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Old 07-12-2003, 03:53 PM   #1
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1963 Land Yacht

Im going to be looking at a 1963 Land Yacht. The current owner says the Air Con was a retro fit, and currently doesn't work. She felt confident that a new one could be easily found, any comments from anyone? Also, she felt the Land Yacht only weighed 3000 lbs. We had been considering a new Bambi, and I understand they weigh 3770 lbs, even though its only 19ft vs this used 23ft, anyone know why the difference? Thanks! A quick answer would be great because we're looking at the Land Yacht tomorrow. Jim
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:14 PM   #2
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1966 20' Globetrotter
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Hi Jim

In the '60's all Airstream trailers were Land Yachts. They are measured in overall length from bumper to ball. I'm not aware of a 23' model for 1963.
These links might be helpful to you:
Determining fair price: PRICE VS CONDITION
photos of '63 models: VINTAGE PHOTOS
Weights by year and model: AIRSTREAM WEIGHT CHART

Good luck.
Rog
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:14 PM   #3
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In spite of this being started in the Motorhome forum, I am assuming that you are looking at a trailer.

I am afraid you havn't given enough information to work on. In '63, and for many years thereafter, all Airstreams were "Land Yachts". We need either a lenght or model name to get weight information.

The Airstream factory site has a weights table. It can be found at http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p.../weights-1.pdf

The older units are far lighter than the newer ones. The new ones are wider, have holding tanks, solid wood cabinetry, and many other weighty items not used in the older classics.

The air conditioner was not available until somewhere along about there. If it should be one of the old Armstrong units, they can be repaired (sometimes) but are more complicated to replace. Or if something more modern like a Coleman, assuming it was properly installed to begin with, it will be a fairly straightforward replacement

Ask lots of questions, and do a lot of checking before plunging into a 60's unit.

Mark
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:44 PM   #4
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Mark, our responses were made at almost the same time, but I'm a bit confused about your comment re solid wood cabinetry. At some point in time AS switched from solid wood drawers and cabinet doors to tambour. My personal preference is the solid wood. Do you know when they switched? Have they reverted to solid wood in newer models? I've never owned newer than '73.

Rog
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:51 PM   #5
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1963 Land Yacht

Greetings Jim!

Welcome to the Forums and greetings from a '64 Overlander owner!

The 1963 Land Yacht that you will be looking at is likely a Trade Wind given the length of 23'. According to the Airstream corporate site, this trailer would have an empty weight of 3,500 pounds and a tongue weight of 415 pounds - - both of these are empty weights and do not reflect the weight of any optional equipment, fluids (water, propane, etc.), or personal posessions. It would not be uncommon to add between 700 and 1,000 pounds to the empty weight to arrive at the actual loaded towing weight. See the link below for the Airstream weights and measures pdf:

Airstream Weights and Measures

Quote:
The current owner says the Air Con was a retro fit, and currently doesn't work. She felt confident that a new one could be easily found, any comments from anyone?
If the air conditioner is anything other than an Armstrong Bay Breeze air conditioner, it is likely a retrofit/aftermarket installation. The greatest hazard is whether the installer was familiar with Airstreams - - someone not familiar with Airstream MAY have installed the air conditioner unit in an existing vent opening which usually isn't the intended location so likely wouldn't have been properly braced. So long as the existing air conditioner is properly located, installing a modern replacement isn't a particularly difficult operation - - if it is an Armstrong Bay Breeze, a 14" square opening will need to be cut in both roof and ceiling panels as the Bay Breeze used three small round holes rather than one large square opening.

Quote:
Also, she felt the Land Yacht only weighed 3000 lbs. We had been considering a new Bambi, and I understand they weigh 3770 lbs, even though its only 19ft vs this used 23ft, anyone know why the difference?
There are a number of reasons for the differences in weight between the 1960s coaches and the current coaches - - especially the classics. Some of the differences include:

1.) Countertops and table tops were formica laminate over a "light-weight" substrate rather than the Corian that is used in many of the new coaches.

2.) Floor coverings were either 9" square vinyl tile or sculptured carpet (at least in '64) - - rather than pergo and some of the heavier floor covering products in current use.

3.) Cabinetry was a cabinet grade of veneered plywood rather than some of the hardwoods used in today's coaches.

4.) Some equipment that is now standard was optional then. For instance, according to my notes, the Univolt did not become standard until 1964.

5.) Vintage coaches only had one wastewater holding tank for blackwater (ranging from 8 to 12 gallons depedning upon model). Water tanks in the Vintage coaches also were usually under 30 gallons - - but this was not necessarily a weight savings as prior to 1964 the system was usually a pressurized system that required a galvanized water tank rather than a plastic unit.

6,) The foam used in the upholstered goods in the trailers seemed to be of a lighter, less dense material than that used in current trailers.

