Lil' Dipper

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Project Overview

14' 1968 Modified Ambassador

Custom Vending Gull-Wing Door
Company Branding Throughout
3 Basin and Handwashing SInks
Modified Frame

Featured in the March/April 2021 issue of Vintage Camper Trailer Magazine!

"Vintage Base Camp was recently presented with the idea to create a 15’ gelato vending trailer from an Airstream. We had created vending trailers before, but never this short. Since Airstreams this length are rare, we knew we would need to take a larger trailer and cut it down. Since Bambis are the darlings of the Airstream world, we did not want to use the shell of a Bambi and cut it up. We ended up using a 28’ 1968 Ambassador. We broke it down, modified the frame, and then put it back together.  The finished trailer actually came in at just 13’ long, tongue to bumper. Currently, there seems to be a flood of forgotten projects on the open market. Owners sometimes get in over their heads and will walk away, leaving gutted shells. The Ambassador was one such trailer.
During the deconstruction of the donor trailer, there were several critical parts that we needed to salvage. The door, end caps, bows (or ribs), front banana wraps, and the trailer frame. These were surgically removed and stored.  From there, we modified the frame to fit the new, considerably smaller design. This meant moving the axle, outriggers, and tank supports. A large part of our challenge when reconstructing a trailer is straightening the distorted parts. This distortion is a normal part of wear and tear from a trailer that has to flex and move.

We started the project by flipping the trailer upside down, with the frame on steel sawhorses. Next, we added a new gray water tank, axle, brakes, wheel well, and insulation. The last thing we did before flipping it back over was to add a new belly pan. After flipping it right side up again. We started with reinstalling both endcaps and  filling in the gaps to put the rest of the puzzle together, including that all-important vending door. The key to the vending door was getting the hatch just large enough for the genuine Italian gelato cooler that was flown in especially for this build. Once our techs had solved that puzzle, we moved on to new VCT tile flooring, wiring, insulation, interior skins, and lighting. Having completed the buildout phase with our all-new custom cabinetry and the cool gelato cooler centerpiece installed; we moved on to a full mirror polish and custom branding throughout! This was a fun project, and we had a blast doing it.

You can find more images of the finished project and many of the process images on our website: Portfolio, AirstreamProjects, 68 Ambassador. There is even a video of us flipping it over to start the build."

Renovations:

  • Total Deconstruction of Original Trailer

  • Modified Frame/Refit to New 14' Layout

  • Refit Salvaged Endcaps, Door, and Shell to Fit New 14 Layout

  • All New Break Drums, Bearings, and Wheel Wells

  • Added Custom Gull Wing Vending Door

  • New Subfloor with Commercial VCT Tile 

  • All New White Aluminum Wall Finishes

  • LED Light Fixtures Interior/Exterior

  • New Fantastic Fan for Ventilation

  • Custom Cabinetry Through of UV Treated Maple

  • Installed 3 Basin and Hand-washing Sink for Code

  • Counter Freezer for Extra Cold Good Storage

  • Custom Aluminum Frame Cabinet for Gelato Cooler

  • Full Exterior Polish

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From There to Here

Joy In the Journey

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