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Old 11-02-2007, 01:19 PM   #43
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I guess if I were selling my Airstream, I should be sure to include in the ad, "not as good as a Silver Streak".
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Old 11-02-2007, 02:57 PM   #44
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The seller added the following comment "Don't be scared by the low price"

...considering it's so much beter than an Airstream.
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Old 11-02-2007, 03:02 PM   #45
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Airstreams look cool...
The others kinda look like an Airstream.
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Old 11-02-2007, 05:08 PM   #46
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It all depends on the job at hand. If you need heavy then for sure a Silver Streak or Avion is better. For sure they are quality products and I would not turn one down. If you define better based on storage space than nearly any modern SOB beats us hands down. If you consider the entire package, easy to tow, classic appearence, retention of value, head turning, availability of parts, usable clean interiors, long lasting when cared for, ease of repair when needed, just plain fun. Well then I think A/S has the upper hand.

Just like an Airstream? Oh really?

Bet I would have a hard time finding any other classic coach that I could tow with my Wrangler. There are some new units that are made just for this job but they are plain ugly.
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:51 PM   #47
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ocala , Florida
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Check out this one,whoever is selling it,say's it's an Airstream Silver Streak. Appears he's trying to say Airstream made it! Say's the same in his description. eBay Motors: 1978 AIRSTREAM SILVER STREAK TRAVEL TRAILER, 30 Ft. (item 150179207914 end time Nov-14-07 15:15:59 PST)
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Old 11-04-2007, 08:18 PM   #48
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We are the proud owners of a 72 Sovereign and an 84 Avion. We love both of these trailers and find something unique in both. However, the Avion is a lot more trouble free. We are always fixing something on our Airstream, especially after a trip. Still, we will enjoy both and won't part with either of them.

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Old 11-04-2007, 08:34 PM   #49
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Maybe that's cause your Airstream is 12 years older than the Fleetwood! Brian
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:11 PM   #50
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Your correct Spartans did go out of business to Airstream, but only because they were built by a true aircraft company.

Spartan built airplanes for the Navy in WWII. When the war ended they switched to trailers. By the late 50's Spartan was having trouble competing with Airstream because Airstreams went for half as much. In an effort to compete the last couple of years Spartans were built, they used cheaper material such as 3/4 inch plywood floors.
In the end Airstream was still using much cheaper material, so Spartan left the trailer industry. Spartans are still around, but they are a flight school now.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:40 AM   #51
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Comparing Spartans and Airstreams

I don't think it is accurate to say that Spartan went out of business to Airstream. I don't think the two companies were aiming at the same customer base, especially by the mid to late 1950s.

Wally Byam was building and marketing a trailer to be used to travel the world, if one desired. J. Paul Getty was building and marketing a mobile home. In other words, I believe Wally Byam was building what is comparable to the modern travel trailer and J. Paul Getty was building what is comparable to the modern mobile home. Today people use these old Airstreams and Spartans in much the same ways, but I don't think they originally were marketed to be direct competitors.

Those of us who own Spartan trailers use them as we would a modern travel trailer, but most of these trailers (particularly the longer and later models) were designed to be placed in a park somewhere. I have a 1951 Imperial Mansion that at 36'2" tows great and weighs less than 6000 pounds, but, my opinion is that it was meant to be set up permanently. So comparing it to a 1951 Airstream doesn't seem like a very fair comparison to me. The Spartan was much nicer, but it was able to be because of what it was intended to be used for. The first time I peaked inside an Airstream of the same vintage, I was disappointed, until I considered its intended use. If a person wanted a trailer to drag around the world, Airstream was it (although there were other brands building equally nice or superior trailers). If a person wanted a trailer to place in a modern trailer park, Spartan was it. Different purposes - different materials and appointments.

With respect to Spartan using cheaper materials such as 3/4" plywood floors in the later years, Spartan used 3/4" plywood floors as early as 1947. It was not a cheap alternative, but instead I think it was pretty common material. Many companies were using 3/4" plywood floors (and continue). To my knowledge, only a few companies used something else (example: Aero Lines used 1/4" magnesium in the Aero Flite, topped by balsa-ply). I can't speak to what Airstream used.
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Old 12-02-2007, 02:18 PM   #52
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I guess we have gotten away a little bit from the original thread, but this isn't the only thread I have read that Spartan was not able to compete with Airstream. I agree with kevinreabe. Spartan was built as a mobile home not a travel trailer as Airstream was. Spartan never was in competition with Airstream. Mr. Byam marketed his product as a go anywhere unit that did not depend on hook-ups. Spartan never had tanks unless someone requested this rare option. One of the reasons for Spartans being in such good shape (for 50-60 years) when you find them, besides the fact they had excellent design and craftsmanship built in, is that they have been parked in the same space in mobile home parks for all those years.
I beleive it could be said that Spartan could not compete with the other mobile homes on the market in 1959. By that time the mobile home market had become extremely competitive. This made it difficult for a high end trailer designed and built with attention to quality such as Spartan to compete with the wood framed corrugated boxes that were being produced. I think Airstream is in the same position in the travel trailer market today or at least would be if they didn't have the "coolness" factor that a growing number of people are looking for now.

Brent
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Old 12-02-2007, 02:30 PM   #53
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The target market is an interesting point, that I had not considered. I found the information about Spartan's demise to Airstream on spartantrailers.com
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:45 AM   #54
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I only took a quick look at the Spartan site, but didn't see where they had written that. Of course it is only an opinion as to why Spartan called it quits. It was probably several reasons. I just find the the Airstream and Spartan to be very different even though I was looking to buy either one for the same purpose.
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Old 12-05-2007, 12:25 PM   #55
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I think the phrase "comparable to Airstream" would not ruffle anyone's feathers. After all, you can compare anything to an Airstream...
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Old 12-05-2007, 01:00 PM   #56
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Well, I haven't ever turned a trick in our Avion. I like the French Provincial. I must also say that I love my Airstream too. We all have our tastes and thank goodness for that! Both of our trailers are taken out on different occassions. Each has its own characteristics.

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