Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-17-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
ankornuta's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Lowell , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 435
Images: 22
1958 2-Door 26' California Cruiser

Hello Everyone! I just got back from the Pacific Northwest where I picked up a 1958 California Cruiser. The forums would only allow me to select "Overlander" for the trailer type for 1958... I guess there aren't enought '58 Cruisers out there to justify their own drop-down.

Anyhow, the trailer is in really good condition. It's still all original with the exception of the refrigerator and the carpet. Everything down to the flooring seems to be in pretty good shape and there are a few dings in the body on the curb-side. I was in some pretty heavy rains in Washington and Oregon and didn't see any leaks anywhere. There was no musty smell inside of the trailer and no reason for me to think that there might be any water or moisture damage. I was pretty impressed by that!

The reason for this post is because I am trying to decide how to restore this trailer, and in what order to do everything. I am thinking about removing all of the furniture and flooring first. Then having the electrical system re-wired inside and out. I think I want to add a grey water tank and increase the holding capacity for the fresh and black water tanks, as well as replace all of the original plumbing. Then I will rebuild the floor, replace the flooring, replace the furniture, etc.

However, here is where the questions come in. I know that this is a pretty rare trailer and while I didn't buy it as an investment, I am wondering if I have some obligation to keep it as original as possible. I want to use the trailer for camping, but I really like the look and floorplan of this particular model. For instance, should I keep two buttons on the overhead lights, as it was originally, or replace the lighting fixture "guts" so that they can work with 12volts and 110? Should I replace the original furnace or restore it? The water heater? Also, there are some scratches and small chunks missing from the veneer covering the interior cabinets in a few places. Is it possible to still find this particular veneer to make repairs, or should I replace all of it?

Any advice and feedback is appreciated, thanks!
-Andrew
__________________

__________________
ankornuta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 01:40 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Condoluminum's Avatar
 
1988 25' Excella
Sunnyvale , California
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,858
Images: 13
Send a message via AIM to Condoluminum
Welcome and Congrats!!

Let me be first to let you know you are gong to get LOTS of free advice, worth every penny spent...

As you get to know the names and project represented here, you should reach several conclusions..

1. It's YOUR trailer, and unless you bought it for museum, you can do what you feel is appropriate for your enjoyment..

2. Not everyone will agree with your judgments, and many will say so.. Makes this a wonderful country and website.

3. Restorations range from updated appliances and plumbing to complete rebuilds, with flat screen TV's and bathtubs... You should decide how you'd like to use it, where and how often, and then plan the interior and systems accordingly... Adding A/C and larger tanks and better electrical is not a crime, if it helps you enjoy trailer..

4. Values are pretty subjective, and there doen't seem to be a premium in value for 100% original-ness. Close to original with working appliances and systems is pretty good for most. What hurts value is leaky walls, flexi-frames, rotten plywood floors and rodent housing in walls.. Missing windows, attacks with metal saws to cut up exterior metal, and other shortcomings will also hurt value... Beyond that, most of us judge by what we'd pay for something equivalent and useful...

John McG

(newly renamed..)
__________________

__________________
Condoluminum

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
Condoluminum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 01:59 PM   #3
Site Team
 
azflycaster's Avatar
 
1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,124
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
Welcome

Andrew,
First, welcome to the forum! The 2 door that you bought, was it on Ebay? Alot of us were looking at it. As far as what to do with the lighting, that would depend on where you go camping. If you go to RV parks with power you could go either way. If you go to locations with out power, I would go 12 volt. BTW, what part of Phoenix do you live in?

Richard
__________________

Richard

Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 05:27 PM   #4
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,031
Images: 37
Wow... if it's THIS trailer, you scored bigtime! As was mentioned above... while these old trailers are pretty cool... they can stand a fair amount of modification to make them up to snuff comfort-wise for today's standards. I'd say if your goal is to make a concours-quality original show trailer, then by all means do everything in your power to restore it to it's 1958 glory. If what you really want is something that is comfortable with all of today's conveniences, but really like the retro look and feel, then do what feels right to you! The future value of the trailer will depend on how well done and seamless your modifications are, not that you've done them.

Best of luck with your Cruiser! As the owner of a two-door 34' I can tell you that they're pretty rare in any year, but a '50s vintage two door is a real find.

Roger
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	58 Cruiser 2 door.jpg
Views:	664
Size:	65.2 KB
ID:	15274  
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 07:34 PM   #5
Vintage Alum. Enthusiast
 
flyfshr's Avatar

 
1959 24' Tradewind
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: I currently do not own a 2nd Airstream
Posts: 4,319
Images: 40
Hi Andrew -
Congrats on ownership of a vintage Airstream and in particular this one. I was seriously contemplating ownership but alas I haven't room for another. I would love the opportunity to exchange info with you and look your trailer over personally and I offer you the same on mine. I have done extensive renovations and will share with you my expereinces. As azflycasrter asks - where in Phoenix do you live? I'm around MetroCenter and would like to hook up.

