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Old 11-15-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
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1960 33' Custom
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Super Sized Sixty Sovereign

I finally snagged a giant vintage unit for my next project! I've been looking for something different and this really got my attention. (I nearly went with a Clipper instead and frankly it would have been an easier rescue mission).

She's a Sovereign from 1960. From the rear we have a bathroom, (complete with Cali build stripper pole), then bunk beds, amidship features several wardrobes and a sizable kitchen then a large dining area before a giant gaucho. There's one Glen-Aire furnace at the rear and one by the door, a Princess stove, Marvel refrigerator and I'd say most original stuff including a ton of mouse nests. With a factory length of 33 feet I think there'll be plenty of room for a luxurious rehab.

I have a mix of windows here and will probably want to remove the rear curbside lower 50's unit and replace it with a 1960 vintage Hehr if I can find one. On the bonus side this one has segmented interior caps, no fiberglass here means which I can get a bit of shine on the inside.

It was a bit of a logistical nightmare fetching her home as it was 6000 km round trip to Arizona. When I got there the surprises in store for me included missing front and rear glass and a hole from the missing swamp cooler. I took spare wheels but didn't expect hydraulic brakes with a bent tongue and smashed surge brake unit. I ended up compromising with rebuilt brake drums, packed bearings and a new surge coupler unit on a new tongue + a new jack just to get her home. This temporary set up precluded using the weight distribution- sway system I had with me so it was an enlightening tow. I have to say towing something this big was doable but not overly relaxing through Montana's ice/ snow and mountains and I would not recommend it.

I won't be starting for a while on this one but am very enthusiastically watching some of the current work on up sized Airstreams. I know I want a new chassis possibly 6" or 8" with built in leveling and will be going for an ultra modern interior with some vintage atomic twists aimed more at longer trips. (Think Space Odyssey 2001 with chromed Glen-Aire furnaces).

Anyhow, I just wanted to share my find and yes the cat was just a precaution against any accidently imported wildlife.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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Hey Truck congrats on your find. I have a 61 sov that I just got home recently. I was on a 9000 km recovery to get several trailers. A 55 O'lander in Ohio,then out to Idaho to collect a 47 Liner and flat bed it to Maryland where I left the liner and picked up the sov and brought it home.
My sov ( The Buddha Baby) looks quite similar to yours. Yours is more complete than mine. I'll be waiting and watching this one. If you do half as good a job as the first one it will be spectacular.
BTW let me know if you're getting rid of anything as I want to redo mine to look mostly original.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:14 PM   #3
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Nice find Truck! Oh a cup of Tim Horton's 'eh? Mmmm. Haven't had a double double since July 2010 in Kandahar. Nice to serve with Canadians! I'm looking forward to the redo.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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Great looking trailer Truck. I love the bunkbed window. That's one feature I really wish I had retrofitted on my trailer. It's a pain to operate the regular windows with the bunkbeds in the way.

So, is that 33' length typical for a Soverign of that era? Sure looks like a big trailer. Can't wait to see what you do with it.

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Old 11-15-2011, 10:14 PM   #5
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Hey I'm loving the Buddha saga. It's going to be beautiful with all those windows and you bet there'll be some stuff leaving my trailer, I'll for sure post a heads up.

Typical Sovereigns were 30 footers but they built some custom units in 1960, there were a couple of 35 footers and at least two 33's that year (not forgetting the the railroad versions). With my new frankenhitch set up I'm at 34' but plan to be back down to 33' in due course.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:39 PM   #6
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Further investigation is leading me to believe I have a "Custom" 33 footer and not a Sovereign at all. Bit of a shame really as I liked the idea of the Sov' but Custom will just have to do. 60Custom33-35

Maybe the SO in the VIN implies Special Order rather than Sovereign?

Guess I'll be needing the title changed to Super Sized Sixty Special, anyone now how to get that sorted out?>
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:58 PM   #7
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Kewl, way Kewl, dude. I love unique stuff. This should be an interested restoration. Keep us up to date.

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Old 11-17-2011, 10:22 AM   #8
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You are a wild man! Just a bit of advice, these long trailers are a bit harder to square when you put em back togeather. Gets some good friends and lots of beer. Dont ask me how I know....
Good luckl!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:50 PM   #9
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The beast awakens

It's been awhile but this weekend the Sovereign made it across a province to our new location; she only lost the last vent lid on the journey so not too bad and I'm getting pro at taping rubbermaid stuff on the roof.

I'm just going to do the tear down and planning work this summer but it feels good to get stuck in.

No fixed plans really but we'll be keeping bunk beds now that we have one small person to cater to and aiming for vintage atomic style inside so I'm taking extra care around the Princess three burner stove, Marvel fridge freezer door and both Glen-Air furnaces. I know it's a shell off, new chassis and new skin in and out job so it might take awhile. (I might even move the axles back a bit to get better balance as they are only 12" off centre which seems odd and adds to the lightweight tongue).

