Curtis Wright

Curtis Wright

Made by Curtis Wright Industries’ Aircraft & Trailers (no relationship to the Curtiss-Wright Corporation)

If you are an owner of a Curtis Wright, please add your contact name, email, model, and serial number below. It would be interesting to find as many CW trailers that are still out there. If you need help posting pictures or adding info here email your info, and I will be happy to add it here.

I am also starting a CW Registry to help determine how many of these trailers are still survivors. If you have or know of other CW owners, please contact me so that I can add it to a list. Your info will be kept private.

Cliff Uyeda:

If you’d like a Curtis Wright Registry decal – contact Dal Smilie @

Find additional photos, and owners for the Model 2 on Facebook:

Find more photos for all models of the Curtis Wright Model 2, 4, 5, and 7:


Manufacturer Information

…snip… Curtis Wright, who moved to LA from Michigan before the war to start a manufacturing plant, hired Wally Byam. After the war in 1946, they started production of a new post-war travel trailer based on Wally’s pre-war Airstream Clipper & Silver Cloud models at the LA Metropolitan Airport. After some months they went their separate ways, forming the Airstream Co. and Curtis Wright Travel Trailers. This appears to be why late ’30’s Airstreams and 1940’s Curtis Wright’s look very similar. In June 1949, three individuals, Kenny Neptune, Frank Pollito and “Pat” Patterson, who had met each other while working for Douglas Aircraft, acquired the trailer business from Mr. Wright and began producing trailers under the Silver Streak name in south El Monte California -which it continued into the 1970’s as a separate company. source:

Curtiss-Wright manufactured airplanes during the 1940’s, 1950’s. The trailers were made at the Curtis-Wright facilities, but a man bearing the name of Curtis Wright (without the extra “s”) took advantage of his name to build trailers, and hired Wally Byam founder of Airstream to continue the Clipper designs. This relationship only lasted for a few months.

Trivia question if someone knows the answer. What is the relationship between the Curtiss-Wright aviation manufacturer, and the man named Curtis Wright? (Al Hesselbart RV Historian for the RV Hall of Fame) – There is absolutely no connection between NY native world reknown motorcycle racer Glenn Curtiss – partner with Orville and Wilbur Wright in Curtiss-Wright Aviation and also inventor of the fifth-wheel hitch and the Curtiss Aerocar (based in Ft Lauderdale, FL) (the first fifth-wheel trailers started in 1917) and Curtis Wright the California manufacturer of Curtis Wright trailers that Wally Byam worked for briefly and using the Airsteam/Bowlus style aluminum segment roof design.

From Douglas Keister:

When I made my first explorations into trailer history in 2001, I was told that Curtiss-Wright Corporation (a huge corporation that was formed by aviation pioneers Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers) made some trailers in the 1940s and was subsequently acquired by Wally Byam the founder of Airstream. When a supposed Curtiss-Wright trailer was pointed out to me, I noticed that the nameplate said Curtis Wright Industries I was told it was a typo or maybe Curtiss-Wright had two “brands”. It seemed unlikely, but that’s what I was told. It sort of made sense because aircraft pioneer Glenn Curtiss developed the fifth wheel trailer in the early 1930s based on aircraft principles.

And here the tale becomes very convoluted. In 1927, a man by the name of Curtis Wright built a small 33-foot wingspan airplane and someone at the United States Department of Commerce erroneously inserted a hyphen into the registration documents, then later documents added an additional “s”. Mr. Curtis Wright even had a small airfield at Halfway, Michigan near Detroit. It was alternately named Curtis Wright Airport and Selfridge Field. By World War II Curtis Wright was making inexpensive trailers, small airplanes and had plans for a small helicopter. In 1944, Curtis Wright Industries was making trailers sheathed in “homosote” a material similar in composition to papier-mâché. After the war, Wally Byam, who had been working for Curtis Wright after Byam’s Airstream company had gone bankrupt, convinced Curtis Wright to let Byam design a streamlined aluminum trailer based on Byam’s earlier Airstreams. That trailer was called a Curtis Wright and bears a nameplate stating Curtis Wright Industries Los Angeles. After a couple years of production, Byam and Curtis parted ways. Byam restarted Airstream and Curtis Wright sold his trailer manufacturing to a company that became Silver Streak. Thus, for a few years Byam’s Airstream actually competed with is own design at Silver Streak. WHEW!

