What year is the Starfire Chassis?

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What year is the Starfire Chassis?

Post  TimKustom on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:59 pm

This is something I've pondered for some time.

Ford made some fairly major changes to the E-350 van chassis in 1987 (Fuel Injection for one). Did EMC acquire all the E350 chassis all at once (maybe around '85) or did they come as they needed them?

Were there any Starfires made with Fuel Injection (maybe some of the "Starfire II's")? My rig is 1988 (that's what the window sticker says), but parts I've needed for the chassis are 1986 (master cylinder). I could go looking for my block VIN, but more interested in how they came to be at EMC.

Maybe Jeff knows?
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Star Fire Chassis

Post  ElDorado Jeff on Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:52 pm

Most of the early year Star Fires were built on a special rail chassis that was made for ElDorado. For the most part they were a E-350 Van chassis that was extended without the van body mounted. The problem was ElDorado ordered over 70 Chassis all at once anticipating the Star Fire to get off the ground early on. Some of the earlier Chassis sat on the ground for 2 years and about 3 months before they were used up, and Ford forces ElDorado to buy the remaining chassis they had to the tune of another 36, in 1987. Some of those were re vinned by Ford to reflect them a later model year but the parts used on the chassis are the same from the earlier years. Then when ElDorado ran out of those chassis, they used Ford Van cut-a-way chassis and took the van body off.

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Re: What year is the Starfire Chassis?

Post  TimKustom on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:59 am

Thanks for the reply Jeff.

It appears that the black 27ft Starfire listed on RVtraderonline is one of the cut-a-away chassis. It appears to have the dash from the van spiced into it as opposed to the "standard" angular Starfire dash. He also lists it having a 5.8L engine as well. Considering the construction of the interior of the rig, I would assume it left the factory as some form of limo.

I've read a lot of "rumors" about the actual production numbers of the Starfire. Is there anyway to put them to rest? Is it possible to confirm how many 31ft, 27ft rigs were produced (with documentation)? I've seen some that are called Utilistars and some that were built as limousines as well as many different floorplans for the RV style. Is it possible to break down those categories as well?

Again, I've collected hundreds of photos of over 50 Starfires in various configurations and corresponded with most of the owners including one who claims to have the molds. I find the history of this rig quite fascinating and hope you may be able to help fill in some blanks.
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Total Number Built

Post  ElDorado Jeff on Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:13 am

As for the total number of Starfires built, I believe there were a total of 172 over the years. I'm not sure what the count of 31ft and 27ft, however I think I remember about 110 31ft and the balance would be the 27ft. Now as for the Utilistar, I don't know how many of those were configured, and for what companies. I do know Pioneer Audio had one for a mobile display unit, the Kansas Lottery, had one, a Radio Station in Kansas City, a limo company in LA I believe had 2, a company in Las Vegas also had one, and I believe most of those were the 27ft all custom built. As for if they are still on the road, I have no idea. I would love to have some more pictures for the web site of just the Starfire as I continue to build my web site.

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Re: What year is the Starfire Chassis?

Post  TimKustom on Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:21 am

Thanks for the reply Jeff.

I'm still finding Starfires in my searches. It's over 50 now, with a few others known to have been destroyed. I would like to upload and post my notes on each rig I've found, but wouldn't want to step on anyones toes as far a privacy is concerned. I find it odd that most are "for sale" after corresponding with the owners. Seems to me if someone had such a unique vehicle, they would want to hold on to it.

Considering the "rarity" and "value" of vehicles such as '60's Chrysler Hemi cars, these Starfires are a bargain; and they don't rust out. Very Happy

I believe I have a small pic of the Pioneer Utilistar. As well as what may have once been the the Kansas City Radio Station rig (31ft and only has windows behind the front non-opening doors). I've talked with somebody that drove the KC radio station rig, he thinks he might have pics of it somewhere, but has not found them yet. He said it was the bigger one with the tag axle after seeing pics of my 27ft. He remembered it had the studio in the back and the front was a "green room" with a small kitchenette and restroom.

I also have pics of one of the limos (it has a sliding bus style side door). The fellow that owns/owned it (was for sale) said he had another one that was very similar.

Wish you'd come around more often to share your info on these rigs.

Progress is real slow on my rig right now, but it is 95% watertight now and nearly road worthy.

TK
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I would like some of the pics

Post  ElDorado Jeff on Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:34 pm

Sorry I haven't been able to be around a lot, with my move back to the midwest and going through a divorce right now.

The Radio Station Rig I actually did some of the custom work on it if it was done about 9 years ago. That shell of a coach actually came from Chicago if I remember correctly. The last I know of the Pioneer Audio Rig, I found it about 8 years ago in Little Rock, AR and could have bought it then, but didn't have the money at that time and no way to get it home as it didn't run very well at that time and had nearly 100K miles on it.

I would love to have some of the pics so I can add them to my web site, it will be getting a complete make over sometime this winter as it needs to reflect some of the changes in my life. Just have not had a lot of time lately.

I am now getting email from time to time, when there are changes to the Forum, which for some reason wasn't working before. It is amazing how many are here now from when I started it almost a year ago.

Talk to you soon or email me direct to eldorado@beavercreekboise.com

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Starfire differences

Post  ElDorado Jeff on Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:54 pm

TimKustom wrote:This is something I've pondered for some time.

Ford made some fairly major changes to the E-350 van chassis in 1987 (Fuel Injection for one). Did EMC acquire all the E350 chassis all at once (maybe around '85) or did they come as they needed them?

Were there any Starfires made with Fuel Injection (maybe some of the "Starfire II's")? My rig is 1988 (that's what the window sticker says), but parts I've needed for the chassis are 1986 (master cylinder). I could go looking for my block VIN, but more interested in how they came to be at EMC.

Maybe Jeff knows?


EMC did acquire about 120 chassis after the first development of the Starfire. Most of them were vin #'d 1986. However the cost to build the coach and the time it took to get the coach down the production line, went longer than expected, and the orders for the coach didn't take off quite as quickly as the company had hoped for, and the chassis were stacked up.

Ford then quit the production of the E350 Van chassis (without the cab), (the one used on the '86, '87 and very early '88's), and EMC was forced to began taking the cabs off of the later '88's, and that became even more costly. Then production ceased at that point.

So the first few can be distinguised with a Ford Van Dash was in the coach, and the last few also, as the van dashes did not change. Every thing in between had a custom built dash with just the speedo cluster used, and a custom stearing wheel.



Jeff

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Re: What year is the Starfire Chassis?

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