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Old 01-31-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
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1947 Curtis Wright Clipper

I had the pleasure of checking out a well used Curtis wright trailer today. Very cool and always nice to check out a bit of trailer history. I love the windows in the front and rear and the way the kitchen looks out the front window.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:21 PM   #2
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:04 PM   #3
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I agree.

The windows on the '47's have those sharp corners where they meet at the centerline dividing strip. It gives the appearance of a single band of window that wraps across the entire end of the trailer. On the later models, and Silver Streaks, the windows get rounded corners and read more as two separate "eyes". I'm not sure that the later versions achieved a better weather seal because of it.

The early Spartans went through the same stylistic evolution with their own wrap around front windows, but in that case the change permitted the use of continuous rubber gaskets to hold and seal the glass, so I suppose it was a justifiable improvement.

Is that trailer for sale, or were you just taking in the sights??
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:07 PM   #4
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Recently purchased and on its way out of the country. Too Bad!
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:27 AM   #5
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Well, this was our last chance to see it before the sidewall opens via hydraulic arms... and the interior is replaced with a wienerschnitzel oven. Unfair of me to say that or not, that's 9 out of 10 modifications I see on these transatlantic oldies.

I think we should convince Airstream sellers to attach some sort of non-binding note taped to every trailer headed to Europe that says:

"Please consider your modifications carefully, there aren't nearly as many of these things left as you seem to think there are."
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:42 AM   #6
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They don't care Brad. All they see is Euros.
It used to bother me to see these old trailers leave. Then a friend convinced me "if you don't do the job someone else will" So, I sold them to overseas buyers, took them to the Port for other, watched them lines up on the wharf. Every time I took one in, I felt like a whore. I have stopped whoring. I won't even help the guy who calls saying it for him and his family now. I drove past the Port of Baltimore yesterday. I stopped and looked through the fence. There were 11 lined up, waiting on the next boat to South Hampton, Antwerpen, destinations unknown. The new units also go out this same Port. They are in a different area however and I could not see how many were there.
There are a lot of wienersnitzel vans in this country too. Cupcake tubes, coffee huts, burger barns, hotdog dens made from Airstreams. Don't forget that...
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:55 AM   #7
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this one is going to a collector in Japan, hopefully he'll respect the history of this beauty and restore her to her original glory.
I had the pleasure of doing a little work on her, had to attach a door hinge.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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musings on misused and abused trailers

Frank, it sounds like it still bothers you even though you no longer assist Euro buyers with the delivery process. It must be hard being in the "business" and being so close to the port to turn down that part of the work.

I understand being flustered by the vendor conversion aspect of so many vintage coaches as it bugs me also. Once they go under the conversion scalpel they are never the same.

The sad part is some models and styles should be left in their original state (as travel trailers) but are bought and modified and therefore ruined forever as true vintage coaches. Most of these are very unsuitable as vendor units in the first place which seems not to matter to the buyer or the person doing the work to it. Light frames and delicate doors and windows get abused and look shabby in no time.

I've seen plenty of more "modern" trailers that are much more suited for this type of use and perform the same function as the poor little butchered classics we fret over. And most importantly 99% of the customers don't care if it is a classic trailer anyway. (they think they're are all old ones) And by the way,and I'll just say this out loud...there is plenty of butchering going on right here in the good ole usa. And I'm not talking just roach coachs.

Are Europeans following US and also unable to walk half a block without another cup O' joe and hot dog? I think so.

Eleven units lined up at the dock??? Interesting.

Gary
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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Europe? Japan? Have you seen what the "Foreigners" in Austin, Texas are doing? Crap! How many cup cakes can they eat?
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:56 PM   #10
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Gary, it is not just Vintage Airstream travel trailers. There is usually an Airstream moho or two going on every boat. Spartans, Vagabonds,(and believe it or not) 1970's Winnebagos go over a lot too. The classic cars and trucks would astound you. The weeks after Hersey and Carlisle fill the lot with literally 100's. One time last year, I counted 14, 1950's Cadillacs. Two were 1959's. The last few times I went, I noticed a number of VW Beatles going back after visiting the USA for 40+ years.
It does bother to see it. Even though I have all the security clearances to enter the Port, I no longer will. Somebody else will fill my shoes, I am sure.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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WWWS.....What would Wally say?

While I can understand anyone's dislike of seeing a truly rare classic getting chopped up, I don't think its the end of the world seeing American trailers shipped overseas. They are not all being destroyed. Many are going to people who will cherish them more than most Americans, and who have gone to great lengths and expense to obtain them. It's almost like an American adopting an orphan from a third world country. A better life in a different place.

