Capt Nemo was very proud of his good ship “Nautilus”. It was designed and built from the dream he had to get away. It was appointed with lavish rooms, working quarters and storage for everything the capt and crew could possibly need– and it was first class, cutting edge in every way. No wait, this also sounds like the specifications of this 89 Excella Airstream we have completed for Rick. Already a rare machine when it was recieved the coach had been well kept and treasured , it already turned heads wherever it went but Rick wanted something more.
In 1979, GM did not produce the GMC motorhome, for the first time since 1973, the RV industry was left to its own to continue the legacy GM started of offering a quality unit. There were several smaller companies who attempted to fill the niche with GMC “look-a-likes” also trying to continue the front wheel drive, low profile concept thinking that was the key. Although those things were some of the features of the GMC, one of the main features they could not duplicate was brand name acceptance. The GMC was the undisputed high priced, high quality leader to that point– who would look to fill that niche now? Who had the name, the quality, the experiance to say “we are the best” now? Who else but Airstream.
In 1979, Airstream recognized the opportunity and put out an absolutely awesome coach– the Excella 28′ featuring the never before attempted high polished aluminum body. And what a look it had. Only produced for one year (after that produced with the regular unpolished aluminum exterior), this coach set the standard and the style for things to come. You cannot pass this coach on the road
Oh sure, the coach drew attention, how could it not from its “ballbearing” chrome like shine but Rick was tired of the work it took to keep the coach looking that way and the years had taken their toll, dings, bumps and weather had made the exterior look its best from afar =– if you know what I mean. “Sharp edges were worn down” is the phrase I use. The coach needed updating. The interior was very nice but very original (cut-n-paste) I think Roy & Dale would feel right at home in the ranch styled finish. You walk in and you know you were in something old— nice but old and this is what Rick wanted to do something about.
Not only that but even running, the motor had age and do you trust that when you are out on the road? There needed to be some renovation work done on the mechanicals to make it reliable. Lets start there, the Onan generator was a real period workhorse but today with not being assured the unit would start every time a new water cooled Honda 6,000 watt generator tucked into the compartment nicely. The motor and transmission were next. Sure it ran, but how long would it do that No problem, get the beast out of there and we can do something about that. A Koba built power plant that WILL run. Get it back in and now we have something we can rely upon . Wheels came off, break and bearings renewed . All mechanical components were renewed Back together, it was now time to turn to the interior.
This galley out then this designed and built then the galley relocated to the other side of the coach The bedroom was an adequate twin bed floorplan So the design was changed and the new convertable master bed was done
Now to the exterior. Already a sharp looking machine , we needed to make it more styling for today and easier to maintain. There was just too much to keep polished and sure it’s cool looking at a chromes turtle sliding down the road but couldn’t we make it a little more style conscious? Some ideas gelled and the exterior took shape. We added some color to the chrome then dressed it out with detail The end result was something fresh and new
So there it is, “The Nautilus” , fabled custom built everything machine has a new definition. We’re proud of the path that brought us to offer this custom machine for the pleasures it can deliver. We hope it serves well and the coach fits the need and the vision Rick had for his unique coach. Here are some more detail pics of the coach and for a while you can actually follow the blog we created as this coach was built. Go to Nautilus build for that. Thanks for your preview of this special machine and remember, a machine like this can be built for YOU!
Here are some finished shots, enjoy