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Old 07-07-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
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Trailwind or Clipper???

We recently picked up a vintage airstream from florida. the owner and the title say that it's a '48 airstream and by the looks of it could pass for both (trailwind and clipper). the serial number is #5018 made in California. we're just not so sure which one it is. i measured the shell and it is 16 ft and the tongue rotted off so we can't guestimate that one. so if any of you history buffs want to give this one a shot we would sure like to know.

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Old 07-07-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
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The serial number of 5018 looks to be just about the last one made in '48 and its a Trailwind. The rusted off pipe frame was only about 2 or 3 feet. What's the rest of it look like?

Congrats on your great find. I should have some pictures to share of a '47 Trailwind coming soon that belongs to a friend of a friend. Can't wait.

Brad
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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Here is a link to some pictures of another:
Vintage Airstream - '48 trailwind
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
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yeah i was pretty certain that it was a trailwind. the reading i've done has led me to believe that is was in the "no name nineteen" category until they asked the public to name it using the word wind in it. Still though it has so many characteristics of the clipper but i am pretty settled on it being a trailwind based on the serial numbers. perhaps we have the last one built of it's kind. i hear they started the trailwinds at #5000 so that would be mean we have the 19th one. Pretty cool to have the 19th "no name nineteen". Makes for an interesting story at least.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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OK, now that that is settled. Get it home and take some more pictures so you can post them here. We all want to see your great find.

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Old 07-08-2008, 06:18 AM   #6
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It's a "Trailwind"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjo View Post
We recently picked up a vintage airstream from florida. the owner and the title say that it's a '48 airstream and by the looks of it could pass for both (trailwind and clipper). the serial number is #5018 made in California. we're just not so sure which one it is. i measured the shell and it is 16 ft and the tongue rotted off so we can't guestimate that one. so if any of you history buffs want to give this one a shot we would sure like to know.

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Hi Benjo:

The "Trailwind" name was used for both the early 19 footers and later 18 footers of this Airstream model for the 1948 and 1949 model years. The name was changed to "Clipper" for the 1950 model year after that pre-war Airstream model name again became available to Wally following Curtis Wright's auction of its trailer business assets on April 18, 1949. So your 1948 Airstream s/n 5018 is a "Trailwind" whatever it's length.

Serial number 5018 listed on RJ's web site is only an estimate of when the 1948 model year might have ended or when the length was shortened to 18'. We have no hard data for 1940s trailers, so we take a best guess by using estimates. But your trailer will help us test and refine our estimates by providing a known data point.

The interesting question is whether is your trailer is 19' or 18' long overall. This can be determined by looking at the trailer forward of the curbside door. If there is about a foot of smooth trailer side forward of the door, it should be a 19 footer. If the door is within inches of the front end cap rivet line, it should be a 18 footer. The rotted off front pipe frame was about 2 feet long originally, so if your body length is 16' you may have an 18 footer. But look at the area forward of the door to verify your body measurements.

As you can see, these Liners (an Airstream trailer of any length having two semi-circular ends) never had model name tags so we have to look elsewhere to sort things out. I hope the above explanation helps. Congratulations on acquiring a very nice looking Airstream!
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:33 PM   #7
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I think it would be the 18ft due the fact there isn't that extra 1 ft between the door and the front end cap. After all the photos I took over the weekend with the move and all I only managed to get a grainy one so take a look. This is all very good historical info that i plan to upload on our restoration blog.
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:46 PM   #8
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Now, in studying this photo, I think there's a foot of aluminum between the door and the beginning of the end cap but just barely. I still say it's a Trailwind but either way, its a great find and I for one am looking forward to its restoration and the thread posting your progress.

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Old 07-08-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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Now, in studying this photo, I think there's a foot of aluminum between the door and the beginning of the end cap but just barely. I still say it's a Trailwind but either way, its a great find and I for one am looking forward to its restoration and the thread posting your progress.

Brad
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Nah...the side next to the hinge looks just like this 18-footer not this 19-footer. The thing is with these very early ones, each one is uniquely made...not much was done on an assembly line back then - they were all pretty custom. Regardless, I too can't wait to see it come back to life...post more pics when you can.

