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Old 02-05-2013, 04:34 PM   #1
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Etiquette for roadside finds?

What's the protocol for spotting trailers parked in fields? I saw an old airstream in a field about 3 miles from my home. It clearly has been there a while. I was tempted to stop and knock on the door of the house nearby.

I also saw a gorgeous old silver streak in someone's driveway. Obviously a trailer they use but nice eye candy.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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From what I hear, lots of people have no etiquette at all about it. It's one thing (and seems perfectly reasonable) to stop and ask about a trailer that's sinking into a field, but apparently people stop and ask to buy the ones people park next to their houses, or are loading up to travel in.

I haven't had that experience with the Argosy, but it's only at the house for a day or so at a time before and after trips. When I had a '71 Skylark Custom Convertible, people would ask what I wanted for it at stoplights if I had the top down.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
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It almost never hurts to stop and ask about a trailer or vehicle. I've had people knock on my door and ask if my trailers or cars are for sale, and had people stop me at in parking lots as well. I've also have lots of people stop just to talk about my vehicles, and that's normally nice and I welcome them to look if the person is pleasant. It's always nice to have people complement your work.

I do however dislike when people stop to talk about vehicles I have for sale when they have no intention or interest in buying. If there's a forsale sign in the window don't stop unless you're an interested buyer.
If it's not for sale you're free to make an offer but I also don't like to be insulted. If you're interested in buying make a reasonable and serious offer and try not to offend the owner.

If your just looking be upfront and tell the ower your're a fellow enthusiast, not a buyer, and be polite, they are normally welcoming.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #4
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There was no sign on it but it looked pretty well part of that field. I've probably driven by it a hundred times but never noticed until I got bitten by the aluminum-bug. I'll keep an eye on it and see if a sign appears. Or maybe just knock on the door. It nothing else, maybe I'll get to hear a good story.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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There was no sign on it but it looked pretty well part of that field. I've probably driven by it a hundred times but never noticed until I got bitten by the aluminum-bug. I'll keep an eye on it and see if a sign appears. Or maybe just knock on the door. It nothing else, maybe I'll get to hear a good story.
By all means knock on the door. Our 1960 Pacer was sitting out behind a barn and the owner was wondering what to do with it when we came along and solved his problem. You never know unless you ask.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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What's the protocol for spotting trailers parked in fields? I saw an old airstream in a field about 3 miles from my home. It clearly has been there a while.
I don't know about etiquette but the financial protocol is to buy them for $4000 and spent two years and $40,000 on a shell off. It's worth asking, sure, but most of the restorable trailers have been cared for or kept inside, unless all you really want is the shell and a pattern for cabinets.

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I was tempted to stop and knock on the door of the house nearby.
In my overall experience the responses vary from the obnoxious to the friendly. An obnoxious reply may mean you handled the encounter poorly, or it may just reflect on the occupants of the house.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #7
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We get 5-6 people a year that knock on our door to either ask about our SilverStreak or offer to buy it. Most are generally pleasant, but some are a bit aggressive for my taste. This is just parked in front of our house on a dead end street.
When we were towing across the Puget sound on the ferry, we had a crowd of 10-12 people surround it, peeking in windows and asking a million questions. You would think it was rare or something!
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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Without a shadow of doubt, I would knock on the door. Doesn't hurt to ask!!
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:06 PM   #9
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One of my best buys was behind a barn for 12 years. When I knocked the owner was very happy to have someone save his trailer that he had bought new in 1971.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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It doesn't hurt to ask. Sooner rather than later. You never know if the person is on the verge of having someone tow it away for scrap. Not everyone thinks these old trailers are worth anything. Though if they've had enough people knock on their door, sometimes they have an over-inflated idea of what they're worth!
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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I found a google street view image of the trailer from September of 2008. So, it's been in that same spot for at least 4 years. How could I have never noticed it before?
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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One of my best buys was behind a barn for 12 years. When I knocked the owner was very happy to have someone save his trailer that he had bought new in 1971.
What made it one of your best buys?
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:49 PM   #13
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WOW Tim....you're borderline stalking this trailer like an ex wife...looking it up and google and all...Don't worry...I do that too! I was driving down the road in so cal the other day and remember seeing a field of Airstreams. most likely a restoration business but I hopped on to google map satelite view to see if I could locate it. Still searching because that road is about 3 hours away from me and don't know when i'll be driving back down there. Anyway. Knock on the door but dont jump right into the airstream. If you're looking for a deal you gotta make friends first. Tell em you 'might' need water for your radiator or something. you never know what happens but guarantee you will NEVER know what happens unless you knock.

Speaking of barn finds it reminds me of this old ad from way back in the day.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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I have been using this technique for 30 years to buy cars, trailers etc.

Go knock on the door, when the person answers take a step back and say "Hi, I notice you have a (car, truck, trailer) you are not using and wonder if you would like to sell it?"

This has never caused offence. Usually the answer is no. In that case, thank them politely and leave. Or, you could continue the conversation and maybe they will change their mind, if this seems appropriate.

The best time to do this is Saturday morning when most people are home.

On a farm, if no one answers at the house, try the barn.

It is bad form to go snooping around without asking permission. This is when you meet ugly dogs and possibly an armed, angry stranger.

Once I bought a 1966 Dodge Coronet with 34000 original miles from the grandson of the original owner for $50. A teenager with a Sideshow Bob haircut answered the door and when I asked the question above, he said " I don't know, it's my dad's, but my mom has been after him to get rid of it".

When you hear that, you can write your own ticket.
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