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Old 05-07-2019, 01:03 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by fiftysafari View Post
55 Safari serial #...

for all the Safari fans out there, my 55's serial # is 06092.

she is a pretty thing for sure, yearning for me to get to work so she can shine again.

I call her THE LORILU
The serial number makes yours an early 1955 model, built in October 1954. We don't know the exact timing of model year changeover in the mid-1950's but I'd estimate it was around October 1 give or take thru about 1957 before model change over started moving earlier in the year from 1958 onward.
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:08 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
The serial number makes yours an early 1955 model, built in October 1954. We don't know the exact timing of model year changeover in the mid-1950's but I'd estimate it was around October 1 give or take thru about 1957 before model change over started moving earlier in the year from 1958 onward.
Thanks, Joe.
Does the serial # also indicate where the trailer was built?
I always thought it was built in Ohio. Is this correct?
David
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:21 AM   #63
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55 Safari - place of manufacture...

I was reading about the difference in 1955 Airstreams built in California and Ohio.
It seems that the California Airstreams had 15 rear panels and the Ohio ones had the more well known 13 panel rear end caps.
Is this accurate?

Pictures (sorry...not polished yet) of the front and back of my '55 Safari show that mine has 13 panels both front and back and so was perhaps manufactured in Ohio.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:11 AM   #64
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David, donít think Ca even built a Safari in 55, just Ohio. Never heard that about the 15 panel rear. For a few years in the mid fifties, the rear end cap differed when Ca had the whale tail with four panels on each side. Ohio didnít have the whale tail so it was thirteen panels. Maybe Joe will chime in and give us some history.
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:29 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by fiftysafari View Post
Thanks, Joe.
Does the serial # also indicate where the trailer was built?
I always thought it was built in Ohio. Is this correct?
David
The leading "O" (for Ohio) in the serial number indicates your Safari was built in Ohio. For comparison, in the mid-1950s California serial numbers were 3 or 4 digits without any leading letter. The Safari was an official model for the Ohio factory. I have never seen a brochure that indicated that the California plant built the Safari model. California called their 22-footers all Flying Clouds in the mid-50's. That said, I have talked to people that were sure California built some Safari's. I have seen photos of maybe a couple California built trailers that the window locations could correspond to a "Safari-like" interior floor plan, though I have not seen interior photos to confirm. One suspected California Safari was the "Atomic" trailer that was used for testing near a nuclear blast in about 1955.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiftysafari View Post
55 Safari - place of manufacture...

I was reading about the difference in 1955 Airstreams built in California and Ohio.
It seems that the California Airstreams had 15 rear panels and the Ohio ones had the more well known 13 panel rear end caps.
Is this accurate?

Pictures (sorry...not polished yet) of the front and back of my '55 Safari show that mine has 13 panels both front and back and so was perhaps manufactured in Ohio.
The only 15-panel Airstreams were a few 1951 models built in California before the Ohio plant opened in late 1952 for the 1953 model year. All Ohio built Airstreams had 13-panel endcaps front and rear from late 1952 until about July 1957 when Ohio switched to 7-panel endcaps. California used 13-panel endcaps front and rear (except for those few 1951 15-panel exceptions) until they switched to the sloped rear end early in the 1954 model year. When California switched to the sloped rear, it retained a front 13-panel endcap, but switched to a rear 9-panel "Dutchman's Cap (a.k.a. "whale tail"), and retained this until they switched to 7-panel endcaps early in the 1957 model year (much earlier than the Ohio factory). There is a story that California built a few sloped rear end Airstreams with a 13-panel rear endcap rather than a whale tail, but I have yet to see photo evidence to confirm this rumor.
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Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
David, donít think Ca even built a Safari in 55, just Ohio. Never heard that about the 15 panel rear. For a few years in the mid fifties, the rear end cap differed when Ca had the whale tail with four panels on each side. Ohio didnít have the whale tail so it was thirteen panels. Maybe Joe will chime in and give us some history.
I think I just did.
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Old 05-07-2019, 04:42 PM   #66
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BTW, I do not know if the front Jalousie (louvered) window is original to your 1955 Safari. I have seen a few California built 1955 Airstreams with a front Jalousie window, but never an Ohio built Airstream with one. I suppose it is possible that it is the first original case I am aware of, or perhaps it was added when a previous owner changed the interior floor plan.

