Elvis Update – Moving West

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a serious update on Elvis.  There is quite a bit of news.


To summarize, the exterior window front and back frames have been installed.  They required an extraordinary amount of work and look fabulous.


Plenty of angle and straight bracing was added for structural strength and to support the awnings, the A/C and solar panels.


Drip caps, the door eyebrow and awning rails were installed above all windows. Elvis will have Zip-Dee’s all the way around.  The reflective insulation has been installed inside.  You can see the fully-sleeved conduits in the ribs for wiring thus preventing wire erosion when traveling.

The precious Bargman H20-2 lock set was reworked and the door installed.


Several polishing cuts have been done.  Ultimately, carburetor fluid was the magic bullet for getting the gunk off the roof.  That plus lots of muscle.


New wheel wells have been fabricated.  The wonderful Airstream aluminum double step is in place and the Ultrafab power stabilizing jacks are installed.  The lowest clearance point of the trailer is under the power jacks.  Their position in relation to the axles should allow travel over slopes or grades without dragging bottom.


The interior skins were stripped, etched, primed, and riveted temporary to the interior ribs.


Dave had tapered the heavy-duty frame rebuild fore and aft to maintain the vintage Airstream lines.  After he installed has own hand-compounded corners, the banana wraps, and the restored beltline components, it was evident that, in spite of the extra-deep frame, he had achieved his goal.  Look at the detail of his compound drip edge at the A-frame exit point.  Extremely nice work.


The closed belly looks like any other vintage Airstream until you notice the slope at the stabilizers and the beefy edge of the bottom frame.    The stabilizers and axles are mounted in the exposed frame.  Another detail is the access panels to the holding tanks.

Here you can see the full length profile.   While not exactly the original design, the strength and functionality is far superior.

Trailer Buff has done exceptional work on Elvis.  I’m certain none could have done better.  But life has a way of changing plans and Dave has a lot more slices of life on his plate now than when Elvis first arrived.  He is getting out of the Airstream restoration business.  Together we decided transferring Elvis to another professional would be the best option.  Now is the perfect stopping point for this to occur.

Uwe Salwender, owner of Area 63 Productions, has agreed to complete the retrofitting of Elvis.  Wayne Moore, my guardian angel of the Route 11 Caravan, will be transporting Elvis across country to Uwe’s shop in Orange, California.


Yesterday Doug Rowbottom, his brother-in-law, Roger, and I went to Trailer Buff to pack up Elvis and get him ready for transport.  To my great surprise, we had everything done and left for Front Royal before 3:00 PM.

It’s been nearly 4 years since Elvis has been hitched to my Titan.  It felt good.

We even stopped at my favorite diner in New Market, the Southern Kitchen, for a delicious meal.


Elvis was living in the Waddell’s driveway before dark.   Along with several other campers.  You never know who or what you will find at the Waddell’s but you can usually count on a full house.

Elvis is hitched to Wayne’s truck right now.  In the morning he’ll be on the way to California.  Kind of ironic, Elvis, a California Airstream, is returning to not far from Los Angeles where he was born to continue his makeover.   Hmmm, wasn’t there another famous Elvis that found fame, in 1956 no less, partly due to a trip to California to a little town near Los Angeles called Hollywood?

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