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Old 05-05-2009, 02:29 PM   #29
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is it safe to say WT exterior = WT interior?

oh but hey 62overlander.. your wally trailer was built in ohio but with WT!! oh no! confusion! and since your not a WT fan, please send all unwanted whale tails this way. we rescue them, take them under our wing, love them. ;-)
on edit, i noticed the rivets on the tag of the wally trailer...should be bucked, right?
on 2nd edit realized this is THE wally trailer. and how honored to meet the restorer...cheers.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:58 PM   #30
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Yeah, Frank is not a fan of whale tails, but nobody's perfect. The good news for him is that the trailer belongs to someone else, so as soon as he has completed his work on it, he will no longer have to gaze upon that whale tail he dislikes so much.

I, on the other hand, love the whale tails, which is precisely why I recreated one on the interior of my '63. Someday I'd love to have a mid-50s Cruiser or FC with a whale tail, although my FAVORITE Airstream, the 50s Caravanner, was Ohio-built only so is (most likely) not available in whale tail configuration. Guess I'll have to have 3 or 4 Airstreams some day...

-Marcus
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:30 PM   #31
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The general story is that Whale Tails were built only in California from mid-1954 to mid-1957. As far as I know all California built Airstreams during this period were Whale Tails except for some 18-footers that utilized a 13-panel rear end cap like the Ohio trailers.

I believe the starting point for the Whale Tail coincided with the early to mid 1954 switch from the vertical rear end to the sloping of the rear end. At least I have never seen a whale tail on a non-sloped rear end Airstream.

The end of the California Whale Tail coincided with the switch to 7-panel end caps in mid-1957.

Until the trailer noted earlier in this thread, I do not believe there were any know Whale Tails from the Ohio factory and I have to admit that on first look, something seems slightly different about that Whale Tail relative to California Whale Tails, but I can't put my finger on it.

Oh, and I agree with Frank, I love the 13-panel end cap look better than the Whale Tail, not that I wold turn down a Whale Tail if one happened across my path for the right price.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:41 PM   #32
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Joe, I suspect that both factories had a part in the X251. Unfortunately no records remain and it is all conjecture. The interior is a Ohio built, for the upper wall cabinets slope back and that is an Ohio only feature. There have also been some additions to the exterior over the years. They are all a clear case of thought I knew but should have known better. Someday it will look like this again:

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Except my client will be wearing the beret.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:20 AM   #33
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After going back through this thread, Marcus, I didn't realize that whale tail interior was yours! So you fabricated one for the back interior endcap. How cool is that!

Now that blows me away about Wally's '55 Bubble. I didn't realize it was also a whale tail and an Ohio trailer. If there is a difference from the CA whales, it must be subtle. I'm not seeing it. The Bubble is already a one of a kind, but now even more so..

To confirm, my '56 whale has the interior tail as well.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:44 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugarfoot View Post
After going back through this thread, Marcus, I didn't realize that whale tail interior was yours! So you fabricated one for the back interior endcap. How cool is that!

Now that blows me away about Wally's '55 Bubble. I didn't realize it was also a whale tail and an Ohio trailer. If there is a difference from the CA whales, it must be subtle. I'm not seeing it. The Bubble is already a one of a kind, but now even more so..

To confirm, my '56 whale has the interior tail as well.
Thanks D.

I obviously had no idea that they made whale tail interior endcaps as well, most likely because I've never been inside one. Now I have something to add to my to-do list!

-Marcus
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:20 AM   #35
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I doubt X251 is Ohio built . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
Joe, I suspect that both factories had a part in the X251. Unfortunately no records remain and it is all conjecture. The interior is a Ohio built, for the upper wall cabinets slope back and that is an Ohio only feature. There have also been some additions to the exterior over the years. They are all a clear case of thought I knew but should have known better. Someday it will look like this again . . . except my client will be wearing the beret.
HI Frank:

Where did you get the idea that sloping roof lockers (as I call them, I'm assume they are the same thing you call upper wall cabinets) sloping back is an Ohio only feature? There are plenty of California-built Airstreams with sloping roof lockers on RJ's Vintage Airstream Home web site. By way of example, two photos of this California-built 1954 Flying Cloud s/n 7723 shows it has sloping roof lockers:

1954FlyingCloud7723

Other examples can be found by looking on RJ's web site.

