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Old 08-02-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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1948 Curtis Wright... or is it???

We've finally got our first travel trailer! What were we thinking? It's so cool, but the amount of work to be done... I hope we still are as excited when we're finished and we can say it was a labor of love because we're going to do it all ourselves.

This was sold to us as a 1948 Curtis Wright. But, we have no way to confirm that. There is no tag or evidence of ever having had a tag (no tell tale holes.) The title has it listed as "homemade trailer."

Things that seem right for a CW: Wheel well “skirts,” single axle, solid doors, three roof top vents, Air-O-Lite type windows with drip caps across tops, triangle plate on front and back of trailer, Plexiglass D shaped windows.

Thing that don't seem right (but admittedly info out there is limited): no ID tag, not a pipe frame but a C channel, two doors - one on each side, narrow doors - front being 28" and back is 24", over all length with tongue is 28'.

There is nothing (at least original) in the trailer. Some home made bunk beds, a steel cupboard and an oil heater. (Most is already gone!)

Photos have been posted Perhaps we'll never know for sure what it is, but we sure do like it. Any info on helping to ID it would be appreciated.

Tina and Mike Nelson
1948 Curtis Wright
1999 Chevy Express Diesel
St. Louis, MO
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:03 PM   #2
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This is very interesting. I have an idea on what it is but I am going to leave the final telling to the experts and historians here. Post up some pictures so we can all be sure.

If the ladder frame is orginal, I kinda doubt is is a '48 or a CW. My guess is this is something your gonna wanna keep!!
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:15 PM   #3
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Hi Dave,
Thanks for your note... how intriguing! I've posted a photo gallery, but as I'm still learning my way around this very large website, I hope that's the easiest place for others to see the photos. I'm looking forward to learing and gaining new knowledge :-)

Tina
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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Tina,

There are some things about your trailer that scream CW, but then there are other things that scream AS. I am curious to hear what the others have to say. I have friends that own a 48 CW that I have worked on, the doors are different, the windows are different, the frame is definately different. Your trailer is in that wierd time of different anomalies and no real pattern of "standard" features. This is a very cooool trailer, and I hope I get to see it sometime.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:25 PM   #5
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Whatever it is - it's a great find. What are you planning to do with it - vintage or just rebuilt to your style. Interesting tail light boxes and the hook by the door?
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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WOW!!!

Awesome trailer, and you are right here in town. I hope to see it someday.

Steve
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:49 PM   #7
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Check with Fred Coldwell

I believe that Curtis Wright ceased production in 1947, Airstream began production again, and Silver Streak began and went the CW way.

But you really need Fred Coldwell to confirm the timelines.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:34 PM   #8
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O,,my,,,,a real spaceship,,, must be polished, so cool.
Please keep us supplied with pics,,,.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:02 AM   #9
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I'm sure Fred may know more about this than me, but as far as I know, Curtis-Wright continued to make rounded silver Clippers into 1949, at which time they were sold to SilverStreak (as far as I know a new company at the time), which continued to produce the Clipper model with minimal modifications until at least 1954.

I am not a Curtis-Wright expert, but it appears be be closer to a Curtis-Wright than an Airstream to me. That said, it has details that differ from typical C-W's.

And in case at 28' someone was thinking Airstream Whirlwind, I see minimal similarities besides the 28" length and two doors. The two known existing Whirlwinds each have two doors and one of them has one on each side (I believe that trailer has sold and shipped overseas about 3 years ago and it hasn't been seen since.) Otherwise, this trailer does not have tandem axles, nor the pipe frame, nor the single end windows of the Whirlwind.
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Old 08-03-2009, 01:10 AM   #10
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That would jive with what a friend of mine told me; How he lived up in Wa., in a 1950 Silver Streak Clipper, said that the year before (49), that the trailer was called a Curtis-Wright.
When I saw this post, I called him to hear the story again.
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:19 AM   #11
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I think someone, not so recently, modified that trailer to a ladder frame. The tail lights are definitely not remotely original and those running lights are a modern add on. The bumper is very much Airstream like for 1949. The two rear window is not Airstream like it should be just one single window. Curtis Wright is my guess, but I am not an expert.

FRED WE NEED YOU.....
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:03 AM   #12
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It's a Curtis Wright or Silver Streak . . .

but I'd lean toward a Curtis Wright given the early style door hinges. Now, I don't know much about Curtis Wright or Silver Streak trailers. The front and rear fixed "D" windows tell us it is not an Airstream. Here are a few observations.

The trailer body looks one piece and original. There does not appear to be any circumference seam where someone joined two bodies together to make an extra long trailer body.

The rear end looks original and unmodified, or at least is a very old and well done modification. There does not seem to be any evidence of an old pipe frame in the rear belly pan, which is unusual to say the least. The frame in the rear end nicely fits the contour of the trailer and the rear end exterior low trim strip also looks undisturbed, suggesting the frame back there might be original or a very old modification.

The front end has been disassembled and put back together using large pop rivets. Whether that was done to install or repair the ladder frame is tough to say. It could have been done when the front floor began to separate from the body as the whole body pivoted around the axle when going over bumps. There are two sets of vertical rivets on the front end that suggest different body-to-frame plates have been used. The latest plates are the ones using the large steel pop rivets directly above the frame "A" arms. [The earlier set of plate rivets are inside these]. It would be helpful to see some photos of the frame at the inside front of the trailer.

Do both front and rear doors hinges have the same Olympic type rivets (with a dot in their center) as visible on the close up of the rear door? The rear door has a plate over the place where the handle typically goes, but that could have been a factory modification or a later owner mod if the owner later installed the rear street side door. But if the rivets around the body opening for the rear door are bucked, it likely was a factory installation.

This could have been either CW's or SS's reply to the Airstream 28' Whirlwind. What's puzzling is that Silver Streak continued CW's use of a pipe frame until the mid-Fifties, which is why the ladder frame on this trailer is so out-of-time. But it could have been an unusual for its time ladder frame because of the extra body length of this trailer. Hard so say from photos without an in-person inspection. The early type door hinges and Air-O-Lite windows suggest 1948 is the correct year, but the absence of a VIN plate makes identification problematic (not that anyone has a grip on CW serial numbers anyway).

Great old trailer! When installing a new floor, attach it very well to the front of the body. Have fun.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:59 AM   #13
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What a fantastic find! I looked at all your pictures and I hope to see your trailer in person some day. It is going to be a lot of work, but it certainly will be a labour of love. You've got an exciting piece of history. I'm excited to see how you guys arrange your interior since you've basically got a blank canvas. In D. Keister's "Silver Palaces" pp. 98-99 there is a 1947 CW -- nice inspiration. Best wishes! Looking forward to seeing pics of your progress.

Lisa
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:05 PM   #14
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What an interesting find. I can't add anything to what others have said, especially Fred Coldwell's comments. The extra length past 22' is a surprise. If there is no real interior in it at present, I say turn it into a hip martini lounge! Just kiddin'... sort of...
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