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Old 09-21-2012, 08:48 PM   #1
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Trailers on ATW and CtoC caravans...?

Ive seen alot of info posted about the owners of all the trailers that were on those caravans...has anyone put in the effort to try to determine as much as possible about each of the trailers that were on those trips? (using all the photographic infor currently available) I might be an interesting undertaking...
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:22 AM   #2
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Hi Jay,
I have been doing exactly what you suggest for several years for both the Cape Town to Cairo and Around the World Caravans, because neither Airstream nor WBCCI kept any records of the Airstream trailers that participated on these caravans. I do this partly for my own interest and partly to be able to confirm or refute claims that an Airstream participated on one of these caravans.

You are aware the latest such case earlier this week when a claim was posted here on AirForums that a 1958 18' Traveler was claimed to have participated on the Cape Town to Cairo Caravan:
(http://www.airforums.com/forums/f492...9-a-96592.html)

In this case it may vary well be true that the person that donated that Airstream to the Ohio Historical Society believed this to be true from what they were told when they bought it, but I was able to quickly cast doubt on this claim, even with all evidence of WBCCI numbers having been polished off, by comparing it against the photos I have of suspected 18' CT2C trailers. I hoped that the claim was true and I cannot with 100% certainty say that it is not true, but I'd say I am about 99% certain it is not true.

I have refuted other claims in past eBay and other ads that seemed to have been done on purpose to drive up interest and prices. I really try to fight those cases when the claim is false.

But this knowledge of ATW and CT2C trailer works both ways. I am always checking ads for 1957 to 1963 Airstreams looking for signs that they may have participated on these caravans even if the WBCCI numbers can't be seen or if later WBCCI number are present on them (since that may have been sold to another member over the years).

I used this method to positively identify #83 from the Around the World Caravan on a recent eBay auction within an hour of the posting of that auction from various trailer details. The provided photos of that trailer showed a more recent 4 digit WBCCI number and no hint of ghost outlines of the original 83. Later it was proved that the ghost of 83 were there, but we really did not need that to confirm the provenance of that Airstream. I emailed a few friends that I knew to be actively looking for an ATW trailer to advise them that one had just turned up for sale. In the end, someone tipped off the seller and he posted suspicions about possible ATW caravan participation and the price crept up further than the condition of the trailer would have warranted. That said, I am happy this ATW Airstream has been rediscovered and will be restored to it's former glory. It becomes the seventh confirmed ATW survivor.

Regarding my progress on identifying these Airstreams, at this time, I have several Airstreams from both caravans positively identified as to length, year, model, factory it was made in, and unique details. Some I only have a partial identity on (e.g. I may know 7 vs. 13-panel end caps, but not length), and there are a few that I have nothing on because I have no confirmed photos of them. I have gotten to the point on several trailers that I can identify them in photos by their tow vehicle or other unique characteristics when their WBCCI numbers are not visible. I am further along on identifying ATW Airstreams, than CT2C Airstreams, but I recently came across some additional photos for the CT2C, so I have some work to do there as my free time permits.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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A thread with real possibilities. Nice explanation (and work), Joe.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Hey Joe
GREAT! I dont know why it didnt occur to me earlier to make a record of the trailers based on what we know about them. Given the amount of pics that are available, there cant be to many trailers that info cant be deduced from? Or am i wrong? :-)
How are you oranizing the data? Spreadsheet or word file?
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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My documenation method is a crude excel spreadsheet that records ATW and C2C trailer and tow vehicle details by WBCCI #, sometimes (but often not) with notes as to what photos I used to make the determination. A lot is still left in my brain. The photos have been spread throughout several directories on my computer. This can make finding period photos of any ATW or CT2C Airstream a bit of a challenge if I want to look one up. I have always hoped that I would get to the point that I'd have a file for each Airstream that contains period (and modern, if they exist) photos of the Airstreams. Maybe I'll have the time to get that detailed when I retire, but right now I just don't have that kind of free time.