Got all that? There is more to the story, but those are the basics. It is very difficult to research, even on the Internet since search engines ask, “did you mean Curtiss-Wright?” and even when you try to specify “Curtis Wright” in quotes the results are very mixed. See, I told you I could write pages!

Years built

1946-1949 Trivia Question: How many of each trailer models were made under Wally Byams directions, and how many trailers were produced after the 1947 separation. Wally Byam then started Airstream, Inc. in mid-1947. Wally actually started Airstream in 1932 making a masonite and plywood kit trailer looking nothing like the Clipper. The classic airstream design is a result of his taking over the work of Hawley Bowlus and the Bowlus-Teller Company who designed the segmented aluminum roof to look like the sailplanes that he built of wood and silk. Wally worked for Lockheed during the war while Airsteam was shut down by rationing of aluminum and worked his brief post-war stint with Wright before resuming Airstream production.

Curtis-Wright Auction-4-18-49


Model 1, Model 2, Model 3, Model 4, Model 5, Model 7 Lengths: 16, 22, 27, and 31 foot Are there other models/designs? How are the serial numbers sequentialed? How many were made of each model?

Flagship, Cruiser, or Sleeper model? 1948, Serial Number 8180 (no identification tag present, this number stamped into frame near coupling). Possibly a prototype. Built on steel ladder frame. Overall length 28′-0“ x 7′-10” Overall width. Interior height 6′-4“. Two doors on opposite sides. Charly Bournazos

Unique features/Options

Advertisments: March 1947 issue of Trailer Topics Magazine. Side, and or front galleys 22′ models under 1,500 lbs.

2-22-08. For a photo of the prewar Airstream trailer that I believe is the design source for the CW Model 2, see my 8 page article in the Spring 2008 issue of Airstream Life magazine, If you do not subscribe, this issue will soon be available in certain book stores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. Enjoy! Fred Coldwell, VAC Historian & Airstream Life “Old Aluminum Adventures” columnist.

Model 1

Here is the trailer we just bought back when it wasn’t a project. Chris Chapman and I will go down and get it in early Nov

Here is the earliest known Airstream cousin, the 1946 Model 1 Curtis Wright with its family. Prior to being parked in 1961 after they jackknifed and rolled their Ford Galaxie on its side after hitting a bull in Oregon. I wish it were in this good of shape now.

Here is #429 back in its day

Here’s a couple more trailer pictures. Lots of memories, sycamore flats and camp 15 in Yosemite. That’s a ’49 ford in the first picture. If one could blow up- Enlarge- the license plate it might tell the registration date. When we drove from Yosemite to Manhattan Beach we had to go over the Tejon Pass (Grapevine south of Bakersfield) and the ford only had about 50-55 horse power…so we always boiled. Dad rigged up a system ( ten gallon water tank in the trunk with a perforated copper pipe over the radiator and me pumping a large bicycle pump to put pressure into the tank and squirt water onto the radiator, thereby keeping the system from boiling….an us having to stop, on the side of the road, till the temp went down. It was a two lane road up over the summit with trucks in theft lane and invariably a VW Bug would pull out in front of dad and he would have to slow down and ,,,,,,,,you guessed it. The car boiled and we had to pull over, sometimes till nite fall and cooler temps. I’ll keep looking for photos.

Tried to edit the photo to get better clarity. Looks like De Ette is about two years old, therefore 1949 to 1950. The car was pretty new at that time since it is a 1949 Ford.