I can't see how we'll keep to the current 4871 lbs total dry weight but so far I have removed and weighed:

Galvanized and cast iron - 119 Lbs
Copper plumbing - 23 Lbs
AC shroud and breaker box -23 Lbs
Residential water heater - 37 Lbs
Upper bunk bed - 45 Lbs
Residential Toilet - 51 Lbs
Aluminum Fresh tank - 33 Lbs
Freestanding table 60 Lbs

Next up is to ditch the memory foam bunk mattress and gaucho cushions and carpet etc at the landfill and see where we're at. That stuff is even stinking out the garage... bleh.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:54 PM   #10
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Scrap trivia

Todays trivia:
Copper #2 $2.80 18 lbs $50.40
Yellow Brass Clean 9 lbs $15.30
Clean Aluminum 36 lbs $18.00

So that's the plumbing and fresh tank gone and $83.50 for moi. (and yes 20c did disappear somewhere in the scrapy's math but I was just glad to get out of there without them hitting my truck with a forklift). I cut the fresh fill off so I can reuse it if possible.

Then I splurged with my new found wealth and ditched the upper bunk bed with foam mattress, the decomposing front gaucho contraption with cushions, toilet, AC shroud and general mouse dropping flavoured carpet. 485 lbs gone for only $15.25 at the landfill.

I also released from their mountings all the cabinets and extracted the Glenair furnaces and fridge. The fridge is hellishly heavy and the Glenair's are no lightweights.

Lastly, but I'm pretty pleased with this bit, I got a quote to re porcelain enamel the three parts of the Princess stove and double sink, $185 and $138 respectively, shipping might be pricey but they'll look great after such treatment.
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:06 PM   #11
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Flexomatic

If there was any doubt about how much a long trailer flexes this might help. The dabs of masking tape show the ONLY pop rivets still in one or more sheet in this huge area!
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Always a surprise

I did a little interior skin drilling today and got a bit carried away. It was quite nice to have just two sheets bucked together lengthwise rather than the three on my previous trailer, much easier to manhandle on my own. Also it was interesting to see that the end caps (exterior) are all formed from 2024 T3 and that the interior caps are also formed but from 2024 O grade (un tempered). I'd always though the formed segments were a different alloy but not on this bad boy!

I had planned just to duplicate the entire interior with new sheets but now I'm a bit undecided with what to do with the caps. I guess it'll either be refinish or one of Colin's flat pack kits?

I was prepared for the usual 60's build quality peculiarities but there were a few I wasn't expecting. Running through today's findings:
Formed Tempered segments
Formed Interior un tempered segments
If there's a rib nearby, cut through it, check
Every rib very badly spliced with a 1/2" gap, check
Amazing rib alignment
Yup, C channel vamoosed
and of course the usual missing insulation

I've got to add one more pic though, this one shows the original paint. Initially I thought it was just mouse poo on grey but no someone actually chose this finish!
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:22 PM   #13
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out with the yucky

We made some tear down progress before the snow starts. (there was just ice pellets this morning). I stripped the bows of asphalt like spray sealer; it was miserable and took two days even with a decent product :-( but now it's done.

Then I made some gantries from plans I found on the forum; they worked great for popping the shell but don't have the guts for lifting the big chassis. I'll rebuild them with 4x6 material in the spring.

With the shell now located in my daughters play set area of the yard we moved on to the chassis.

Removal of the belly pan was, as expected, vile. I sheared the pop rivet heads off with a chisel and snapped the elevator bolts off with a 10" Vise-grip plier which worked great. I was quite disappointed to only find insect nests and no skeletons, maybe next time!

The chassis is both bent near the front, rusted through in places and just generally a mess so I'm happy to bin it and start a fresh which was the plan from day one. (I say bin it but hopefully I'll be able to repurpose most of it or send it on to another life in some form).

I do enjoy trying to figure out what Airstream were thinking with some of the quirks we see. On this baby up towards the front they are missing outriggers on both sides, just seems weird.

I've kept the fore and aft sheets of "interior" grade plywood for templates but ditched the middle 6 sheets, along with the fridge cabinet today (adios 240Kg) of stinking wet garbage!

Last pic is of the aft hold down plate temporarily bolted back down for measuring, 29'2" plate to plate, I'll most likely go with a welded plate on the new chassis.

I'm still figuring out the new chassis but currently I'm planning on 6" structural channel coupled with Axis torsion axles with 12" drums downrated to something like 3500 lbs moved aft a bit.

I'v become a bit obsessed with Coosa composite board for the floor, I was attracted by the water resistance and ultra light weight, put off by the cost but am now re-enamoured with the R value which might tempt me into using it as the only floor insulation, well along with a cork top finished layer. Still spendy at nearly $300 Canadian a sheet.
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:50 PM   #14
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Theme board

Kind of parallel working here but the furnishings purchaser is getting a head start on the project. Not a bad idea really so we're starting a kind of mood board to get the Atomic feel.
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