Records remain on X251 in these forms: (1) the serial number plate is a California-only plate with a California Bubble serial number, not an Ohio Bubble serial number; and (2) the whale tail construction is a California-only feature to my best knowledge. What brand of brakes were found on X251, Hadco or Warner? Although a 13 panel California tagged 18 footer has been discovered, I'm not aware of any Ohio-built whale tail trailer having yet been found. Everything about X251 tells me it was built in California, not Ohio. What parts of X251 do you think were built in Ohio, and why?
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:40 AM   #36
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Fred we probably should start another thread on the X251 just for this very discussion. A lot of what I have been told is all conjecture, for so little factual information remains about the trailer. I was told that the upper wall cabinets in the early 50's sloped back in Ohio trailers and were straight down in California. If I was told wrong, I stand fully corrected. The story I got was the X251 was built as a shell and sent out to Ohio to be finished off. All of this could very well be a big lie. As we both know the X251 has been shrouded in years of tall tales and myths. She is open to you at any time for study and your opinion is not only respected, but highly desired. I would be glad to email all and any photos of the things I find. At your suggestion, I have been slowly removing years of additions to get it back to the original fabric. It really is trailer archeology. She needs a great deal of help and your input would be received with huge gratitude.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:41 AM   #37
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But could you teach us the history of the Whale Tail. Many would find it interesting and we might all learn something.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:58 AM   #38
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It was I who believed the metal sloping roof lockers were only produced in OH and discussed this with Frank. If that is incorrect, I've just learned something new. I'll study RJ's site some more. Sorry for steering you wrong Frank.

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Old 05-13-2009, 12:25 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander View Post
But could you teach us the history of the Whale Tail. Many would find it interesting and we might all learn something.
Hi Frank:

I'll have to dig out an old back issue of The Vintage Advantage where I reviewed 1954-57 Airstreams. If memory serves, there was some information about whale tails in that article.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:33 PM   #40
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you also gave some insight at the JAM and on the VAP. Now I am going to go back and listen....
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:43 PM   #41
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Fred, you are a tremendous asset to this community. Thanks for always sharing your knowledge so freely, it is much appreciated!

I too would love to know more about this history of the Whale Tail, I am a very big fan of its structure and design.

-Marcus
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:04 PM   #42
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Found It!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind View Post
Hi Frank:

I'll have to dig out an old back issue of The Vintage Advantage where I reviewed 1954-57 Airstreams. If memory serves, there was some information about whale tails in that article.
I know that article and have referred to it many times. The VAC website is going through some changes, but in a roundabout way I located it. You can find it here. This is another excellent contribution from Fred and a very informative article well worth reading. The article starts on page 5 of the PDF but I've copied the whale tail part below:

"California built trailers generally had a 9
panel rear end cap. The top center panel
increased in width as it descended over
the lower panels until it intersected the top
of the rear window at full width. This rear
cap design is informally (but not in factory
literature) called a “Dutchman”. In the building
trades, a “Dutchman” means a piece or
wedge inserted to hide a fault in a badly
made joint or to stop an opening. In theater
jargon, a “Dutchman” is a narrow canvas
strip used to conceal a joint between two
flats. Let’s hope Wally was being more theatrical
than constructive when he introduced
the 9 panel rear end cap on California
trailers. The wedge-shaped center
“5th” panel conceals the hopefully faultless
vertical joint of the other 8 converging end
cap flat panels, hence the “Dutchman”
moniker.


This 9 panel California design also has
been called a “whale’s tail” due to a rough
similarity in profile. Presently there is one
known exception to the California factory’s
seeming exclusive use of 9 panel rear end
caps on all it’s 1954-1957 trailers. The
California built 18’ Wanderer used the
same converging 13 panel rear end found
on all Ohio built Airstreams. The precise
reason for this has been lost to time, but
may arise from Wally’s penchant for
encouraging a friendly rivalry between the
two factories. What better way to illustrate
to Ohio workers the “superior” craftsmanship
of their California counterparts than to
have California built a few “better” 13 panel
rear end cap trailers?"


Thank you 47WeeWind for all you do! You rock!

Now I wish I could remember where I heard the 9 panel config was driven by cost & labor savings.
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