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Old 11-15-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
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Are Argosy's built with the same quality of an Airstream?

Greetings tracetms!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Airstreams!

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Originally Posted by tracetms View Post
Hello,

I`ve been looking at a lot of trailers for sale, and I cant figure out why the asking price of an Argosy is considerably cheaper than the Airstream models
with similar size and year.

Is it just a preference thing? Or, is the quality not as good as an Airstream?

I would appreciate any replies.
When Airstream introduced the Argosy in 1972 it was, in part, a marketing ploy to attract younger owners into the Airstream fold. The Argosy was marketed as a "mid-price" alternative to the Airstream . . . I always thought of it something like the relationship between Oldsmobile and Cadillac or Mercury and Lincoln. The Argosy shared the same basic underpinnings with the Airstream, but had a lower level of standard equipment with many pieces of standard equipment on similar sized Airstreams being optional on the Argosy. There were also a number of features and/or designs tried on the Argosy prior to introduction on the Airstream . . . with a few that never made it to the Airstream line such as the composite aluminum floors utilized in some of the 6.0 and 6.7 Metre Argosy Minuets from 1977 through 1979. There was also one problem that the Argosys shared with the early motorhomes and "square Streams" . . . they were not eligible for membership in the Wally Byam Caravan Club International until about 1991.

Some of the features first found in the Argosy line were:
  • Panoramic front windows . . . and their use in the rear of rear bedroom models as well. The biggest difference between the Argosy version and the Airstream version was that the Argosy panoramic windows were clear glass while Airstream utilized Solar Gray Tinted panoramic windows.
  • Rear door entry coaches. While there were examples of rear door entry coaches in some of the Vintage Airstreams, they were not generally main-line production coaches. Toward the end of the first generation Argosy run, there were regular model rear door entry coaches in both the 22 and 24 foot lengths. These coaches provided unique floorplans the were, in some ways, the pioneers for today's front bedroom Airstreams.
  • The Argosy Minuet line (1977-1979), offered a number of pioneering features that would see only limited use in the Airstream line in 1980 as the Airstream Caravelle (20', 22', and 24').
    • Narrower floor width 7-feet rather than 7-feet 8-inches.
    • Light weight window assemblies . . . utilizing a product similar to Lexan rather than glass . . . proven to be quite durable at least in my Minuet (I am not certain whether this made the transition to the one-year Caravelles).
    • Aluminum composite floors that were utilized in many (but not all) 6.0 Metre Minuets as well as some (but far from all) 6.7 Metre Minuets. It does not seem that this feature was ever utilized in any of the Airstream Caravelles in 1980.
    • Gray water tanks mounted on top of the floor. This certainaly wasn't a "better idea" as you still must deal with the shower's waste water as it could not be collected in the floor-top mounted gray water tank.
    • Vinyl-Clad aluminum cabinetry with light-weight plastic Tambour cabinet doors. Despite the "picture" that this description usually imparts, the cabinets actually don't differ greatly in appearance from the plastic/vinyl veneers utilized in the Airstreams of the period . . . the aluminum cabinets can be dented if roughly handled, but mine have held up very well . . . I wish that I could say the same for the plastic Tambour which was so badly warped that it had to be replaced when my Minuet was refurbished in 2006. This is another feature that I don't believe made the transition to the Airstream line.
There was one large ommission when comparing Argosy to Airstreams with the same feature. When the Argosy was introduced with the Panoramic front windows the publicity was that the particular tempered glass that was utilized in the Panoramic windows was strong enough that protective travel covers weren't necessary . . . unfortunately, use through the years has proven that this is not necessarily the case. It appears that the three-piece Panoramic rock guards were standard on the Airstreams that were so equipped, but I have not been able to find evidence that they were ever offered even as optional equipment on the Argosy. Many owners find that adding these three-piece rock guards are cheap insurance to protect the very expensive deep-wrap side windows that are part of the Panoramic window installation.

Some of the items that were optional on Argosy products that were often standard equipment on similar-size Airstream coaches of the same era were: systems monitor panel (usually installed inside of cabinet over kitchen range), air conditioner, water filter, double-door refrigerator/freezer (a single door Dometic was typically standard on Argosy travel trailers smaller than28-feet), roof vents with fans, 6-gallon rather than 10-gallon water heaters typically standard, curbside awning optional, 20-pound LP tanks typically standard rather than 30 or 40 pound (and were steel in some years rather than aluminum), television antenna/amplifier, stereo radio with antenna, scare light beside entry door, and single house battery on most Argosy travel trailers with a second optional on some.

Argosy was also the platform where the "traditional" riveted aluminum motorhome body was first produced. The transition from Argosy motorhome to Airstream motorhome did not happen until the last year of two of the first generation Argosy model run.

I am sure that I am missing a few things that were first tried in the Argosy, but the coaches are quite durable, and I have found my Minuet to be as enjoyable, if not moreso than my Airstream in some situations.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:55 AM   #16
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overlander64,

That`s quite the story and history of an Argosy. WOW! Thanks, it was educational and enjoyable. I`m starting to warm up to the idea of an Argosy as an introduction trailer to the Airstream family.

TO ALL ARGOSY OWNERS, if you don`t mind, I would like to hear; If you only had one choice, which Argosy would it be? The year, size, and particular features.

