Restoration of Scott and Kathy's 1955 Flying Cloud Whale Tail - Our California Vintage Airstream.
Airstream Restoration by Colin Hyde Trailer Restoration

Friday, January 29, 2010

Published by Permission from one of the foremost Vintage Airstream Enthusiasts -
Your Flying Cloud is a 100% custom layout and features by the the original buyer – I really like the layout they chose, too bad time beat the crap out of the trailer. Only thing missing is a shower, but it has a full aft twin bedroom and front dinette. Ideal travel layout. They really thought through want they wanted.

The wood species (Elm) is in line with the other options in the trailer, and was probably custom specified (upgrade). Same with the front Jalousie. If you peruse the archives, you will come across similar early-mid fifties trailers with the option as it allowed from ventilation.

Best of luck!
'65 Caravel
'56 Flying Cloud

Shiny New Sink Plan

We continue to work on the bathroom plan.  It must and will be functional and therefore is the area with change.  This street-side bathroom will have a wall toward the front of the Airstream.  

The above temporary mock-up is made Lauan which is a thin inexpensive material to use for figuring out the layout.  The final wall material is not yet decided. 

The top paper circle will be where the mirror is attached.
The bottom shows the lavatory sink mock-up - it is 3/4 of a sphere. Made in stainless steel, the bottom quarter of the sink protrudes from the wall, while drain will be hidden in the wall. The back splash will be the top quarter of the sphere - here the layout mock-up is only half of a discount store bowl. The faucet is hidden just behind the wall. A quick disconnect will be also part of the faucet spout, so that we can attach the hand-held shower hose with shower head. We are checking with our local metal fabricator/guru/artist, to get the possibility and details worked out.

To the left is the promised drawing of the wall's layout.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jealousy of Jalousie windows

Interesting comparison of two vintage Airstream trailers - Front Window Sizes.
Our 1955 Flying Cloud on the left seems to have a taller window than the 1956 Caravanner
Could be due to our Jalousie window?

Singing in the New Shower Pan

The best part of The VAP Episode 108 was Steve Dancin' Hansen learning how to pronounce East Coast town names - Thanks Tim!

The new shower pan fits! 
Next time I only sing in the shower! And apparently I amuse my husband....
We have been digging out of ice and then snow in Iowa and just this morning heard Kathy’s gone vintage thing when she called into the show. Too funny! I will cherish the lyrics for years to come. Gone vintage, Scott

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Late Arrival - Existing 3-D Layouts

This is a post a bit out of order, sorry.
Existing layouts - in 3-D

Just click here

Nice Rear End!

Our bumper needs work. While functional for the time, the basic bumper won't cover all our need for more modern connections.  We are replacing it with a bumper trunk.  The new bumper trunk will look something similar to the one below.  Ours is being designed to hold a quick-disconnect mount for an exterior water hose. Great later-model feature for washing off mud from our fly-fishing boots and Byam's feet.  We want to keep the hose connection discretely hidden from view - vintage Airstream with an upgrade that we think Wally Byam would like!

And we are looking for a license and light assembly with fewer pits.  Shopping for vintage...

Wally '55 Flying Cloud - Now Byam's '55 Flying Cloud

How cool! We got a message from Wally - the man who sold his trailer to Colin!
We hope to learn more about our "new" Airstream as we became the caretakers.

My bit to ponder...
So what was Wally's '55 Flying Cloud
Is now Byam's '55 Flying Cloud - it just seems meant to be!

This is a photo of Byam on our first full day together! That very first day she became an Airstreamer, as we took her with us to get our CCD from storage for the year!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thanks! Tanks!

Happy Birthday Scott!
Yes I know that aluminum propane tanks are cool!
And the tanks won't be needed for at least a couple years.
But I wanted to get something special for Scott.

Travel to Plattsburgh by Air, by Sea, & by Land

Ferry to Plattsburgh!

Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations - Huge Door! And temporary home for Vintage Airstream & Argosy Vintage Thunder
1/21/2014 - Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations has moved - still in Plattsburgh NY but in a nice, warmer, and larger building.  Call Colin at (518) 578-7772

For more photos click here

Sadly only Scott was able to fly out to see our Airstream this trip.  
I so can't wait to see and sit in my vintage trailer.

I Can See Clearly Now - The Pane is Gone

Reid is hard at work removing the windows.
The plan is underway - new glass, cleaned up, and polished.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bathroom - Location Location Location

Existing layout Below

Option 1 Below – Current scheme, toilet in rear of bath near wheel housing. Like the steps from the overhead cabinet to refrigerator to bath.
Option 2 Not shown – Similar to option 1 but toilet moved to front and wheel housing in the shower space.

Option 3 Below– Bath enlarged forward, keeping rear wardrobe cabinets. Problem with access to dinette and no furnace.

