Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not So Yellow Submarine

Many people I encounter simply do not have the budget to take their trailers all the way. But if they knew what is just below the skins, they often change their minds. Above is why one needs tho replace all the insulation in any vintage trailer. 
Mice are usually the reason it really needs to be done. All the structure can be repaired with out removing all the insulation, but more often than not, this is what I find behind the interior skins. Believe it or not, this is a rather pristine piece of insulation. Often the entire cavity is void of insulation. The mice have carried it off to make a nest elsewhere. Mice are incontinent and they are always leaving dribbles and droppings behind where ever they go. You cannot get rid the smell with out removing it all. 

Mice, being rodents are not only afflicted with incontinence, they also suffer from teeth that never stop growing outward. To counter act it, mice wear their teeth down on hard objects. The insulated wire is highly preferred by the mice. Unfortunately this makes having working running lights and turn signals a challenge. All this stuff had to be corrected.

Unfortunately the entire rear end of the Yellow Submarine was compromised with a severely rusted frame. It was so bad that 3 feet had to be cut off, then  rebuilt using new metal. 

One new out rigger had to be fabricated.

The bumper was missing. It had probably fallen off on the road some where. A new one was fabricated using rectangular tubing. This is not original to 1961, but in the mid 50's, this was how they built them. Once painted, I doubt any one will know the difference.

It came out rather well, if I do say so myself. I suspect originally this trailer had a spare tire mount on the bumper due to the off set license plate bracket.

Due to budget constraints, we only replaced the worst of the floor. How much to replace is often a fine line. My vote is always to replace all of it. Some times the budget only allows for the worst of it.

Sometimes I have to just replace the minimum.

A good deal of the belly pan was missing or so torn up it was no longer doing any good. Of course these had to be the most difficult segments to fabricate from scratch. I have done these corners a number of times now, so for me, it is a fun little challenge.

Some of it was flat and easy to replace.

The repairs done required the belt line to be removed. This meant drilling two rivets and extracting three rusty #14 screws. Both belt lines were barely holding on. Both are back on and tight.

Well, here she is! A big change from the yellow blob that rolled in a few months back. The trailer to the right; you might recognize that 57 Caravanner from a year or two ago… it is going to be done shell off soon.

Before the 57 Caravanner, is a great project that is currently already under way. 

This is a 1953 29 foot Liner. You saw this trailer in a previous post when I went to inspect it. This unit is rumored to have been custom built for Coco Chanel.

The story told to me is that her American handler wanted her to have luxury accommodations when she was in Hollywood working on films. Who knows, this may be one of those trailers Wally Byam drew out on a roll of paper and sent off to the factory to be built . The agent ended up with the trailer and it sat for many years on a horse breeding farm in Kentucky. Various jockeys and farm hands used it as a crash pad before it was sold. I have no proof Coco Chanel actually slept in the trailer, but there was a faint hint of No 5 de Chanel when it was being taken apart. More on all this in my next post.


  1. Damn you have been busy! That was the one with all the yellow paint? Your a FORCE!!

  2. You've been a busy bee Frank. Lovely work but good to see you've kept the Yellow Sub hub caps !

    Looking forward to some high fashion shots of Coco's custom pad.