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Old 04-15-2005, 11:23 AM   #1
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Arrow disappointed

I just wanted to say that last weekend we went to look at our first vintage Airstream for sale, and we were so disappointed. I have been looking for about a year, and love vintage, but this was really crummy, and not just the condition. It was a 1975 Tradewind, and the quality was just not there. For example. the small bins under the couches and beds were just so cheap, and so many other things were really cheesy, like 'plasticky',i know that's not a word. But after seeing so many photos, we felt bad that the real thing turned out to be so cheaply made. We have seen the new ones, and they are gorgeous, and made extremely well, compared to other manufacturers. Could this have been a fluke> The only other one there was a 1961 23ft, and it was a total wreck, but I could see that it was maybe made a little better than this '75.
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Old 04-15-2005, 11:30 AM   #2
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I feel the same way about the seventies models. I have yet to see one that really impressed me. Unfortunately they used a lot of plastic, and it isn't holding up over time. However, if you're looking for one to fix up, I've seen people make beautiful restorations of seventies trailers, with new wood cabinetry.

You might want to look for an older model. They used more wood and are very cozy and warm inside. Keep looking. They are hard to find in good shape, but when you find the right one, it will be worth it.
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Old 04-15-2005, 11:34 AM   #3
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You were looking at one that was made during the "Beatrice Years", I believe.
Beatrice Foods owned airstream for a while during the 70s...mid to late. Anyway, they cut corners, made the frame smaller and cheaper, experienced coaches with "tail droop" especially if they had rear bath, etc.
If I was going vintage, I would go to the 60's for a coach.
Otherwise, if I wanted a nice trailer, and wanted to avoid the "Beatrice trailers", I would go about 1982 or later.
In any event, a used trailer is only as good as the pride of ownership reflected in it's maintenance. Junk results from lack of attention to maintenance, and should be priced to reflect the condition.
It took me about 2 years to find my 1984-31 ft Excella. A two owner, no kids trailer that had been maintained with pride. Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-15-2005, 11:36 AM   #4
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I've got a 75 Tradewind as well as a 58 Overlander - I do like the 58 with all the wood, but I also think there is nothing wrong with the 75 - that laminate is pretty tough stuff, doesn't scratch - yeah those bins are "lite weight" but they do seem to hold up. So to me its more of a preference thing rather than a quality thing

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Old 04-15-2005, 11:55 AM   #5
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i love my tradewind!

But I must admit, the "wow" factor just isn't there. No one is ever blown away when they see my trailer. On the other hand, except for some trim coming off and one tambor door needing to be replaced, the trailer's in great condition. If I decide to keep it for a long time - and have the money to do so - I'll remodel it a bit. Otherwise, I think it's a great trailer.
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Old 04-15-2005, 12:19 PM   #6
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I have a 76 31' Sovereign and couldn,t agree more. I just gutted my interior because I couldn't stand all the plastic. It only required two tools: a screwdriver and a drill bit. These 70's interiors were the worse. Airstream must have thought long and hard about just how cheaply they could do an interior. I know, someone is going to say weight was the big issue. I.d wager that the wood interior that I put in won't weigh any more than the junk they put in. Wqs everything in the 70's that ugly?
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Old 04-15-2005, 12:28 PM   #7
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disappointed

Greetings Jani!

Welcome to the Forums!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jani
I just wanted to say that last weekend we went to look at our first vintage Airstream for sale, and we were so disappointed. I have been looking for about a year, and love vintage, but this was really crummy, and not just the condition. It was a 1975 Tradewind, and the quality was just not there. For example. the small bins under the couches and beds were just so cheap, and so many other things were really cheesy, like 'plasticky',i know that's not a word. But after seeing so many photos, we felt bad that the real thing turned out to be so cheaply made. We have seen the new ones, and they are gorgeous, and made extremely well, compared to other manufacturers. Could this have been a fluke> The only other one there was a 1961 23ft, and it was a total wreck, but I could see that it was maybe made a little better than this '75.
Don't get discouraged -- it is rare to find a "keeper" on the first tour of inspection. My Overlander didn't find me until I had examined nearly a dozen coaches over a period of nearly a year (traveled a total of 2,000+ miles looking at various coaches). I purchased my Overlander in 1995, and considered coaches as new as 1980 and as old as 1958.

Each era has a definite "flavor", and you will quite likely find, as you look, that a particular era is more aesthetically pleasing to you than any other (you may also find that a particular floorplan may be "the one" for you as well). I grew up with my '64 -- I was five years old when friends of my family purchased it new (I lost track of it after they sold it in the early 1980s); so it seemed like an old friend, and I didn't have to think twice about purchasing it -- most of the other Airstreams that I looked at didn't have the oak veneer cabinetry with the comfortable rear bath and mid-coach twins (all features that I remembered with great fondness from my early contact with the coach when it was new).

I later became interested in the Minuets (1977-1979 -- 6.0 Metre, 6.7 Metre, and 7.3 Metre) after encountering my first one at the International Rally in Sioux Falls, SD in 2001(?). The 1970s coaches have a very differen "flavor" from the 1960s coaches, but have some features that can be just as endearing -- I enjoy the quirks of my '78 including the tambour cabinet doors (all uppers were replaced with new birch veneer that has been pickled to resemble the original laminate tambours), vinyl-clad aluminum cabinetry (unique to the Minuets), the deep-wrap wing windows (first used in the 1970s Argosys), and composite aluminum floors (unique to the Minuets).