Option 4 – Cabinets moved into corridor. Problem with access to dinette and limits view in trailer of rear. Took too much from trailer interior.

Enlarged photos - click here

Oh Where Oh Where will our Little Wall Be?

It is true!  Campground shower houses are improving and some can be like a luxury spa!  But we like to boon-dock and stay in non-commercial campgrounds.  National, State, County, and City campgrounds are more limited in their facilities.  National Forests and shopping center (Wal-mart) parking lots offer no bathrooms.  So for me, I feel it is a need  to shower inside the trailer.  I feel more secure and warm stepping out of a warming shower into my own space.  So an slightly enlarged bath will take the space from a small closet.  We will keep the curbside closet for hanging clothes, and fold most clothing.

Scott and Colin are both working on the same question.
How wide is the street-side wall? 

For added space to shower, we are changing the bathroom original layout.
Our new layout is from the front of the trailer:
   Heater in front, enlarged bathroom in the middle, and the refrigerator toward the back.

Should the wall all line up in one plane, or step back?
First option - wall be all in one plane?

Upper photo with Colin's mock-up made with a really thin Lauan Plywood.
Below it is Scott's computer sketch of the same view. 

Below upper left photo with Colin's Lauan mock-up view is toward the front of the trailer
On the right is Scott's computer sketch of the same view, showing a bit more of the bedroom.
Again a flat wall.

Second option - step the wall back?
Scott's CAD Drawing     and Colin's mock-up

Step-back wall CAD drawing looking toward the back of the trailer.
I like the step-back version, with a tiny bit less storage, but a better line of site.  It feels less massive and lighter to me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We own a new toilet!! Good Bye Gopher Hole!

Some things vintage are worth keeping and restoring.  Other things, while historical are not worth keeping.  Well, the old toilet had to be replaced - our new toilet arrived and it fits. Good bye gopher hole! Hello black tank! The black tank (to hold toilet contents) will be located under the new toilet.  The decision is made - above the floor and under the toilet as shown by the mock-up box right next to the wheel well.  Approximately 13 gallons is the plan.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bathroom - 1st Mock Up Ideas

With the toilet moved to be next to the wheel well, there will be room for the black tank above the floor.  This location fits the toilet and leaves leg room for my feet inside the future shower pan. Colin sent these photos so that we could decide on a location for the bathroom lavatory sink. The bowl shows possible locations for the lavatory sink.

We did not want a 34' trailer, as we like to travel to National Parks and other locations that may have trailer length restrictions.  Our travels with rented motor-homes and trailers helped us to really decide what we wanted.  A 22 foot long trailer will fit in almost all campsites, and still have enough room for us to move about inside the trailer.  We want to carry what we always use, and not bring burdensome extras.  Mutli-purpose usefulness is really important to me.

Designers of new products, including Airstream trailers, make decisions for their customers based on sales volumes, and feedback.  We wanted to make these decisions to fit our needs.  While some people must travel with all the comforts of home including a toaster (yes Scott J), we prefer to travel only with what we need.  And we make toast on a skewer right over the open flame - Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches are a need, but not the toaster!

The second lavatory sink in the trailer is a luxury, not a necessity.  We could brush our teeth in the main sink in the kitchen.  I just don't like intermingling bathroom "dirt" with my food preparation area.  So to me the second sink is a really important.

Knowing our needs does mean a tight fit, but the bathroom door should work for height!
Bundled-up Colin Hyde, owner of Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations sent the photo to show me proportions of our vintage Airstream's new bathroom layout.

Party Time - No Sleeping Allowed

The bed frames with drawers and the night stand have been temporarily returned to the bedroom.  

The Previous-owner painted walls and added parquet flooring. It has to go!

One of the ways to hide water damage is adding a new flooring.  I understand that the new floor is often added without identifying and stopping the source of water entering the trailer.  Parquet flooring
And perhaps the previous-owner grew damaged the walls or merely tired of the green Zolatone, and painted the walls.  Either way, I want to see the very durable Zolatone finish restored to our Airstream. 
With the beds removed, there is enough room for dancing at a party.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Peeping Tom

Peeping into our walls - this is our first look - photos sent by Colin from Plattsburgh NY.

We expected water damage in the toilet room. And under the front jalousie window / water tank.

And as always the back floor. I need to ask Colin why the metal at the base is not one solid piece...
As usual my question has been asked and answered on the Vintage Airstream Podcast (VAP) 
I'll try to find the episode number, I think it is somewhere in the 190's....  
My understanding is that the early years Airstreams were made with the C-Channels installed in pieces.  Colin let me know that we would improving the trailer with a more water resistant solid C-Channel is is done for modern Airstream trailers.

