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1950 Westcraft Capistrano Calypso Trailer - To Be Auctioned at Leake Auctions in January

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(805) 680-3759

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1950 Westcraft Capistrano Calypso Trailer - To Be Auctioned at Leake Auctions in January

This beautiful trailer will be available at Leake Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 18th, 2020


If Don Draper would have had a Travel Trailer, you are looking at it. Westcraft epitomized Art Deco on wheels, and ‘Calypso’ is the brilliant result of more than a decade of meticulous restoration, craftsmanship and modernization. As the largest and most rare model Westcraft ever offered, the ‘Capistrano’ is 33 feet long, and features a Pullman roof with seven windows on each side, allowing 6’4? of headroom. Only one other ‘Capistrano’ is known to us, in a completely dilapidated state. Owner Lucas Lackner purchased this example in neglected condition, and proceeded to assemble a team of some of the best craftspeople in California in order to achieve the finest restoration in the world.

The team was led by Steven Butcher, considered one of the premiere vehicle restoration experts, who worked with Lucas to envision a resto-mod unlike any other. They decided to improve upon the original design by integrating the latest in safety features, luxury, comfort and connectivity. Modern touches are hidden within cabinets and behind period switchplates and custom-made curtains in order to maintain the classical Deco feel. Rather than using LEDs, the light bulbs in the gorgeous fixtures were replaced with originals, although finding these old bulbs in good condition was a major task in itself.

When it became time to address the woodwork, approximately half of the interior birch paneling needed to be replaced. The new sheets had to be custom fitted, and required numerous coats of tinted varnish and faux grain to match the originals. Once installed, all surfaces were given four coats of varnish and were sanded between every layer. The old-growth pine floors were removed, refinished, and treated to a unique inlay pattern from stem to stern.

Even after many years without being repainted, only about 50% of the aluminum body was oxidized. Utilizing the latest in CNC waterjet technology, body panels with compound angles and curves were created. New heavy-gauge stainless steel surfaces were machined and individually fitted for the kitchen counters and bathroom interior, including a fantastic shower stall. All new period faucets and fixtures were incorporated into the design. The bathroom panels are interlocking to prevent any moisture penetration. Waterjetted and polished aluminum was used for the shelf trim, speaker grilles, fan & AC vents, drawer handles and grips. Meticulous details such as faucet fittings and the shower curtain rod were custom milled from solid aluminum. The propane tanks were polished and coated to prevent oxidation.

The undercarriage and chassis were thoroughly cleaned, repaired and reinforced by adding gussets and plates in critical areas. The electrical wiring was completely replaced with 20-amp Romex. The wheels were refinished and fitted with new tires. The axles, brakes, and springs were also refurbished and updated. A new water heater was custom mounted to meet seismic codes, and the extremely quiet and energy-efficient Duotherm heating/AC system can be remote controlled.

Two NAD audio systems can be played independently in the living and bedrooms, utilizing individual amps to drive NHT, Focal and Sunfire speakers. Each room has a Sony flatscreen with Bose sound bars using common connections to both surround-sound systems. Concealed throughout the trailer are USB charging sockets, ethernet and coaxial cables and modern grounded outlets.

Other fine amenities include custom blinds throughout, a completely redone Dixie Permaview stove and a new Norcold freezer/fridge, which incorporates 3-way power, running off of 12v DC, 120v AC or propane. The fully restored late 1940’s American Standard jade toilet contains new internals and can be used in either the travel trailer or park trailer configurations. Both the exquisite carpentry and superb leatherwork were meticulously handcrafted by extremely experienced specialists. No expense was spared nor attention to detail overlooked in order to create a trailer that is unique in all the world. Please click the link below for further details, and prepare to be amazed!



