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Old 01-10-2005, 09:38 PM   #1
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1971 23' Safari
Portland , Oregon
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1971 Airstreams

Are their any areas of concern to keep in mind if looking to purchase a 1971 Safari? Pros or Cons peculiar to that year?

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Old 01-10-2005, 10:07 PM   #2
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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1971 Airstreams

Greetings TGK!

Welcome to the Forums!

Originally Posted by TGK
Are their any areas of concern to keep in mind if looking to purchase a 1971 Safari? Pros or Cons peculiar to that year?
There haven't been any particular issues reported pertaining to the '71 Safari 23' (at least to my knowledge). The normal areas of concern for virtually any Vintage Airstream coach would apply to the '71 in question:

1.) Is the floor solid, paying particular attention to the perimeter. Typical areas where rot may be most often found would include in the vicinity of the bathroom, near the water tank, around the battery box, below the front windos, near the door and behind the refrigerator (there should be a square or rectangular through-the-floor vent behind the refrigerator).

2.) Condition of the major appliances (replacement costs can range from $200 (water pump) to $1,200 (refrigerator)depending upon appliance). The two most expensive appliances are the absorbtion refrigerator and air conditioner ($700 to $1,200 each). The water heater and furnace would be among the next most expensive ($400 to $700 each). The third price level would be the Univolt power Converter and water pump ($200 to $400 each). Please note that the "ballpark" figures that I am citing include professional installation based on similar projects on one of my coaches.

3.) Condition of axle(s) is always a concern with a Vintage Airstream or Argosy coach. I had the Henschen axle replaced on my Minuet prior to the beginning of last season, and will need to have both axles replaced on my Overlander in the very near future. See: Anatomy of a Henschen Axle

Beyond the three major areas it becomes a question of the cosmetic condition of the interior and exterior. On an unrestored coach, you will almost certainly see some splotchiness on the finish as the Plasticoat is likely in the process of failing; but you will want to avoid major damage that would require panel replacement unless the price reflects the cost of having the work done. You might find the Price vs. Condition discussion on R J Dial's website to be of help in establishing some parameters for your evaluation.

If you haven't already checked out the Airstream Weights and Measures, you might want to check there for the pertinent towing information for the Safari. The one thing to keep in mind is that the weights indicated are empty weight without options, fluids (water, LP, etc.), or personal possessions - - to be on the safe side, I would suggest allowing for an additional 1,000 to 1,200 pounds for the options, fluids, and personal possessions that will normally be in the coach.

Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:47 PM   #3
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1960 28' Ambassador
Northern , California
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Kevin gave you a great run down on things to consider.

I purchased a '71 Safari myself and have not found anything specific to that year that you need to look for outside the normal stuff Kevin mentioned.

I might add however, if you do purchase it, besides checking the brakes, tires, and lights before you move it, I would spray the seals on the two front wrap windows with silicon spray.

It seams these windows get brittle over time, and it could be the gasket material drying out and not letting the window have any *give* to it when the trailer twists under tow.

The windows on mine were fine until the PO (previous owner) towed it to his house. Both windows just shattered mysteriously. They are a pain to replace and expensive if you have it done.

Good luck and if you have any specific questions on '71's let me know. You can also check my website and see all the stuff I have had to do mine.

Remember, on any vintage unit more times than not the price of the trailer is just the start, I have put about 3 times more than I paid into fixing it up. ...and it still not done.
1960 International Ambassador 28'
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:53 AM   #4
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Our 23 foot 1971 Safari has been a pleasure to work on and use. It had some of the problems as stated. However, I have been able to fix them. It pulls easy and is very comfortable for my wife and I. We are fortunate in that all the appliances still work. even the airconditioner. I have just discovered the problem with the Univolt and was able to fix it for less than $10.
Good luck with your Safari. I couldn't have been able to fix ours without this Forum
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:01 PM   #5
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1963 22' Safari
1963 19' Globetrotter
Montreal , Quebec
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I have 71 Sovereign International, which I loved until I got a 68 Tradewind, which I loved until I got a 63 Globetrotter. My dream is to have a 50's Flying Cloud. I realise that the older the trailer is, the more appeal it has.
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Old 01-11-2005, 11:31 PM   #6
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2012 23' Flying Cloud
West Linn , Oregon
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Smile Good choice

I have one (I guess that is obvious) and think it is a great size. Large enough for comfort and separation of living/sleeping areas, small enough to fit into most state park campgrounds. Mine has also had a few issues, mostly easy to deal with, although I have recently discovered a small leak in the back closet that will need repair - aargh. With all this rain we are having out West it is probably unavoidable.

When I purchased mine I had to put new tires on it right away before pulling it back home. I also discovered that the furnace was not working correctly and had it repaired along the way. Do get a CO detector for safety sake. Then when I got home I had a new toilet and black tank valve installed, and more recently, a plumbing leak repaired. Since then it has been very reliable and trouble free, and I fulltimed for several months this summer and fall throughout the northwest. What a blast that was! Fond memories.

The 23' Safari is an easy towing rig, but not as light as the specs would have you believe - mine is about 4200lbs dry with the options it came with, and 4800lbs on the road with gear, food and minimal water. You will need at least a 1/2 ton pickup or larger size SUV to comfortably pull it.

2012 Flying Cloud 23-D
1971 Safari 23 (sold)
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