Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-25-2009, 05:55 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Mr. Decent's Avatar
 
1960 18' Traveler
Nomadic , Symmetry
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 73
Images: 21
California Airstream Plants

I am curious if anyone can give me some insight on the history of California Manufacturing, mid 50's through mid 60's. I have recently read two posts that have perked my interest, one, was Pee Wee's post regarding the move to the new Cerritos Plant in '59 or '60 and another from an owner of a '59 Traveler with a badge stating it was manufactured at 12804 E Firestone Blvd in Norwalk. My 1960 18' Traveler has a badge from Santa Fe Springs, CA but with the same address on Firestone Blvd. Were borders moved at some point or...Any Help? Also wondering if there is any way to determine sequence of manufactuing by #, like what was the first or last # to be manufactued at a particular location. Thanks.
__________________

__________________
Mr. Decent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2009, 06:10 PM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs or Both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Decent View Post
I am curious if anyone can give me some insight on the history of California Manufacturing, mid 50's through mid 60's. I have recently read two posts that have perked my interest, one, was Pee Wee's post regarding the move to the new Cerritos Plant in '59 or '60 and another from an owner of a '59 Traveler with a badge stating it was manufactured at 12804 E Firestone Blvd in Norwalk. My 1960 18' Traveler has a badge from Santa Fe Springs, CA but with the same address on Firestone Blvd. Were borders moved at some point or...Any Help? Also wondering if there is any way to determine sequence of manufactuing by #, like what was the first or last # to be manufactued at a particular location. Thanks.
In 1956 Airstream moved from downtown Los Angeles at 1755 Main Street. Both address were used at their new plant. It started out as Norwalk, and then either by boundry differences, annex, or mis-identification the plant along the Golden State Freeway or I-5 became Santa Fe Springs.

In 1968 the new plant was built in Cerritos, CA. Just a few miles away from the old Santa Fe Springs Plant.
__________________

__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2009, 06:34 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
Mr. Decent's Avatar
 
1960 18' Traveler
Nomadic , Symmetry
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 73
Images: 21
Thanks PeeWee!
__________________
Mr. Decent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2009, 07:01 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
 
Mr. Decent's Avatar
 
1960 18' Traveler
Nomadic , Symmetry
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 73
Images: 21
btw...anyway to determin when the village names were changed on the tags in relationship to VIN#?
__________________
Mr. Decent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 11:56 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Sugarfoot's Avatar
 
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Mr. Decent, I have a feeling they kept using the badge plates they had in stock until they ran out, no matter what the address. Maybe Pee Wee or someone would know for sure. So many of these older Airstreams are full of mystery.

There are several things about my '56 that lead me to believe that '55 stock items where used in buidling the trailer. I have an Airstream documented issue date of August 27, 1956. The S/N plate on my California '56 reads
"1755 No. Main St, Los Angeles
Jackson Center, OH"

Would anyone happen know when in the assembly process the S/N plates were applied? The plate appears to be buck riveted which would mean it was attached early in the process. Did the actual S/N get stamped on the trailer plate just before it rolled out of the factory door or before it was applied to the trailer?

I'm just curious!
__________________
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

Aluminocentricity
Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 12:17 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
 
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
 
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,499
Images: 1
photo's

Does anyone have a photo of the Bambi, that was on top of a high pole, at the old Santa Fe Springs plant?

It was about 50 feet in the air, right next to the I-5 freeway.

I understand that it cost Airstream, $50,000.00 to have it taken down when they moved to the Cerritos plant.

And best of all, does anyone have a photo of the Airstream "for publicity" stunt they did by having a 17 foot hooked to the back of a 20 foot, hooked behind a 22 foot, hooked behind a 24 foot, hooked behind a 26 foot, hooked behind a 28 foot and finally hooked behind a 30 foot trailer, and all being towed by one truck, on the I-5 freeway?

Airstream got a ticket for doing that, since the overall length was "a little" longer than the state allowed.

And finally, does anyone have a photo of the trailers being plasticoated outside and immediately next to the I-5 freeway at the old Santa Fe Springs plant?

Dick Macintyre has many stories about that.

Andy
__________________
Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,025
Images: 1
August 2, 1956 Letter from Art Costello to Wally Byam

Dacia's unit definitely was built in downtown Los Angeles on Main Street.

The letter from Art to Wally was mailed to Wally in Dusseldorf, Germany. In is on regular North Main Street stationary, pretty blue and the Airstream being towed by a bicycle.

In the upper right hand corner there is a red ink stamping.

"NEW LOCATION (AFTER sEPT. 1):
Santa Ana Freeway at Rosecrans
Phone TOrrey 8-1571
Mailing Address:
12804 E. Firestone, Norwalk, Calif."

Art sez in his last two paragraphs:

"Speaking of the new factory, we have completed all the buildings, fencing and blacktopping. In fact, it is ready to move into right now. However we are not going to move until the 20th as planned.

Everybody who sees the new location is tremendously impressed by its size and terrific location."

Your unit had to be one of the last made in L.A.