CALYPSO - Spec sheet

trailer company: Westcraft Manufacturing Company, Burbank CA

model: Westcraft ‘Capistrano’

year built: 1950

length: 33 ft.

owner: Lucas Lackner

Photos by: Pawel Litwinski and Peter Lackner

restoration/modification specialist: Steven Butcher

specialists team: Clay Gossage, Joe Maggiore, Robert Rymer, Ben Ahadzedeh,
Noah Hillis (intern)

for further inquiries contact Lucas Lackner
at (805) 680-3759 or

Article about the Westcraft: https://blog.dupontregistry.com/for-sale/1950-westcraft-capistrano-calypso-for-sale/


GENERAL ‘RESTOMOD’ CONCEPT:

The goal was NOT to restore this trailer to it’s original mint condition, but to create an even more opulent antique style based on the original 1930’s Art Deco design, thereby adding many new elements to attain a much higher level of luxury and elegance than the original had.

In addition, many modern practical and luxury appliances (listed below) were installed for truly comfortable living, but all of them are completely hidden in cabinets and behind curtains, so that when all cabinets are closed, the trailer looks and feels like an antique vintage specimen in absolute mint condition.

To achieve this double goal, almost all elements of the interior had to be meticulously designed from scratch and hand crafted in the shop, with the assistance of third party specialists working on the metal elements, such as water-jetting and bending aluminum, cutting and forming stainless steel, polishing and chroming, as well as high-quality painting, especially on the exterior.


CUSTOM ELEMENTS crafted by Steven Butcher and his team:

- approximately half the interior birch wood paneling replaced
- to match the new wood with the original surfaces, it had to be ‘aged’ by tinted varnish and faux grain techniques with 5 coats of color and aging
- then new and old surfaces were given at least 4 coats of varnish, with sanding and corrections between each varnish phase.

- all walls newly insulated and struts repaired or replaced as needed

- framing and doors in Douglas fir

- floor: original old-growth pine boards refurbished, reconfigured with inlay patterns throughout trailer

- approx. 50% exterior aluminum surfaces replaced due to damage

- all cabinetry newly designed and constructed - including the TV cabinets, bathroom medicine cabinet with triple swivel gimbaled mirror mechanism

- all metal trim for mirrors, shelves, etc

- all grill elements for loudspeakers, heater/AC vents, fans, etc.

- all drawer handles and interior door handles, pulls and grips

- combined living room foldable table and TV cabinet

- original bar area enhanced, including glass shelf interior lighting

- all upper clear story windows and frames

- most light switch and outlet plates

- all leather work, including the couch and chair cushions and coverings,
by Ben Ahadzedeh

- convertible sofa/bed in living room made from scratch due to custom size requirement

- interior swinging door between bedroom and hall added

- pocket doors added to bathroom and closets, with custom made slider handles

- all new window blinds

- all operable window closure systems newly built or refurbished, with additional weather sealing.

- all plumbing and electrical wiring renewed (using 20Amp Romex), with additional circuits and internet/cable capability

- bathroom lined in stainless steel with interlocking metal surfaces and no screws (to optimize moisture protection) and enlarged to include shower and custom made shower curtain rod

- full stainless steel kitchen surfaces and sink fittings

- storage compartments under bed, including hidden areas beneath the King mattress

- polished aluminum propane tanks and valve system added

- trunk remodeled, lined with German carpeting

- all running lights replaced with NOS original period lighting

- undercarriage - aluminum plates added as needed, all wiring and plumbing shored up, in conduit, chassis and plates painted with rustproof protector.

- wheels: axles, bearings repacked, drum brakes checked, rims refurbished, new tires with period look

- step units at both entrances genuine period railway train steps, refurbished and painted to match trailer



APPLIANCES - visible and concealed:

visible:

- kitchen stove - refurbished Dixie Permaview

- fridge- new Norcold fridge /freezer with ice maker; custom-made Art Deco period front facade doors, hinges and handles matching mint green period stove;
3-way power option: 110Volt, 12 Volt, propane

- period American Standard toilet, late 1940’s refurbished, with modern flushing mechanisms; can be installed either in travel trailer or park trailer configuration

- stainless steel kitchen sink with Chicago faucets and custom made Art Deco trim

- original Art-Deco NOS (New Old Stock) lighting

-thermometer/barometer - original period

-period lit door bell



concealed:

- water heater, mounted according to earthquake hazard regulations

- 2 separate NAD stereo systems - for bedroom and living room, with NHT speakers and Sunfire subwoofers, Focal speakers

- 2 Sony flat screen TV systems for bedroom and living room, each with Sony Blue Ray DVR, with several sound bars: either via dedicated Bose sound bar beneath each screen or connection to surround-sound stereo system in each room

- Duotherm forced-air heater/AC with custom-made Deco intake and output duct grills, remote control operation

- USB charging sockets (concealed) in bedroom and living room

- cable and internet wiring throughout

- water filtration system beneath kitchen sink unit



There are innumerable other details and improvements incorporated into this restoration. Photos of the restoration and metamorphosis of ‘Calypso’ are available.


