Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability . . . better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster. The Six Million Dollar Man
Well, not quite $6,000,000, but in the long run vintage Airstreams can cost as much as one newly minted fresh from Jackson Center. No one should enter into vintage ownership without fully understanding what might be required to get one back on the road. Those gems rescued from abandon in the back 40 can be especially needy.
The old adage, “you get what you pay for”, is fairly accurate in this context. Be prepared to fork out some time, energy, and bucks. Plan your level of renovation or restoration depending on your budget. While interiors can be upgraded over time, your frame, floor, and shell should be solid and tight. Corners cut here will come back to haunt you at the worst possible moment.
Elvis is neither a renovation or restoration in the true sense of the word. He is a complete rebuild from the ground up using materials and technology neither available or used by Airstream in the ’50s. The only things that remain from the day he rolled out the California factory are a few odd pieces, his window frames, and most of his skin.
Some photos here are courtesy of Trailer Buff. Dave Makel, the proprietor, tore Elvis down to the bare bones and built him back to standards far exceeding those in 1956. It was not easy. However, it was done well. You can see that Dave is a stickler for details.