And/Or

Any suggestions as to which Argosy trailer would be a great starter trailer to fix up for a first timer? The main use would be for camping and visiting national parks for a month or longer with my family of four in the summer.

All inputs welcomed!
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:30 AM   #17
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My wife and I have a 1972 Argosy 22'. We have had it a little over a year. Fixed up and repainted. We spent 25 nights in it over the year. Really like a lot.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracetms View Post
overlander64,

That`s quite the story and history of an Argosy. WOW! Thanks, it was educational and enjoyable. I`m starting to warm up to the idea of an Argosy as an introduction trailer to the Airstream family.

TO ALL ARGOSY OWNERS, if you don`t mind, I would like to hear; If you only had one choice, which Argosy would it be? The year, size, and particular features.

And/Or

Any suggestions as to which Argosy trailer would be a great starter trailer to fix up for a first timer? The main use would be for camping and visiting national parks for a month or longer with my family of four in the summer.

All inputs welcomed!
Any of them...

My favorite is the rear door 22' always thought that was a neat layout. Second favorite is the 25' Airstream Caravanner.



Aaron
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:56 AM   #19
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Aaron,

Does that rear entry trailer have the panoramic windows in the rear also?
If so, would you have any idea what year that Argosy 22ft. would be?
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:18 AM   #20
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billymyers56,

She sure is a cutie, got me curious on how the interior looks. If you got more pics, sure would like to see them.

Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:17 AM   #21
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Aaron,

Does that rear entry trailer have the panoramic windows in the rear also?
If so, would you have any idea what year that Argosy 22ft. would be?
It does not, it is a rear bath...not sure I would want panoramic windows there

IIRC they were made from around 1971-1975 or so, they also made it in a 24' model. I don't believe they made that model in both sizes every year, kind of hit or miss if you can find one.

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:31 AM   #22
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Please clarify, are you saying that someone actually painted over the aluminum finish on an Airstream? Probably un-conventional however a few years ago I painted an aluminum horse trailer white after it became hard to maintain the finish. It looked great, and was very easy to upkeep.
Painting an Airstream silver metallic, is not uncommon.

We have done it hundreds of times.

Why typically?

Because the exterior metal had tons of corrosion all over it, and painting the shell was the only remedy.

No one ever complained but always would say things such as "wow, what a beautiful trailer or motorhome," as the case may be.

Painting an Argosy metallic silver to look like an Airstream, is also popular.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:11 PM   #23
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Are Argosy's built with the same quality of an Airstream?

Greetings tracetms!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tracetms View Post

TO ALL ARGOSY OWNERS, if you don`t mind, I would like to hear; If you only had one choice, which Argosy would it be? The year, size, and particular features.

And/Or

Any suggestions as to which Argosy trailer would be a great starter trailer to fix up for a first timer? The main use would be for camping and visiting national parks for a month or longer with my family of four in the summer.

All inputs welcomed!
I don't know that there is a "best" answer to your question. My favorite first generation Argosy floorplan is the Argosy 24 Rear Door Entry. With this floorplan, there are two seating/sleeping/lounging areas. The front usually has two twin beds (bunks could be ordered as options above the twins, but I haven't seen one with this option), and in the center of the coach is a large "L-shaped" dinette that converts into a double bed. The floorplan can be seen in the scan from showroom literature shown below:



The exact years that the Argosy 24 Rear Door Model were offered isn't clear, but it appears that the most likely range was 1974 through 1977. After 1977, much of the 24' production appears to have been shifted to the Minuet 7.3 Metre model. The 7.3 Metre Minuet (1977(?) through 1979) would be my second choice among the Argosy Models, and it is shown in the scan below:



In either case, these 24' trailers are light enough that there is a large selection of suitable tow vehicles . . . and it is unlikely that you would ever encounter a capsite that couldn't accommodate either of these trailers. To get an Argosy with rear Panoramic windows, you would be looking at either 28' or 30' Argosy travel trailers with the rear bedroom floorplan.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin

P.S.: The rear bedroom floorplan is shown below:



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Old 11-16-2012, 03:24 PM   #24
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We have never regretted purchasing our 24' Rear Bath Twin. We're big guys, so the "double" beds wouldn't cut it for us, especially since a dog generally wants in the sleeping space as well. That 24' Rear Door looks like a very nice plan as well, though I've never seen one in person or listed for sale.

If I were looking for an additional Argosy (or if something bad happened to ours) the 28' and 30' mid-bath plans with pano windows in the back are very appealing. I like the size of our 24' trailer because it's easy to maneuver, and a good size for a first trailer. If someday we find ourselves in a position to travel for months at a time, a little more interior room wouldn't hurt.

I do sometimes wish we had the gaucho with folding table standard floorplan. Ours has the optional dinette, so the only seating area is at the table, and on the street side the galley counter comes pretty close to the dinette tabletop, narrowing the access to that side of the dinette. Like I said, we're big guys...
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #25
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I began searching for an AS but having found this site and read a lot decided the Argosy Minuet was what I really wanted. It is only 7' wide which makes a lot of difference in some of the Natl Parks and state parks I've been in. Much more manuverable and extention mirrors aren't needed. My previous trailer was a Casita. The Minuet 7.3 is 24' overall with a 20' cabin. There are separate sleeping compartments which is nice.
Airstream or Argosy.......who cares, get what fits your budget and needs then enjoy.
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