View Poll Results: Vintage AS or Newer AS
Vintage AS 71 72.45%
New AS 27 27.55%
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:00 PM   #1
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2005 30' Safari
Chandler , Arizona
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Vintage -vs- New ????


I've got the bug bad!!!..... no...its not a more like a scorpion sting...
I've previously shared, I'm actively in the hunt for my first AS.... got the rig and she'll tow any AS on the road over the tallest mountains.. so now it is decision time... But, I'm torn so I need opinions and advice from the community.

Vintage Airstream or Newer...........why?

Personally I would love to have a fully polished vintage model with a laborious mirror finish and a brand new interior...but that takes Time......I don't have the time to do repair...believe me the love is there...but time would not allow me the opportunity to create the beautiful restores I've seen.

So please share your opinions and your reasons for Vintage -vs- New...


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Old 03-30-2006, 11:09 PM   #2
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Dewey , Arizona
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My vintage 75 Trade Wind is just what I wanted. It was in great shape, ready to go camping. I was looking for this era because of the grey tank issue. It is lighter, narrower and a lot cheaper then the new units.



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Old 03-30-2006, 11:14 PM   #3
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1964 17' Bambi II
Santa Cruz , California
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If you have the money, how about already restored Vintage?

If I could, I'd like to have a new 23' Safari to use while I restore my Bambi II.

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Old 03-30-2006, 11:22 PM   #4
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1963 16' Bambi
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Yreka , California
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First Airstream's are cool. Old or new. It's the family that counts! I've been restoring a 63 Bambi. I started at the end of last August. I figure that I'm about 2/3rds done. I'm retired and work on it almost every day. That might help with the time issue. Several others might give you ideas of the amount of time they've spent on their trailers.

There also some restored trailer out there that you could find. And there some members that will help with inspections. If they live close to you.

New today, camp tomorrow. That sounds great also.

Buy two trailers, one to enjoy right now and on to spend lots of time restoring.

Good luck on your hunt.
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:40 PM   #5
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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Vintage is cool. We purchases our 1979 Safari in 2002, it was not quite vintage only 23 years old. We wanted a trailer which was immediately useable and we found one. Vintage is 25 years or older so find a 1981 or slightly newer and wait until it is vintage. Vintage does not always mean a 1954 like our Double Door Liner which needs a total rebuild to use. I just means 25 years or older.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
Just my personal opinion
1973 Dodge W200 PowerWagon, 1977 Lincoln Continental, 2014 Dodge Durango
1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA
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Old 03-31-2006, 12:10 AM   #6
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Vintage -vs- New ????

Greetings Brent!

There are probably as many answers to the question that you pose as there are Airstreamers. While I am not a do-it-yourselfer, and would rather spend time traveling than working on a major restoration project; I still prefer my Vintage models for a number of reasons.
  • Some floorplans are available only in Vintage or near Vintage coaches.
  • Some features are only available in certain models (door-within-door for instance).
  • Typically, the Vintage coach will be somewhat lighter than comparably sized modern coaches allowing for a wider selection of potential tow vehicles.
  • It can be fun to combine hobbies -- antiquing -- or vintage car or truck as tow vehicle.
  • The Vintage Airstream Club, an Intra-Club of the WBCCI has many enjoyable functions some of which are part of the broader rally and caravan plans.
  • It is possible to embark on the path to Airstreaming with a Vintage unit with a limited budget by shopping around and budgeting refurbishment/restoration over a longer period of time.
My solution was to shop for what was virtually a road-ready Vintage Airstream that I could begin enjoying almost immediately while stretching restoration/refurbishiment out over time. Overall, I was able to keep the cost of professional restoration/refurbishment procedures under control by prioritizing projects and having them completed over a period of about five years -- the overall cost including the original purchase price of the coach was comparable to a new Safari of similar size -- but I had the vintage floorplan that was no longer available.

