The Airstream Re-paint

The Kola generatorA year ago LAS motorhomes were asked to work on an Airstream motorhome which was featured in the film “Rush”.  Rush is the film that is based on the true story about Niki Lauda and James Hunt, their battle for the formula 1 world title.

The Airstream motorhome has been sat for two years in a yard waiting for work to be carried out, this never happened.

On Christmas Eve 2014 the owner had the motorhome delivered to LAS motorhomes on the back of a low loader.  When it arrived I suggested to the owner that we needed to inspect the motorhome with a view to getting it an MOT before carrying out any body or interior work.

When we returned to work after the Christmas holidays we started the Airstream project with lots of enthusiasm.  As with most projects like these you never really know what you are letting yourself into and as I was recollect we had to do quite a lot of mechanical work on it, although to my surprise it did not take much coaxing to get the interior appliances back to life.

After all the mechanical work had been completed, I drove the vehicle to the MOT station and had it tested.  I brought the motorhome back to the workshop and we under sealed the chassis, then I contacted the owner and asked him to come and have a look at the work that we had done so far.

The owner was delighted with the amount of progress that had been made in such a short space of time.  He decided that he wanted to keep the interior as original as possible and only wanted us to add a step down transformer, he wanted to keep everything at 110 volts.

One of the main problems I had was the generator, it was an old Kola generator.  I managed to get the engine to run but could not get it to produce 110 volts. My next thought was to replace it with an old Onan generator, but was unable to track one down.  This left me with no choice but to repair what I had got.

With a bit of diagnostic work based on 40 years of experience and a bit of common sense, I managed to obtain some parts which I then modified to fit.  The engine was fired up and to my surprise we were producing 110 volts.

I then suggested to the owner that we should replace the dented panels and repair the side damage, then paint her blue.  He went home happy with lots to think about.

Following this, things got very busy at LAS motorhomes, the Airstream was then parked up for a while outside.

The owner then contacted me in October and asked me how we were progressing, my reply was that we were awaiting his decision about what to do next.

All of the finer details were covered again, I ordered the panels that were available.  The parts arrived so we then confidently removed the old ones from the vehicle only to find the parts that were sent from America were wrong.  It later transpired the parts we were sent were for an Airstream caravan and not a motorhome.

We then had to wait for the Americans to admit to their mistake and send us the correct parts, this took them a further 3 weeks before they realised that the panels had been marked up with the incorrect part numbers.

The project continued on the arrival of the correct parts and this brings us to the point that we are at now.  A lot of the damage has been repaired, the decals removed and the panels have been etched.  We are now awaiting for the owner to come and have a look at what we have done so far, then to decide how much of the vehicle will become blue and how much will remain polished aluminium. 

I will keep you updated with our progress and take pictures of the finished project.

Got an idea for your motorhome, or need some inspiration? Give us a call on 01604 861999.