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Jabba 02-27-2010 05:17 PM

1955 Commodore Vanderbilt
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After trying for years to nail down the model our trailer, we've finally succeeded. We recently won an Ebay auction for a dealer handout for our trailer. It's official, it's a 1955 Commodore Vanderbilt. This is the first piece of literature we've uncovered for it. It's nice to finally know and not be guessing if it was a Liner or a Sovereign or... Now it would be nice to figure out how many of this model were made.

2vets 02-27-2010 05:29 PM

Wow- I know it is only 30 feet long but it looks about 60 feet to me! Went into your images- you have a beautiful airstream! The interior is fabulous!

Aage 02-27-2010 09:06 PM

Nice to have that document. And I took a peek at your photos, what a beautiful trailer you have!

Yes, first thing I was going to say was that it might have been an early Sov, but the kitchen is sort of flipped about a bit.

Does it still have the oil/butane heating unit? I'm guessing that got changed out at some point...

VERY nice unit. Lots of windows for a '50s TT. Any chance you could post more photos of the rear bath? The only one that's there is a bit blurry.

Thanks! :D

Jabba 02-28-2010 08:46 PM

Thank you for the compliments, it isn't perfect, but a very nice as found or original unit. It has the original, propane furnace up front, and an auxillary heater (added in 60's) in the bath that needs work (don't know why they needed that : ) ) There are pictures at Vintage Airstream Home look under '55 Sovereign, ser. O5064. I'll try and take some more asap. It does have a nice number windows, very "airy".

CanoeStream 03-02-2010 12:53 AM

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Jason, we are still trying to get more detailed historical input but I want to park a fair amount of information I've been able to dig up.

A friend/partner in Airstreams and earlier ventures (1, 2, 3*) with Wally was Neil Vanderbilt, the great grandson of the actual 'Commodore' Vanderbilt. There seem to have been several Vanderbilt trailers. Compare Neil's likeness at the photo in the first link with the following photo of Wally and apparently Neil Vanderbilt. (This Airstream is probably a 1952 Liner -- here and from post credited under the photo)

Attachment 97217
[image posted by jbond at ]

Is that more than just a Wally Hatch? Also note Wally's & Neil Vanderbilt's signatures on the trailer side above "World Traveling Land Liner." This two-door unit seems to be a custom. PeeWee has said Wally never gave it a number IIRC. (more images of this unit linked later in post)

Jason's Commodore Vanderbilt dealer handout shows a rear lav/tub with mid twin beds. Airstream's archived specs shows a mid lav (no tub), rear twin bed arrangement for the '55 Commodore Vanderbilt. This part of the specs doesn't help settle the Commodore Vanderbilt / SOTR which-was-which question -- but it looks rather simplified. Again from the same Airstream 1955 specs source is this description and no mention of the Commodore Vanderbilt:
SOVEREIGN OF THE ROAD -- Largest of the INTERNATIONALS, this is a big tandem trailer with millionaire conveniences. You can tow this luxury trailer with you easily, anywhere you wander, provided you have a car in the Cadillac class (we took one over the worst roads in Mexico). In the Sovereign you will find every comfort you ever dreamed of in a travel trailer. Divides into two oversized rooms. Plushily self-contained.
And it says the bathroom has a tub and shower.

RJ Dial's site calls them Liner "Sovereign of the Road" models for 1955-1958 and just SOTR for 1959-1960.

RJ Dial's site for the 1955 30' indicates serial numbers O-5043 to O-5075 were set aside for these units. The #2 trailer on his webpage has no designation as a Commodore Vanderbilt or SOTR -- and there aren't enough interior pictures to understand the floorplan. [Jabba has O-5064]

Further discussions from the VACList (use your ctrl-F & search Vanderbilt to find multiple mentions up and down the first page):
VACList Digest V3 #255
Re: [VACList] "Commodore Vanderbilt"
Re: [VACList] "Commodore Vanderbilt"

Other notable mentions:
Another photo of trailer shown at top of this post (credited to the estate of Helen Byam Schwamborn):

Posts 10-12 at

Is this what happened to the Neil Vanderbilt 'World Traveling Land Liner?' -- Commodore*Airstream*Trailer