Pee Wee
__________________
"Keep the road straight, the sky clear, the glass full, good friends and the laughter loud!", Pee Wee
PeeWee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
Rivet Master
 
byamcaravanner's Avatar
 
1967 28' Ambassador
1963 19' Globetrotter
1970 29' Ambassador
Waukesha , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,180
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarfoot View Post
Would anyone happen know when in the assembly process the S/N plates were applied? The plate appears to be buck riveted which would mean it was attached early in the process. Did the actual S/N get stamped on the trailer plate just before it rolled out of the factory door or before it was applied to the trailer?
I seem to recall folks posting pictures of cabinetry with the sequence part of the serial number written on the inside... that would lead me to believe that the trailer was given it's number at the beginning of the line... as far as when the number actually got punched? Good question.
__________________
Steve & the crew
'70 Ambassador International Twin
'63 19' Globetrotter TAC WI-1
http://byamcaravanner.blogspot.com/
byamcaravanner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 01:56 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
47WeeWind's Avatar
 
1948 16' Wee Wind
1953 21' Flying Cloud
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,149
Images: 20
The new plant at 12804 E. Firestone Boulevard was built in unincorporated Los Angeles County. The closest post office was in Norwalk, so as Art's 8-2-56 letter to Wally states the mailing address was Norwalk, California. In 1959 or thereabouts (the city's web site is silent on this date), the City of Santa Fe Springs, California was incorporated and that became the closest post office to the plant, so the mailing address was changed from Norwalk to Santa Fe Springs. I do not know whether the factory was actually located within the City of Santa Fe Springs proper or whether it was still in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County. Old property tax or tax assessor records would provide the answer.

I imagine the serial number was assigned to a trailer upon receipt of an order from a dealer (I have seen early floor plan sheets with a serial number penciled in on them). In Ohio at least, furniture was custom made for each trailer and the trailer serial number is hand written on most pieces (and many parts) of furniture. I imagine the serial number plates were hand stamped before being installed. In the 1940s, many serial number plates were screwed on, but by the 50's many were riveted on. Buck rivets means the serial number plates would have to be installed before the interior skin. Pop rivets allow greater flexibility and indirectly suggest they were installed closer to the end of the manufacturing process.

Mr. Decent, absent a document stating when the changeover in serial number tag cities was made, the best way to determine when the city address changed from Norwalk to Santa Fe Springs is to inspect every 1959 and 1960 California-built Airstream and record the serial number and city. With enough data points, one can home in on the answer. If one is exceptionally lucky, he will find two trailers with consecutive serial numbers but different cities. Of course, one should then check a ways on either side of that seeming changeover point to make sure both plates weren't used interchangeably for a period of time and to verify that changeover point was a discrete event. To see the overall picture, this should be done this for every model California trailer built in 1959 and 1960.
__________________
Fred Coldwell, WBCCI #1510, AIR #2675
Denver, Colorado - WBCCI Unit 24
Airstream Life "Old Aluminum"
Airstream Life
"From the Archives"
47WeeWind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2009, 02:35 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Sugarfoot's Avatar
 
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Fabulous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
Dacia's unit definitely was built in downtown Los Angeles on Main Street. . . .
. . . Your unit had to be one of the last made in L.A.

Pee Wee
Click image for larger version

Name:	FIMG_0095.jpg
Views:	125
Size:	72.1 KB
ID:	84500

To know which factory riveted those plates, that is way too COOL! Especially to find it was one of the last out the door. Who knows? It could even be the last SOTR made in the Los Angeles factory.

Pee Wee, I'm so glad you have shared part of Art's letter. Fred, as always, you come through with great vintage insight. Thanks to both of you.
__________________
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

Aluminocentricity
Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2009, 04:52 PM   #11
2 Rivet Member
 
Mr. Decent's Avatar
 
1960 18' Traveler
Nomadic , Symmetry
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 73
Images: 21
The electrical build sheet in my 1960 Shows a date of September 1959 with matching #s and with the Santa Fe Springs address, so we can assume the village name on the tags was changed prior to Sept '59. My exterior badge was also buck riveted on.
__________________
Mr. Decent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2009, 05:01 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
mello mike's Avatar
 
1958 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,742
Images: 53
Interesting thread. So when did the Calif plant close down and why?
__________________
1958 Overlander
2011 Wolf Creek 850N TC
2011 Ford F-250 Crewcab (6.2L), 3.73RE

WBCCI #5661/AIR #5661/TAC # AZ-6
4CU 1st VP

My '58 Overlander Restoration and Travel Blog:
http://mellomikesairstreams.blogspot.com/
mello mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2009, 05:15 PM   #13
Rivet Master
 
wkerfoot's Avatar
 
1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,667
Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Interesting thread. So when did the Calif plant close down and why?
1979 or so, when Airstream was purchased by Thor and all operations were consolidated in Jackson Center.

Bill
__________________
Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

http://billbethsblog.blogspot.com/
wkerfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2009, 05:45 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Sugarfoot's Avatar
 
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Identity Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Decent View Post
The electrical build sheet in my 1960 Shows a date of September 1959 with matching #s and with the Santa Fe Springs address, so we can assume the village name on the tags was changed prior to Sept '59. My exterior badge was also buck riveted on.
I think you are probably right. According to the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce the Santa Fe incorporated in 1957 and mentions the Norwalk Boulevard Post Office bearing the "Santa Fe" name even prior. It sounds like the Norwalk address couldn't have been on S/N plates much more than a year.
__________________

__________________
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

Aluminocentricity
Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
California Airstream Ca Airstream Member Introductions 21 10-26-2009 07:57 AM
Common Poisonous Plants azflycaster The Pet Forum 0 03-13-2009 12:48 PM
Airstream scam in California ajanib Our Community 6 12-09-2007 03:14 PM
Anyone Bought from California Airstream? Ron C Commercial Listings 1 04-19-2005 11:45 PM
Beta fish in glass jar? with plants? silver suz The Pet Forum 12 04-23-2004 06:34 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.