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Old 03-27-2011, 09:25 AM   #1
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Opinions Wanted - 1958 Serial Number Plate

Here's a pic of my recently installed Overlander name plate. As you can see I still haven't replaced my serial number plate. Vintage Trailer Supply makes a great looking replacement but the city location doesn't match the original serial number plate. Mine says Norwalk while the VTS reproductions says Los Angeles. Not a bid deal, but I wish it matched 100%.

What would you do, replace or leave alone?

I also noticed that the VTS website says that my serial plate was used up to 1955. I guess the CA plant had an over abundance of these plates.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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I'd refinish, Mike.

Pretty easy to do, just repaint and then remove it from the lettering, mask the serial number area. Check Shari's thread as she has it documented well.

I bought the replacements from VTS, but my refinished originals look fine to me.

-steve
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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Thanks, Steve. I'm leaning toward that, too.

Does the style of your serial number plate match mine?
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
What would you do, replace or leave alone?

I also noticed that the VTS website says that my serial plate was used up to 1955. I guess the CA plant had an over abundance of these plates.
What DID I do? Refinish it...it's easy. Rustoleum "Royal Blue" matches the original color pretty well. The old plates are a deeper embossing so the pain t recesses down in the grooves and it's easy to remove it from the top.

FWIW...Cerritios, Santa Fe Springs, Downey & Norwalk were ALL the same place back in the mid-50's - they were all unincorporated areas right outside LA. So technically, having Los Angeles on it isn't really wrong - it was the nearest "real city" at the time.

Check out this old thread...Minor CA Geography Lesson

Shari
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:05 AM   #5
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Shari,
You did a great job on those plates.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f91/...-31084-25.html

I noticed that your serial number plate is shaped differently than mine and that yours says Los Angeles. It's strange that Airstream used so many different serial number plates and styles. I also noticed from looking at several different 50s Airstreams, that they also mounted the plates differently. Serial Number plate on top, Serial Number plate on bottom, Serial Number plate to the left of the Name Plate... I guess that's par for the course for Airstream back then.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:03 PM   #6
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You can do it! Refinish it! I've done our "Airstream" signs but not the others yet.
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:33 PM   #7
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Keep the original!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Here's a pic of my recently installed Overlander name plate. As you can see I still haven't replaced my serial number plate. Vintage Trailer Supply makes a great looking replacement but the city location doesn't match the original serial number plate. Mine says Norwalk while the VTS reproductions says Los Angeles. Not a bid deal, but I wish it matched 100%.

What would you do, replace or leave alone?

I also noticed that the VTS website says that my serial plate was used up to 1955. I guess the CA plant had an over abundance of these plates.
Hi Mike:

Your existing serial number plate is original to and absolutely correct for your trailer. It is not damaged at all and can be restored, so please keep it and use it.

During the early Fifties, Airstream operated two plants in California, one at 1755 No. Main Street in Los Angeles proper and a second at 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. The information on the VTS web site concerns only the serial number plates for the 1755 No. Main Street plant. It does not address the 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. plant or that plant's serial number plates (which VTS does not reproduce), which are a separate and distinct matter. To some, the difference in plants is a big deal.

My understanding is that when the E. Firestone plant was first occupied it was in an unincorporated section of its county. The nearest post office at that time was in Norwalk, so that was the city used in the plant's address, which was basically its postal mailing address. Then around 1957, the area surrounding and including the plant was incorporated as the City of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

Soon thereafter Airstream changed the city name on its 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. serial number plates to Santa Fe Springs. The plant never moved of course. But a quick reading of s/n plates would suggest otherwise, until one noticed the plant street address did not change.

The change in city on Airstream's E. Firestone Blvd. s/n plates naturally would lag the actual date of incorporation of Santa Fe Springs, if for no other reason than Airstream wanted to make sure the incorporation was officially completed before ordering new s/n plates. And Airstream most likely would have used up most, if not all, of the Norwalk E. Firestone Blvd. s/n plate before beginning to use the new Santa Fe Springs ones.

This difference in city names is one way to distinguish early from late 1958 Airstreams built at the E. Firestone plant. Don't remove that important clue from your trailer only to replace it with a wholly incorrect Los Angeles plant reproduction serial number plate. Keep your trailer's original history with your trailer. Subsequent owners (and historians) will thank you.

Best regards,
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Old 03-27-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
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That's it. The man has spoken. Didn't know there were two CA plants in operation producing their own separate Airstreams in the 1950s. The old plate (which is in terrific condition) stays!! Now I need to find a paint that exactly matches the new Overlander plate. My Overlander never had a name plate, for some reason.

Thanks Fred.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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Update

Good news! Steve Hingtgen, owner of Vintage Trailer Supply, contacted me shortly after posting on this thread about making a new serial number plate with the Norwalk street address. Based on the images I've provided, he is currently working on producing this serial number plate for the Airstream community.

A big thanks goes out to Steve. Without his excellent products, restoration of our Airstreams would be so much more difficult.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Good news! Steve Hingtgen, owner of Vintage Trailer Supply, contacted me shortly after posting on this thread about making a new serial number plate with the Norwalk street address. Based on the images I've provided, he is currently working on producing this serial number plate for the Airstream community.

A big thanks goes out to Steve. Without his excellent products, restoration of our Airstreams would be so much more difficult.
That's really great, Mike!

I really try to buy just about everything I can from VTS. I know for me, and I suspect for all of us redoing old trailers, that it would be much much more difficult and expensive without them. And, their customer service is the best.

cheers,
steve
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