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Old 06-05-2005, 06:46 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Why should I buy an Airstream?

Hi everyone!

After lurking for some time now... I would like to ask for some good advice. I love to take my 2 kids camping (I am starting to hate tents), and I want to get a towable camper (used). Airstreams seem to be the Cadillac right? I figure I will have about $7000 cash to play with after the 1st of this year for my purchase. A tow vehicle is not a problem at all. I am thinking around a 20' camper? The thing is - I see some great looking campers (I forget the names) that are not Airstreams for a great price. Please don't hit me to hard.

I would like to have a somewhat modern trailer to camp out of, basicly for my kids. I plan to park it at a permanent campground - not to travel with. I am 38 and my kids are in thier teens. I want more then enough shower/bathroom/cooking/sleeping space. Am I asking to much??? As a full time single parent, I just want to make the right move here.

So... what should I look for? What model, year and lenght?

TIA my friends.

Lost in Southern Wisconsin...

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Old 06-05-2005, 07:07 PM   #2
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A guy named Joe goes out and buys a used Airsteam for $7000.00, he has it for 4 years and takes good care of it, it takes him a week to sell it and it sells for $8500.00, with many interest buyers.

Another guy named Joe goes and buys a different brand of camper for $5200.00 he has it for 4 years and takes good care of it, it takes him several months to sell it and it finally sells for $2500.00 and feels lucky to have found a buyer.

Which one costs more?

PS: this is a fictional story any similarity to real persons living or dead is purely coincedental.

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Old 06-05-2005, 07:23 PM   #3
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1980 31' Excella II
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The worst thing you can do to an Airstream is park it, it is hard on the suspension, that being said, being parked and cared for is better than it sitting a field slowing rotting away. I would look for a late 70's early 80's Sovereign. That is the 31' model. It is large enough to provide you some space but not so large you have to have a beast of a truck to move it. Also the longer units are not as popular as the shorter units so the prices should be a little lower for similar condition units. You might just luck up on a tri-axle 34'. The only glitch that I see with your plan is that most of the Airstreams I have seen are set up for a couple, but don't let that hold you back, bunks and cots can be added.

Good Luck with your search and let us know how you make out.

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
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Old 06-05-2005, 07:25 PM   #4
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The Cool Factor-

Outside of being a good investment, when you're dealing with teenagers you do have to consider the coolness. Most of the teens that I have run into, including my son, think that the older Airstreams fit in the same catagory as, say '57 chevys.

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Old 06-05-2005, 07:27 PM   #5
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I was in the same boat as you are a little over a year ago. I had a few friends with SOB (some other brands), that were new/near new. Two of them had to extensive ($5,000 +) because of leaking roofs/corners.

When I went looking for a trailer I was 'freaking abouth the leaking' I didn't find any solace for the SOB dealers. I was told to re-caulk the seams 'whenever I was worried about it'. I told them I'd be re-caulking most every day. I looked at some newer used ones that had smelled musty and had rusty screws holding linoleum to particle board.

I found a 27', 4,000 lb, 35 year old airstream that had been sitting for 10 years. When I walked in the the door, there was no 'musty smell', and I bought the trailer for $4,000. We cleaned her up, put in laminate flooring, re-did the upholstery, fixed some plumbing and we were using it 6 weeks later.

One draw back to owning an Airstream...

They're Addicting.

You'll never be the same again
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Old 06-05-2005, 07:28 PM   #6
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Go Airstream for the reasons that have been (or will be) stated by others. But, especially with teenagers, don't go with a 20' trailer -- it's just too small. There are a lot of nice trailers in the Wisconsin WBCCI unit that I'm sure people would be happy to show you so you could see what the options are.
Tom and Frank
Evanston, Illinois
2004 Safari 28 ft Slideout "Lucy" 4 HI CAMP
2004 Ford Excursion 6.0 PSD PWRSTRK,
and Brittany, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
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Old 06-05-2005, 07:47 PM   #7
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WOW! You guys are GREAT! This is the response I thought I might get. I just feel like such a newbie! But I know that Airstreams must be the best after lurking here for a while. I would compare an Airstream to a Harley Davidson, I guess.

I can't wait for more advice! this is great!
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Old 06-05-2005, 07:51 PM   #8
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Depending on what you decide to buy, an older airstream may end up becoming a project. However, if you do end up getting a project (as we are learning)--you will end up with a trailer that, when restored, may give you 30 years of solid service. As we are discovering, older airstreams have the advantage of solid construction. They do not reflect shortcuts--so like an older US car, they are easily repairable, for all the problems brought about by poor maintenance.

Your budget is 7K. For that price, you may be able to buy a modern low end trailer (like a T@B) or maybe a popup. If you shop vintage, you could get a high end self contained trailer of any age you wish, especially if you are willing to shop for a longer unit (longer, oddly, is cheaper in the vintage market). A factor with us in buying Airstream is that there is a channel of parts for the older models--and several communities of folks willing to share expertise. The down side is that there is no financing for older trailers--so you have to pay for what you buy--and insuring for full value can get difficult.