The hope: I'm messaging a couple of our more historically oriented members and hope for their comments. Open questions are:
  1. How different were the '55 Commodore Vanderbilts from the '55 30' Liner SOTR?
  2. Could one have ordered either one or the other? Or did the factory completely transition to Liner SOTR at some point?
  3. Any clue on how many produced of each? [possible numbers adding up to 33 units]

* credit to PeeWee Schwamborn &

dlx25225 03-02-2010 08:49 AM

55 Commodore Vanderbilt #O-5075
I purchased this trailer in 2007 after seeing it sitting in a field near my home. The owner had just brought it home from where he had been using it as a hunting camp for the last 15 years. Sadly it needs a lot of work :sad: Exterior is in pretty good condition.......the interior needs major attention. The layout is a little different from the one pictured. The kitchen is reversed with the stove on the curb side. The rear bath has a curb side corner shower. It is a park model. I contacted Fred Coldwell soon after the purchase and he sent us information to help us to identify this trailer.

CanoeStream 03-02-2010 10:26 AM

Interesting... This seems to imply that they built Commodore Vanderbilts up to the end of the serial number sequence.

Silverwanabe 03-02-2010 11:22 AM

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Hi Everyone,

Here is a brochure from the AS website for the 55 CVB and
it was stamped "cancelled".

I guess it was not put in production?

Another AS mystery.

PINKBIKE 03-02-2010 12:26 PM

Jabba,was this the trailer that was in a barn over in mancelona ? I heard it was like a time capsule inside I.E all the old owners clothes and canned goods,etc... is this the right trailer or am I confused as usual ?

easyride 03-02-2010 12:27 PM

There is a post card on ebay of the Commodore,with all the writing on the side if you are interested.

Jabba 03-02-2010 01:28 PM

Canoestream, WOW! Thank You for posting all that info, there is quite a bit there that I have missed, glad you put it in this thread. I appreciate you taking the time to unearth all that.

dlx25255, do you have any pictures of your trailer? Curious to see the corner tub layout.

Rollerboy, nope you aren't confused, this is the one and same. Everything was in it and in good shape, down to the owners socks and boxers, no holes :blink:. The blue beret and cyclo were bonuses.

Silverhobby 03-02-2010 03:21 PM

Hi Jason and Veronica. What a time capsule your trailer is. I look forward to hearing more about it. How long have you owned it?

Jabba 03-02-2010 06:31 PM

We bought it in '03. The link to the following thread has some as found pics if interested.

Silverhobby 03-03-2010 07:33 AM

Thanks for the link to this thread, Jason and Veronica J. It is a beautiful trailer. I hope that I can see it in person some day.

Ken J 03-03-2010 08:09 AM

Well hey Jason - long time no talk to - - - hope all is well - VERY cool trailer - but you know I've always known that.!

Ken J.

dlx25225 03-03-2010 03:37 PM

photos of SN O-5075
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Jason, here are photos of my 55 CV including one of the corner tub/shower.

Jabba 03-03-2010 04:14 PM

Hi David,

Thank you for sharing those of brother or sister 5075. Looks like a solid candidate to restore, exterior looks straight.

Other than the tub being different, similar rig. Do you have one of the long tube exposed shower heads or no? (we are missing our shower head) Is your fridge a gas/electric or electric only? (I'd like to locate an original for ours.) Where is your water tank/fill located? Up front?

Like to hear more about yours to compare notes.

NorCal Bambi 03-03-2010 05:16 PM

What a great trailer! Now my 55 Flying Cloud Project and I have a big brother to look up to.
Thanks for the post Don

dlx25225 03-03-2010 06:27 PM

shower head & fridge in 55 CV
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Here are photos of the shower head & arm and the fridge. We think the fridge is electric as this trailer is a park model. Also a photo of the water and gas connections. The toilet is a drop to daylight. There are no holding tanks or fresh water fill. There are lines to go to the small propane tanks sitting up front. We don't know a lot about the history of this trailer other than the 2 stickers on it. The yellow sticker in the front window is a mobile home license from Lexington Co. in SC. Another sticker is Charlotte Mobile Home Sales in Charlotte, NC. ..............David

BradS 03-03-2010 07:48 PM

The 30' trailers are beautiful. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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