1965 Airstream Caravel 17’ — perfect for America’s next inspired author
HofArc’s latest vintage Airstream renovation is a very rare 1965 Airstream Caravel 17’ named Shelly. She’s perfect for a the next Hemingway-wanna-be who’s working on the next Great American travel novel.
Shelly is ideal for someone who simply wants the basic necessities of life in a cozy space while exploring the Great Outdoors. She’s just the right size for a single person, a couple, or more (click here for floor plan) who want an iconic all-American vintage Airstream for wandering America’s national parks, byways and hideaways.
Vessel: 1965 Caravel 17’ — Shelly was originally built by the West Coast Airstream Factory at 12804 E. Firestone Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA. The factory was eventually closed, with future trailers built at Airstream’s main factory in Jackson Center, OH where Airstream’s continue to be built today.
According to a mid-‘60s national travel magazine photo caption, “[The] new Airstream Caravel combines small size with travel/living comfort for a family of six.” (see photos). The February 1965 article in Mobile Home Journal described the “new 17-foot Caravel” as “the first travel trailer big enough for a family of six yet light enough to be towed with a compact car. The new Caravel weighs in at just 2250 pounds with a hitch weight of just 250 lbs.”
Location: If Loretta Lynn was a Coal Miner’s Daughter* then Shelly was a gold miner’s daughter. Although Shelly was born in Los Angeles in 1965, she was dragged along with her family to Sutter Creek which is located in the heart of California’s Gold Country. This past year she came to Santa Barbara for a partial makeover, and she’s ready for another 50 years on the road with a new family.
Purpose: If there’s a Wikipedia entry for the “Mobile Tiny House Movement,” there should be a photo of this vintage Airstream. As a mobile lightweight tiny space, this 17-foot Airstream was way ahead of its time. It’s the most efficiently-sized off-the-grid mobile space available with full-function and full-height convenience. Shelly is one of only a few miniature vintage Airstreams still available today. For most of her 46 years she was lovingly stored in a barn, and her pampered conditions shows it.
Goal: Maintaining the vintage value of this special Airstream was a top priority since the as-is condition of this Caravel was in such good shape. HofArc’s goal in restoring Shelly was to maintain as many of the historical elements as possible, such as the propane radiant heater and stove/oven, while utilizing modern systems, such as a new Dometic refrigerator, and all-new finishes to update her performance and feel. In her current condition, we fully expect her to enjoy another half century of adventures.
Design Highlights: Appliances and systems have been inspected and are in proper working condition or have been replaced new. The interior has been lightened and cleaned up. New roller shades and bamboo flooring. Designer fabric seat cushions reflect the interior’s warm natural palette. The kitchen and bathroom countertops have new carbonized bamboo strand surfaces for maximum durability and aesthetic appeal.
Carbonized bamboo flooring
White roller shades
Replaced and painted cabinet doors
Carbonized bamboo countertop
Undercounter kitchen water filter with faucet
Centrally-located standup shower with vintage sprayer wand
Replaced and painted closet door
Refinished cabinet doors
Accordion bathroom door
Vessel sink with integrated shower diverter
Carbonized bamboo countertop
Repainted with water-resistant marine epoxy paint
New water heater
Refurbished vintage stove
Replaced all electrical outlets and switches with Lutron modern
All under cabinet and ceiling fixtures replaced with modern style lighting
New vintage style license plate light and holder
Refinished aluminum propane tanks
Replaced steel braided propane tank hoses
Repaint all walls Swiss Coffee white
Replaced all exterior running lights and brake lights
Exterior hitch tongue, bumper refinished
New brakes and bearings