Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Yes, I know - Where have I been ?  You probably thought I'd chucked-in the alooominum towel & bought an SOB. But NO !

Despite running through a sticky patch when every decision I made seemed to be the wrong one and time  slipped through my hands, I'm still true to the Airstream faith, and best of all 
- the Flying Cloud is HOME AT LAST !

You'll know form my last (distant) post that after the VATCo meltdown, I moved her to near Tewkesbury

to the safe haven of Vintage Airstreams 

So a very big thank you to Sam Harkness who runs Vintage Airstreams - he's been extremely helpful 

and if you're looking for a fantastic restoration, I can highly recommend them, they do beautiful work.

So despite, having a haulier lined-up for the past two months, I waited & waited...

...and then finally found someone else who had an empty load coming back to Devon

... and off we went

The skin has only had the first cut with F8 but she still shines in the landscape

and on the M5 heading home

Nice shots by my son, Sandy, on the way home

Winter sun

and rain...

Even time to get ahead of the lorry & snap her from the motorway bridge...

It was just getting dark as we got home to Dartmoor

No Landrover this end, just the trusty, ancient Volvo

Overnight at our neighbour's farm

and then down the road to a secure storage unit

Now that's a view I've waited rather too long to see !

And that too !

So there she is, finally in Devon.

We're off to Australia to see family for Christmas, so she's safely locked away and the restoration will continue in the New Year.

Happy Christmas to you all. 
And hopefully see you 'down the road' in 2012.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

VATCo meltdown, the good, the bad and the ugly !

Sadly there isn't much 'good'; its been a pretty bad & ugly week. 

I turned up at VATCo last Wed, expecting to see the FC with her new axle, wheels & towhitch fitted only to find that Pete Ritchie had done a runner with his two showman trailers, ERF towtruck, all his tools and any deposits paid by Airstream or other trailer owners. 
Luckily the landlord (also owed a lot of back-rent) is a really decent guy & very helpful, so we managed to get in and start sorting out the ugly mess.
 We've managed to contact all but one of the owners of Airstreams in various states of restoration and they've all been moved off-site
Luckily with the help of Ron, the welder, and Mark, from Cats Hill Plant Hire, I've managed to get the axle, wheels and a temporary hitch onto the old girl. And while I'd much rather be seeing the view of her in my rear view mirror, I'm more than happy to see her out in front for now...
 ... and get her moved to a much safer place.
Despite this nightmare, I don't think Pete was all bad, he'd just seemed to have got himself into a mess financially and rather than stay & sort it, he's taken the cowardly option & run for it. I only wish I'd seen the signs earlier but its always easy to be wise after the event. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Window in a Window !!!

Now you probably thought the Door in a Door is one of Airstreams coolest features but is this a first ?

 Yes I'd stripped off the old backframe gasket and got rid of most of the glue & always had a sneaky feeling there was something odd about window No 3 (I'm counting anti-clockwise round from the door)

 But I still hadn't clicked what exactly was odd about this frame

 until I looked up to the top of the frame... its obvious there are two backframes

 Once I'd realised, it was obvious. They'd just jammed an identical backframe into the original !

 In places a clear mess...

 ... but in others a little more subtle

The curled window hinge at the top had been drilled off & re-mounted on top of the second backframe.

 Quite when it was done, who knows

 But unlike the Door in a Door, this one has to go !

 Luckily the original backframe, apart from a few extra rivet holes, was in fairly good shape

 Out she came...

Window in a Window no more !

 Refit the window hinge (after a bit of gentle straightening)

Clecos hold it until its bucked in 

 Not the neatest rivet line but it seems pointless to drill even more holes 

 and all of these will be hidden by the drip cap when its refitted

And since these are just above an interior sheet line they're easy to buck single-handed

Now to polish the roof...

 I'd already refurb'd the awning rail - unbelievably they'd fitted another more modern awning rail on top of the original (I think there's a theme developing here !). Luckily, like the window, the only damage to the original was a few extra holes

 Unlike the vertical sides of the trailer the roof is rather more tricky

Slow & steady, gradually the shine appears

 A variable speed Makita polisher & Nuvite F9

A second pass of F7...

 ... and we're beginning to get there

The central panels are a bit trickier to reach especially as the vents are too small to get through

 But a rigid crawling board resting on the vents worked well as a solid platform, from which I could...

 ... lower my legs (just) through the vents and balance on some steps inside - sorry you'll have to imaging that one as even my photo skills couldn't manage to snap that one !

 Its grubby work and there's no short cut... but you get there gradually, and the first F9 cut is by far the hardest to do.

 Done -  F9 & F7

Now just the endcaps with their original patina...

... but soon they'll match the interior ones.