Having lived in the notorious Irvine Meadows West trailer park, which was all about Project Trailer Hell vintage tin, I can state that Airstreams pretty much suck for any sort of extended habitation. The cylindrical shape means that the interiors are cramped and storage areas are unusable. However, they sure look cool, and they're great for road trips. UDMan has discovered an operation in New York that restores old Airstreams- and other vintage trailers- on a former Air Force base. Make the jump to see all the photos and read UDMan's description.
While I was on one of my usual dealer scouting trips, I managed to wind up in Plattsburgh, New York on a gorgeous June day, and discovered an amazing place. Within the recently created Plattsburgh Airport Business Development Zone, near a taxiway once used by B-52 Bombers, and KC-35 Tanker Aircraft, was a thriving business that is not all that removed from the aircraft that once called this place home. The name of the company is GSM Vehicles, Inc., and their main business is restoring Airstream, and other vintage travel trailers. The owner of the business is Colin Hyde, and was able to take his love of his own vintage Airstream, and combine it with his extensive knowledge of fabrication, and create the most talked about place to go to have your Airstream refurbished.
When I visited with Colin at his shop, the first thing that struck me was the shear number of Airstreams that were in various states of repair, in and around his building. There were trailers, dating from the early 50's right up to the late 80's, including a fairly rare Airstream Motor Home. Like shining cocoons gleaming in the sun, they will all be extensively restored to like new, or better than new condition, with period correct furnishings, and modern conveniences.
Starting this business came almost by accident to Hyde, as he set up GSM Vehicles in Plattsburgh to develop a Universally Accessible high capacity taxicab for use in crowded metropolitan areas of the US. The business was very slow, dealing with municipalities, and their inherent inefficiencies, and Hyde had to keep the business going in one form or another. So he started with what he knew best, fabrications and repairs. He would paint and repair tanks, equipment, and cars, just to keep income coming in. The in 2003, he hooked up with vintagetrailersupply.com and this started his trip down the Airstream aftermarket. IN the fall of 2003, he placed an ad on the vintage Airstream website, and his first trailer job was a 1962 Globetrotter.
At this same time, Airstream Life Magazine came out, and Hyde signed on as an early subscriber. Well, the publishers own trailer needed work, and the two of them worked out the details on how to refurbish the unit. In exchange for the work, Hyde was able to have a prominent ad placed within the publication, and, the rest is history. Hyde is now featured as a regular in a vintage airstream