CALYPSO: A Ten-Year Restoration Journey:
Owner Lucas Lackner’s Labor of Love

GENESIS:
In 2008, I bought a banged-up and somewhat decrepit 33-foot-long 1950 Westcraft ‘Capistrano’ park trailer from a friend, with the intention of doing a moderately thorough restoration. This particular model was the longest and most rare of the line, fabricated in Burbank, California in the post-WWII era by the Westcraft Manufacturing Company, known after the war for thick aluminum framing, ribs and skin, copious amounts of rivets, and heavily-chromed architectural elements. These materials had been considered strategic materials during the war, but then became available in abundance for the construction of trailers and other vehicles.

The George T. Hall Company was already an established pioneer in the manufacturing of trailers when it introduced the Westcraft brand in 1932. During WWII, the company participated in defense programs, but soon afterwards resumed trailer fabrication for civilians, utilizing heavy-gauge aluminum bodies over all-metal frames. From 1946 until the closing of the factory in 1955, Westcraft trailers were produced in Los Angeles, then Burbank, with a separate line of less expensive ‘Westwood’ models made between 1946 and 1948. The Westcraft line, named after well-known romantic California destinations, included the Montecito, Coronado, Shasta, Sequoia, Yosemite and Capistrano. Only the Capistrano featured a clerestory roof, known as a Pullman, with seven windows on each side up top, a design which allowed for six-feet, four-inches of interior headroom. The ‘bread-loaf’, smooth-skinned exterior shell was painted in several striking colors of enamel, enhancing its exclusivity and Art Deco lines and appeal. It was this extremely rare, elegant and forlorn creature that won my heart.

RESTORATION:
The Capistrano was originally to be used as a guest house and man-cave on my Montecito, California estate, parked next to my infinity pool, overlooking Santa Barbara, the coast from Gaviota to Point Mugu, the mountains and the sea framed by the Channel Islands against the distant sky.

I contracted with Steven Butcher, a well-known restorer of classic trailers and vehicles, to do the work. He had started early in life as a spontaneous fabricator of contraptions of all descriptions, including his first mini-bike. He immersed himself in wood and metal shop in high school, and accomplished his first full automotive restoration at the age of 18. By the late 1970’s, he was building and track-racing hot rods, and got his first exposure to the film industry. By the ’80’s, he was doing paint and mechanical work on ‘picture cars’, and has worked for the studios ever since. He is considered an expert resource on historical restorations and period authenticity. He and his partners run several amazing facilities used for fabrication, storage and location settings. His prolific movie work can be found on IMDB, and he has been the subject of numerous documentaries and articles in books and industry periodicals.

Known for his modesty and discretion, Steven’s vehicles do not appear on any website, and he maintains a reputation as the go-to guy for the highest-end jobs. He and his partners, Johnny Agnew, a collector and location provider, and Ed Lum, who is a brilliant artist, also maintain a huge personal collection of trailers, vehicles, and memorabilia which are often used in period motion picture productions. They are located in Fillmore and Altadena, California. We employed numerous master craftsmen throughout Southern California to complete individual aspects of the project, including the leatherwork, metalwork, painting and cabinetry. Steven considers this nearly 11-year-long restoration on my Westcraft Capistrano, ‘Calypso’, to be his most detailed, extensive and beautiful masterpiece to date.