More photos at Byam's 1955 Flying Cloud.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tiny Bath - Big Decisions

As we want our Flying Cloud to look period circa 1955, most decisions will be easy. The bathroom however presents challenges. We need enough room for a small shower. There is room for a wet bath. We did use the wet bath in our leased 16' foot Bambi but did not like drying it with a towel, it never was dry enough. I'm just hoping ShamWow towels will work well...

Proposed Floorplan Change:
The hole in the floor is the location of the original toilet as seen: Original Bathroom.
The toilet will be turned 90 degrees, and 
Of course this means changing the plumbing, which we knew was needed, as 1955 trailers did not include gray water tanks.  Back in the day all the shower and sink water would just run out onto the ground, if you weren't connected to a campground waste disposal.  Interestingly this does explain one soggy waterlogged site that I remember from my childhood....icky!

Of course this means changing the plumbing, which we knew was needed, as 1955 trailers did not include gray water tanks.  Back in the day all the shower and sink water would just run out onto the ground, if you weren't connected to a campground waste disposal.  Interestingly this does explain one soggy waterlogged site that I remember from my childhood....icky!

If I remember correctly - Colin is 5' 10"
So there should be room to shower in our slightly larger bathroom.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The walls are naked! Look at all the wide open space!

Looking to the rear of the trailer, and above the back hatch, this area behind the night-stand is the original Zolatone.  Beautiful green speckled Zolatone.

The original floor is muliple colors of what I think is lanoleumm tiles - 4" x 4" tiles.  The colors may have been nice with the interior, but I'm having a hard time seeing it in my mind.  The tiles are so worn, dirty, and discolored as is the small areas of unpainted green Zolatone.

Because we are adding a shower, the cabinet layout on this wall will be adjusted. Okay, here's the thing. I am not the handy one in the family. So as well as trying to learn to be more handy (I hope!) - my job is to document the process. So if anyone has any suggestions for how to improve this vintage Airstream blog, please do share with me using the comments feature below. Seriously, I'd like to think that I am not the only one reading this....

Aluminum Anniversary

This entire journey started for us with a conversation over dinner at our Flying Mango restaurant. We were savoring our brisket (Scott) and ribs (Kathy) and talking about our 19 years of married life. Little did we know that this would be our Aluminum Anniversary! Aluminum may not be on the jewelers list of anniversary celebrations, but it will always be on ours. We were talking again about vintage Airstreams.
Years earlier, when we started vacationing again we wanted to spend time out West - exploring nature, spending time outdoors, and trout fishing including our then new hobby fly fishing. And we wanted to be mobile, not stuck to a strict and constricting schedule of a hotel iterneary. Having spent my childhood first in tacky (literally) motel rooms, and then the luxury of a trailer, I knew travel-trailer is the way to go! In spite of having the best time with our very great group of friends - a tent-camping trip early in our early-dating-years was soggy and therefore not sucessful for good sleeping. So we rented some=other-brand motorhome for a few years, then found an Airstream dealership who leased Airstreams! Wow!! So for 3 years we had access to different Airstreams 19' bambi, 16' bambi, and 19' CCD Bambi. We loved Airstreams!
Not finding the vintage Airstream that met our list of "wants" - we purchased a newer Airstream to keep traveling. Joining the WBCCI was a good decision, and we have the best times with our WBCCI friends! We had a network of people traveling the country looking for vintage Airstreams!
Back to our Aluminum Anniversary dinner - we were talking about our list of wants and decided to contact Colin Hyde of Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations to see what trailers he might have available. Colin, with Tim Shepard and Rob Baker - they who are the VAP - have been a wealth of information on all things aluminum.
Below is an excerpt of the the best anniversary gift-email a gal could ever get:
Kathy and I are listeners to The VAP and have a newer Airstream trailer now and will keep that trailer. For our second Airstream, we would like help to determine the model and year of the vintage trailer of our dreams. You could use this discussion on the VAP program but we do not need to be on the program. had a list of trailers waiting for restoration and wanted to check if you got this far in your new adventure with restoration of Airstream trailers.
Looking for something before 1957 but could still use help as we have not been able to see that many vintage trailers. We were at International house ...trailers between 50 to 57 were few. Last weekend our Iowa Unit had their 50th year anniversary and we were able to see 1955 Flying Cloud owned by BarryIowa on Airstream Forums. Unbelievable trailer find and was just ticket for us but is already gone to a good home….
Thought about this some, if [sic all vintage trailers] need everything...wish list would be something like the following:

13 panel 1950 to 1957 before midyear change to 7 panel
Whale tail
No wet bath
Tandem axles
About the size of a Flying Cloud 21’ to Overlander 26’ size.
I know that all of the items above may not be possible but is a starting point.
We can tow 7300 lb with current vehicle.