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Old 11-22-2017, 10:38 AM   #1
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1957 Airstream Southern Pacific Line ED-303

Hello. First time poster here. I came across this forum last night as I was researching a 1957 Airstream Southern Pacific Line ED-303 that I saw for sale locally. Turns out, it's at a dealer that purchased 10 of them from an estate. Unfortunately, they don't have paperwork on it so they are going to sell it at auction for scrap!!!! I'm in Colorado, does anyone have any idea of how to save this beautiful piece of history? My husband told the dealer that we don't care about paperwork, we're just going to put it on our property to use as a sewing studio for myself. We were so excited when we saw this and have a ton of vintage style ideas to do, but now the wind has been pushed out of our sails. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:57 AM   #2
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Hi

Well, one obvious way to rescue them is to buy them at the scrap auction.

Bob
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:14 PM   #3
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Well yes, that would work, except that the dealer won't say what auction, where, or when. They listed it back in September and then just relisted it again two days ago. I don't understand why they would be doing this if they're just planning on selling it for scrap.
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:52 PM   #4
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That's very sad as I think I know the owner of those trailers - who was very proud of them - I'm sure he would not have wanted to see them go to scrap !!


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Old 11-22-2017, 09:19 PM   #5
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That is really sad Ken J. We thought the same thing. Anyone that has a collection like that certainly doesn't want to see it destroyed. What a waste.
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Old 11-23-2017, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynacoco View Post
Well yes, that would work, except that the dealer won't say what auction, where, or when. They listed it back in September and then just relisted it again two days ago. I don't understand why they would be doing this if they're just planning on selling it for scrap.
Hi

If they are selling for scrap but not selling for scrap then they actually aren't for sale (at least not as scrap).

My guess is that this is some sort of "squeeze play" working against the real owner of the trailers. Based on the story so far, it revolves around paperwork.

Bob
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:03 AM   #7
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If they are being sold as scrap, you can inquire as to what the dealer considers scrap value, and make an offer based on that. There are ways to get paperwork on older trailers.
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Old 11-23-2017, 08:34 AM   #8
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I remember that trailer coming to balloon fiesta - he was soo proud of it !


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Old 11-24-2017, 07:46 AM   #9
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This trailer is listed for sale for $2000 at Berkenkotter Motors:
http://www.bmotors.us/vehicle-detail...180fc72e3edf65


The Manufacturers Tag in one photo lists the maker as:
Mobile Industrial
12804 E. Firestone Blvd.
Santa Fe Springs, Calif



This was the address of the California Airstream plant in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The ad lists the Serial Number as 32M1631004, which, I believe should actually be 23MI631004, and I think decodes as follows:
32 = 32 footer
MI = Mobile Industrial
63 = 1963 Production Year (not 1957)
1004 = sequence number making this the 4th of 35 32-footers built for Southern Pacific that year.

I have seem photos of trailer that looked like this at Airstream, one seemingly labelled as an Airstream by way of a window decal, not a trailer badge, and painted a darker color, I suspect it may have been a demo model perhaps to get a bid, that was repainted to be resold after a bid was not won. But that is purely speculation on my part. Unfortunately, I did not scan those photos.

It is interesting that Airstream built a variety of these large trailers for mostly Southern Pacific Railway, but a few for Western Pacific Railway and some for Pacific Railway Sales, over the years from 1960 thru 1964, with perhaps a couple built in 1958 as well. The bulk were in various lengths from 32 to 40 foot in length, although it appears that a few shorter 27 & 28 foot likely prototypes were built, sometimes for other potential customers, that never resulted in production beyond a single demo model or two or three. Production qualities (think dozens, not hundreds) were made in lengths of 32, 33, 35, 36 and 40 foot in several years between 1960 and 1964. Based upon serial number sequences, I will speculate that some 32, most 40 and all 33 and 35 footers may have been designed and badged as Airstreams, while other 32 & 40 foot and all 36 foot models as well as the few 28 models were designed and badged as Mobile Industrial models, based upon whether there was an "MI" in the serial number or not. I assume, but cannot prove, all with non-"MI"s serial numbers looked like normal Airstreams, while all "MI" serial numbered units looked like the trailer that inspired this thread.

There are various photos of these long trailers that can be found on the internet. The more obvious ones look like Airstreams. One such notable Airstream was given a custom makeover by Timeless Travel Trailers a few years ago:
http://timelesstraveltrailers.com/po...fic-airstream/

Another is being restored by an AirForums member:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f36/...ign-84829.html

The Mobile Industrial trailers are much less well understood. I know I have not specifically researched them, and their tie to Airstream may often not be known, since they were not badged that way. Thus if they appear on the internet, they may not be identified in a way that links them to Airstream. I suppose one could search the name "Mobile Industrial" and see what turns up.

I just did that and turned up this previous AirForums thread started by a member that had another 32-foot MI unit. There are also photos of a 36-foot MI unit and a 33-foot Airstream unit badge in the thread:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f537...er-112376.html
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Old 11-24-2017, 08:39 AM   #10
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Hi

So now the question becomes: Does somebody *need* a project like this and do they have $2,000 to get started on it?

Given how weird paperwork gets on classic cars, old boats, and old RV's, I find it hard to believe that this one is so tangled that it can't be put on the road. I've been wrong before though

Bob
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:44 PM   #11
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That is the one we were looking at Joe! Thanks for all of the information you provided. The history is fascinating.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:47 PM   #12
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Great Post Joe!
I actually just bought this trailer. I was trying to research it a bit before I went to look at it, and thats what brought me to your post. I love the history and think it’s such a cool trailer. So the 63 is for 1963 huh? I will have to be sure to get it titled as such. You obviously know a lot about this thing, and I’m having a hard time finding much information. I was wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction to learn more? I would like to try to learn everything I can about it so fthe story can survive along with it. And thanks for the info you have already posted! It definitely influenced my decision in buying this trailer.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:09 PM   #13
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I have done a little more research on Mobile Industrial since my last post. I write a monthly article called "Historically Speaking" for the WBCCI Blue Beret magazine and even included a paragraph about Mobile Industrial in the April 2018 article. Attached is a clip of the Mobile Industrial portion of that article.

I still don't have all the answers. I believe that the early commercial trailers in 1958 and 1960 were badged and serial numbered as Airstreams and looked like Airstreams with lengths of 33', 35', and 40', but some time in 1961 they began to be serial numbered as Mobile Industrial trailers and by 1963 they had the appearance of the Mobile Industrial unit that initiated this thread. Most Mobile Industrial trailers were 32', 36', and 40', although a very few 27' and 28' models may have been made. I do not currently know if the 1961 and 1962 units that may have been serial numbered as Mobile Industrial trailers still looked like traditional Airstreams or if they looked like the later 1963 and 1964 Mobile Industrial trailers. I will be watching for 1961 and 1962 commercial trailers to eventually show up to answer this question.

As a side note, Timeless Travel Trailers put a modern interior a 40' Western Pacific Airstream a couple of years back that they claimed was a 1962, but I believe in fact that was a 1960 Airstream because of several details on the trailer: http://timelesstraveltrailers.com/po...fic-airstream/

I also believe there were some special units built for the railroads in the 1957 to 1958 timeframe, but the ones that I have seen appear to have been 26' long, not like the later 32' to 40' trailers. I know very little about those early railroad trailers other than they had different window locations than the typical 26' Overlander models.
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