What We Have Heard - The History Of Silver Streak
From 1946 to 1948, the Curtis Wright Company produced trailer coaches. In 1949, the company sold the design rights to Silver Streak partners Kenny Neptune, James “Pat” Patterson, and Frank Polito. In the 1957, Neptune and Polito bought out their partner Patterson. Patterson then founded the Streamline Trailer Mfg. Co.
This coach is a variation of an early Wally Byam design, (the father of the Airstream), which he came up with while working for Curtis Wright from 1937 through 1947. Just before leaving to re-form the Airstream Company which, he's actually begun in 1931. Byam was a major influence in the design of the 1946-1948 Curtis Wright Clipper. However, in 1949 Curtis Wright sold the rights to the design to three partners by the name of Frank Polito, James Patterson and Kenny Neptune who formed the Silver Streak Trailer Company and, who then simply renamed the coach the Silver Streak Clipper. After reshaping the front and rear Plexiglas windows in 1950, front and rear glass windows that actually opened became an option in late 1953. (In 1957 Pat Patterson left Silver Streak, and along with dealer Harry Lovett, formed the Streamline Trailer Co.)
Silver Streak Trailer Company in El Monte California Originally located at 1166 Chico St. and later moved to 2100 block of Chico St.
Two men, Frank Polito and Kenny Neptune, each of whom had previously worked for McDonald Douglas Corp, founded the Silver Streak Trailer Co. in approximately 1948. The first trailer was delivered in 1949. The factory was in South El Monte, CA. In 1986 another company wanted to buy the land the factory was sitting on. Polito and Neptune sold the land. At the time that Pollito and Neptune sold the land the factory General Manager was Rolf Zushlag. The partners had hired Zushlag from Airstream in 1978. Zushlag made a deal with the two partners for patterns and all machinery. He stayed at the South El Monte site for 12 to 14 months and then found a place in Chino, CA. There were no l987 models manufactured due to the move. Zushlag continued building custom built Silver Streaks until 1997. Both founders are still alive and live in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Zushlag, after closing the factory, is still active in the Los Angeles area in other business activities.
The company came out with the Sterling series trailers in 1985. This trailer had black trim and the gold trimmed trailer was discontinued. Silver Streak never built over 6 trailers per week. There was a national Silver Streak organization from 1968 to 1997. It was officially disbanded at the St. George, UT National rally when only 28 trailers showed up. There is still a Houston area club and they are planning a Regional rally at Burnett, TX between San Antonio and Kerrville this year on May 6, 2000.
According to Mr. Ashby, who has refurbished and sold over 110 Silver Streaks, it is his opinion the Silver Streak is a far better trailer than the Airstream, based on overall construction and a substantially stronger frame. In addition, unlike the Airstream construction, the Silver Streak skin was built right on the trailer frames. All internal structures and appliances were then placed within the shell through the entry.
The vents on the side of the trailers were placed there as “weep” holes. They resulted in condensation inside the trailer in very cold climates. Mr. Ashby recommends caulking them closed. Mr. Ashby has numerous Silver Streak parts including Hadco axles and grease seals and aluminum segments for the front and rear of some models.
No shop manuals or parts manuals were ever developed by the Silver Streak Co. The only manuals that were developed were the Silver Streak Owners Manuals provided with new trailers.
- Clipper 18, 20 and 22ft.
- Jet 19 ft.
- Sabre 17 ft.
- Prince 18 ft. (1969)
- Sabre 19 ft.
- SS210 21 ft. (1980-?)
- Continental Atlas 22 ft. (1968)
- Sabre 23 ft.
- Atlas 26 ft.
- Atlas Twin Continental 27 ft (1970)
- Rocket 27 ft. (1956)
- Rocket 28 ft.
- Continental Supreme 28 ft.
- Luxury Liner 31 ft. (1957-58?)
- Continental Supreme 34 ft.
- Deluxe Atlas