But if you do go vintage, realize that the older you get, the more rudimentary the environment. We have a '61. This old a trailer means that the trailer doesn't have control systems, awkward propane lighting systems, and unconventional (though not necessarily worse) electrical systems. Once we're done, I figure we will have sunk about $9k into the trailer--but the unit will have every amenity we could ever desire, yet not feature the cliched country styling and poor structural quality so common in most trailers sold new on the market now. Our trailer will compare in luxury with new units costing about double that, but we have confidence that we will get a longer life cycle, because we know exactly how the systems are structured.

But if you are single, restoring an old trailer may be tough, unless you get a relatively new one that needs little work. It's a question of investment, taste and time. Most of us here don't mind if you go with another brand--heck, there are only so many vintage airstreams in the world. On the other hand, each of us has weighed the pros and cons--and this kind of RV ends up, more often than not, being the best value. Your mileage may vary--but I would recommend whatever you choose, look carefully at the value of vintage versus new.

Our Airstream adventure continues!
Read the details at Tales of the Toaster
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Old 06-05-2005, 07:56 PM   #9
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Ditto - a 20 ft trailer is too small to camp w/teens. I know.. I have a twenty foot trailer and a 17 year old.

But - Twenty feet might be OK if your kids are willing to continue to sleep in a tent. When we take the kid - we take a tent. It works, we get some persoanl space and so does he. He can leave his used socks all over the tent floor - hassle free and we get a nice comfy bed. He will be out of the house soon and the twenty footer continue to be the right size for us - maybe.

Don't kid yourself about how much space is in a twenty foot trailer - go find one - spend some time in it. You may discover that you want more space even if it's just you camping solo. After several years of using ours we are thinking that a 25 footer might be better. Still.... there are some national parks that you can't take a twenty five footer..... hmmm. Hard choice. I now understand why folks often own 2 trailers - one short - one long.

Longer ttrailers are easiier to find, cheaper and not much harder to tow.

Best reason to buy an AS? They are cool! They feel good inside. Owning an AS is kinda like owning a show poodle - strangers come up to you with that look of longing in their eyes, introduce themselves and ask for tours. It's a great way to meet people.

Most importantly - what ever you pick - have fun with your kids before they are too old and too cool to camp w/ you.
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Old 06-05-2005, 08:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jman

...I would compare an Airstream to a Harley Davidson, I guess.
You don't have to guess - That's not the 1st or the last time this comparison has been made!
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Old 06-05-2005, 08:28 PM   #11
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JMan... another suggestion is that looking (dreaming) at new ones might help you understand why you will be more interested in A/S than other trailers. Go to Milwaukee, look at the full lineup of A/S at Ewalds, then to another dealer of other trailers. You will see there is no comparison between A/S and a white box. THEN extrapolate to what you think these things will look like when they're 10, 15, 20 or more years old... white boxes do not age well at all. A/S stay awesome.
Tom and Frank
Evanston, Illinois
2004 Safari 28 ft Slideout "Lucy" 4 HI CAMP
2004 Ford Excursion 6.0 PSD PWRSTRK,
and Brittany, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
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Old 06-05-2005, 08:33 PM   #12
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From experience 20ft. is way to small. We have a teenager and a nine year old, and we bought a 24ft in SOB. After our first trip, we realized that we needed more room. We put ours up for sale in March and bought our airstream On April 2nd. We drove six hours to get the AS. We just sold our other trailer one week ago and for less than we wanted. We love our AS and our customizing it for our family. Plan on taking our maiden voyage the first of July. She's 34 years old and ten times better than the 1996 we had. Go AS
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Old 06-06-2005, 12:39 AM   #13
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How funny!

[QUOTE=Janet]Owning an AS is kinda like owning a show poodle - strangers come up to you with that look of longing in their eyes, introduce themselves and ask for tours. It's a great way to meet people.

Oh how funny! Maybe THAT'S why we bought the Airstream! We travel with two standard poodles, (that's the biggest size, the size of a weimeraner) in continental clip, that we do show! Never equated the drawing attention thing, before..... Why, one of our show poodles actually matches the AS..... Trooper is silver! <VBG>
And this week we are leaving on a better than twelve hundred mile journey each way, to breed our cream girl from Northern Ireland to a stunning silver from Australia.... going all the way up to way north New Hampshire!
We, of course, are taking the Airstream!!!!

Elizabeth in Iowa
The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:38 AM   #14
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I have shown dog for about twenty years. I mainly showed Standard Poodles, between 50 and 70 lb dogs. I did handle other dogs also and I want to tell you a show dog of any breed is an attention getter. Of course the Poodles in show clip draw a lot of attention; however, a lot of people just want to come up to tell you how stupid they think that show clip looks. I traveled in a 67 Caravel then and now I have a 24ft Argosy. I love these old trailers because they have class and have stood the test of time. I'm in the middle of renovation of the Argosy, and the more I work on it the more I realize how well built it is. This trailer has been on the road for 27 years and it still looks great. Someone has taken good care of it of course, and it's still wonderful looking. I don't see many other brands on the road from the 70's. It makes me feel good to just go out and look at "the big twinkie". I loved to watch my show dogs out in the yard, now I love to see my Argosy getting "new" again.

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