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Old 03-10-2005, 09:56 PM   #1
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should I buy this 1965 Caravel?

I found this airstream for sale last October. I can't seem to get it out of my mind and I keep checking if its still for sale...which it is. It seems like a fairly original 1965 Caravel for sale for $3500 Canadian. The down side is the frame seems quite rusty - probably as its spent most of its life at the oceanside - and its 1500 km's away from me so I'd probably have to flatbed it home. What do you guys think?















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Old 03-10-2005, 10:36 PM   #2
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If you're not afraid of dealing with the rusty frame, I'd say go for it. The body sure looks nice and straight, and the interior looks pretty good too. If the frame's rusted out though, you might find yourself doing a 'full monty' on it to rebuild the damage. If it's still for sale, maybe they'd go down on the price some.

Hard to believe it's still available though - the small trailers usually go fast. I'd wonder if there's something wrong with it that others have seen that's not so obvious.

Have you seen this trailer in person?
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:42 PM   #3
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actually its just in a pretty remote area of Canada - I don't think they've advertised it much. I think if I could get it for maybe $2000 it might be worth the trouble of doing the "full monty", but if its $3500, I'd be better spending $5 or $6 thousand on one in restored shape.

and yes I took the pictures myself
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:04 PM   #4
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I just ask because I've heard a lot of stories from people who get excited over pictures, and are sorely dissapointed by what they find in person. So you're ahead of the game having seen it in person.

I agree with you, if you could talk them down a bit, play up the cost of fixing the frame, it would probably be worth the trouble. I am partial because I think Caravels are the best layout of all the small airstreams. We LOVE ours!
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:28 PM   #5
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Looks like you better factor in the cost of a new axle if you decide to buy.

That frame does look scary.

Is the step missing or just not visible in the photo?
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Old 03-11-2005, 06:17 AM   #6
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you know I didnt even notice the step till you mentioned it - it does appear to be missing - are you suggesting replacing the axle due to the breakage problems with the old design I seem to recall reading about elsewhere?
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Old 03-11-2005, 07:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aluminium
are you suggesting replacing the axle due to the breakage problems with the old design I seem to recall reading about elsewhere?
One of the many things I've learned from these forums is that if none of the upper tire is visible between the wheel rim and wheel well, the axle has lost it's cushion and needs to be replaced. The enlarged pic attached illustrates rather clearly that the axle is toast.
Axle replacement on these older models is fairly common. Stefrobrts has replaced the axle on her '68 Caravel and would probably advise the cost if you need that info.
Hi Stef, dontcha just love how I volunteer your time?
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Old 03-11-2005, 08:53 AM   #8
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Alum -- short answer IMHO is at $3500 CDN you are buying a pig in a poke. It's expensive for a total restoration job, and cheap for a Caravel in good condition.

The rust on the tongue doesn't bother me -- it's the rust you can't see that would be a problem. If the frame under the floor is rusty, it's probably because there have been leaks rotting the floor, which means time-consuming floor replacement. Think "full monty".

Also the condition of the refrigerator, stove and as Roger pointed out, the axle. Those items can easily add up to more than $2000. For a full refurbishment, you could spend $7000 or more in parts. It adds up fast. Just from the pics I can guess this Caravel needs: tires, wheels, axle, hitch, entrance step, and some welding on the tongue and frame. The rust on the tongue and the lack of an entrance step suggest potential for serious rust problems.

And from the fact that it has sat for a while, I would add propane bottles, gas regulator, wheel bearings, water pump, furnace, plumbing vent gaskets, window and door gaskets, toilet, upholstery & foam, dump valve rebuild, curtains ... That's another $2000.

Then there's the iffy stuff: faucets, window cranks, glass (is any of it plastic?), screens, stove/oven, black tank, cracked plumbing. Also, pictures don't tell you if it smells. Smell is a key clue as to the condition of the interior (foam, fabric, wood), the prior use (cigarette smell, leaks), and how bad the rodent problem might be.

There's also some metal work needed along the curbside wheel well, where it looks like a flat tire or road debris caused some damage.

I'm not trying to scare you. My point is that without testing the systems and being able to tow the unit, you have to assume that most of the expensive stuff is broken or needs refurbishment. If you can drop $5k or more into this Caravel and 200+ hours of work, it might be a good buy. Personally, I'd look for a price more in the $1500-2000 range for a unit that can't be tested and/or towed, even a Caravel.

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Old 03-11-2005, 09:31 AM   #9
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Where in Canada

Alum,

I have a 65 Caravel just like this one...well almost, as I have windows in my doorway. Where is this one? I know, you won't tell. The tongue on our trailer (it's the wife's) was like that one. I paid $2500 for mine, and towed it from NC to NY, where it now sits in my barn awaiting Spring. Mine towed great to NY. I've got alot of work to do. What is your email address? I'll send you picture. Mine is robbaker91@adelphia.net.


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Old 03-11-2005, 09:41 AM   #10
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Pssst, Rich...

I think we got him talked out of it. Let's go get it.

Seriously though, I hope it finds a good home with an ambitious owner. I'm always glad to see these old gems returned to roadworthy condition.
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:48 AM   #11
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Rich is in Florida

Hey, since I'm in NY, just across the border, I've got Rich beat...since I know he's in Florida, soaking up the heat / sun....and I'm here where it's snowing again...5 inches today likely...I need something, like another Caravel (even if it's for part) to keep me sane. Just kidding, I too, like to see these jems saved from rotting away. The good thing about this, is it's so small, probably two men could lift the body off to get at the frame...ok 4.

Talk the owners down, and go get it.
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rog0525
I think we got him talked out of it. Let's go get it.
No, he hasn't responded becasue he's on his way out to get it

I don't think it's that bad a deal. If you really want a Caravel, what's a nice Caravel going to cost? Last summer they were getting pretty close to $10k for refurbished units, some for even more. Even at $3500 you could probably have this one done for less than that, as long as you're doing the work.
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:53 PM   #13
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67 for $13,500

Just saw a 67 for $13,500 out at Oasis RV in Tuscon....and it wasn't perfect.
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Old 03-11-2005, 01:03 PM   #14
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Well, I would like to think Caravels are worth that much ($13500 for an imperfect one!). That way I can justify the money I just poured into mine. Perhaps in a few years I can sell mine and it will be enough to pay for my daughter's college tuition ... at a nice college ...

I do agree, with personal labor invested and $5000-7000 cash, you could have a very nice Caravel and it might be worth $10k in today's market. (On the east coast -- in California people seem to pay a lot more.)

But it's not just money. You have to decide whether you can invest the time to do it right. A halfway job won't be fun to use or profitable to sell. If you're not sure, please email Roger the contact info for the owners!
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