Brad
FF
__________________
4CU 2699 / AIR 10 / TAC AZ-1

I'm haunted by aluminum.
Charter Member of the 4 Corners Unit.
flyfshr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 07:38 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
Another two door owner

Andrew,

Welcome to the small club of two door Airstream owners. We have a 1954 29' Liner in need of full restoration. The floor removal has begun. Good luck with your plans and it is your trailer, make it usable for you.

Bill
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2005, 09:08 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
safari57's Avatar
 
1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
West Coast , BC
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,790
Images: 10
Send a message via MSN to safari57
Andrew - congratulations. A neat trailer. A tremendous canvas for you to build out your ideal trailer. Something you can use the way you want to use it, in comfort, and I suspect you will find that if you build it to use it you will not have a problem selling it should you choose to do so down the road. I did my '51 Flying Cloud to appear old style inside but with Airconditioning and Microwave hidden away, added grey and black waste tanks, a bathroom, and 12 volt system converter, but did it in a way that it looks like it "could" have been done in '51 until you open cupboard doors and see stuff that's clearly from this age. My buddy is redoing a '46 Curtis-Wright and he acquired a smacked 2004 Airstream and is using the guts out of it. Outside it will look like a very nicely restored '46, inside it will be a very nice 2004 Airstream.
If you want to see what my '51 looks like you will find it here
http://www.vintageairstream.com/arch...ud2/index.html
And believe me, mine is pretty basic compared to what some of the folks on this forum have done to theirs. This is the right place to learn from outstanding craftspeople. Look forward to seeing pictures of your trailer as it progresses. One thing we did before we started redoing ours was went to several RV dealerships and noted all the things we liked about the new trailers of similar size, and all the things we did not like and wrote them down. It helped with our build-out plan a lot.

I'm no stranger to the "you should keep something so rare and original stock", my tow car, a 1957 Pontiac Safari two door wagon (Pontiac's Nomad) is one of 1,292 made. For the sake of safe and capable towing it now has late model frame, suspension, power train and creature comforts. yeah, it would be worth more to my estate if it was stock, but I'd of never of enjoyed owning it like I do driving it now.
Barry
__________________
safari57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2005, 01:21 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
ankornuta's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Lowell , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 435
Images: 22
Thanks for all of the encouraging replies!

In response to 85MH325, yes... that is the trailer that I bought. Apparently a few people on here saw it for sale

And in response to flyfshr and azflycaster, I'm in downtown Phoenix right in the heart of the FQ Story historical district. I'd be very interested in meeting up with fellow Phoenix-area Airstream buffs. I would really like to see the work that you've done on your trailers because while I'm pretty handy and have done some car-restoration work in the past, this is my first experience with an Airstream. There's tons of good information in these forums, but for me nothing compares with seeing something first-hand.

I had to leave the trailer with a mechanic in Eugene, Oregon because of some tire and bearing problems (long story), but it will be shipped to Phoenix once he is done with his work and should be here by Halloween. I'd love to meet up sometime around then to compare notes.

Oh, and Safari57... that is a beautiful restoration that you've done, I REALLY like the hardwood floors!

Based on what I'm hearing, I think I will do my best to keep the trailer as original looking as possible, but make some mechanical changes "underneath" in order to make it safer and more convenient for dry camping and general use. I'd really like to get it insulated better, add "basement type" air-conditioning that can utilize the under-floor vents in place of the old furnace, add a 39 gallon grey-water tank and increase the capacity of the existing black and fresh water tanks (probably 18 and 39 gallons respectively). I'm also thinking about changing the wiring to be all 12-volt and adding space for two Glassmat batteries, using the storage and power capacities of a 2005 25' Airstream CCD as a template.

Now I'm just wondering if the neighbor will mind if I pull the body off this Airstream in my side yard... LOL... I'll have to go talk to her and make sure she knows that it won't be like that forever...
__________________
ankornuta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2005, 02:19 PM   #9
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,031
Images: 37
An excellent plan! Just remember that the trailer has a maximum gross weight, and if your rebuild begins to nudge that weight (and with a planned 100 gallon water capacity it'll get heavy quickly) you'll need to consider beefing up the frame as well as the suspension.

Keep us posted on your rennovations please! And do photos... LOTS of photos!

Roger
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2005, 04:11 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
ankornuta's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Lowell , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 435
Images: 22
Yes, I was thinking about that. One of the first things I'm having done on the trailer is getting Andy at Inland RV to inspect it and help point me in the right direction (or at least steer me from danger!). I will mention the weight I'm considering adding to him and see if he has some pointers on reinforcing the frame.