Sure, seeing vintage trailers lined up on the dock is kind of a sad final farewell, but Wally himself obviously had a very global view of what an Airstream represented. It was clearly his intention to introduce his product to the rest of the world, and his Caravans were the ultimate marketing tool to achieve that goal.

So since I can't stop it, I like to take a positive view of these trailers going abroad as kind of a compliment to the Brand and the Man, and the glory days of the USA.
I'd like to imagine a big proud grin appearing on my face if I ever get to Europe and see an Airstream coming down the road.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streamquest View Post
While I can understand anyone's dislike of seeing a truly rare classic getting chopped up, I don't think its the end of the world seeing American trailers shipped overseas. They are not all being destroyed. Many are going to people who will cherish them more than most Americans, and who have gone to great lengths and expense to obtain them. It's almost like an American adopting an orphan from a third world country. A better life in a different place.

Sure, seeing vintage trailers lined up on the dock is kind of a sad final farewell, but Wally himself obviously had a very global view of what an Airstream represented. It was clearly his intention to introduce his product to the rest of the world, and his Caravans were the ultimate marketing tool to achieve that goal.

So since I can't stop it, I like to take a positive view of these trailers going abroad as kind of a compliment to the Brand and the Man, and the glory days of the USA.
I'd like to imagine a big proud grin appearing on my face if I ever get to Europe and see an Airstream coming down the road.

I do not know what Wally Byam would think of coach conversions as seen today. I know the company did some speciality built trailers back in the day. One of the reasons Airstreams stand out was the fact that he highlighted TRAVEL before the word trailer. Lighter weight and areodynamic and not meant to be parked in one place for too long. WB thought the park models were bad for the trailer industry reputation and was trying thwart off the negatives of fixed trailer parks.

My point about converting vintage units into service vehicles other then the loss of its original design is that they are not well suited for this because of the weight and restricted size limits most vintage units have.

But anything can be done with enough time and money. I have much less of a problem with newer trailer conversions because it means another vintage trailer has been spared, and the more modern units have heavier bits to stand up to the extra weight.

So it is true that these vintage trailers are being destroyed one at a time. But even they can be rebuilt and but never to be original again.

On the subject of the 47' Curtis Wright heading to Japan it will probably be treated very well and not converted to another use. There is a rabid group of vintage trailer people there not unlike here. I guess they were the highest bidders.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:51 PM   #13
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Hopefully some reassurance

Hi, I read this thread because I've just bought a '47 Curtis Wright Clipper and am shipping it to my home in the UK.

I understand some of the negative sentiment to foreign buyers -I think a bit of patriotism, passion and the want to protect your heritage is a good thing.

I therefore thought I'd write to let you know that the trailer I have bought will be used for its intended purpose - it won't be chopped up / put into commercial use. I'm about to spend my children's inheritance on renovating it

I hope I will do it justice. I assure you it will be cherished and protected. I will be very proud to be 'caretaker' of this beautiful piece of American history.

I have shown friends and colleagues photos of the trailer and they are all wowed by its design - it will be a UK advert for American style and culture - the comments from people here in the UK would honestly make you guys brim with pride!

I hope you all don't mind me posting. I've no issue with the previous posts about foreign buyers - just people expressing the fact they care about their precious heritage - I just hoped to reassure a bit.

Best wishes
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
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...I've just bought a '47 Curtis Wright Clipper and am shipping it to my home in the UK.

...thought I'd write to let you know that the trailer I have bought will be used for its intended purpose
Thanks so much for chiming in. Since I piped up first, I'll clarify my position, that I have no issue with these trailers spanning all corners of the globe.

Just because I don't live in Surrey doesn't mean my country's heritage shouldn't be enjoyed in your backyard... just as the beautiful little 1950's Vespa in my garage is as loved and cherished here in Chicago as it would've been in Italy.

I was expressing my disappointment solely when exceedingly rare and old trailers are permanently ruined for an audience that doesn't even benefit from that destroyed history: i.e. cutting up a '48 Wee Wind, when a plentiful 1960's trailer could've simply been shortened instead. Others may disagree, but in my estimation this phenomenon seems to happen more often overseas than here: but that's certainly not an indictment of all exported Airstreams, or a judgement on all non-American buyers' intentions.

I, for one, am thrilled to hear you'll be giving your new CW a happy home and hope you get to spend lots of time in it. You sound like a great steward for its next half century.

Wally went to great effort to tow these trailers all over the world, from the Great Wall to the Pyramids, and from Red Square and the Eiffel Tower. They're ambassadors of American ingenuity and freedom to explore, but they're also a dissemination of that enjoyment - a handshake to anyone who wants to enjoy those qualities.

Hope you'll spend lots of time here learning, as well as sharing what you discover as you fix up your CW.

Welcome aboard.
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