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The Quest for the Right Aero Cruiser
George Kennison


Several years ago I received a call from a Dr. Charles Morledge in Billings, MT. He said he had seen an Aero Cruiser and was interested in buying one. I told him a very nice late model with low milage, owned by one of our club members, had just been put up for sale. (Bill Cave. I gave him the details and told him it probably would sell soon as club members were always updating their older coaches.) Several weeks later I received a call from Dr. Charles & Patti Morledge saying they were planning a trip to Cool, CA to buy the Cave coach - to late - sold to a club member. 

I then gave them information on Erin Harvey’s coach which was for sale. It had every conceivable option and all the upgrades. It was located in Dallas Texas. 

They flew to Dallas twice and finally decided to buy it. All arrangements were made for the sale but she could not produce a clear title. (A strange thing - the license plates on the front and the one on the back were from two different states.) So back to Billings they flew. By this time after numerous phone calls, Dr. Charles and Patti Morledge had become Charlie and Patti and were on our automatic dial - so the search goes on!!! 

Their first choice was for a twin bed configuration. About this time the Southard coach had been put on the market and the club was planning a rally in Las Vegas. The Morledges decided to fly down and look at the Southard coach and attend the rally to get a good look at what Aero Cruiser’s were supposed to look like. 

As some of you may remember, Charlie & Patti limped into the rally with the Southard’s coach. After looking around at the coaches at the rally they realized their new possession needed a lot of attention!! 

At the rally they looked our coach over and stated “if a 92 twin bed model ever came up for sale” be sure to let them know. By now we have a hot line to Billings as the Morledges attempt to get their 1990 in a presentable condition for the Palm Desert Rally. 

They arrived in Palm Desert with their 1990 and it truly had gone through a transformation. During this rally, Frank De Remer said he had just seen a very nice 1991 Aero Cruiser with very low mileage and it was for sale. The Morledges decide to go look at it. They bought it and had a driver deliver it to their home in Billings. After the rally, they put their 1990 in storage in Ontario CA and flew back to Billings - They now own two Aero Cruisers.. The Quest Continues! 

In February of this year I got a call from Clement Sartori (a club member) in Tuscon AZ. He said he was planning to sell his Aero Cruiser. I knew this coach well as he and his wife Paulette had gone through our coach taking notes. When he ordered his from the factory he gave instructions (with notes) that it was to be the same as the Kinnison Coach. It turned out to be the “last” full production Aero Cruiser. (Ours was the first gasoline 1992) 

I go to the phone - push the hot line button to Charlie and Patti. Question - were they still interested in a 1992 coach like mine - if so the one and only carbon copy had just been put up for sale. Charlie and Patti were interested and ask if we would meet them in Tuscon to help evaluate the Sartori coach. Pat said it was time to take a break - so why not!! 

The Sartori coach had the most unique background - it had been shipped to Europe and had spent several years there - France, (yes it had been on the Riveria) Spain, Portugal, Egypt, etc. A real world traveler! 

Pat and I arrived in Tuscon and joined the Morledges.  The next morning we met Clement and drove to the storage lot to look at his Aero Cruiser.

I looked the coach over from one end to the other and decided it does have good potential. The sale was completed and the Sartori’s - Clement and Paulette, were the most gracious hosts. We were served a 7+ course dinner in full French fashion - silver, crystal, china and wine and cheese and wine and cheese and wine and cheese!!! A most impressive experience. 

The next day we pick up the coach with a plan to leave it in the Tuscon storage but the owner needed a major attitude adjustment. So the Morledges decided to bring it to Fallbrook (our home) and then pick it up and go to the Spring Rally in Las Vegas. This would let Charlie drive it some six hundred miles to check it out. So we headed West... 

They put the coach in our driveway and take a plane back to Billings. THEY NOW HAVE 3 AERO CRUISERS!! Every day I would look at all of the strange things on this French Frog and I knew that somewhere under that facade was a real sleeping Prince!! Since the coach was sitting next to my workshop I could not resist the challenge! The restoration to original configuration begins. 

I remove 3 spare tires, two seven foot sewer pipe holders (good for fishing rods I was told), an out of date satellite dish, 24 shoe holders, 18 wine bottle holders, a central vac system, about 50 feet of wiring for the European 220 volt system and the list goes on. 

The inside was covered with a lot of double uglies which were added to the dumpster pile. As the Spring Rally approached, Charlie and Patti came to Fallbrook. They step out of their car and low and behold the ugly frog has been transformed into the Handsome Prince - it was now truly an original configuration 1992 twin bed Aero Cruiser with low milage. What he had wanted from the beginning! The last chapter of the quest for the right Aero Cruiser took place at the Las Vegas rally when Charlie and Patti drove in with their 92 Aero Cruiser and the front end was at the proper level - cheers from the club members. 

Charlie had the opportunity to do some “Hands On” transformation as a ladder was installed on the back and he made the “Virgin Ladder Climb” to the roof of his Aero Cruiser. Only those of you who have attended a rally can appreciate the “Pearls of Wisdom” and “Supervision Expertise” offered during this installation. With the final Helwig Spring problem resolved the Morledges headed back home to Billings and I understand it was a very enjoyable trip. Their Quest for the right Aero Cruiser has ended. It only proves that with persistence you can get what you want - even if you do end up with 3 Aero Cruisers!
Happy Aero Cruising Charlie and Patti
Cheers- George
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