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Old 02-25-2016, 05:11 PM   #1
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1991 34' Excella
1971 25' Tradewind
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What is an Argosy?

Is the only difference that they are painted?

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Old 02-25-2016, 05:24 PM   #2
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Nope. Aluminum cabinets vs. wood. Some had an aluminum floor (Minuets, I think). Metal end pieces (thus the paint), narrower body, panoramic windows, lighter weight. Other things, I'm sure. Airstream often tested ideas on the Argosy before implementing them on the Airstreams.

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Old 02-26-2016, 03:42 PM   #3
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What is an Argosy?

The Argosy was built between '72 and '79. It is the same width as A$ of that era. Wide bodies came later.
The Minuet is a narrower version of the Argosy. Some had aluminum floors.
The A$ of this era had similar cabinetry and floor plans.
Argosy was used as a test platform for interior design of A$ trailers.
The same appliances and fixtures were used in both.
Other than paint these trailers are virtually the same. Except for the steel end caps which are one piece not segmented like A$. Which can be an advantage when it comes to leaks. Fewer seams means fewer leaks.
Go to the trailer forum and look for Argosy. You will find pics of some very impressive Argosy coaches.
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:20 PM   #4
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Smile Argosy dif. from airstream

I was told by former AS employee that aluminum was not up to specs so they painted and used on argosys also left over light fixtures etc. were used instead of discarding them when changing to diff. fixtures, as for floor plans I did not see any dif. and I pur. 1974 new argosy, this is my personal opinion.
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:30 PM   #5
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A summary of the first two posts gets it close to right... Airstreams in the '70s didn't get the deep-wrapped Panorama windows that Argosy did, but other than the Argosy Minuet line the Airstreams were the same width and used similar cabinetry systems as same-year Airstreams. I prefer the non-tambour cabinetry that Argosy kept for several years longer than Airstream did. The wooden cabinetry referred to in Airstreams ended before Argosy started. Argosy has a one-piece endcap usually made of galvanized steel (though apparently sometimes of fiberglass) where Airstreams have multi-segment end caps of aluminum. The Minuet line was narrower (as mentioned) and at least the ones I've seen had lighter-weight mostly-aluminum cabinetry and other furnishings, and some of them had plexiglass side windows.

While in fact the same brands of appliances were used between Argosy and Airstream trailers in the '70s, there were some subtle differences not yet touched on. For quite a few years, Airstreams got an in-countertop cooktop and a semi-in-wall oven where Argosy trailers had a one-piece range that's easier to work with now that you can't get parts for the unusual appliances in the Airstreams. I say the oven was semi-in-wall because the wall is about an inch thick, so the oven sticks back into a box that encroaches on cabinet or bunk space (depending on the floorplan.)

Another minor difference is that they tended to go "one size down" for the Argosy equivalent. Where the midsize Airstream was the 25' Tradewind, the equivalent Argosy was the 24-footer, the 23' Safari compared to the 22' Argosy, etc. Airstreams couldn't be had in a rear-door floorplan in that era and a few Argosy trailers were built on that plan.) The competitive-sized Argosy seems to usually have a refrigerator that's one size smaller than the Airstream.

All in all not much difference. For quite a few years it seemed that a vintage Argosy of length X in condition Y sold for noticeably less than an Airstream of length X+1' in condition Y, but I think that gap is much narrower now. I know I love my pano windows, and as thin and worn as my 41-year-old paint is, it looks nicer than flaking clearcoat. I know it would be a much bigger task to polish my Argosy than an Airstream with most of its clearcoat burned off by the sun, but all it takes to get it painted is money.

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Old 02-26-2016, 04:59 PM   #6
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DKB_SATX has nailed it pretty much. Airstream was trying to build an entry level trailer at a lower price. They also did a lot of experimentation on the Argosy line, trying out new ideas and build materials and methods. Some strange things have shown up on Argosy's including a wood 2x4 in the floor of some models. One identified Argosy even had a fiberglass end cap on one end, and a steel on the other! Very few fiberglass end caps have shown up though and all seemed to be made in CA, even though Airstream said no Argosy's were made in CA, the VIN lists the CA plant. Ohio Argosy's were made at a separate plant and originally were listed as Argosy inc. Late models were listed as Argosy, by Airstream inc.

I also talked to a former employee, who said that Aluminum damaged in the Airstream plant was used in the Argosy plant as it could be body filled and painted and save the money of scrap aluminum waste. I striped and semi polished a '78 Minuet and found some very rough panels under the paint, tough to polish the scrapes and dings out with no paint.

The appliances were slightly lower in quality, the ranges were very inexpensive 3 burner Suburban's. There were no tank monitors or gages at all in the Argosy line. The water tank was above the floor, vs. below the floor on Airstreams of the same vintage. The water pump was a cheeper model than the Airstreams. Only one battery was standard, and I don't think there was an option for a second. The Univolt was slightly lower capacity. I think the build quality was somewhat lower or questionable due to newer employees.

But as David said above, much of what the Argosy was is very similar to the Airstream of the same vintage. The 7.5' wide Minuet body was appropriated for the more recent "Sport" models.

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