The 1955 Comet Restoral

A First Time Project

By: Gil Wagner

1955 Comet

The 55 Comet pulled out from under the top skin.

Ouch! How did I get bitten by this bug? It’s not like teaching high school full time as a second career, restoring old cars and antiques as well as riding bicycles in my spare time didn’t keep me busy enough. In 2007 I was celebrating my 60th birthday on one of my summer bicycle trips. This trip was from Spokane, Washington north across 3000 miles of Canada and Alaska to Anchorage, that’s a lot of pedaling. One evening while camped on a lake just outside of Hyder, Alaska I was bitten… not by another mosquito but by the vintage trailer bug. Just down the shoreline from me was a man and his dog in the neatest little trailer I had ever seen. He was in a homemade 4’ x 8’ teardrop. Not much of rig to those who ramble across the country in their mega motor homes, but a Taj Mahal to a guy miles from nowhere on a bicycle. I decided right then and there this would be the way to do my next trip to Alaska.

To make a long story even longer… after my bicycle trip I started researching teardrops and vintage trailers in general and settled on the 50’s style canned ham trailer for a restoration project. My next trip to Alaska is going to be in style…. well sort of. I may not be in a 40’ air conditioned motor coach, but I also won’t be pedaling through swarms of mosquitoes and other pesky critters at 10 mph by bicycle.

That’s how it started. I searched on line for about 2 years before finding my 1955, 12’ Comet. In February 2009 I dragged it home. The only good thing my wife saw in it was that it was not another old car. Not having any idea of where to start, I fortunately stumbled across Larry’s “Canned Ham Trailers” site. With his tutorials and some experience in destroying things I began working. As can be seen in the pictures the Comet looked pretty good from the outside…. wow, did I have surprises ahead of me. The pictures and captions pretty much tell the rest of the story.

Please pardon the number of apparently useless pictures which were taken primarily for documentation purposes. I knew I would never remember how this thing was put together once I totally disassembled it…. The pictures have become priceless during the reassembly. It is still a work in progress but should be finished in time for a trial run this Christmas to Key West, Florida in preparation for the return trip to Alaska.

More photos can be seen at this link. The photos are updated as the work progresses and can be viewed when ever you like.

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To Be Continued