside skin, revealing more than the trailer would probably care for. Enjoy. Look at that, ALCLAD on the front curved section of the trailer...things that make you go hmmm?
I'll post a few more of it completed in just a minute!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In between Holidays

After taking a few days off, I received a call from Colin today. But first things first, what I got for Christmas. I finally have a copy of Lillie B. Douglas' Capetown to Cairo book. I've been looking for one for quite some time now, and Zoe' found one for me as a Christmas present. I'm a slow reader, but already on page 80. It is quite fascinating knowing that in 1959 41 Airstreams left the USA with their Airstreams to travel through Africa. In 2009, there is a group that wants to do it again, 50 years later. I also received the Limited Edition of the Airstream's Wanderlust. The book binder is really neat, all done up in Aluminum with rivets! I go a cool Airstream 75th anniverssary T-shirt, and two rear lenses for the SOTR along with an Airstream calendar.....yes, my co-workers think I've lost it! Aluminitus. Well, back to Colin's call. The rear bumper was straightened on their press, and the twist it had it out too, looks great according to Colin. It is all POR 15'd now. The windows (alot of labor in these babies, and the SOTR has a ton of them) are starting to go back in today. They are all polished too! Colin received my clearance /side marker lights that I purchased from Airstream a while back (I finally got around to sending them to him) and also an Heir vent that I had purchased off of Ebay for the vent and lifters. Yes, the Shasta has a pair that we will use also. I think we've decided to leave the beauty marks on the rear's a hard call since we have it all torn down right now. Let me know what you think we should do! Hey, it's 47 years old (almost 48, would the 59 models be out now 47 years ago?). Take care all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Skin condition / Polishing

Here are a couple pictures of the skin being looked at. When looking for a trailer to restore, the skin condition was one of the more important items to consider, in my mind. We had one dented area on the Sovereign of the Road when we purchased it. The first and last picture show this area well. Remember, polishing brings out issues that you do not see when the dullness is present, blemishes blend in. Put polished, the tinyest (sp) scratch sticks out like a sore thumb. I've also included another floor shot on the door entryway. It looks great! Colin really re-enforced that area, so check it out at this years Cherry Blossum Rally with the Washington DC WBCCI unit. Hopefully it will be liveable by then.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Glow of a floor - is nice!

Well, the floor is all down, and now the trailer needs to be bolted to it, to the frame. It is a nice feeling knowing how solid the floor and trailer under is, or should I say will be. Colin sent a few more pictures today, as you can see. Notice how on the front outriggers, that they do not go all the way out to the outer skin. So, Colin and his team have added a couple stringers to help strengthen that area, where the gaucho will be. Enjoy!

A bit of family history

As many of you can probably tell from our blog, my Grandfather was an Airstream owner and a member of the WBCCI, and loved to travel. His name was Donald L. Stanton, from North Norwich, NY. He started Airstreaming in 1960, and I grew up on his farm with an Airstream on it. Here is my Uncle, Donald, and cousin, Alexia, in my Grandfather's and Grandmother's WBCCI beret. This was taken around 1962. Also, is a shot, taken by Rich Luhr of Airstream Life, of me in, yes, my Grandfather's beret. I think it is very cool. Reading of Wally's Trailer Travel Here and Abroad, I was fascinated to hear how and why the Beret began to be utilized. You hear alot of people state that it is Militaristic (great, I'm a Marine and we are free to live because of the Military), that it is old fashioned (great, I love the old times), and that it's just not hip! Oh well, I still like it. There is a thread on the Airstream Forums right now that made me think of putting this here, and I'm proud to wear my beret!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Windows and Belly Pan

Here are some pictures of the damaged belly pan in the rear. Today, Colin and I discussed what we are going to be doing with belly pan. There are two options. To drill out the rivets, and put the belly pan in like original, or to just put a new belly pan up as close as we can to the current rivet line, and rivet in the new belly pan. We are opting for the all original mode, as this will again make the trailer look like it did when new. It might require a little more labor, but the inside skins are out, and since it is so accessible now, we might as well go this direction now. This way we will not have two rows of a rivet line at the bottum of the trailer. We are putting in all new belly pan. The rear of the pan was missing / non existent and the rest was old and rough. There goes an easy $1000 at least (materials/labor). Also, here are views of all the windows out, cleaned, being polished now, and will soon be going back in. Again, enjoy!

Polishing Prep

While the lights are out, to make the polishing easier in the future, we are pre-polishing the areas around the tail lights and clearance lights now, so that when the trailer is polished, we will not have to spend so much time doing the finer plishing around these "polishing obstacles." This will save time in long run, by doing it now. So, here are a few pictures so that you can see how this "Jewel" of the Road is going to look. I'd love to hear some feedback on what you think of the project thus far. Next will be some window issues.

More Frame work for ya!

The frame is looking nice! This will more than last another 47 years. The first is of the frame up front, all POR 15'd. The next two are the rear frame rails where you can see the inner steel beam inserted and welded to the old frame rails. The last is the frame being worked on up front, grinding and cleaning up the welds, for a smooth belly pan fit. Looking sweet Colin and team! I'll be posting some initial polishing / prep work on the lights in my next posting, later tonight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Roof Vents

Well, the roof vents I had been looking for arrived yesterday at Colin's. Thanks again Doug! We will use these as patterns, as one is made out of all steel, the other is aluminum top, with galvanized bottum. One is for the furnace and one is for the refridgerator.