MODERNIZATION:
Steven and I drew up plans for an upgraded and modernized cabin that would suit my needs, yet maintain the amazing Art Deco design of her sophisticated interior and shell: a master bedroom, full kitchen, a bar/lounge, a living room with custom-made leather convertible sofa/bed and chairs, a magnificent period bathroom with jade-green toilet, gimbaled vanity and heavy stainless steel shower enclosure. This ‘resto-mod’ includes all of the high-end amenities as well: two superb sound systems, two hidden flat-screen televisions, wonderful Deco lighting on dimmers, custom-fabricated grills, modern appliances, incredible faucets and fixtures, all-new blinds, a honey-colored wooden floor to match the cognac woodwork, contemporary water-heating, air-conditioning and heating systems, heavy-gauge stainless steel counters and sinks, and luxurious deep burgundy leatherwork throughout, including numerous hand-built furnishings. All of the metalwork has been custom-milled and fully re-chromed or highly polished. All of the wooden features have received numerous layers of marine varnish. The exterior enamel paint required multiple coats. The work includes rewiring everything to the latest codes, replacing all plumbing, redoing the closets and all hidden interior spaces, creating a pocket door for the bathroom and another swing-away door to separate the master bedroom from the living room for complete privacy. The fold-up dining table, which vanishes into a leather-lined cabinet that also conceals one of the flat screens, is in itself a design of technical genius. We eventually realized the scope, complexity, cost and duration of the work we had undertaken, and resigned ourselves to the necessity of taking our time on it. This apex of mid-century design deserved to be treated to the highest-end restoration on the planet.

In due time, all of these aspects were realized. In addition, the exterior was completely reworked and painted in three gorgeous enamel colors ranging from Midnight Blue to Sterling Silver to highlight the sumptuous design, a mix of ‘land yacht’ and private Deco train carriage. Approximately half of the aluminum panels were replaced; the expansive trunk was entirely redone and carpeted; all chrome and polished surfaces and handles were refinished; the chassis, axles and wheels were reworked or replaced; the skirts were matched to the exterior paint; the screen doors were redone; the solid doors were restored and rehung; all new gaskets were installed throughout; extensive work was done to the under-carriage. The grillwork was either restored or custom-milled and fabricated. On the tongue, we placed polished-aluminum propane tanks with period fittings. To complete the overall look, we registered the trailer with a YOM (Year Of Manufacture) 1950 yellow California license plate in a period frame.

‘CALYPSO’:
Because of her yacht-like qualities, I felt that this sensuous vessel should have her own name. I have always loved Homer’s classical Greek myth of Ulysses getting sidetracked from his odyssey by the goddess ‘Calypso’, who seduced him for seven years on her remote Mediterranean isle. As a child, I was also fascinated by Captain Jacques Cousteau’s research vessel, ‘Calypso’, which had begun life as a British minesweeper, but which was repurposed by him after WWII as a global ambassador for science. She met a horrible end in Singapore harbor in 1996, having been struck and sunk by a barge. Re-floated and moved to a port in Turkey, she was hoisted onto a dock and left to rot for many years after Cousteau’s death. Finally, in 2016, devoted philanthropists gathered the resources necessary to restore the ship to her former glory. The work, being done in France, was well-advanced when a fire destroyed her in 2017. Yet once again admirers and scientists recognized the unique historical importance of this fabled craft and rose to the occasion. The restoration process is now again underway.

I bring that story up only because, in my case, my Westcraft, ‘Calypso’, was well into her renovation in Fillmore, California, when the Tea Fire burned my Montecito house to the ground, along with more than 200 other beautiful homes. I have been forced to move on, but the Phoenix of Fillmore has survived and flourished, after more than a decade of loving work, and with the enormous support and full collaboration of my brother, Peter Lackner. She is now the finest such trailer in the world, and is, in many opinions, Steven Butcher’s most beautiful restoration. The craftsmen who originally labored to design and fabricate these incredible artworks would be incredulous to see this gorgeous, museum-quality example of Art Deco aesthetics, functionality and luxury in a condition far better than new, 69 years after it rolled off of the production line. It is truly one-of-a-kind.

This beautiful trailer will be available at Leake Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 18th, 2020

 
 
1950 Westcraft Capistrano Calypso Trailer - To Be Auctioned at Leake Auctions in January
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(805) 680-3759

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