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:06 PM   #10
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Agree with Shari. I've looked at the 19ft photos and it just doesn't line up with ours. The photo above is spot on. However, the title says it's a 48. Did they only make 19ft in 48? Even in the profile page they don't even give an option for a 48 18ft. Perhaps it's a 49 18ft. Jury is still out. Hopefully with the serial number we can track it down sooner than later. The mystery continues....
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:07 PM   #11
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With such great research, I have to agree with Shari. Its the shorter of the two. You can also tell by the length of the side aluminum behind the window. Of course, posting more pictures will solve this dilemma for sure.

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:27 PM   #12
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The mystery continues....
I guess the key is:

Quote:
1948 Trailwind 19'
California | 5001 to about 5018
(mid-year intro)
Looks like you ought to email RJ and have him change it to "about 5017"

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #13
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yup...
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:26 PM   #14
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1949 18' Trailwind

Your trailer's exterior looks exactly like my 1949 Trailwind #5060. I also believe the 49s have different windows than the 1948s. According to vintageairstream.com yours would be the first of the model year and mine would be the last.
Have you embarked on and/or finished a restore. I'm having mine restored with expected completion by June (2011). Would enjoy sharing info if you're so inclined.

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Old 04-13-2011, 05:46 AM   #15
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Tom- Cool!!!! So glad to hear of another Trailwind owner. I convinced that the trailwind model is the best thing that came off the airstream assembly line We are still in the restoration process but if you check out our blog you will find that we have not stopped camping in it. We've done small things here and there but I plan to dig into it this summer and really knock out some major projects. My first goal was to make it towable and safe so we could travel out west for a month and on the trip we realized we had a few leaky spots so we got those dealt with. Put new windows in all around. Stripped all the interior paint off. Refinished the birch cabinets. Well, anyway I'll keep going if I don't stop now but I wish you well on your restoration and let's stay in touch and swap notes.

Yay for Trailwind!!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:24 PM   #16
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Trailwinds Rock!!!

It's great to hear you are using your Trailwind and making improvements as you go. Our airstream has been in the family for over 40 years and owned by my Canadian cousins for the 10 years before that, so it's got some history. I even lived in the trailer for about four years when I was going to college. The trailer was on the back lot of my brother's (previously my parents') house and moved it to our house when my brother sold his place last September. Bring the Airstream to our house was the first time it had moved since 1970.

Over the years the airstream had a couple windows broken which let in some weather destroying the floor and one cabinent. Given all that the other woodwork and shell were in fairly decent shape although the axel was rusted out. Since I'm not very mechanically inclined we checked out several airstream restorers and settled on one who started the restoration on March 1. (That's the benefit of Southern California there were three major airstream restorers within thirty miles). The guy we are going with, Barry, has about a dozen airstream restorations or polishings in process most of them vintage from the 40s and 50s.

We are having a new axel put on, new electrical and glass, installing a horseshoe couch with a toilet underneath one cushion and replacing the mattress witih a foam bed. A small refrigerator will replace one of the cabinents but other than that all of the other woodwork stays as well as the ice box/sink combo. The outside is being polished to a mirror finish as well as the interior end caps, overhead cabinents and sink/counter. We will paint over the original green most likely with a light blue. My wife Patti received some money from her mom before she passed away about 18 months ago which is funding the restoration.

I'm with you about the Trailwind being the best of trailers which airstream made. The size is just right, not too big or too small. There's something cool about the trailer being built in the 1940s and the first three years of post war production. Yours being the earliest of the 1949s is also very cool.

I wish I had the skill to restore the trailer personally like you are doing. Each improvement will give you quite the sense of accomplishment. I'm checking on the restoration each week. Most recently they were polishing the outside and inside and were getting ready to lift the shell to put on the new axel and subfloor.

Let me know how your improvements are going and I will do likewise. Once the restoration is done I'll post some before, during and after pictures to give you a better idea of the process.