BTW, how do I find the current maximum gross weight for my particular trailer? I know that the dry weight is right around 3550 pounds. It's a tandem axle configuration....
__________________
ankornuta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2005, 04:31 PM   #11
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,031
Images: 37
That's close according to the Airstream weights file for the '57 Overlander. Unfortunately, they don't show a '58 Cruiser on the chart that I have... so you can extrapolate a little, but you'll be close. It doesn't list a GVWR for the '57 O'lander either... well after a little more looking, GVWR doesn't show up on the charts until the 1989 model year... I guess you're on your own for that one!

I'm sure that Andy and a whole host of other good sources can tell you what you'll need to do to beef up the frame and suspension, and how much.

Good luck!

Roger
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2005, 05:31 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
 
ankornuta's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Lowell , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 435
Images: 22
Getting this Trailer Home... The Saga

You know, I'm not sure if this is the right category for this post... I suppose it could go into any one of a number of categories, but I'll put it here because this is where I started the tale of me getting this trailer.

I feel like I haven't really relayed the interesting story of me getting the trailer home. Or attempting to anyhow. This should be a good lesson for other newbies, like myself.

I had been looking for a classic Airstream to restore for a couple of years now, and when I found this 1958 2 Door California Cruiser I just knew this was the one. I live in Phoenix, Arizona and the trailer was up in Central Washington state. Just over 3,000 miles round-trip, so after paying for the trailer sight-unseen I figured I would need about four and a half days to drive the 1,500 mile trip, hook up with the trailer, then drive the 1,500 miles back home. I can only laugh about it now because it's better than crying...

So I took last Thursday and Friday off from work, packed some tools and a new marine battery into my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, had a brake controller installed, and hit the road after work on Wednesday. I drove from 6pm to 4:30am and made it just over 700 miles. It was pure excitement about Airstream ownerhip that kept me awake driving through Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Well... that and Red Bull

I spent the night in Salt Lake City, slept for a few hours, and hit the road again. From 10:30 Thursday morning to 11pm Thursday night I made it the rest of the way to the city in Central Washington where my trailer was waiting for me. I spent the night in a hotel in Cle Elum, WA which is absolutely beautiful country! I highly recommend it as a potential vacation destination in the early fall time of the year. But I had no time for taking in the sights. I woke up at 6am and headed to the Liberty diner where I met the previous owner of the trailer I had bought. He led me the rest of the way to where the trailer was. Which is to say, I followed him for about 10 miles up a 4x4 trail through the Eastern Cascade Mountains to a 3,000 foot elevation. It wasn't difficult for my Jeep to traverse that terrain, but I wasn't really thinking about what it would be like towing a 3,500 pound 26 foot long trailer back down it... not yet anyhow.

When I first laid eyes on the trailer I was instantly in love with it. The PO showed me the hitch that he had for the trailer. It is, I believe, the original hitch that came with the trailer. A 2" coupler with ball and Reese bars. It was a nice hitch setup... for a car. But my Jeep's hitch receiver is probably a full six inches higher than the car that this was most likely set up for in 1958.

So, with the original hitch hooked up the front tandem axle of trailer was obviously higher off the ground than the rear one. There was no way to lower the hitch because it was all welded together, so that is how I pulled it back down the 4x4 trail. There also was not enough room or any flat terrain to properly adjust the trailer brake, so I adjusted it as I drove down the VERY steep and rough and twisty dirt road. Remarkably, this part of the trip wasn't too bad at all.

Once I got out onto the highway, I had a trial-by-fire course in pulling a long trailer. I had never done this before. I pulled a car on a flat bed trailer behind a Suburban once, but that doesn't really compare. I quickly realized that with the way the trailer was pushing my car around whenever a truck passed or even the slightest breeze kicked up, I couldn't safely go much over 50 mph. I quickly attributed this to the fact that of the four wheels on the trailer, only the rear two were really firmly planted on the ground. I also thought the tires might need some air. I did check them when I picked the trailer up... each was at 35 psi. LOL... at the time I didn't see any problems with that. Another lesson learned...


So I continued on through Seattle traffic to the I-5 and drove down to Tacoma at a snail's pace. I called ahead to a U-Haul and brought the trailer in to have the hitch setup replaced with an anti-sway weight-distribution hitch adjusted to the correct height for my car. I got to the UHaul around 3pm on Friday. And then waited. And waited. And waited. They didn't have anyone on hand that knew how to install a weight-distribution hitch. Another lesson learned...

At 8pm on Friday the hitch was now set up on the trailer and the trailer was connected to my car. It still seemed a little high to me, but they had spent so much time getting everything to this point that I figured I would just adjust it later. By this time it was cold and rainy and my sister lives in Olympia so I figured I would just spend the night there and head out in the morning, incorrectly assuming that I would be able to resume my 70mph average speed pace and make it back to Phoenix by Sunday evening.