Anyway, this thread along with the recent rediscovery of the gold stripe Airstream (different thread), and the recent question about the claimed CT2C that was donated to the Ohio Historical Society (another different thread) has piqued my interest in this research again. Combine that with the fact that I have been home with the cold/flu thing for a few days, and I was inspired yesterday to finally search through my latest CT2C photos too see if I could make any more progress on identifying CT2C Airstreams and tow vehicles.

I should note that whenever I see photos of an Airstream that I beleive could have been on the ATW or CT2C caravan, but for which I do not currently have photo evidence to prove it, I keep copies in case I can later make a positive ID.

Combining the new CT2C photos with my archives of past interesting Airstreams lead me to two BIG discoveries last night. I'll detail them in my next two posts to this thread.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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Discovery #1. An eBay auction that ended about a month ago had post CT2C slides of a tow vehicle that was used on the CT2C caravan. I am now 100% certain of that fact because the black with white top 1958 Ford crew cab utility truck with front brush guard and winch was just too untique. Until yesterday I had no confirmed photos of this CT2C tow vehicle.

The second part of this discovery is that I beleive the eBay slides are of the same CT2C Airstream, but the WBCCI number has been changed from the original "115" as used on the CT2C caravan to "1154". It also appears that the roof was painted white after the CT2C caravan, but it is possible that it was white on the caravan because sometimes that does not show up well in photos.

To back this discovery up I should note that WBCCI # 1154 was unassigned in 1959 and 1960, but was reassigned in 1961. How convenient that the new owners, Jack and Margaret Peters of Jefferson, Iowa, just needed to add a trailer 4 to the existing numbers on the trailer. I should also note that Dallas and Helen Calmes of Bellaire, TX, that took this rig on the CT2C Caravan did not renew their WBCCI membership after 1961.

Anyway, here is a link to the ebAY auction:
4 Vintage Old Slides Photos 1960's Ford Truck AirStream Silver & Others Trailers | eBay

And since I know the eBay page will probably be deactivate soon, I am attaching photos from that auction below (the first 3) along with the CT2C photos I used to make the identification (last 2).

Of course none of this helps us find CT2C Airstream #115, but it could help with identification if an old Airstream ever turns up with ghosts of the WBCCI number "1154".

P.S. If anybody reading this bought those eBay slides, I'd love to get higher resolution scans of them.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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Discovery #2. I am perhaps a little less certain on this one, but an interesting 1958 26' Overlander tandem (with serial number O7669) sold on the vintagecampers.com web site maybe 6 to 12 months ago. That Airstream had the unusual details of scare lights on all 4 sides, skid hoops below the rear bumper, dual spare tire hjolders on the rear bumper, and a higher than normal stance (a possible spring or axle change to additional ground clearance?). At that time, I had no photos that could tie that trailer to the CT2C caravan.

You can still select the 1958 Airstream 26' Overlander Tandem on their "Sold Archives" at the folling link and see many more photos than I am attaching to this post:
VintageCampers.com :: Vintage Campers, Vintage Trailers, Vintage Parts, Vintage Restorations

I think my belief about this Airstream all changed yesterday when I found one fuzzy photo that appears to show a CT2C Airstream with some of the same details. This photo also seems to suggest that windows, vents, antenna mounts, and access doors seem to be in the same places. I cannot be totally certain, but I think the number on the trailer in the CT2C photo is 1604. This is the only photo I have of 1604.

This trailer # seems to be a good fit because the CT2C participants listed on the CT2C roster were Darwin and Loretta Hamer were from Detroit, MI and travelled with their nephew Roger Dixon from Lansing, MI, and the Airstream was recently sold in the neighboring state of Indiana.

There is some mystery surrounding the Hamers, however. The 1958 and 1959 WBCCI membership Directories list a D.B. and Loretta Hamer of Maple City, MI for #1604, while the 1960 thru 1970 Directories list a Bruce and Ardis Hamer for #1604 at the same Maple City address, but also credit them for the CT2C caravan #20. Then in the 1971 Directory, #1604 is listed for a Wendel and L. Ardis Hall at the same Maple City address (a remarriage?) before being unassigned for a few years starting in 1972.