After the experiment with (mostly) front Jalousie windows by the California factory in 1955, Jalousie windows did not generally reappear on Airstreams until 1961 when they appeared as standard equipment on the window or stacked windows forward of the entry door, where they remained thru 1964. It seems that during the 1961-64 time frame Jalousie windows could be custom ordered in other locations, but that was done infrequently. Many (but not all) 1961 to 1963 16' Bambis had a Jalousie window in the door rather than a door-within-a-door. 1964 17' Bambi II's and 1965 17' Caravels also have a Jalousie window in the door. OK, history lesson over.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:29 PM   #67
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I think the jalousie window on my 55 Safari is original.
The modifications of my Airstream appear to have taken place in the 60's and included the removal of the front kitchen/bathroom & dinette seating and generally a complete interior do-over. Doors, vents, lighting, and windows all seem original.

Thanks for the great history!

I wonder how the atom bomb test Airstream held up to a nuclear blast???
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:46 PM   #68
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found this account of the Atomic Airstream

While other trailers were damaged significantly, the Airstream was still road-worthy. The only damages were a small dent in the rear and two broken windows. This particular trailer was not at all new, either. Having traveled 60,000 miles of rough terrain throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S., it was staged 10,500 feet from Ground Zero where it would then withstand an atomic explosion equivalent to 40,000 tons of TNT.
When the dust cleared, the Airstream travel trailer was standing virtually damage free, not a rivet popped.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:42 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiftysafari View Post
I think the jalousie window on my 55 Safari is original.
The modifications of my Airstream appear to have taken place in the 60's and included the removal of the front kitchen/bathroom & dinette seating and generally a complete interior do-over. Doors, vents, lighting, and windows all seem original.

Thanks for the great history!

I wonder how the atom bomb test Airstream held up to a nuclear blast???
I looked at the exterior and interior photos you provided (though not close-ups of the front window) and do not see obvious signs of the jalousie window being a retrofit, which could support the idea that it is original or at least a very good remodel.

Interesting, looking at the Ohio production records, I see that Safari S/N O6092 was produced for a customer named "Carl K. Falke, New Orelands", rather than for a dealership name . . . which might support the idea of the trailer being factory customized to include a front jalousie window . . . which would be a rarity since in 1954 and 1955 the Safari was a "no frills" model that normally had few, if any, options, though if one wanted to spend extra money, anything could be customized. Could "New Orelands" be a poor spelling of New Orleans? Who knows.

I then looked up Carl Falke in old WBCCI Membership Directories and found him listed as follows:
  • 1957: Carl H. Falke, Yerington, NV, no assigned WBCCI number.
  • 1958: Not listed.
  • 1959-63: #567 Carl H. & Edith Falke, Wells, NV (1959), Yerington, NV (1960-63), caravan 11 - Mexico Winter 1957
  • 1964+: Not listed.
I have a roster for the 1957 Mexico Caravan and #567 Carl (& Edith) Falke are not listed, but I suppose they could have been a late addition after the roster was printed.

So what does this tell us? It seems like Carl (& Edith?) most likely joined the club in 1957 to go on the 1957 Mexico Caravan, but did not get properly listed in the Membership Directory until 1959. It would seem that most likely your Safari went on the 1957 Mexico Caravan. There may be very faint ghost outlines of #567 on the front and rear of the trailer, but it is also possible that they are just gone after so any years.

My guess would be that the Falkes may have sold the Safari in or after 1963 and that perhaps it was the second owner that remodeled it.

It is also interesting that an Ohio built Airstream was ordered for a customer in Nevada in late 1954. Typically, Ohio Airstreams would have gone to customers for the most part east of the Mississippi River with California Airstreams going to western customers. The fact that California did not offer a front kitchen Safari as a standard model may have been the reason the Falke's bought an Ohio Airstream. This again also supports the idea that it could have been a custom ordered trailer with a custom front jalousie window. Who really knows, though, as this is mostly speculation.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:23 AM   #70
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ARRGGHHH!!!! I hate the 30-minute editing time limit. I just found and error in my last post that I cannot correct. The Falke's WBCCI number was #756, not #567.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:38 PM   #71
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I bought my 55 Safari from a family in north west Pennsylvania a few years ago.
The family purchased two old Airstreams at a barn auction, also in NW PA.
These Airstreams (the 55 Safari and a Bubble or Bambi in very bad shape) were both listed on eBay. I began bidding on the little Bambi? but it went high $$ quickly. So I bid on the Safari, which I never expected to win since the trailer looked in good shape, however I got the Safari for $3000, drove up to NW PA and came home with my treasure.
The Bambi was little more than a shell on wheels, but a bidder from ENGLAND won the bid for way more than I wished to spend. The Bambi was shipped off to England by an agent.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:46 PM   #72
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I can barely make out trace number outline of a "6" on the Safari, and there is a clear "56 -" number by the front window, so this trailer is the #567. Always wondered what that "56" was about. I speculated it was a date, as in '56.

