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Old 04-13-2009, 11:32 PM   #1
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1959 26' Overlander
Nowhere , Washington
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Capt. Wilson's 1959 Overlander

We just took possession of a 1959 Overlander International. Well, my mother-in-law took possession two states away and now I'm working with a friend to get it towed the 1,200 miles from Southern California to Seattle, Washington. If any of you were following my thread regarding the clouded title, you know this has been a bit of an adventure. The PO cleared up the title issues and came through with the deal.

The trailer was originally owned by a Navy Captain (hence the title of my thread) who purchased it new on May 28, 1959. He was a meticulous record keeper, so we have not only the original invoice, but all his correspondence with the Airstream factory and the dealership where he purchased the trailer as well as receipts for everything he ever had done or purchased for the trailer. It is an interesting stack of papers and will certainly influence our naming decision.

For a fifty year old trailer, it is in pretty decent shape and we hope to get to camp in it a couple/three years before we need to pull the shell off. Nonetheless, we've learned quite a bit from our great friends the Webers who are in the middle of their second shell-off restoration right now. From their experience we know this could turn into a huge project. Since I'm sure they will be reading this, I want to thank them publicly for all the help they have provided during our search, and for putting up putting up with my incessant questions. Despite the potential work and expense, we are really looking forward to this being in our family for a long time and can't wait to get on the road with our Airstream friends.

I put a couple pics up in my other thread and don't have any better ones yet. As soon as I do, I'll upload more.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:48 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new investment!

Yes, it should keep you busy for years and years. Even the oldest ones can be made "younger", but I know wat you mean: it's nice to get one that was well-treated.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:26 AM   #3
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1959 22' Flying Cloud
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Congratulations on getting the trailer!!! We hope getting it here is much less of an adventure than the purchase. I'm sure it will evolve into a great trailer for your family and we're happy to have helped in any way we can. It won't need to be made showroom fresh overnight, that can almost never happen. Can't wait to see it in a campground near us!

Ryan.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:57 AM   #4
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Congratulations on getting the title details all sorted out and best of luck with the transport. '59's are the best!! Can't wait to see more photos once you get 'her' home.

Brad
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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1958 26' Overlander
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Thumbs up Congradulations

Norman, way to go. Look forward to following the story and the pics. I think the best advice I got was take one step at a time so you are not overwhelmed.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:38 PM   #6
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Here it is. Still working on a name for our new beast. Thanks for all the PMs with help on wheels, tires, and other transport issues. If you are going to be on I-5 between CA and WA the next couple days, keep your eyes out for us.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:51 PM   #7
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She's a beauty and an Int'l to boot. Where's the interior pix? I know, we ask alot. I'm interested to know the differences and similarities with my '59. What plant was she made in?

Brad
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:51 PM   #8
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1958 26' Overlander
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Captain Midnight

From the shadows into the light. Great Airstream, Great find. Happy for you. david
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:52 PM   #9
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Talking Captain Midnight

Oh BTW, you gotta frame that pic of the two characters on the gaucho you sent me. Priceless.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:24 PM   #10
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Sweeet! Hope the trip goes well ! pics pics pics
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmbosa View Post
Here it is. Still working on a name for our new beast.
How about "Nautilus"? Your beast was owned by a Navy captain, and the a/c unit and whip antenna reminds me of the conning tower and antenna/periscope array from photos of the real Nautilus at the North Pole.

Good luck with the tow, take plenty of WD40 and duct tape.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfshr View Post
She's a beauty and an Int'l to boot. Where's the interior pix? I know, we ask alot. I'm interested to know the differences and similarities with my '59. What plant was she made in?

Brad
FF
Brad, she's an Ohio model purchased from Robert Crist & Company in Chicago, Il. A letter from the dealer to the original owner dated December 17, 1959, indicates they immediately took her on a trip to the Canadian Rockies on the way out to California where the Captain spent the rest of his life. Here are a couple more interior pics. I'll go crazy with my own camera as soon as she is in my driveway.

Does anyone know what "Egyptian Lacquer" is? There is a line item on the original invoice for this with a cost of $47.50. The trailer has very worn and pealing coat of paint on the top and I'm wondering if this "Egyptian Lacuquer" was a paint that either the dealer or the factory offered on the top.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:23 PM   #13
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Egyptian Lacquer

This was built in a time of extended caravans and this length along with the dual axles lent itself very well to long caravan journeys. Many Airstreams of the era had a white painted top to reduce the temperature inside the coach. I wonder if this is what the 'Egyptian Lacquer' is referring to.

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Old 04-16-2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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Tire Problems

Well, we are off to a rough start. My friend who is picking up the trailer got the brakes operational and rigged up temporary trailer lights. He also picked up a new set of Dexstar Wheels for me and had 4 new 225 75 15 eight-ply Carlisle trailer tires mounted on them and put on the trailer. Everything seemed good to go, but less than 2 miles from the tire shop, one tire went flat. Turns out the tires are rubbing on a shock. He is thinking about removing the shocks to get on the road. Any thoughts? Those 50 year old shocks can't be doing much good. Or should I go down to a 205 75 15 tire (which they only have in 6 ply).
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:12 PM   #15
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wheels

Were the dexstar wheels zero offset?? Shouldnt be rubbing on the shock.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:19 PM   #16
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As Navyeod said, the wheels need to have a zero offset. Also... the 205 6 plys would have been more than enough for this very light 50's dual axle trailer.
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Old 04-16-2009, 03:58 PM   #17
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Yes. Dexstars were zero offset, I just double checked the part number and had my friend double check the wheels. They pulled the tires back off the trailer and he found one of the shock absorber mounts had been rewelded at some point too close to the wheel. It broke off by hand and appears to have been the cause of the blowout (very low speed, trailer, TV and driver were fine and just went back to the tire shop). The mount and shock on the other side were not rubbing on the tire, but he pulled them also.
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Old 04-16-2009, 04:38 PM   #18
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Be careful

How about the spring hangers, make sure they dont break off by hand. My guess the tire merchant looked at them pretty well. Be careful.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:18 PM   #19
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After a very long day, Jeff, our friend who is towing the Overlander from San Diego to Seattle, managed to get everything operational. We now have functioning brakes, lights and a full set of new wheels and tires. It was quite a day, and I owe a ton of thanks to Jeff (as well as a fair amount of money). Because of work commitments and baby commitments here at home (we have a 5 month old and a 2 year old), I could not get down there to take part in this adventure. Jeff has been an incredible resource handling the pick up and getting our trailer road worthy.

The tires were re-installed by 2:30 this afternoon with no further problems. The removal of the offending shock absorber mount "by hand" was apparently a bit of an exaggeration. Jeff said it actually took quite a bit of effort, and apparently involved a large hammer. The tires are now performing fine and do not appear to be rubbing anywhere. Looks like we will be re-engineering the shock absorbers.

Because of the delays with the tires and a ton of trouble-shooting to discover all the shorts keeping the lights from working, Jeff didn't get out of the tire shop parking lot until nearly 6:00 tonight. On a good note, however, he drove about 30 miles on the freeway to stay at another friend's house tonight and had no problems at freeway speeds and on some fairly good hills outside of San Diego. On the downside, he is actually about 30 miles further south from us than he was this morning. But, in the overall scheme of things, that really won't matter.

He plans to try and get on the road again tomorrow morning, so hopefully things will start going in our favor.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:42 AM   #20
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Discouragement

Don't get discouraged if this airstream stuff was easy everyone would be doing it, and this Country would be in a worse financial meltdown.
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