Maybe "D.B." is "Darwin Bruce" and maybe "Loretta" was the "L" in "L. Adris" and maybe the Detroit address was just a mailing address while they travelled abroad.

Maple City is perhaps 4 hours NW of Detroit. I was through Maple City many times as a child back in the 1960s and 1970s, so I wonder if I ever saw old #1604 back then not knowing what I was looking at.

Anyway, I will be contacting the seller of the Airstream to see if he will put me in touch with the purchaser so that we can try to confirm my suspicions. BTW, if anyone reading this purchased this trailer or knows who did, please contact me directly.

Below I will attach the CT2C photo and closeup that I used for the preliminary identification, followed by a few photos from the web site that recently sold this Airstream.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aircooled4 View Post
Given the amount of pics that are available, there cant be to many trailers that info cant be deduced from? Or am i wrong? :-)
Well, You'd be surprised how hard it is to find photos of 41 different trailers (and tow vehicles) that are clear enough to identify them, even when you've got hundreds of photos to look at. Except for some publicity photos for Airstream, most photos are of scenery and people, with the Airstream in the background if at all. Often only a corner of the Airstream or tow vehicle is visible. This is usually the case if there are lots of Airstreams in a photo with those in the foreground partially blocking those further away.

Anyway, I do not wish to share my spreadsheet (100's of hours put into it over several years), but I started totaling up what I know about CT2C Airstreams and tow vehicles in different ways. I don't have updated totals for the ATW caravan at the moment.

CT2C Airstreams (out of 41):
3 = Airstreams that I have no CT2C photos of (but I may be able to make some assumptions in some cases)
38 = Airstreams that I have at least one partial CT2C photo of (many I have multiple photos of and can tell quite a bit about, but some I may not be able to pin point the exact year, factory, or length, etc.)

1 of 1 = 16' Airstreams Identified
2 of 2 = 18' Airstreams Identified (2 assumed to be the correct number, see below)
12 of 19 = 22' Airstreams Identified
3 of 4 = 24' Airstreams Identified
12 of 14 = 26' Airstreams Identified
0 of 0 = 28' Airstreams Identified
1 of 1 = 30' Airstreams Identified
10 = 22' to 26' Airstreams that I cannot clarify length (note that 22' vs 24' and 24' vs. 26' can be tricky because such Airstreams often have similar window configurations and viewing at an angle can make it hard to estimate length)

(the number after the "of" above is per Wally Byams book, Wally accounts for 39 of the 41, with the last 2 assumed to be 18')

33 = 7-Panel Airstreams Identified or Assumed (assumed for those that joined the club in 1958 or 1959 if no photo)
7 = 13-panel Airstreams identified
1 = No photo and nothing to base a guess upon (member joined in 1955 and likely upgraded their Airstream before CT2C)

15 = Single Axle Airstreams Identified
15 = Tandem Axle Airstreams Identified
11 = No Axle Info (often if you can see the WBCCI number, you can't see the axles)

7 = California Built Airstreams Identified
10 = Ohio Built Airstreams Identified
24 = Not enough details are visible to tell (differences are very subtle for 1959 Airstreams)

2 = 1957 Airstreams Identified
2 = 1958 Airstreams Identified
20 = 1959 Airstreams Identified or Assumed
7 = 13-panel Airstreams that could be 1957 or earlier (hard to clarify year)
6 = 7-panel airstreams that could be 1957 or 1958 (wheel well visible)
3 = 7-panel Airstreams that could be 1957, 1958, or 1959 (no wheel well visible)
1 - No guess whatsoever

Tow Vehicle Brands (will not go into models):
23 = International Harvester
4 = Dodge
3 = Chevrolet or GMC
1 = Chevrolet (confirmed)
1 = Ford
1 = Land Rover
8 = No idea

That's all I got to share.