I could not let the jalousie window question be unanswered, or at least further examined, after Joe's excellent history of the Safari.

A couple of closeups of the window show the jalousie is attached with SS screws...well, see the pictures for details.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:49 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiftysafari View Post
I can barely make out trace number outline of a "6" on the Safari, and there is a clear "56 -" number by the front window, so this trailer is the #567. Always wondered what that "56" was about. I speculated it was a date, as in '56.

I could not let the jalousie window question be unanswered, or at least further examined, after Joe's excellent history of the Safari.

A couple of closeups of the window show the jalousie is attached with SS screws...well, see the pictures for details.
Thanks for the closeups. I would say that the screws and pop rivets around the front window strongly suggest that the jalousie window was a later retrofit. The original front window assembly would have been buck riveted in place.

The small "56" you found next to the front window is most likely an interesting coincidence, but the WBCCI #756 (which I erroneously originally stated as #567) would have been in the form of big red numbers about 8" tall above the front and rear windows. There is no reason that I am aware of that small 756 (or 567) should also be on the trailer next to the front, though I cannot conclusively say it is not related.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:01 AM   #74
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Thanks for the closeups. I would say that the screws and pop rivets around the front window strongly suggest that the jalousie window was a later retrofit. The original front window assembly would have been buck riveted in place.
Case solved by Joe. My '55 Safari has retro front window and I am very happy with the jalousie style.

So this Safari was once the "756" and has been on the Mexico Caravan?
She has some miles on her...

How much concern should I have about the original axle? I towed my Airstream about 200 miles with no problems after purchase.
Of course I cleaned and repacked the wheel bearings, removed and replaced the old "split ring" wheels before towing.
I still have to re-do the electric brakes (and much else).

Thanks, Joe, for the great history!
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:20 AM   #75
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Let me know if you decide to keep the original axle. I traded mine out for a straight axle to gain height (I pull with a 4X4). I didn't keep the brake components, but I have the spindles, hubs, bearing caps.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:41 PM   #76
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Harold & Rebecca,
Thanks. I will be in touch if I need those axle parts.
David
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:58 PM   #77
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55 Safari, back to work...

I removed the side wall panel below the panoramic windows today.
Rivets and more rivets but I am not counting.

The mice had been at home in the walls - bye bye meeces.

Pictures show:

The famous masking tape used in the 50's to hold the electric wires in place;

Rubber grommets to protect wires passing through the frame members;

U-channel along the side walls;

Discontinued U-channel and start of notched channel along the front endcap curved section.
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:50 AM   #78
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55 Safari...almost ready for more old plywood floor removal.

Here are a couple of pictures:

- Tools for removal of the "buck" rivets around the entrance door panels - awl and hammer to set a dimple in the head of the rivets, and cordless drill with 1/8" (#30) split point drill bit for hardened steel.

- U-channel picture showing the lag bolts and screws that secure the plywood flooring to the frame.

- Essential vacuum cleaner...keep that work area clean
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:49 PM   #79
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55 Safari restoration...


Most of my Safari's interior is now stored in my basement, getting acquainted with the plywood for the new floor.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #80
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Plywood floor bolt removal in U-channel help needed.

I began taking the screws and bolts out, or trying to, that secure the old plywood flooring to the U-channel.
The screws are coming out ok.
The rusted bolts are just spinning in the rotted plywood under the U-channel, and so will not come off.
I thought of using a bolt splitter but I don't think it will fit in the U-channel.
I fear using a grinder due to the risk of tearing up the aluminum U-channel.
Looks as though I am left with trying a cold chisel or saw to shear the bolt between the U-channel and plywood.

What are your recommendations for removing these floor bolts?

I am not doing a shell off, this is shell on all the way.
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