The next morning I got up and hit the road. It was still dark when I headed out and it was raining. The rain was no problem, actually. And the trailer seemed to be pulling much better now. And then a truck passed me and I started getting pushed all over the place again. I just figured this was what it was like pulling a trailer. But between southern Washington and Portland it was REALLY bad and it was at this point I decided that if pulling a trailer was THIS frightening, I didn't want to do it! I decided to stop in Eugene, OR and get a professional opinion. This is probably the best move that I made, and I should have done it sooner. The folks at UHaul were nice, but are not professionals when it comes to Airstreams...

I found an older man... an RV mechanic in Eugene who builds race boats for a hobby and had him take a look at my set up. It was at this point that I found out that the trailer had car tires on it with weak sidewalls in addition to having wheel bearings which were totally shot. He also told me that the hitch setup needed to be changed and adjusted slightly. He told me that this was a big part of the reason that the trailer was pulling so poorly. It was 2:30pm on Saturday at this point and I needed to be back at work on Monday morning in Phoenix. I decided to leave the trailer with him, have him do the work that needed to be done, and then have the trailer shipped back to me in Phoenix.

So... now my trailer is in Eugene and I'll be having it shipped down soon. It's very frustrating that I wasn't able to get it home, but I have learned a LOT of important lessons from all of this! Oh, and if anyone knows of a good company to get this trailer shipped, please let me know!

Lesson number one: I should have brought a hitch with me. And a Hensley at that most likely, considering the wheelbase of my Jeep (I'm still trying to decide on that point, and feedback is welcome). I have a towing capacity of 7,200 pounds with my Hemi engine and that's more than enough power, but I do have a short wheelbase.

Lesson Number Two: Trailers must have trailer tires. Car tires are not designed to be used on trailers. If I ever go and buy a trailer that needs to be pulled far again I will bring trailer tires and rims with me.

Lesson Number Three: When you're on the road, especially if you're on a tight schedule, be prepared to do everything you need to do on your own. There's no gaurantee that you're going to find someone to help you out who can also do so on your schedule.

Lesson Number Four: Old trailers probably have old wheel bearings, especially if they're not used/moved often. It's probably a good idea to be prepared to replace these wherever the trailer is at if you're going to pull this trailer a long way to get it home.
__________________
ankornuta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2005, 05:44 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
Our adventure

Ankornuta,

You might want to read our adventure log on picking up the 1954 29' double door liner this last June. We traveled from So Cal to Tampa and back in two weeks and also performed some repairs on the Liner. The link is: http://www.airforums.com/forum...666#post163666

There are several forum members in Phoenix who might be of help.

I looked at RJ Dial's site, vintageairstream.com, and he lists a 1958 26 Cruiser as coming from Ohio. Do you have a serial number?

Your trip, unfortunately, sounds like worst case senario come true.

Good luck in your restoration.

Bill

ps: put October 4-8, 2006 on your calendar. The Vintage Airstream Club in conjunction with the El Camino Real Unit is sponsoring a vintage rally at Newport Dunes in Newport Beach, CA. I, for one, would like to see another double door Airstream.
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2005, 06:01 PM   #14
4 Rivet Member
 
ankornuta's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
Lowell , Massachusetts
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 435
Images: 22
Bill, sounds like your trip was pretty fun! You certainly did the right thing by allocating enough time for it and assuming that the running gear would need to be replaced. Ahh, hindsight...

In regards to the model name, on that same site, the text says, "... but these are shots of a very rare 2-door custom California Cruiser - very few were made. Note the California style wheel-well cutouts, and the dual axle, stil only an option in 1958 for rather long and increasingly heavy trailer." I assumed that this model was only made in California as a result. Also, just aft of the front door on mine there is a tag that says "Made in Norwalk, California". So mine was built in CA, but I don't have the serial number handy. Once I get it back from OR (grumble grumble) I'll post that.

The rally sounds great, btw! It would be nice for me to see another 2 door as well! Hopefully I'll be all up and running to make it there (or close enough, anyhow). I grew up in Orange County so I'm familiar with the Newport Dunes. I like it out there.
__________________

__________________
ankornuta is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
1958


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1958 Cruiser (two door) Frame-off Restoration ankornuta Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 427 11-18-2015 06:13 PM
Rare Vintage 1958 18" Airstream Cruiser Custom. A Classic, Original Beauty eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 09-29-2013 03:30 PM
Rare Vintage 1958 17" Airstream Cruiser Custom. A Classic, Original Beauty eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 0 09-11-2013 08:00 AM
1955 Vintage Airstream travel trailler 26' Cruiser California whale tail. Rare.. eBay Watch Airstreams on eBay 2 04-21-2013 02:23 PM
Original Refrigerator for 1958 Cruiser ankornuta Refrigerators 21 01-18-2008 09:06 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.