Enjoy!
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing that info Joe.. I may start to do the same investigative work. One thing we did in researching our 1958 World Traveler is to get onto Ancestry.com. We knew who bought/owned the trailer in when it was new...So we started there...found some interesting marriage/remarriage info as well as some sibling info...all of which were dead ends when came to learning more about our trailer. If you or a family member are on ancestry.com you can easily look up the Hamers and get more details, such as addresses and probably marriage/remarriage info. That may help fill in some blanks regarding them.

Do you happen to know if any trailers were on BOTH the ATW and C2TC caravans?
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:03 AM   #10
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First, I looked back at some of my CT2C photos last night and have identified two more unique Airstreams that are different from all the others by their window configurations. The trouble is that I cannot see a WBCCI number on either of these two, but I'll bet these are two of the three that I have no confirmed photos of. I guess I need even MORE CT2C photos!
Quote:
Originally Posted by aircooled4 View Post
Thanks for sharing that info Joe.. I may start to do the same investigative work.
Good luck if you attempt it - I have a lot of unpublished CT2C photos (high resolution scans of private slides etc.) and I still have been unable to complete the task so far. It is a lot harder than you think.
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One thing we did in researching our 1958 World Traveler is to get onto Ancestry.com. We knew who bought/owned the trailer in when it was new...So we started there...found some interesting marriage/remarriage info as well as some sibling info...all of which were dead ends when came to learning more about our trailer. If you or a family member are on ancestry.com you can easily look up the Hamers and get more details, such as addresses and probably marriage/remarriage info. That may help fill in some blanks regarding them.
If I personally owned #1604, I might be interested in going that far, but I've done enough on the Hamers to satisfy my curiosity for now.

My focus the last few days has turned back to the CT2C caravan, but I have actually done more research on the ATW caravan. This is for two reasons. 1) I own an Airstream that was on that caravan, and 2) I am starting to prepare for the ATW 50th anniversary celebration the VAC is planning for next year. One of the presentations I am hoping to be able to pull together for that event is "Who were the ATW Caravanners". Thus I have already started researching each ATW caravanner on the internet to find out who might still be alive, what professions were, and ages at the time of the ATW caravan, etc. I think I've got about as much as I can without delving into ancestry.com, which seems to have somehow locked up information that you used to be able to access for free. I do eventually plan to try my "two week free trial" at ancestry.com, but haven't had a large enough block of free time to devote to that task yet, so I have started it. I'd be interested in learning how that went for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aircooled4 View Post
Do you happen to know if any trailers were on BOTH the ATW and C2TC caravans?
As far as I can tell, no Airstreams were on both the CT2C and ATW caravans, but there were seven couples and the Scout Nick Charles that were on both.

Regarding the Airstreams, most CT2C Airstreams, especially the longer ones were extremely beat up in Africa. I have a personal diary that talks about having to re-bolt down the fronts of trailers to the frames and re-bolt down water tanks and reattach roof lockers and reinstall fridges and stoves that vibrated free during a days travel. And this doesn't count the broken springs, broken axles, and flat tires. I doubt many would have been prepared to take those beat up trailers on another long difficult journey.

But the other reason I don't think there were any CT2C Airstreams on the ATW caravan, is because it was a requirement for the ATW that all Airstreams have torsion axles. This was a learning from the CT2C where many trailer leaf springs broke, but the prototype torsion axle in Wally's gold trailer had no spring problems. The Airstream factories were ready to convert a leaf spring axle to a torsion axle if anyone wanted to take an older Airstream on the ATW, but so far I have not been able to confirm a single case of this actually happening. I have identified a few ATW Airstreams with the 1959-61 wheel well shape (but none earlier). I have assumed that most if not all of those were 1961s that came from the factory with torsion axles when new, not 1959s and 1960s that would have had to be converted. Some day I may delve deeper and try to determine if any were actually 1959s or 1960s.

