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Restoration of the famous past cruise ship Aurora

Sold on Craigslist and the cruise ship has been restored

That year was 1955, when Wappen von Hamburg had just begun its life, carrying tourists from Hamburg, Germany, to Helgoland Island in the North Sea.

So, 60 years later, I arrived at a river surrounded by blueberry fields near Stockton, California, how the ship did.

Chris Willson bought this former cruise liner on Craigslist for about $ 800,000. CBS News

"One day I was actually surfing on Craigslist and this popped up," the current Chris Willson, the owner of the ship, said. She was renamed Aurora. "And that stimulated my curiosity.

Correspondent Luke Barbank said," Do you remember what the ad said? "

"In fact, it just said'a classic cruise ship for sale'," he laughed. Inside the ship: "My idea was not to buy a ship, but to do a virtual tour of the ship," he laughed.

But something about the boat intrigued Wilson and he was done. He rescued himself from legal problems, towed to various locations, and eventually paid about $ 800,000 to become the owner of maritime history.

Also, a lot of garbage. "It was full of garbage," he said. It was a disaster.

Motorenvoraus.CBS News

When he threw news of his purchase to his brand new girlfriend, Jin Lee, she sneaked into the ship. He said he didn't dare to see: "You see so scary. I don't know what's behind the door or what's in the room.

" I He said, "I don't know about this boat. I don't know what this guy is doing. Thank God we were just dating."

But Together, slowly and diligently, they set about repairing the ship. Some parts, like the lounge, now look better.

The Aurora lounge has returned to the mid-century splendor.  CBS News

"We do things like movie nights there," Wilson said. "It's just a comfortable place."

And the other parts don't look good. He showed Burbank a maneuver ("pretty ugly"), which was robbed of some of its nautical equipment over time. "Wheels have been plundered from here. As you know, we have an idea of ​​where some of these things are, but getting them back is a kind of impossible mission.

Chris Wilson shows correspondent Luke Burbank the aurora wheelhouse. CBS News

The aurora, stripped to the bone and left rotten, is a survivor with a renowned past. Recognized as the inspiration for the blockbuster TV show "Love Boat" in the 70's, Aurora also appeared in "From Russia, with Love" as Bond's villain yacht.

Pelagic liner enthusiast, sea historian and collector Peter Cunego describes the ship as follows: All ships of her generation are almost gone.

Knego knew the history of Aurora long before it appeared in Craigslist ads. Because he has a special passion for all of the mid-century and voyages. It will explain why his home in Oceanside, California is a living maritime museum.

Peter Knego shows the Aurora scale model (nee Wappen Von Hamburg) compared to the Titanic scale model. increase.CBS News

Surprisingly, Aurora is one of the only mid-century ships still floating. The rest either sank or literally turned into razor blades. "We shave with them," Knego said. "Canned green beans are made, cars are made from them, and rebar. They are all recycled into new forms of existence."

Burbank said, "They put it on a razor blade. When talking about changing, it's not just a metaphor. "

" No. Unfortunately, it's not. "

Aurora restoration work is underway.  YouTube

Wilson's hope is to ship the ship to a water hotel, mostly thanks to the volunteer crew and the now popular YouTube channel. Or turn it into a museum and avoid going to the scrapyard. Thankfully, he carried Jin Li (which I met on Craigslist by the way).

"Now I feel that the boat has gathered a lot of people and brought me and Chris even tighter. Many interesting people, locals, Facebook and social media people." Lee said. It's a bad idea. '"

More info:

  •  Aurora Restoration ProjectYouTube and Instagram
  • Aurora Restoration Project (Facebook Group)
  • Aurora History (Wordpress)
  • Peter Knego's Mid Ship Cinema

A story created by Amy Wall. Editor: George Posdelek. 

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