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Old 03-21-2012, 08:31 AM   #1
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rusty_apache's Avatar
1958 26' Overlander
san antonio , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 13
First post ever! Late '57 Overlander?

I got Aluminitus through heredity, and traded my PA system to the drummer in my old band for a 1954 27' Travel(not)lite. It was great to live in while working out of town, but it's immense 9,000# made for a traumatic experience to pull down the road.

A few years ago I was given a canned ham 13' Mobile Scout that is a dream to pull, and great to stay in as long as there are bathroom facilities nearby.
I also have a thing for steel, and for $500 and a major tune up, I drove home a 1959 Chevy Viking/Ward coachworks Short bus, that had been in the fleet of the Kerrville ISD, served as a tiny antique store, office and candle shop. It's a lot of fun to camp in but gets terrible mileage!

Of course I have always pined for an Airstream, but never found one within my price range. My sister is downsizing and said that she would like for me to have her Airstream because she knows how much I appreciate old things, and that I would eventually rehabilitate it. She decided upon $1500. How could I refuse?
The title says that it was manufactured in 1957, and titled in 1958. It is only labeled Airstream International, with the round Globe plate and looks to be 27' but I have not taken a tape to it.
I have been concentrating more upon getting it prepared for the journey to my home in town, and later out to my property 40 miles out in the woods.
Two of the wheel studs had broken tack welds so that they could not be loosened. As luck would have it the tire on that hub had been flat so long that I was able to roll the permanently flattened spot in the tire to the top, and remove the hub with the bearings, tire, rim and brake drum as an assembly. Then it was just a matter of holding a backup on the stud from the inside of the drum with vice grips while my nephew loosened the lug nut. When I get it home I will re-tack the loose studs.

There was some manuevering, unhitching and relocating "Rusty" My trusty '58 Chevy Apache at a different angle to avoid literally a ton of rock. She is now pointed straight at the road so it's an easy pull out the gate. I was amazed at how light she felt. I would have smelled some clutch If I had made the same manuevers with the old Travelite!

Varmints have taken up residence in the belly pans, and now they are dragging, and of course will need to be secured for the journey, as well as re-re-running the wedding cake taillights wires. I haven't pulled them to see if the old recessed bezels are still in place, or what sort of damage was done when they were added.
Overall I think it's in great shape for it's age. Although it was slightly remodeled in the 1970s. Somebody painted the cabinets dark blue, and the walls white. It looks like cheap paint that can be removed with easy off oven cleaner. I'm going to test it out inside one of the cabinets and see how it does. (with plenty of ventilation of course!)
I'll be looking for (or fabricating) the front couch, and the curbside twin bedframe. As well as a period stove, refrigerator, toilet and a few of the missing white cabinet latch knobs. I'm certain i'll be discovering other missing or wrong items to correct.
Next trip I will get the VIN for a more positive ID. I mistook it for a Sovereign at first, but now I'm guessing it's an overlander. It doesnt look to have ever had the big red numbers on it.

I think I got a steal on it, but if not, I'm thrilled to finally get what I have REALLY wanted!

I'll try to post pics later....
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:42 AM   #2
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DFlores's Avatar
1968 22' Safari
Buda , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 588
Images: 3
Looks like the beginning of a "project"

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Old 03-21-2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,456
Images: 6


Welcome to the forums and congratulations on the find! That globe that you are referring to indicates that you have an International model, the top of the line for that year. Your price is very good for the trailer.

See the Vintage Airstream Archives for help in decoding your VIN number and for a great set of pictures of your model and year.

There are some great restoration threads on Overlanders. See1958 - 1963 Overlander - Airstream Forums on this forum. You'll find that a number of the members also have blogs that are quite informative as well.

Good luck with her.

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Old 03-21-2012, 10:52 AM   #4
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1957 22' Caravanner
Port Hadlock , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 864
Welcome to the forums. Looks like you've got a really good trailer to work with. 1957 was a very very good year, but I am prejudiced.

Doing a lot of reading around here will really help you. There are many great restoration threads full of information. Links to the Major Renovations is a good place to start.

Forum Thread: First She Had to Take a Ride on a Boat

Blog: My 57 Caravanner
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:38 PM   #5
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rusty_apache's Avatar
1958 26' Overlander
san antonio , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 13

Thanks for all of the encouragement guys!

Ain't the internet great? I have found a niche for every one of my obsessions, from antique pocket watches, ukuleles, brass musical instruments, balloon tire cruiser bikes, Vespas, Harlies, MGs, Triumphs, Stovebolt Chevy sixes, School bus RV conversions, and Canned Ham Campers. There has always been somebody willing to give advice when an archive search was unhelpful.

I don't know how much time others have saved me by informing me enough to avoid stupid, and costly mistakes.
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