Friday, January 30, 2009

Where ya been, why no posts?

What did ya drop out again? These are all questions I have been hearing from friends lately. Truth of the matter is, no. I actually have been very busy operating the hardest tool there is to master. The tool called honesty. I will explain all about this tool as this post progresses.

As most avid Airstreamers know, Wally went to Europe in 1955 to scout out a caravan route. He had the boys in the factory build a very special Bubble for him that was super light weight. It was designed to be towed by a Volkswagen Beetle. The frame was built of a magnesium alloy and the interior was designed to be super efficient and light weight. Now a Bubble is a small trailer and is very light weight from the start. A VW in 1955 was only 35 hp, so it had to as light as possible. Wally was really pushing the "ounces makes pounds" rule here. For all his efforts, it is said that he only saved 200 lbs.

Stella and Wally set off in the summer of 1955 and from all accounts it was a successful trip. The trailer performed well and the route was laid out. Now this is where I am going to interject some personal opinion... Europe had been there for many years. The roads were all mapped out for something close to four thousand years by the time 1955 rolled around. The US Army was still firmly stationed all over Europe and they too had mapped things out well. Wally was not scouting, he was spending some quality time with his wife. What a better way to spend time with your wife than to tour around Europe in a Bubble? Can you imagine? Well, I sure can. But more importantly, so can my newest client who now owns this very Bubble.

Yes, you heard that right... I am being honored with being able to work on Airstream # X251. I contacted the new owner as soon as he purchased her at auction and we have been talking ever sense. Many lessons have been learned in the process. The biggest lesson has been that being honest and forthright will prevail. We have both found out that there are many sharks out there. The moments a single drop of blood hits the water, they start zeroing in on the drop. They circle around looking for any sign of weakness so they can move in and make the kill. I have found that Airstreams attract two distinct types; there are those that just love everything about them and get involved due to a burning passion commonly called "Aluminitis" These types are not concerned with costs and the feasibility of the project, they are drawn by their hearts. Most reading this blog fall into this camp. The other type is the shark I described. They are into the hobby only for the financial aspects. These are the owners that know how much it is worth and how much it could be sold for. These are the types that buy trailers on local classifieds, and resell them in a different market often at 4 times what they payed. Some even never go see the trailer, ever. They do it all from their computers. The shark type is the guy that exports trailers to Europe, not because they have a buyer over there that really wants the trailer, but because they can make more money than selling it here. A piece of the export fees makes it so much sweeter.
I am of the first camp and anyone that knows me, know that as Gospel Truth. I saw the opportunity to be a part of getting a piece of Airstream history back on the road. I saw the opportunity of helping some ones dream come true. I am a very lucky boy. I am very honored and some what humbled by it all. I hope many of you will stay tuned to watch the progress and see the transformation. I cannot say for sure what we will need to do, but what will happen is the new owner will soon be able to take his wife for some quality time where ever he wants.

I lifted those photos from another blog listed on my Annalumanum blog. Brad has been helping the buyer from the Phoenix end of things. He is one with a pure heart for sure. There are very few know pictures of this trailer so we all have to share the ones that do exist.


  1. Frank, I am looking forward to seeing your progress on this trailer. It IS quite a piece of AS history. I am sure it will be brought back to life by your care and concern. It's nice to know that this historic trailer still exists. Kevin

  2. WOW!! You've got my attention now!

    Wally, Stella, Helen and all the rest must be grinning ear-to-ear knowing that "Frank's Trailer Works" is on the job. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.


  3. Don, You were the catalyst. Just remember you were the "Part B" in launching FTW. I love you brother and will always be in your debt.

  4. Congrats Frank! Just think sometime in the future...PeeWee siting next to the trailer at a fire ring....this summer? And YES, you can call him PeeWee.

  5. I don't think there is anyone who could put more love, respect, and honesty in the restoration of Wally's Bubble than you, Frank. Not to mention your fine craftsmanship. Congratulations!

  6. Hi Frank

    I'm the very unprepared guy you met at the cabinet store this morning. Thanks a bunch for the help. The sheet got to the shop in one piece and I will start "making snow" tomorrow. Cool site. I only just scratched the surface, so it looks like I have a long evenings reading ahead of me.


  7. Thanks for the kind words Frank. Yup, I'm so stoked that this historic trailer will be in your loving care for its transformation, I can hardly stand it. What a way to kick off FTW!!!