I don't know that I would have purchased an Airstream had I been limited to the current mid-bath coaches. My first choice, regardless of RV manufacturer is a full-width rear bathroom -- something that both of my coaches have. I know that I am in a relative minority in having a strong preference for the old rear bath floorplans, but I find them to be most useful for my travel preferences.

Good luck with your research and investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:36 AM   #7
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1992 34' Limited
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Brent - Old Vs. New is like forever old....

Brent -

Seriously. Stop - deep breath. THink about what you want this TT for. For how many people? For 2 days or a week - maybe more. If you can asnwer these type of questions honestly then it will go a long way to finding you the right AS - be it old, medium old, or possibly new! The object is to reduce from 'all' to a many.

There are also lifestype choices that need to be considered and thought through. Be REALLY HONEST on this portion. There will be a test - when you live/camp in it. The results will also affect the choice of TT to again a smaller group.

Now you are nearly to brass tacks. Decide on the acommodations and the bath location - that settles the kitchen situation as well. Mix and move to get the ONE that you want, can live with and are ready to buy.

Then go find that ONE! There can be LOTS of frustration along the path to AS ownership and here is where you want it - BEFORE you buy that TT. Look ALL over. Any heebigeebies RUN!!!! Any red flags - RUN!!!!!!!!! They will all cost you major$ and the PO is LONG gone and spending the $.

Put some time into the thought process on the frontend and it will save you TONS of $ and agrivation going forward.

my .02 cents

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Old 03-31-2006, 07:46 AM   #8
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Vintage for me. If I was to take apart a brand new Airstream I believe my wife would have me put away. Working on Chummy is, I have to admit, is part of the charm of ownership.
Chaplain Kent
2015 Coachman Freedom Express 19RBS, Chummy IV- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:51 AM   #9
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Yakima , Washington
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Vintage here, for us new is too much $$ all at once. We found our '65 in usable condition and do repairs/alterations along the way as $$ permits.
Cory Harrington
AIR 7834 WBCCI 2105/VAC
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:27 AM   #10
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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SilverToy gives good advice. I've bought my SECOND new unit after a year in my first one. I still like the 22ft CCD, but the 25 Safari FB SE is better in a still modest sized package. (One note to fulltimers - you'll save enough to afford a bigger unit than you think you can afford, just shop for campgrounds and good long term deals.) If a one year old CCD appeals to you ....
Read a lot, research a lot and hang around a few Airstream dealers and Airstream rallys. Brochures and floor plans are a LOT different from the actual experience of sitting in one for a couple of hours... or days...

Good luck whichever you choose, and if your budget permits, get one of each!

Paula Ford
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:41 AM   #11
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1975 31' Sovereign
Oxford , Mississippi
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vintage for us

When we started looking on moving up from our pop-up. We started out looking at new Airstreams and decided real quick they were out of our range $$$. Then someway I stumbled onto this forum and then I was hooked (vintage) But how vintage? So we decided on a 70's era, then I found out some had this tank and some did'nt. Then we had to decide how much work we could do ourself and how much we couldn't. So after a few more months we found our 75 here under the classifieds. We have had to do some work and sure we will have to do more but it is a labor of love. Not to mention when you pull into the campground for the weekend and look around and see that all the travel trailers look the same except yours and then to think how you have brought it back to it's glory and it's 31 years young (priceless)

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Old 03-31-2006, 08:52 AM   #12
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2003 25' Safari
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Airstreams are like airplanes...

There are people who build their own airplanes. Evenings and weekends for years building and when done they fly it a little, get bored, and sell it (often at a loss). They enjoy the craftsmanship of building it, not the flying.

Other people buy a new factory built airplane. Everything works, it's under warranty, and all you need to do is add gas and go! But you must be wealthy to afford a new airplane.

I have owned several used airplanes. They sure kept me busy (and poor) just keeping them going! But I flew a lot - about 100 hours/year for 20 years. I loved the flying, and tolerated the fixing as a financial necessity.

