Last week I jumped on a plane and headed towards Elvis. He is now in the care of Uwe Salwender at Area 63 Productions in Orange, California.
Uwe has a fabulous shop with a great crew. It is obvious they all work well together. He tells me that as many as five Airstreams in different phases of restoration have been inside the shop at one time.
His trailers are truly custom, everything from retail space in a ‘Stream to anyone’s dream ‘Stream. The mirror shine on one of his current projects is something to behold.
First, Uwe brought Elvis out from the secure RV storage area which is just a short distance from the shop.
He is sporting new tires and wheels. It was really nice to see the whale tail again shining in the California sun. Especially since Elvis is a California trailer, I’m sure he feels right at home here.
In hardly any time at all, Elvis was emptied of the entire stash of goodies still inside from Trailer Buff.
Because of the weight, the fridge, oven broiler, and the divan were left in towards the front.
Then Uwe had his crew replace the existing casework according to the original layout. The goal was to bring all the casework framing back inside a near empty trailer to get a feel for the space and how it would work.
Speaking of space, Uwe has a clear sense of good design and how space should flow within an Airstream. This is a blessing as the best I can do is say what I want. Uwe understands how to build what I want and make it work in the space I have.
When I was describing how I envisioned living in Elvis, I could almost see gears turning in his mind as he thought it through and made suggestions. I have a feeling that, in Uwe’s hands, Elvis has the potential to be an extremely amazing Airstream.
In the beginning, I had anticipated the original midship twin layout so I’d be able to travel with Mom and keep an eye on her. Sadly, that isn’t going to happen since she has deteriorated to where trailer travel is out of the question. Even though I am keeping the general layout with the existing casework, there are now some new possibilities. I’ll explain more when Elvis is closer to that point.
After reloading everything, we took Elvis to the scales to get an idea of where we were with the majority of the equipment and casework on board. Turns out the gross trailer weight is at 5100 pounds with a tongue weight of 760. Of course this will change on completion, but it is good information to know now.
We towed Elvis back to his spot in the storage facility. He is in good company. Along with some fairly high-end RVs, there are several other Airstreams including Bill Kerfoot’s beautiful two-door 1954 Liner. Elvis will remain here until it is his turn to go to the shop. When I brought Elvis to Area 63 it was with the understanding that he would be waiting in queue behind those that were here first.
Uwe and I pored for hours over the raft of notes collected since the beginning of rebuilding Elvis. Not to mention finish samples, drawings, equipment lists, and electrical layouts. It seems we are all on the same page now and it’s a wonderful feeling. I know in my heart that Elvis is in the right place at the right time.