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Old 01-11-2011, 05:33 PM   #1
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Adding or destroying value?

As my wife and I sat in our "new" 1972 Overlaner with pen and paper in hand, we wondered exactly what we should do in our restoration. My question is, will we destroy the value of this trailer if we modify the interior to our taste? We have always delt with classic cars and found that when you change the car you can decrease the value. I'm not talking about street rods or hot rods, but the slight modifications that turn a car into a "Western Auto" or NAPA restoration. There ar many areas I would like to gut out of our AS including those miserable sliding cupboard doors. Are they something sacred and would I be killing the resale value of the trailer by doing this? I have no intention of selling our beloved trailer any time soon, but someday we may want to go to something new. Any pointers from the experienced would be appreciated.
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Depends...the shorter trailers are typically worth more than the longer ones.

How good a shape is it in? If all it needs is a bit of cleaning, that maybe the way to go. If it needs major work, do what you need/want to. From what I have seen resale will depend more on the overall condition and the whether the person wants it or not, to some a custom interior and everything working properly is worth more than originality, to others the originality is what matters.

I usually make my choices based on what is going to work for me, not potential resale value, unless I am restoring something specifically for resale, then it most likely would be about originality.


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Old 01-11-2011, 06:27 PM   #3
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As long as what you do makes it "more better" for camping, it shouldn't hurt. Installing a grey tank would not only help improve flexibility in camping, it would make the trailer more sellable. Note I didn't say "more valuable". Installing a new water heater, modern vents (Fantastic of Maxx-Air), converter (get rid of the old buzz-box Univolt), tires, shocks, window gaskets, etc, will all make it more usable for you, but more likely to sell if and when you want to sell.
Interior appointments can be tricky. What one person loves, another one will hate. In most cases, if you keep your updating within the spirit of the original, it can only help.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:00 PM   #4
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I agree with the others that it all depends on what you do. There are a few things, in my opinion, that will hurt the value on a resale. Removing all or part of the bathroom and replacing the refrigerator with an electric only unit are two that come to mind tat will hurt you on resale. Replacing the cabinets, flooring and lighting, if done well, should not hurt and could add to the value.

I am more interested in functionality and that is where my opinions come from. It's your trailer, make it what you want it to be and enjoy the time you spend in it.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:19 PM   #5
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While some modifications can benefit a trailer's value, any modifications done poorly will hurt value. Before we purchased, we looked at a couple that were "updated" by the owners, but the workmanship was abysmal.

One in particular had been "sponge painted" all over inside. The lady was proud of her "country theme" but it looked like an epileptic kindergarten class buzzed on caffeine had finger painted the inside. Ick. We ran away.

Another had cabinets homebuilt that would clearly not stand up to a days driving on smooth roads without falling apart.

If you do it, do it right...
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:23 PM   #6
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Exthemius and I have debated this issue often in our house. We purchased a vintage with a capital V. The only thing done to her was reupholstery and carpet replacement. I argued against making changes, he for them. In theory, we could get twice what we paid for ours. Then we spent two weeks in our A/S and for the most part it was fine. But there were some things that didn't work so well so on the way home we stopped to look at some new ones.

Our conclusions:
Ours is paid for.. with the exception of maintaining it. More money can be spent traveling and less on payments.

The newer equivalent of ours do not have the same free floor space (2 kids and two dogs.. one of which is a 145lb Great Dane..we need the space).

If we take out the cabinet/TV/Phone/CB area by the fold out table (but keep all the pieces) we think we can create a seat with a fold out bed. We are researching that now.

We want to enjoy our camping and do more of it. Is betting on a resale price worth the frustration we will face in trying to make it work? Not to mention the fear of messing up that resale value every time you take it out for a trip....
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:44 PM   #7
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For one that age, are you looking to enjoy it or are you looking to it as an "investment"? I can see being really, really careful for something that I have a lot of money invested in, and/or know that I will be offloading it in a short period of time.....but for something that you likely don't have (insert assumption here) "that" much money into and that you can enjoy now and for years to come I would say do what you want to do to it. My wife and I used to own a historic bungalow in a historic neighborhood in Fort Worth a few years back. We had some friends whose house was so completely original and in such pristine condition that they eventually sold it because they were afraid that their kids were going to simply tear it up! My point is this...your '72 is vintage, but not historic and not changing anything to simply live in a museum is no way to live and certainly no way to Airstream (IMHO).
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:05 PM   #8
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Theres nothing wrong with having a comfortable and clean trailer. Since it is an RV, you also want those appealing features that make camping in an RV more comfortable than camping in a tent. So a professionally mounted flat screen TV mount would likely be welcomed by the next owner. Sometimes simply keeping the old parts can add value just because you kept the parts in consideration of the next guy.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:45 PM   #9
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Investment or Pleasure?

I guess I would ask the question. Did you buy the trailer for an investment or for your enjoyment and personal comfort. The way I look at it; I make the modifications that suit my taste and make things easier for me. If I keep and use the trailer for a number of years and then sell it for less than I have in it. So what!
If I would have taken all of the trips in my car and paid for a motel room or other accomodations such as a cabin. I would get zero back.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:31 PM   #10
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Hi, I agree with TG Twinkie. Make the trailer the way you want it to be so you can use it and enjoy it. Don't even think about re-sale. If you are saving it for the next buyer/owner, you might as well sell it now. For the purist, you can sell them all of the items that you removed and they can use those to restore a trailer that needs these parts.

Somewhat unrelated, or maybe it is related? It really bugs me to see someone buy a brand new car or truck and put K-Mart seat covers on it to save the very expensive new leather seats, that they just paid dearly for, so the second owner can enjoy them. Use and wear out what you paid for and save the cheap seat covers for the next owner. [my opinion]
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
If I would have taken all of the trips in my car and paid for a motel room or other accomodations such as a cabin. I would get zero back.
Hi, zero back or maybe bed bugs.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:15 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the input. Let me add a couple of factors here to clarify my thought process. My wife & I are experienced campers. We wore out a Prowler V22. We have always wanted an AS and when this one came along we grabbed it. I did not buy it for resale but to enjoy. However,I don't want to do something in the fixing up that will put a curse on it for selling. An example - we have Foutons in our spare room in the house and find them very comfortable for sleeping. We have toyed with the idea of replacing the couchs / beds with Foutons. This would eliminate some weight and brighten up the interior. We are not worried about the lost storage space because when we travel almost everything is kept in the
TV to lessen the strain on the trailer. My modifications are a ways down the road since the first order is to remove & seal all the windows and replace the AC. I am just looking for input from those who know the AirStream way. Thanks to all for your ideas.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:42 AM   #13
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Doug

My two cents worth is that a longer 1970s Airstream, even in original condition, is not highly collectible. They are sought after as a platform for customization and as a practical Airstream for camping. As such, while it would be unrealistic to expect to get back any money you spend on modifications, if they are tasteful and well done, they will not detract from the value of the trailer.

Not sure about the futons. The bed (or beds if you have a twin) is over the wheel wells so if you remove them you'll lose width. I think there's a water tank or something under the front couch.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:35 AM   #14
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Make it valuable to YOU.
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