I think Airstreams, and Airstream people, are similar. Some love to refurbish, others can afford a new 34' Classic that costs 3X as much as my first house, yet others buy a Safari or a functional used trailer and just go camping.

I have no interest in refurbishing anything right now. I enjoy exploring and camping. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by AZstreamin

I've got the bug bad!!!..... no...its not a more like a scorpion sting...
I've previously shared, I'm actively in the hunt for my first AS.... got the rig and she'll tow any AS on the road over the tallest mountains.. so now it is decision time... But, I'm torn so I need opinions and advice from the community.

Vintage Airstream or Newer...........why?

Personally I would love to have a fully polished vintage model with a laborious mirror finish and a brand new interior...but that takes Time......I don't have the time to do repair...believe me the love is there...but time would not allow me the opportunity to create the beautiful restores I've seen.

So please share your opinions and your reasons for Vintage -vs- New...


I can appreciate your dilemma. I work full time as a software developer during the day and am involved in the ministry during the evening. Because of my work with computers, family and friends all come to me with their computer needs, which can consume a lot of time. My dad always needs my help on the farm. My wife works full time, so the normal household stuff (shopping, cleaning, yard maintenance, etc.) is done on weekends.

Do people wonder why young people dont join the club? Im a club member (#8843), but havent had a chance to go camping with the group one time!!

I have always wanted an Airstream (call it Airstream-Fever), so when my wifes co-worker put his seemingly and reportedly well kept 1966 Safari up for sale, it didn't take long for us to make up our mind to purchase the Spiffy Gem.

Did I mention that its really hard to make a complete inspection before buying? This happened in Nov. of 2004.

Five months later, I found white water stains on a huge portion of bare and somewhat dry-rot sub floor, located under the dinette couch, and a bolt head that I flicked off with a twitch of my finger. I knew I could not spend money to pretty up the interior without the assurance that the frame was sound. I was also told that all the propane appliances should be replaced, even if they were still working.

Yea, I've had the Gem down to the frame, spent all last year's vacation and any time I could rob from my other commitments to work on the coach - the only time I could smell the pine tree was in my dreams . . . It looks like I'll be doing the same again this year, and if things go well, I might have it back together a year from now. This is a type of bondage but I cant quit, or I loose my investment.

Did I mention the cost? I had completely miss-calculated the cost before I started the project. Many will wonder why it cost so much: I'll have $25,000 - $28,000 into it - not counting my time. We've added a lot of options/features that were not originally installed. After all, might as well add value and make it very usable and custom while were at it. That's my big return for the labor and sacrifices: getting something I could not just go out and purchase.

How much could I sell this thing for when Im done? Do you see many 40 year old AS coaches go for $30,000? I've seen some nice and fairly late model Airstreams sell for less!!

Some of the big costs: Onan generator; new heater; new water heater; new electrical system; external skin replacements, new toilet, fiberglass work, new range, completely new water system, advanced video and data systems (with $400 of studio grade video cable and CAT 6 data network with wireless stuff); new propane lines; cork floor; etc.

Just for the record - from my experience - the older the coach, the more attention it needs in maintenance stuff wears out. If your time schedule is full and you don't have a lot of time to use the coach, then I would suggest BUY NEW(ER)!!!

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Old 03-31-2006, 10:02 AM   #14
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Lapeer , Michigan
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I love the look of the vintage trailers. I can't see enough of them, but we are not fix-it people and the prices of a restored unit are high.

My new compromise is to get a floorplan we love which is the new 25' Safari front bedroom. With the aluminum interior walls and basic styling, I am hoping we can redecorate in vintage like materials with all systems under warranty. The Classic is very nice and comfortable but the front bedroom model with the full time dinette and expanse of windows has a charm and opens up so many possibilities.

