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Old 01-31-2018, 10:56 PM   #1
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Unusual SERIAL/VIN # on 1953 Flying Cloud

Hey all. Hoping for the collective wisdom of the hive. I'm posting this here and in the Flying Cloud specific forum. So, we just bought a 1953 Flying Cloud and after stripping the paint on the tongue to verify the VIN, we found an unusual number - "W934." I've been trying to track down any info on what the factories were up to in the early 50's, but clearly there were some anomalies. Maybe this trailer was one of them. I believe it was a special build since it has the name "Hamell" written in white chalk on the bottoms of each drawer. They owned it for a while, too; I found a credit-card-sized solar calculator with their name on it behind a cabinet and they didn't come out until the mid 80's.

It has the typical layout for the time - fixed bed across back, front click-clack fold-down bench with dinette up front - but it also has a street-side aluminum wet bath and Valliant water heater mounted outside, behind the kitchen.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:13 AM   #2
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This was the first full year of production at the Jackson Center Ohio plant. They may have done a few strange things that year. Donít have a clue about the tongue numbers. Is there an ID tag just forward of the door where the serial number is normally stamped? Good luck. Bubba
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:17 AM   #3
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First year anomaly ...

Thanks for chiming in, Bubba. I think I've read just about everyone of your posts. Nice work!!

So yes, it seems there were a few things going on that first year that were odd.

The panel forward of the door and just under the window where the tag is supposed to be was replaced at some point. It was an obvious repair using interior pop rivets. Unfortunately the placard wasn't put back.

(By the way, if anyone knows how to make these pics load the right direction, I'm all ears.)
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:26 AM   #4
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As far as I can tell, photos that are taller than wide get flipped. So,take the photo with your phone horizontally instead of vertically or crop/resize the photo before you upload.
Hope this helps,
Bubba
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Old 02-01-2018, 11:20 AM   #5
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Start looking for the s/n in the cabinets, the bottom of the cabinet tops or the underside of the bed platform. The cabinet makers built to order and usually wrote the S/N on the wood. Mine has in written inside the closets also. I've never seen a SN on the frame that matches the one on the trailer.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
Start looking for the s/n in the cabinets, the bottom of the cabinet tops or the underside of the bed platform. The cabinet makers built to order and usually wrote the S/N on the wood. Mine has in written inside the closets also. I've never seen a SN on the frame that matches the one on the trailer.
Didnít think about that. But youíre right. When we gutted our 66, a lot of the hidden cabinet frame members had our serial number hand written on the pieces. I guess to keep things in order while building them in the warehouse. Other than your suggestion, I donít have a clue how to find the serial number. Bubba
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Old 02-01-2018, 03:49 PM   #7
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We have a name not a number ...

I ran into this before with a '47 Spartan so the cabinets were the first things I checked. The bottom of every original drawer has "Hamell" written on it in white oil/chalk. I think this must have been a special build rather than one being sent to a dealer somewhere and they just used the owner's name instead of the number. Thanks for the suggestion on the cabinets - I'll go check a little closer since they're all out now.

The bed platform had already been replaced, btw. A previous owner had a 63" wide mattress made which was sitting on a modified steel angle iron queen bed frame.

I did find "3496" written on the inside of the Valliant water heater, but it doesn't match either. Mine is a 13-panel '53 Flying Cloud and that number would be in the right range for a 1957/58. Maybe the owner decided to add it later and found one used(?)
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:31 PM   #8
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Eureka! Found it!

Thanks for the suggestions, HiHo and Bubba! I found a number that was partially painted over inside the fridge cabinet. The cabinet had been modified when a prior owner put in a bigger fridge (the Marvel in the back of the pic is not from this FC). After carefully stripping it, the full number was revealed!

I am the proud owner of 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud # 7434! Interesting how the last two numbers match the last two of the weird number stamped into the tongue - W934.

Anyway, now the fun really begins! Thanks for the help, guys!

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Old 02-01-2018, 06:55 PM   #9
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Congrats. If OK, weíll add you to CapainJonesí Flying Cloud Registry. It spans from 1950 to 1963. The fun begins. Bubba
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:00 AM   #10
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Absolutely, Bubba. We are James and Kelly Fowler in Salt Lake City, Utah. We were super excited to add this beautiful '53 FC to our growing herd of vintage aluminum beauties! Now back to the FC forums to research how to build an access panel in the belly pan for the tanks I'm ordering...
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:04 PM   #11
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Welcome

You have been added!
Flying Cloud Registry
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