Good luck with your search for the ideal Airstream!

Kevin
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Old 04-15-2005, 01:11 PM   #8
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Need to remember a couple things - the "plastic" was viewed at the time as an improvement - laminate is not cheap - it was supposed to last forever. As far as the tail droop problems - that was caused by more and more being added to the trailers and bigger and bigger trailers demanded by the market. Most tail droop did not show up for years - long after SOB's would have been toast. I've heard this before, but I don't see where frames were made smaller - in fact they did get beefier in the 60's and a steel plate was added in the mid 70's to fix the frame problems.

70's were a tough time for all manufacturers -

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Old 04-15-2005, 01:20 PM   #9
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Don't see the '70 years to be cheaply built. See them to be a canvas, nicely aged on which to build your ideal unit. My wife and I have been bouncing back and forth, do we fix it, do we ditch it, fix it, ditch it ... and while I'm not sure we've REALLY decided. I think we're going to replace what needs replacing. I'm not going to worry about keeping a vintage look to it, as you said, the quality is not really there. However, that does not mean that I can't rip out the particle board and cheap plastic and hopefully put in some tasteful and useful new cabinetry. I'm looking for very light weight, but sturdy wall material. I've been looking at honeycombed products that are as much air as board. I haven't really found any that are practical or even light, yet. Heck, I've even though about doing away with most of the walls entirely, with just one separator wall between the living room and the bath/bed rooms. We're not to that to that point yet. We need to fix the major systems first so we can use it this summer. It'll be cheaper then 2 weeks in a hotel even if it's seems out of order.

87MH is doing a wonderful " expose' " of a 1978 (one year older then ours) and I've seen many gut and rebuild projects since I joined here two years ago and they have been fabulous.

So chin up, offer the seller a really old, tarnished dime and see if they'll sell it to you for what YOU think it's worth. Then we can all have something to work on this summer! And Welcome to the wild and wonderful land of people crazy about aluminum-inum!
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:36 PM   #10
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That 70s thing

Troubleskeep sums up our position with our 70s trailer right now, we're deciding what to ditch and what to keep. So we're working out both a short term and long term plan -- do what's needed to make it useable while we plan out a more complete interior makeover. With a 70s trailer you can take out anything cheap, plastic, or of poor workmanship or quality and replace it with whatever your taste and budget will allow. The only real trouble with this is there are so many possibilities that we can't make up our minds!!
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscluchfc
You were looking at one that was made during the "Beatrice Years", I believe.
Beatrice Foods owned airstream for a while during the 70s...mid to late. Anyway, they cut corners, made the frame smaller and cheaper, experienced coaches with "tail droop" especially if they had rear bath, etc.
If I was going vintage, I would go to the 60's for a coach.
Otherwise, if I wanted a nice trailer, and wanted to avoid the "Beatrice trailers", I would go about 1982 or later.
In any event, a used trailer is only as good as the pride of ownership reflected in it's maintenance. Junk results from lack of attention to maintenance, and should be priced to reflect the condition.
It took me about 2 years to find my 1984-31 ft Excella. A two owner, no kids trailer that had been maintained with pride. Good luck in your search.
Thor was founded and bought Airstream in 1979.
There is nothing wrong with the 70's models other than they were built with 70's mentality and 70's technology.
I have nearly finished my Minuet restoration. I would put it up against any 60's trailer that has been restored to near factory.
How many plastic tubs do you have from 1975 at home?
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:59 PM   #12
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Lou, is that a challenge? Just wait til I finish fixing up my 61!!! You will be crying turquoise tears over what you said!!!

I've seen 70s trailers done all funkadelic and they can be super fun. There are some points that are far simpler to work on, I hear. But either way, it has to be something that you feel you can love. Any ways you look at it, an old trailer is going to have more complications--from outdated technologies, replacement parts, wear and tear. But getting one is getting a bit of history. And, if you are like Lou and Ken, you may love the 70s--or the 60s or the 50s. Earlier than that, you are getting into true antique territory, bringing in a higher level of complication.

Any ways you slice it, its an airstream...

Mary
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pattersontoo
Thor was founded and bought Airstream in 1979.
There is nothing wrong with the 70's models other than they were built with 70's mentality and 70's technology.
I have nearly finished my Minuet restoration. I would put it up against any 60's trailer that has been restored to near factory.
How many plastic tubs do you have from 1975 at home?
Here here! Well put Lou!
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:33 PM   #14
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I think the basic 70's Airstream: body and frame are just fine and well built.As for the interior,the 60's used wood and then again the 80's Airstreams went back to wood. Thats the nice thing about an older Airstream, you can do just about anything you want to the interior within reason. A search of the web will turn up some beatutifully renovated interiors of older trailers. Not all are Airstreams, but it gives you an idea of what can be done. When I bought my 76 , I looked past the interior, knowing that the small space of a trailer is a lot eaiser to renovate than any house. I was concerned about the condition of the body, axles and the systems.As others have said, an older trailer requires at least some if not a lot of work, but thats part of the fun and pride of ownership.
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