Our new unit is in production now. One thing to consider is that when you buy new and trade you take a hit when you buy a vintage or used unit you can get back all you paid for it and more. Something to seriously consider.

And on that note, I have this 2005 25' Classic/twin to sell or it will be traded in shortly. If you have interest in it, it is here in the classifieds:
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:08 AM   #15
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2003 25' Safari
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Originally Posted by Spiffy Gem
...Did I mention the cost? I had completely miss-calculated the cost before I started the project. Many will wonder why it cost so much: I'll have $25,000 - $28,000 into it - not counting my time.
Wow, I paid $30,000 for my 2003 Safari 25 brand new.
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Old 03-31-2006, 12:15 PM   #16
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Food for thought ~

With $25,000 into a vintage unit you have a custom built highly upgraded trailer to your own specifications rather than one off the line from the factory.

Not every vintage restoration is $25,000 ~

Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
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Old 03-31-2006, 01:31 PM   #17
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Vintage - vs - New

It's definitely Vintage for us. Not only is it the money but we have had so much fun making our home away from home just as comfortable as our home.

Maybe we've been lucky but our trailer is in great shape, everything works and we are so in love with it.

Lee Pace
WBCCI 7287
72 Tradewind
Greenville, Tx
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:03 PM   #18
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2005 25' Safari
West of Boston , Massachusetts
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We bought new ... Time is at a premium so we spend our time traveling with ours... We have taken some long distance trips and I am hoping on doing considerably longer ones. We also get to some of the WBCCI rallies. I have been thinking about picking up a vintage as a project but new has been very nice for traveling. I would do vintage for style and as a hobby.
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:07 PM   #19
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
2017 30' Classic
1949 18' Trailwind
Broomfield , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Been There, Done That!

Hi Brent,

I started out with a 67 Safari that I spent hours repairing and then had the A/S plant work on it doing frame repair. When I went to Jackson Center to pick it up I took the tour of the plant and fell in love with the new trailers. Sold the 67 and bought a brand new Safari which I regretted as soon as I brought it home! It was so boring! Nothing broke down, no work to be done, no need for a cyclo polisher! I began a search for the perfect "0ldie" and found Pearl, my 54 Flying Cloud. I haven't been bored since, too much work to be done!! I sold the Safari a year after finding Pearl because I never used it.

Honestly, vintage isn't for everyone. I prefer the design of the older trailers and especially the panels. You also need talent for repairs or the money to have them done! When I'm on the road someone always asks for a tour and I get a lot of thumbs up signals from passing motorists. I recently bought a 1986 32' Excella so that I can take my family with me to rallies. I bought it because that model has all the features that I like about older models.

Hope this helped in your decision.

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Old 03-31-2006, 04:30 PM   #20
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2004 19' International CCD
Chicago , Illinois
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We bought new, but seriouslly considered used, in particular we almost snagged a 67 Caravel in mint condition, original owner, heated-garage stored, unbelievable and $6500.00. Deal fell through long story short. Owner decided to hang on to it.

For us, a used AS would have been great had we been able to keep it anywhere near where we live in Chicago. Our storage place is 33 miles out of the city. But it is safe. The distance alone would have made working on it a real pain. I have the know-how and most of the tools. I've completely renovated a two flat, but schleping to work on it would have gotten old quick.

The idea I loved most about vintage and restoring is that you could change anything you wanted to however you wanted using any materials and mechanicals you desire. The thing that bugs me and most people on this list is the sometimes crappy workmanship and materials on new units. If I were going to the trouble of doing a renovation myself, this simply would not bee the case. And yes, maybe my renovation project would cost MORE than a new unit, but it would last forever.

The advantage of the new AS is that your ability to imediately go out and camp. Some of the people on these forums have been working for months, maybe years on their AS's and they have all my respect.

You just have consider which road you are going to go, but no matter what, make sure it is Airstream!


Sometimes I wish I were living in the stone age. Then I would know I'm the smartest person in the world.
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