My grandparents bought a 28' Streamline in the 1960's, and the experience of it influenced my parents in their RV purchases. That trailer spent 6-weeks at our house every Easter season for nearly a decade and provided substantial privacy for my grandparents as they required, an aspect many might not consider about an RV. My grandfather had gone through the many types of trailers and their good/bad points for some years, and decided that Streamline met all their qualifications (he might also have decided on A/S, Avion, Silver Streak or Boles Aero).
First consideration is construction. Will it last and does the weight add to structural security?
Second is towing safety. As a truck driver at several points I have seen not only 5th wheels but tractor-trailer vans heeling over in the wind. By report (we'd holler at them on the CB) they often weren't aware of the problem by feedback from the steering wheel. And, as professional drivers tend to be acutely aware of how their rig is handling, it's lane position, etc, this is rather a scary thing for an RV'er not so aware and ostensibly "on vacation". I get tired of reading dual rear wheel 1-ton trucks not needing anti-sway or weight-distribution (dumb-a accent here) "the truck don't sway none a'tall".
The fact is that square boxes "trap" the wind along their edges, there is a distinct pressure buildup. (Discussions of this can be found in-depth by engineers), and this leads to terrible wrecks.
An aerodynamic trailer, that
is light in weight (no dead weight, per se)
has a low center of gravity
semi or fully independent suspension
is about as safe or safer, IMO, than any other type of RV. I don't think this can be played up enough. I want the ability to run away from a storm, tornado or other high winds on a different heading if need be, and to do so at a relatively or absolutely high speed. I may not do it (just park) but I want the choice. (Thus I'll be looking into adapting a MOR-RYDE suspension at some time if I find it superior to a well set up leaf spring).
And, when built to a high standard, such a trailer will last as long or longer than the original owner given reasonable usage (non-commercial).
For my parents the above meant buying a 1976 Silver Streak which they sold in 2004 or so. For us, when the time came, a 1983 Silver Streak. Both choices were premised on the greater storage and living space versus contemporary A/S trailers. The S/S was higher priced, when new (as I recall), and I was able to get ours last year for a price lower than an A/S of comparable quality. (Not to mention a GREAT deal less in repairs and maintenance).
For my parents and us we gave up the independent suspension and slightly better aerodynamics of an A/S. A lower center of gravity as well, I imagine, although I haven't seen numbers or measurement guidelines so as to determine a comparison (which I would like to do).
It irks me to see the problems that new A/S owners are having. Had A/S some competition this might change. I believe that this end of the RV market needs both high end and middle stratum borrowing of components and methods used by the aircraft and yachting industry to bring this type of trailer fully into the modern era. I'm sorry that the general public equates big (and cheap) with value.
RV's in general and A/S in particular have gotten too heavy, IMO, as ordinary houses are now too big for their lots, expensive to air-condition, etc. Fuel prices are not likely to decline, and the expense of an oversized vehicle for personal use (most of the miles driven) is becoming prohibitive.
As with some posts above, the ability of a well-made trailer to sit around for years and then go back on the road at a reasonable cost is impressive. I had no qualms about buying ours even though the PO might not have hauled it 500 miles in the last five years of his ownership.
Aerodynamic and well-balanced
Designed for decades of reasonable service
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling
; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411