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'59 Chevy Advance Scout Truck - African Airstream Caravan

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A friend of mine was the Advance Scout for the Airstream Caravan that traveled from Capetown, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt in 1959. Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream travel trailers, undertook a never-before-attempted feat of a caravan of over 100 people from ages 4 to 80 on a caravan of the Dark Continent in 1959. Often times, there weren't any roads, Wally's gold colored Airstream trailer had a military escort through one of the countries because the natives thought it was actual gold, vehicles would have three and four flat tires a day, not to mention other more severe breakdowns such as broken axles. The stories go on and on.


My friend, PeeWee, is Wally's nephew and was hired by Wally to be one of the two advanced scouts for this extended caravan. Wally bought two 1959 Chevy Apache, six cylinder, 4WD trucks without the truck bed and shipped them to the Airstream factory for the camper to be custom made to fit on the back. One truck was for the two advance scouts and the other was for the mechanic who also traveled with the caravan.


This is such a fascinating story and one I'd like to tell by building a replica of of PeeWee's living quarters for over 10 months while traveling the African continent in 1959.


Here are a few photos of the truck and the reference material I have been given from PeeWee.


Here's the truck waiting to be loaded onto the ship.



Being hoisted onto the ship, headed for Capetown.



Here Peewee is playing music with a battery powered record player for the African native children.



Peewee is sporting his new on-the-road haircut given by one of the Caravanners along side the Scout Truck.



I've started with two of the AMT mid-50's pickups because I needed to lengthen the chassis and needed another drive axle for the front to make it 4WD. Also have the '58 Chevy cab from Modelhaus which is very well done. Thanks for your interest and any comments.

Edited by gasser59
Fix brackets for photos.
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Thanks Rodney. Funny you should post those pictures. I build that for PeeWee a few years ago and its what got me back into the hobby. I used the incorrect year for the cab since I didn't know a correct resin one was available. This one's going to get rivets from Scale Hardware so they won't be so big. The aluminum was from a roll of flashing from one of the big box stores. This one I'll be keeping for myself.

Edited by gasser59
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A bunch of bench time in this weekend and was able to get the chassis extended, axle height adjusted/mounted and rear shocks made and installed. Its currently sitting on four wheels although the front axle needs to made to steer. This chassis is a combination of three chassis from the same kit.

Here's a couple of pictures.



This shows an original frame next to the 'adjusted' one.


Here's the aluminum tubing shocks and showing a bit of putty yet to be sanded.


Next is to work on the functioning steering on the front axle.

Comments welcome and thanks for your interest.

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Thanks for your comments guys. They're really appriciated. Got the front shocks done and mounted as well as the U bolts. Now I need to find a Chevy in-line 6 cylinder that'll fit the engine bay as the one I have from the '53 Chevy is too large and would require moving the firewall back and that's not something I really want to do. The holdup on finishing up the frame is where and how to mount the transfer case and that is held up on sourcing the engine.

Pix of the front axle later today. Its yard work time before the temps get unbearable outside.

Edited by gasser59
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Attn. Mr. Brad:

Your order for a Chevrolet inline 6-cylinder vintage '58-'60 has been processed by the Danno Midnight Miniature Auto Supply Fulfillment Center and is ready for shipment via the next route truck to your neighborhood.

Stand by for prompt delivery.

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Although I don't have any photos to share at the moment, I have picked up a new smaller 6 cylinder from Danno that actually fits the stock engine bay and its got a coat of paint and dullcoat. I always wear the paint off when I handle them to wire and plumb them. Photos to follow when I get a bit more done.

Edited by gasser59
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Finally a bunch of concentrated bench time this three day weekend. Got the replacement engine plumbed and wired with still a few items left to do on it. The pictures don't show the Chevy Hugger Orange very well and wants to turn the color either pink or magenta. I can assure you its not either of those colors. :)

For the belt, I cut the molded in one with the pulleys as one piece and notched the pulleys by turning them with my Dremel Stylus. I then made a belt out of black hollow insulation and used a small piece of wire for connecting the two ends together. Quite simple actually and looks so much better.

Also got the transfer case done up and mounted and still need to get the functioning steering done up before painting the chassis.

Here's a few pics of the engine.



Thanks for your inteest and following along. Comments welcome.

Edited by gasser59
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