On August 4th, Jackie and I picked up our new project! She's a 1959 Airstream Ambassador Land Yacht. While almost 60 years old, the exterior shell is in great shape outside of a couple little dings and dents. Jackie and I found Wally the Airstream from a Craigslist posting in Nisswa, MN. Jim the original owner, pictured with us below, had already done a lot of work to him prior to our purchase and he did it the right way. Wally had already undergone a full shell-off frame restoration with new welding, marine-grade flooring, underbelly pans replaced, new shocks installed, and repacked bearings. In other words, all of the things that I didn't want to have to do.
Two weeks earlier, Jackie and I headed up to Nisswa in the morning and got to Jim's place around noon. He and his wife were actually selling their home up north and moving, at least snowbird-style, to Florida! He had been working on the Airstream for the last 10 years or so but work fizzled out after he completed the frame. Now it was time to get him moved as they were selling the property that housed their garage he admittedly built to remodel this aluminum camper. We poked around, asked a lot of questions, and got a feeling for the type of people to whom we were planning to fork over our cold hard cash. The Airstream was in remarkable shape for his age. All of the original interior and exterior parts were included and Jim had all of the documentation to the progress he had already completed. He had disks filled with images of the original purchase, where and how things came off of and out of the camper, and a box of new parts and tools worth about $1k. Jackie and I left Jim's house to have lunch, a stiff drink at Bar Harbor, and discuss if we were really in for the labor that was ahead. After about 3 Tito's and a couple glasses of wine, it was decided that we were. We headed back over to Jim's to notify him of our decision and I put $500 down to hold the camper until we could get some storage arranged.
On August 4th, we returned to Nisswa, hooked up Wally, and headed down to put him into storage where we would be working to bring him back to his prior glory!