2. The Plan

July 11, 2022:

Broadly, the plan is to turn this 1972 27' Overlander:

Into something like this:

The above is a modified drawing of a 2022 27'Globetrotter, turning a front bed into a rear bed model. There is no rear bed model in any 27' Airstream, currently. But this gives you an idea. Fitted out with some solar panels, this new Globetrotter would set you back $140,600 right now, with delivery in a year or two. Incentive to renovate!

We hope to put around $50,000 into ours (not counting my labor) and end up with something perfect for us and still with high-end fit and finish.

The outside of a 2022 27' Globetrotter looks like this:

We want to turn our Globetrotter into something retro super-shiny like this:

curbed.com, Christine Marie Photo

More on this later, but the aluminum on vintage Airstreams is different than the modern ones, and only the old ones can be polished up to that vintage shine!

So, the plan, generally:

  • Get the Airstream to Akron, preferably in a sheltered location where I can work on it. Eventually we are getting a new, longer driveway and I hope to work on it there.

  • Clean the clear coat off the trailer. Vintage Airstreams had a coating put on at the factory that did not hold up well in the sun, leading to what has been called "Airstream pattern baldness":

  • Seal the trailer. Getting the clear coat off is the first step toward polishing the trailer, but I don't plan on doing that next. Instead, I need to seal the trailer so that I can work on it outdoors this year if I don't get a place to shelter it.

  • Figure out the freshwater, gray, and black tank placement and connections. I don't have a black tank yet, but I'll mock one up out of cardboard to see how a tank could fit between the horizontal frame supports and above the axles. If I can get a good sized tank in there (18 to 20 gallons, maybe), I'll then mock up the drain connections to see if I can get a good place from which to dump the gray and black tanks.

After that, not sure. I'll need to do the initial mapping of interior plumbing and electric, and interior wall and appliance placement, and then decide whether to insulate before wiring and plumbing. The Airstream factory puts the wiring between the insulation and the outer skin (i.e., wiring before insulating), but I have seen some nice jobs online that put the wiring between the insulation and the inner skin, and I'm leaning that way.

It will be interesting to see how much of this preliminary mapping makes it into the finished project: