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Old 09-22-2007, 10:45 PM   #1
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1956 Airstream stolen and recovered but gutted.

I have my Grandfather's 1956 Airstream that he left to my uncle. My uncle died and now it is mine. We had it at an RV storage facility where my mom wanted to tinker on it when it disappeared. My mom had been paying storage on it and when she went to make a storage payment the menagement told her that they had lost the paperwork on it and it had been dosposed of. I stopped by the storage a few times to get to the bottom of the situation but always on the weekend when no one was around and the trailer was gone. I was diagnosed with heart failure from a virus last fall and did not pursue it for a while. Last spring I stopped by the storage and the trailer was back but the current management said the owner had purchased it for a hunting rig. I informed the management that he did not purchase it from me and it was my trailer then called the police. When the police arrived the story changed to the trailer had been abandoned. I did not have paper work with me at the time so the police would do nothing about it then. I went and got the papers, new license, and temp lights and hauled it out a couple days later.

The trouble is that it had been gutted and restoration?? started. The staff at the storage was uncooperative when I aksed where the interior was and claimed it was abaindoned that way. Now the real question...I would like to restore it and use it but am a little worried about the cost to do so. I have good mechanical skills but have never done this kind of work. My thought was to restore it back to original but think that is impossible now.

The Serial number is 6696 and it is a 26 foot with tandem axles. It had a rear twin and a curb side twin with a fold down couch in the front. The bath is street side over the axles. All the appliances, beds, cabinets and some of the exterior lighting has been removed. There is a swamp cooler on top with some damage to the roof around the interior of the cooler. I have seen many pics of Overlanders but this is not tagged as one and has different floor plan than I have seen online.

I have pics but not sure how to include them. I would like help to identify it and welcome comments.

Thanks
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Old 09-22-2007, 11:14 PM   #2
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First of all, what a terrible thing to happen. Have you considered legal action against the storage yard?

This link shows a 56 Cruiser, but it is an Ohio model.
56Overlander
Based on the serial number you gave, yours is a California built model.

The trailer is a real gem, but putting it back to original is going to take alot of time and effort. Finding some of the interior parts will be very hard to do. As much as I love vintage trailers, your might be best suited for a new interior. I wish you the best of luck with your project.

I almost forgot, welcome to the forums!
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Old 09-22-2007, 11:50 PM   #3
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Welcome...and sorry about your luck on this.

Karma to you.

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Old 09-22-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
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Richard,

Thanks for the reply. I have talked with an attorney and it boils down to a civil matter as I can not prove who did what. Still considering legal options.

I have seen this set of pics and many like it. In looking for pics of what my trailer used to look like inside I found the rear bath with parallel twins. I have yet to find another trailer with the floorplan similiar to mine which leads me to believe it may be a custom. It does not have the Overlander badge with the VIN tag.

I pretty much figured to do a new interior as the only option...going to do the floor as well and some metal work also to bring her back. been also thinking about new interior paint.

What do you think of original paint? Am I correct in assuming that Zolatone is the right paint for the interior? Zolatone Automotive, Industrial, and Marine Coatings

I did figure out how to add pics to my photo gallery so there are couple there so far. how do you add them to post other than with a link?

Can you tell me what the rivets mean under your name?

And, how do I get just 1956 Airstream for my trailer description rather than 1956 Cruiser Overlander?

Thanks,

Scott
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Old 09-22-2007, 11:56 PM   #5
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The rivet equate to the number of posts you make. I think the first one comes after 5.
The moderators can modify the list of trailers you can select from. Send a PM to one of them. They are the names in bold at the bottom of the portal page.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:05 PM   #6
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Hello shermybaby -- Welcome to the Forums! This has got to be so tough to go through.

Reading the descriptions at R.J. Dial's Archives for the 1955 & 1956 26' Airstreams, it seems the names Cruiser and Overlander were in a two year transition for quite similar trailers. The name depended on either California or Ohio manufacture. I agree they weren't "Cruiser Overlanders." There were always a number of differences between the two factories -- roadside or curbside bathroom position being only one. I'd rather lump things together than split them up. I've modified the trailer profile to read 1956 Cruiser/Overlander. What do you think?
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:04 PM   #7
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CanoeStream,

Can you tell me how to tell if my model is a Cruiser, Custom or Overlander? I have not seen a Cruiser or Overlander that has the same floor plan and my trailer does not have a badge that ID's it as either. I was wondering if it might be a custom model...

Thanks for the change. I think 1956 Cruiser/Overlander is fine. I suppose it is not really a big deal to me which one I have because it has been in the family and the sentimental value is why I am going to put her back together. And, it really will be a Custom when it is finished. I was just curious after seeing so many pictures with Overlander badges right above the VIN tag.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:14 PM   #8
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Yes I will. A bit later please.
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:15 PM   #9
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Shermybaby, welcome to the forums. It's just wrong what the storage facility did to you. I hope you find resolution and justice.

Try this 1956 Custom Fleet flyer from the Vintage Airstream Club online library. Some of the imagery was cut off during the scan, but you may find the layout of your model. It looks like there were several 26 ft. models in 1956.
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:41 PM   #10
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Sugarfoot,

Thanks for the post. It looks like Airstream was experimenting with several ideas in 1956. I do not see my original layout there but one that I like better...I think I like the idea of a large bed in back and closet on the curb side oppisite the bathroom. Either way, lots to do...

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2007, 08:45 PM   #11
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Wonderful A/s History

The story is enough to break all our ALUMINUM hearts. All the best luck in her transformation, you have come to the right place for all things SILVER.

From the looks of the photo's, the outside seems to be in very good condition, keep the pic's coming. It should be a very interesting transformation.
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:12 PM   #12
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Scott,

First off welcome to the forums. Secondly, what a crappy thing to have happen but the upside is, you got the hard to get part back. The trailer has a neat history so you'd hate to lose it.

If this were me I'd be reporting the storage facility to the local BBB for a start.

Reading your story is, I hope, a good heads up to those who use storage facilities that theft from them is quite high. It's important to check frequently on your trailer, and to make sure you stay in touch with the front office on a semi-regular basis so they know you actually do exist and are concerned about your trailers safety. Too frequently all the folks see is a monthly check and don't connect the person to the trailer - so if a "brother-in-law" shows up to borrow it for a weekend with a convincing story......you know the drill. We have a friend who owns a storage facility and he says the audacity of some folks after in particular vintage cars in storage is unbelievable.

Keep us posted on your progress. Since you are redoing it now you may as well do it in a way that it's the most functional for you to use long term. There's an RV wrecking place in Bellingham, WA - Gundy's I think it's called, and you can pick up appliances and other parts from late model RV wrecks for pretty reasonable prices. Not sure of the spelling but you can look it up in the yellow pages - they also have automotive/truck wrecking. Our neighbors who are re-doing my old Silver Streak have gotten some outstanding prices on hot water heater, stove, converter and other pieces from Bellingham.

Barry
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:57 AM   #13
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Shermy - This is the limited information that Airstream used to have up on their site for pre-1980 VINs. It sure doesn't help with the VIN on your '56 Cruiser!
http://www.airforums.com/forums/atta...3&d=1189129122

This is what Richard did to come up with the information in post #2. He went to Vintage Airstream Photo Archives. A few things to understand about that site -- it is maintained by R.J. Dial, who compiles available information about vintage models and works with other vintage devotees. He has catalogued serial number (or VINs) and this can be used to get close on identifying an unknown Airstream.

On the 1954 Cruiser photo archives page, look at the top left. It shows that Ohio-produced Cruisers of this year had a 4 in the first digit position, then sequential production numbers from 056 to 182. Does that mean Ohio produced 126 Cruisers that year? I don't know who could say for sure. But look at the next line for California -- VINs had a 6 as the first digit and the sequential production numbers were approximately 400 and up.

The 1955 Cruiser photo archives page has a different layout. You can see the California | 6NNN at the top; it is apparent he doesn't have a lot of data on those VINs. Both the '54 & '55 pages describe the Cruiser & Overlander models.

The 1956 Cruiser photo archives page repeats the California | 6NNN listing. I don't know of a source to say what their sequential production number break points were between the '54 & '55 and '55 & '56 production runs; gaps were probably left between them. Your VIN shows that _696 was in the 1956 production run. Can we say R.J. Dial's pictures seem to be of Ohio-produced models? Not with certainty. The description of the '57 Overlander says the wheel well identifier didn't happen until 1958. I would expect some interior differences between an Ohio & California model in any event.

I would strongly recommend that you listen to theVAP.com episode 37 about the transitions in the 1950s -- thanks to our 47WeeWind, Fred Coldwell, the VAC historian. This podcast describes some of the different features for campground vs. over the road models. You can subscribe & listen over your computer if you don't have an iPod or mp3 player.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:46 AM   #14
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Shermy, Dial's site also has this on a 1956 California Overlander that describes a layout like yours. I notice the rear exterior end cap is the "whale tail" seen with some California models. Does yours happen to have a whale tail as well?
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