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Old 10-02-2010, 02:03 PM   #1
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Opinions please, contemplating shortening a trailer in a major renovation

I have been looking for an old airstream for quite some time now. What I have hoped to find is an older trailer that would go well with my restored 1957 Pontiac Star Chief, something from the same era. Also I want a short trailer. From what I have observed old, short, restored models are rare and expensive.

I have come across this 1956 Overlander. The seller told me it was a 1968, I knew it was not and thanks to the help of this forum found out what year it actually is.

I have been following the post by truckasaurus titled Shell off Transmogrification. What I am considering is to take the trailer pictured remove the shell shorten the frame & shell to about a 16’ or 18’ trailer. What are your thoughts on the idea? Has anyone shortened an Airstream or know of one that has been shortend?
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Old 10-02-2010, 02:22 PM   #2
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Several of these projects have been done. This thread will get you started

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/cut-and-shortened-airstream-31076.html


There's another one but I can't remember the name of it right now. Someone will pipe up with it.

Personally that overlander looks like a pretty nice shell, I hate to see a '56 getting chopped up (you're into classics, so you know what I mean), but it's yours to do with as you please.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:44 PM   #3
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Are you nuckin' futs?
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:47 PM   #4
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Personally that overlander looks like a pretty nice shell, I hate to see a '56 getting chopped up (you're into classics, so you know what I mean).......
I would have to agree with Stephanie. To see a rig that has survived 50+ years with a clean shell taken apart and sectioned would seem counter intuitive.
From the pics it does, however, look like a blank canvas begging for a fresh start.
With a bit of sensitivity to its heritage you could build a neat one of a kind trailer.
I guess you could call it an Underlander.

Tom
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #5
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Do a little fine tuning on that Pontiac and I bet it would pull it just fine.Just my 2 cents.
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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You need to update your profile - it still says 1968

(Don't feel bad, I made the same mistake!)
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:13 PM   #7
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I don't see how it would save you money to cut this apart and re-engineer it into something else. It's hard enough to just take one apart and put it back together again the way it was. I see '50s Airstreams come up for sale now and then, and most are either restored or gutted, either of which would be easier to deal with than this. I hear it said that it takes at least $10,000.00 to do a restoration or renovation. I would bet that this would add another $5k to $7k for the shell and frame and unforseens, so if you actually have a $15,000.00 budget, a restored one is within your budget.

"From what I have observed old, short, restored models are rare and expensive."


What about old, short & distressed, or old, short, and gutted? You are comparing this to a gutted '56, not a restored one.

"Do a little fine tuning on that Pontiac and I bet it would pull it just fine.Just my 2 cents.
Dave"

I agree, it would be interesting to see if it would pull this Airstream. Have you checked out the towing specs for the Star Chief? A 16' to 18' is a cute trailer, to be certain, and the re-sale is good, but so is any well-restored or renovated Airstream of that era. An 18' is a SHORT trailer, most suitable for short trips, and few people/ amenities/ hobbies/ etc. A 26' is a great size for any length of trip, and you can bring things with you, and take things home with you. It would help to know how you intend to use the rig as well, since length of trip and what you want to bring with you are an important part of the equation.

Regards,
Rich the Viking
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:49 PM   #8
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Dave Park thanks, I updated the profile.

The wife and I went to Woodward, OK. this afternoon, about 75 miles away from Alva, bought the trailer and brought it home.

Easyride I keep that old Pontiac pretty well tuned, it has the 347cid engine with 3/2's and runs out pretty good.

Viking what you have to say makes good sense. I just like the looks of the shorter trailers, The 26’ length would be more useable and we do want to use what ever we end up with. I appreciate all the posts and will continue to post from time to time. Kirk Trekell
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:16 AM   #9
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Opinions please, contemplating shortening a trailer in a major renovation

Greetings Kirk!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Overlander ownership!

You might be surprised how much you would like the combination of your Pontiac Star Chief and a similar model year Airstream Overlander. While the Overlander may not have the immediate appeal/popularity of the smaller coaches, it is an exceptionally comfortable coach for traveling. In the days when both your car and coach were new, they would have been a comparatively typical match of tow vehicle to trailer. A restored/rennovated Overlander combined with your restored Star Chief and a few period accessories added could make for a great Vintage show vignette.

Something else to consider is that very few of the Airstream coaches below 24 feet have permanent beds. With the Overlander, the typical arrangement would provide you with either a double or two twin beds that could remain made-up at all times. It does get old, particularly on a long trip, to need to make up the beds at night and return the beds to their daytime function of seating/dining.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:54 AM   #10
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I appreciate all the posts and will continue to post from time to time. Kirk Trekell
Please do! Either route will be quite an adventure, and you'll get lots of help if you run into trouble, and folks here will just enjoy following along
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:26 AM   #11
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I say "Go for it!" People remodel the inside of these trailers with no concern for keeping them original, chop away. I have a 1948, 33 foot Spartan Mansion that I intend to do the same thing to. Mine will end up about 16 feet long. I did see an Airstream on Ebay once that somebody had put the two end caps together with the door in-between making about a ten foot trailer, that one did look pretty stupid. Careful planning and sketches to scale will help you decide where to cut. Good luck.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:35 AM   #12
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Looking at your photo, I see a couple of problems with your idea.

Firstly, it's a 50s trailer, and it just seems a shame to cut on one like that to make it into something that fits what you want, instead of just buying what you want. It'll cost you more in time and money to convert that into what you could have just got in the first place.

Second, it'll take two cuts, to keep the axle correctly positioned with any semblance of proper weight distribution. The windows would all need to be shuffled around, or deleted.

All that work, just to remove 4-6 feet that you'll just wish you could put back as soon as you try and use it

I'm not knocking your aspirations - just reminding you that it'll be harder than you thought, cost more, and that some people might not appreciate the results the way you do.

At the end of the day it's YOUR Airstream and you should do what you like with it.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:21 AM   #13
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Is this the serial number that is normally on the title? If so is it stamped in the frame anywhere or is this the only place it is displayed? I have a title issue to deal with first. The title the fella had was for a 1968. I am confident that the trailer was rightfully acquired. An elderly woman lived in this trailer for years near Woodward, Ok. It changed hands twice after her passing. I don’t think her heirs could find a title and the first guy that bought it came up with a title for a 68 and sold it that way to the fella I bought it from. It used to be easy to get a title for a restoration in Oklahoma but thanks the chop shops it is more difficult. I think I will first send a request to the State to do a search for the original but I need to be sure I give them the correct VIN #. Kirk
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:42 AM   #14
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I'd love to see photos of the Pontiac. My father was a Pontiac fan for a while. I remember a '49 blue fastback, '52 very slow 2 door sedan, '54 3 tone (tan and white maybe) hardtop convertible which may have been a Star Chief or similar trim line—it was beautiful.

As for the title, why wake sleeping dogs? Just transfer the one you have.

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