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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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.



  1. Hi,

    I'm so glad you are undertaking the restoration of this trailer. You see, I am the previous owner of this trailer and I sold it to Colin so it would find a home with someone like you. I had my own plans to restore it, but realized I did not have the time or money necessary to do it properly. I knew if I sold it to Colin, it would find the right home. I'm glad it did. Please contact me at I'd love to share more history of the trailer. And by the way, I'm the one who threw out the mattresses. You're welcome. They were disgusting!

  2. Wally - Thank you so much for tossing the mattresses! But what I really want to say is that I am grateful for this journey that we are undertaking. The 1955 Flying Cloud is perfect for us, and we are so looking forward to the adventures our vintage Airstream will bring.