The story: Due to the imploding economic situation that has been going on over
the last 3+ years, I was forced to sell my 1972 Airstream Overlander. It was a sad
day when I watched it pull out of my driveway, but the cash was sorely needed. 2
years later, times are a little better and my burning itching case of "aluminitus"
had been growing stronger. Not a day had passed that I haven't checked
Craigslist's RV section or scanned backyards and open fields in hopes of finding
another (affordable) Airstream project.
Late last year I even strayed from my illness and purchased a 70's Shasta, gutted
and ready to collapse under its own weight. But for $200 I could just pull off the
shell and use it as a flatbed trailer. I started to tear in to that trailer in hopes of
bringing it back to life, but quickly lost interest. The rotted wood skeleton and
14,920 rusted staples (Tetanus Shot needed) that held it all together was a
nightmare and the long term potential no longer made sense. I may still sew it all
up and use it as an enclosed storage trailer. We'll see. Too many projects as it is.
My panning for aluminum in the classifieds finally paid off. I spotted an ad for a
1976 Airstream. No picture, just a phone number and a price. $1500. Best of all it
was only 5 miles from my home. I phoned the seller, got some info on what I was
about to see and headed out. As with many Airstreams, it had been sitting for 6
years. It was actually located on a commercial piece of property right on the Bay.
Evidently, the gentleman used to work long hours, and rather than driving home,
would just sleep in the trailer over night.
The good news is, that after some fierce negotiating, we agreed on a price for the
trailer that I could not refuse, but I had to get it out of there in a few weeks. His
company was wanting the property cleaned up and excess junk removed. As they
say in Latin, Pro Noblem! The truth is that he dropped the price. He saw that I had
a serious illness and took advantage of me knowing that I would actually come
back for the trailer. He was obviously an enabler. Oh yeah, after checking the
VIN#, it is actually a 1977 Sovereign, 31 footer. Woo Hoo! Not the most desirable
length, but I wanted a larger trailer this time around.
It was mostly gutted but has all the 120 volt, 12 volt, plumbing and gas lines
seemingly in tact. We shall see. I know the AC is 2 year old Carrier and had the
trailer down in a very comfortable range on a 90+ degree day when I went to look
at it. The converter is a fairly new Iota. Not sure of the amperage. The rear bath
and frame has the expected amount of rust and is in need of repair. Without yet
digging in to the underbelly, I can see some serious rust. Nothing I haven't tackled
before. Airstreams never leak, which is why there is so little rust and decay in the
The gentleman was nice enough to pull the wheels off so I could get decent tires
put on for the ride home. The morning of 8/6/11, I met him at the trailer and
secured everything. We hooked Gort up to my truck and I was off. Susan (my
significant significant other) followed behind in her car to deflect items falling off
the trailer from hitting pedestrians and the growing population of homeless people
here in Tampa. Fortunately, nothing fell off, no one was injured, and the ride
home was uneventful. I can certainly appreciate an uneventful day once in a
while. All the big events will come when I start working on the trailer.