The ARC team visited the United States to find an original 1970’s Airstream for the Weber Experience centre. After days of searching the perfect Airstream was found in Helena Ohio. Next job – getting it to the UK!
The Airstream started its mammoth journey from Helena Ohio to the port of Baltimore, Maryland, ready to be shipped over to the UK. This journey covered over 400 miles, crossing through 3 US states (Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland).
12 days after setting sail from Baltimore the Airstream arrives in the port of Southampton, England, following a huge 5792 mile journey across the rocky Atlantic Ocean. The Airstream then begins its 93 mile trip to the ARC workshop in Taunton, Somerset, where the restoration work begins.
The first job is to strip out the entire interior of the Airstream, this takes the ARC team 1 week to complete.
Being 40 years old the Airstream has had a lot of use throughout its lifetime, and so it needs a lot of restoration work to get it looking good. Firstly the body is braced and lifted from the chassis. The chassis is then sandblasted to remove the old paint and washed in an acid bath to remove any rust. It is sent to Birmingham to be galvanised, to protect the metal from further rust in the future.
Once the restored chassis arrives back at the Somerset workshop a new aluminium undercarriage is fitted.
The next job is to strengthen the Airstream to allow for a hatch to be cut into the side, this is where the Weber Experience Airstream opens to form a platform and reveal the demonstration area.
The hatches are cut out and then strengthened again to take the weight of the platform. Barbecues and people are not light so it is vital the hatch is as strong as possible!
New aluminium is fitted to the sides of the body where needed and where windows have been removed and helps to keep the Airstreams iconic metallic look. In total 56 sheets of aluminium are used!
It is now time for the caravan mover to be fitted to the chassis. This should make moving the Airstream in tight spaces much easier; this is going to be very important looking at the Weber Experience’s 2011 route!
To make room for the caravan mover the new water tank tray has to be adjusted.
Templates for the end caps are made which are used to make the highly polished aluminium interior.
New insulation is fitted to keep the visitors warm in those cold winter months, not forgetting the cool summer evenings!
A hot water tank is fitted, important for washing up after demonstrations and keeping the Weber Experience Airstream clean.
Two wireless remote control electric winches are fitted which make light work of setting up / folding up the stage area back into the Airstream, ready to continue on with its journey around the UK and Ireland.
The stage area is built and stainless steel poles are fitted so we can rope off the demonstration barbecues from the public for health and safety.
It’s finally time to fit the bar area, this has been built using high gloss work tops in Weber’s iconic red and black colours. It’s beginning to look amazing!
The framework for the units and the seating area are fitted along with the display plinth for all the colourful Smokey Joes and a display cabinet for the funky new accessories.
Gas points are fitted; Weber can’t wait to fire up their Weber Q™, Genesis® and Summit® barbecues!
It’s time for those finishing touches! The spotlights and black limousine windows go in and red LED’s are fitted along the back of the seating area. These will light up and reflect the Weber red into the polished Aluminium alcove. A bespoke handmade black and white leather seating area is to be fitted to complete the Weber colours and add a bit of wow to this area. Down lighters are fitted into the display cabinets to show off the Weber products and polished aluminium is being fitted to the base of the bar with down lighters to reflect the light across the floor. The signs and logos go up and onto the exterior and interior and the Weber Experience Trailer is ready to hit the UK and Ireland!
In total the Weber Experience trailer has over 1700 rivets inside, took 124 days to source and restore, travelled over 6500 miles and took a team of 20 people to complete.