7.) The Vintage (pre-1966) coach windows were plain household window glass, and not the tempered glass used in the newer coaches

While you didn't ask, some things that you might want to know about the early 60s Trade Winds:

1.) There were two basic floor plans. Center Twin or Center Double; both would share similar rear bathrooms (if memory serves correct with a tub/shower combination), the kitchen would be located immediately ahead of the bedroom are, and the living room would be in the front consisting of a single lounge. If you are fortunate, the trailer will include its original drop-leaf table and chair(s).

<<The center twin will have a twin bed on either side of the aisle while the center double will have a dresser wardrobe arrangement on one wall (usually curbside) and a pull-out double-lounge on the opposite wall (usually streetside).>>

2.) The trailer may be a single or a tandem axle. The single axle was the standard arrangment, but a tandem axle was optional until 1964 when the double axle was said to have become standard. If the coach has tandem axles, it may or may not have brakes on both axles as my notes indicate that the brakes on the second axle were optional as well.

3.) In the rear one-stop service compartment, you will find all utilities including the Univolt if so equipped. The battery is also usually found in this area next to the bathtub/shower unit - - if my '64 Overlander is any indicator this is an area that needs to be checked as the tethers broke on the battery and it did a dance in the rear compartment damaging much of the bathroom plumbing at some point before I purchased the coach.

4.) The operators for the windows are (or at least were as late as 14-months ago) still available for these coaches, but the installed cost approached $50.00 per operator. It pays to check each window for operation and condition as it doesn't take too long to invest a $100 or more per window in repairs.

5.) If you find yourself becoming serious about the coach, you will want to be sure that all systems are operational. Even if all are operational, it is best to be prepared for a replacement cycle to begin as many of the systems will need replacement or upgrading - - for instance, on my '64 all systems have needed to be upgraded since 1995 including furnace, water heater, air conditioner, refrigerator, water pump, water tank, Univolt, electric service panel, water filter, and all water supply faucets.

6.) The coach may also have its original split-rim wheels that were considered premium trailer wheels in their day. Today, many, if not most, tire stores nearly refuse to work on such wheels so it may need rims as well as tires to bring it up to current travel standards. Brakes are another issue as the originals would be of the "oval" design that while functional is now obsolete meaning that the parts aren't always readily available - - the usual solution (applied on my '64) is to replace the backing plates with modern "fully-loaded" backing plates that have all new modern brake parts (the only additional expense was turing the drums and machining the shoes to match the drums).

Please don't interpret this information as discouragement. I truly love my '64 Overlander and wouldn't consider trading it for a newer coach. Since you have been primarly considering new, I just wanted you to be aware of some of the issues that we Vintage owner's face with these wonderful old coaches.

Good luck with your inspection!

Kevin

P.S.: You might want to consult the following link to learn more about the trailer by its serial number (VIN).

Pre-1980 Airstream Serial Number Decoding

The serial number should be on a plate to the right of the entry droos along with another plate (possibly on the same plate - it varied by year) that identifies the series.
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Old 07-12-2003, 05:06 PM   #6
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1963 Land Yacht

Greetings Rog!

If my notes are correct, the first year for at least limited use of Tambour in cabinetry was 1969. My '78 Argosy is the first trailer that I have owned that was so equipped, and only its roof lockers have the Tambour; the floor lockers all have aluminum doors covered with a wood-tone vinyl product.

Also, according to my notes, '64 was the first year for use of the plastic bins rather than drawers throughout the coach. I also have a sub-note indicating that it appeared that the use of the bins may have been phased in beginning in 1961. I actually like this feature in my Overlander as it makes loading and unloading the trailer so much more conveninet. I am not as impressed by the system in my '78 Argosy as the bins do not fit as well into their compartments.

Kevin
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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 07-12-2003, 05:42 PM   #7
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Hiya Kevin

I of course can't speak for other AS owners but I find the tambour cabinet drawers and plastic bins in my '71 awkward at best.
The doors are prone to sticking and misalignment. The bins are subject to loss and adequate replacement. I like the old school KISS method in my TT. I want to slide my silverware drawer open just like I do in my home and find my corkscrew without removing a plastic bin.
I don't mind the extra weight given the convenience and simplicity. Aluminum drawers and doors would be a much better
option for me than tambour. Just my .02 cents.

Rog
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:37 PM   #8
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I just purchased a 69 Overlander that does not have the tambour type cabinet doors. I had previously looked at a 1970 Overlander that did have the tambour doors and most of these doors were hard to operate. I'm not sure that all 1969 Airstreams did not have the tambour type doors or am I sure that all the 1970 Airstreams models did, but the switch happened sometime around 69/70. If you are looking at purchasing a vintage Airstream, I think you will be happier with an Airstream with out the tambour doors. Several people I know who have 70's Airstream have replaced the tambour doors with normal type cabinet doors during their restoration process. Just food for thought.

John
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