Happy trailering fellow Trailwind owner,
Tom
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:32 PM   #17
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Tom-Wow, that is quite the history you got there. I love to hear about airstreams being kept in the family and passed down through the generations. They truly do become a member of the family when so many memories are made in them. For us that was a motivating factor in choosing an airstream because there is so much nostalgia attached to these trailers. I hope we can pass our Trailwind on to our kin when we're unable to use it anymore.
I also love the simplistic designs of the vintage ones and reminds me of a simpler time in our society. We plan to keep ours pretty simple as to keep with the period as much as possible. So flat screen tvs and the like will not be considered.
I took a gander at your pre-restoration pics and was reminded of that God awful interior paint they chose back then. Must of taken the wife and I close to 12 hrs to strip all of it off to prepare for it polishing. The problem wasn't so much the blue paint as the green primer they used. I'm sure it made perfect sense back then. Funny story about that is that the previous owner was so in love with the interior paint color that he decided to paint the exterior the same color His daughters intervened and went to scrubbing the exterior paint off before it could fully dry. If you look real close on the exterior skin you can see some scraping marks. Hopefully, when we go for the mirror polish we can get rid of those reminders.
Well, it's a fun hobby and we should ask one of the moderators if they could move this thread over to the Trailwind section. Have been over there yet? Perhaps there are a few more Trailwind kin kicking around these forums that we could get to know as well.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:31 PM   #18
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Trailwind Chatter

Hi Ben,
Thanks for the directions to the trailwind section and moving our conversation over. Hopefully we'll be able to find some other Trailwind fans to expand the conversation. You may have already noticed but there's a guy in the California desert that has two 1948 Trailwinds along with a number of other vintage trailers. Apparently he rents them out to movie studios as well as the general public. His website is: http://dougsvintagetrailers.com/_1948_airstream_trailwind__

I read through your blog and enjoyed it very much. It's cool you guys keep track of the states you've been to. My wife's been to about 25 states and I've been to 48 or 49. I'm just missing Alaska for sure and I can't remember if I've been to North Dakota or not. I've also been to four Canadian provinces but nothing east of Ontario.

Your California trip, not long after you purchased the Trailwind, was quite impressive. The furthest I've been in our trailer was to Washington state with my parents about 40 years ago. If I count the states I've been to in the Airstream it's only four. With your trip out west you've probably racked up about 10 states in your Trailwind.

All for now,
Tom
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:42 AM   #19
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Yeah I remember running past his website a couple years ago. Looks like he's got quite the collection over there. I bet the trailers are just dying to go camping.

Our goal right now is to travel and get to know the southeast. There is so much to see from beaches, to mountains, old civil war battle sites, and all the beauty up the east coast. I think we're going to stick around these parts for a while and after all that we want to do a Yosemite run. My wife really wants to do a cross Canada trip (she's Canadian) one day but we'll have to see about that one. So much to see!! I get pretty excited just thinking about it.

Where do you think you guys will go once the restoration is complete?
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:51 PM   #20
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Trailwind Trips

Hi Ben,
Going up the East Coast sounds great and being a civil war buff I'd enjoy seeing some of the battle sites. As far as our travels we'll probably start out in Souther California (or SoCal as we call it). We have relatives in Northen California (San Jose and Sacramento areas) so a trip up the coast might be nice.

We've stayed in Yosemite lodge on several occassions when our kids were little but the last trip was probably fifteen years ago. I would love camping in Yosemite and perhaps we could tie that into a trip to see the relatives. I'm not a real California snob but the state does have a lot to offer. I'd love a trip across the states like you guys did but my wife is more of a hotel rather than camping person. Maybe with the airstream all fixed up it will change her mind. We'll go slow and see what happens.

I'm thinking about putting out a notice to see if we can scare up some other trailwind owners or interested pre-1950 Airstream owners for this forum. By my count there are less than 60 members who list a pre-1950 Airstream of any stripe as their #1 trailer. If that's too restrictive perhaps pipe-frame trailers would be a good sub-group which would put expand to pre-1953.

Happy Trailwinding, Tom
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