Restoring an Airstream Can Be a Great Investment
When most people think of restoring American classics, they picture cars and trucks – classic muscle being brought back to its former glory. But what do you put behind something like that? Or what if you’re looking for classic glory of a different kind?
Rodney Bond, the “Bonderosa Craftsman,” has provided the answer to this question in the form of completely refurbished Airstream trailers.
Airstreams are an icon of American travel, and anyone who knows trailers or classic vehicles has great respect for these vessels. The giant silver domes are hard to miss, since they are based on aircraft fuselages.
Bond spent 10 years working as a machine-tool technician before settling back where he grew up in Coryell County. Now, after 24 years of making custom doors for an on-again-off-again housing market, he’s turned his attention to vintage Airstreams. With his wife and brother-in-law helping him, right now his goal is to restore 5 of these trailers back on the road.
Many people may wonder “Why Airstreams?” because while they are somewhat iconic, they are large, bright, and don’t look anything like the travel trailers of today. But one of their biggest advantages is their quality.
Airstreams hit the market in 1931, pioneered by Wally Byam, and they were built with the idea of comfort and aerodynamics in mind. They looked a little like shiny spacecraft, but they were a huge hit, and Byam’s company is the only travel trailer manufacturer still in business from those early days, even though Airstream had over 400 competitors within 5 years of their launch.
That iconic nature and lasting quality is what drew Bond to the trailers. In January he began purchasing the trailers so that he could get them back to their former glory.
He also points out that the Airstreams have an amazing resell value. “An Airstream is an investment.” he says, and that doesn’t even touch on the face that as trailers go, the Airstream really doesn’t have much drag, and so is great on gas mileage – a very important factor with today’s gas prices.
Airstreams also only weigh about 5,000 pounds, which for a trailer that size is quite light, making them a great option for a wide variety of trailers. According to Bond, “they pull really swell.”
Now he spends hundreds of man-hours pulling out ruined parts of the trailer and replacing them with new wiring, plumbing, flooring, and everything else the trailers need to get back to their shining selves. He has a few custom orders in on the trailers right now, and once word gets out, there will likely be no end to the demand.