That's all for now. I finally feel good enough to get out of the house for a while for the first time in several days. Talk to you later.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:34 PM   #11
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We should talk sometime aobut the research we've done on our 1958WT regarding the use of Ancestry.com...
Since youve started the trailer research and documentation, I dont think Im put a bunch of time into it...although it seem to me to be as fascinating as the people who went on the caravans!
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:25 PM   #12
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I have an update on #1604, the 1958 Overlander Tandem. I heard back from the seller at vintagecampers.com today. He says he did purcahse that Airstream in Michigan, which would support the idea that it was the Hamer's CT2C Airstream. He told me that it sold to an importer in Germany. I have asked to either get the importers contact info or that he pass my contact info along to the importer, so that I can continue to track it down.

But even if I get no more information, I am pretty confident it is what I think it is. That trailer is just too unique to be anything else. As someone else pointed out the raised ride hight had to be straight from the factory because there were no wheel well cutouts in the side skins. The wheel well cutouts only extended to the top of the belly wrap. I have never seen another Airstream like that. I have also continued to study the photos I have of CT2C Airstreams and there are no others that are even remotely like that one.

I also did a little more reading and according to Wally Byam's book Trailer Travel Here and Abroad the Hamers were the first Airstream to drop out of the CT2C caravan at perhaps the half way point. They dropped out at Albertville in Ruanda Urundi and shipped their Airstream by rail through the jungle to Leopoldville on Africa west coast where they must have contracted a ship to transport it back home. It thus might be less "beat up" structurally than some of the ones that made the entire journey. That said, the photos show that the interior was pretty rough when it was for sale last year.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:34 PM   #13
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Have all these been accounted for? If not, how do you research if one might have been?
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:36 PM   #14
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Have all these been accounted for? If not, how do you research if one might have been?
There were no lists maintained of the Airstreams that participated on either the 1959-60 Cape Town to Cairo or the 1963-64 Around the World Caravans, but we do have list of participants for both with the big red WBCCI numbers that would have been on the front and rear of their Airstreams.

I have been amassing all of the photo evidence I can from both of these caravans for years to all me to positively identify surviving Airstreams. Since WBCCI numbers were reused over the years, the simple fact that an Airstream bears a number that was on the caravan is not proof. The Airstream needs to be from the proper era and may need to contain unique identifying marks to prove it if was or was not on one of these caravans.

I do this research for my own curiosity, but also because many times an Airstream (often for sale) is claimed to have been on one of these caravans, but many times those claims are not true. I like to help prove or disprove these claims. It is exciting when I can confirm the rediscovery of an Airstream from one of these caravans.

That said, at this time, based upon my research, 4 out of 41 Airstreams from the 1959-60 Cape Town to Cairo Caravan are "proven" to still exist. There are unproven rumors of others, but without evidence, they remain rumors. For most of the rumors, the trail has grown cold, so we cannot pursue evidence. Likely some Airstreams (possibly many) from this caravan no longer exist (many were shaken apart on the caravan and may have been scrapped fairly soon afterward, some may have been lost in the years since), and some have have been polished to the point of removing all evidence, but I also expect that there are others still waiting to be rediscovered, as evidenced by #1604 having been re-identified last year. I only wish I could make contact with the new owner of #1604. I was told my contact information was forwarded to the Airstream importer in Germany, but I never heard back from him or whoever may have purchased that Airstream from the importer.

Regarding the 1963-64 Around the World Caravan, 7 out of 45 Airstream trailers from this caravan are proven to still exist and 2 have been confirmed destroyed, meaning that 9 out of 45 (20%) can be positively accounted for. Likely more have been lost or polished so far as to remove evidence, but I am also sure there are more waiting to be rediscovered. The most recent rediscovery of an ATW Airstream was #83 in June, 2012, so they are still turning up.

The Vintage Airstream Club is planning a 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1963-64 Around the World Caravan at the WBCCI International Rally to be held in late June/early July 2013 in Huron, South Dakota. We hope to have 5 of the 7 known surviving ATW Airstreams at that event.
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