Model 2

Find more info and other owners on Facebook for Curtis Wright Model 2. Let everyone know you found this link on Tin Can Tourists!

Rob & Shari Davis, 1946 Model 2, Serial 5656, Evergreen, Colorado. Former owners.

Jody O’dell, Model 2, serial 5047, Folsom, CA. Earliest SN found so far. Visit webpage for more info on this trailer:



Don Connell, Model 2, serial 5419, Newark, New York

Brad Taylor, Model 2, serial 5496, Salem OR

James Wright Model 2, serial 5286 pics soon

Steve Hingtgen Model 2, serial 5061. Complete restoration with only minor mods. Uncommon original steel Hehr Standard windows on sides rather than more typical slider windows. (Only steel version of Hehr Standard windows known. The earliest occurrence of Hehr Standard windows known.) Photos available in an album on Vintage Trailer Supply’s Facebook page:

Model 3

The only Model 3 Curtis Wright known.

More pictures of this trailer:

Model 4

The only known model 4

Model 5

Nathan Stephens: Woodland, CA, 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8015

Mark Darch: S.W. Missouri, Model 5, Serial 8036

Stephan Bolliger, owner from Switzerland;1947 Curtis Wright, Modell 5, Serial 8039,


Mike Armbrust: Chula Vista, CA, 1947 Curtis Wright, MOdel 5, Serial 8054

Cliff Uyeda, 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8060, Long Beach,CA Please contact me if you are an owner. I would like to exchange info on history, and restoration tips.

Bill Speaker: Tipton, MI, 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8081

Chris and Pat Huotari: 1947 Curtis Wright pictured in “Silver Palaces” by Douglas Keister, pg.98

Robert Lau:Silverthorne CO, 1947 Curtis Wright Model 5, Serial 8086

Ed Francisco:,Cerritos, CA, 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8090

Mark Olson, 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8102

*Owner unknown: 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8103

Bill and Candy Fisher 1947 Model 5, Serial 8124,

Name plate

Philip Dillon, 1947 Model 5, Serial 8160

Robert Jarrett 1947 Model 5, Serial 8168 Fully restored.

Dal Smilie, 1949 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8225

Kevin Barnes 1947 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8251

*1948 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8253, now in the UK, owners Suzie and Dani, currently being restored

Bob And Linda Bryan,, 1948 Curtis Wright Model 5, Serial 8254 Has a dealer emblem: R-K Trailer Co., St. Joseph, MO, Topeka, KS, Booneville, MO

George Sikat, Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8265 In Alaska, On Facebook:

Mark Frey, Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8279

Jeremy Burmeister, Curtis wright Model 5, serial 8283

*Owner unknown: 1949 Curtis Wright, Model 5, Serial 8560

2-22-08. For more exterior and interior photos of the believed Model 5 prototype and a very early production Model 5 Clipper, see my 8 page article in the Spring 2008 issue of Airstream Life magazine, If you do not subscribe, this issue will soon be available in certain book stores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. Enjoy! Fred Coldwell, VAC Historian & Airstream Life “Old Aluminum Adventures” columnist.

Dayton Taylor, owner of 1949 Curtis Wright, FULLY restored, available FOR SALE on

Amie French & Rich Simpson,, Owners of unknown year Curtis Wright, very rough still but plans to restore, Model 5 Serial 8177….photos pending


Fred and Tami Rylaarsdam Lynden, WA Model 6 Flagship Model

In restoration process. Will be a frame off project. Serial #7132

Model F7

Steve Bittner,, Curtis Wright model F7, Serial 8263

Magazine photos

Curtis Wright Trailer Travel Magazine December 1946

A Linco Level- Load installed on a Curtis-Wright Trailer Travel Magazine April 1947

A good group to chat about Curtis Wright trailers is in the Airstream forums. Go to the “Airstream Knowledge Base”, “Vintage Kin” sections.

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