This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

Runaround Sue: Vintage Airstream Renovation Project

Regardless of the make or model of the RV renovation, DoItYourselfRV champions anyone who has the vision, resources and gumption to take on and complete renovations. In 2009, yet another company did just that. The New Prairie Construction Company took on a challenging new project: renovating a 1961 Airstream Safari. The Airstream Safari would be come to be known as “Sue”. New Prairie is owned by Julie Vogel Birdwell and Jill Mulder of Urbana, IL. Their goal was to create something visually satisfying while still keeping the space practical. They also were determined to keep the Airstream renovation as environmentally-friendly as possible.


This Airstream renovation started like many. “Sue” was discovered in rural Arizona where it had been sitting neglected for years. Jill and Julie lugged the rusty old tuna can back to Illinois where they began renovation.

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the Do It Yourself RV newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

You can have a look at a much more robust group of photos from the tear down by visiting the New Prairie Construction website. As you can see from the photos it required a full tear down right to the chassis. They replaced all the wiring, plumbing, stove, refrigerator, water heater, air conditioner, furnace, propane tanks and holders, steps, and awning. New Prairie also installed a new heavy-gauge aluminum trailer pan that would protect the plumbing and HVAC ducting.


They rebuilt the entire RV from the ground up. No detail was left out and as you can see the results are spectacular. They also added soybean-based polyurethane foam insulation was added for increased air tightness, strength, and energy efficiency.  One of the most amazing aspects was that New Prairie hand built all the of the furniture, cupboards, doors and trim. In keeping with the environmentally friendly theme they also added a composting toilet which allows for much less waste for dumping and also solar panels for powering many features of the redesigned Airstream.


You can see more photos of the finished Airstream renovation at the New Prairie website.

The sticker price to own this completely renovated Airstream who goes by “Sue” is $97,900.


Airstream Renovation Source:


Leave a Comment

Welcome! Please follow these guidelines:

  • Be kind and respectful.
  • Keep comments relevant to the article.
  • Avoid insults, threats, profanity, and offensive remarks.
  • Refrain from discussing gun rights, politics, or religion.
  • Do not post misleading information, personal details, or spam.

We may hide or remove comments at our discretion.