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, 10:00 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, 10:09 PM   #2
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1975 25' Tradewind
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, 10:14 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, 10:22 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, 10:40 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 03-30-2006, 11:10 PM   #6
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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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, 01:36 AM   #7
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1992 34' Limited
Falls Church , Virginia
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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, 06:46 AM   #8
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
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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
1994 30' Excella 1000, Chummy III- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 03-31-2006, 06:51 AM   #9
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1965 20' Globetrotter
Yakima , Washington
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Posts: 182
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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, 07:27 AM   #10
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
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, 07:41 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, 07:52 AM   #12
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2003 25' Safari
Eden Prairie , Minnesota
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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, 08:38 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 donít join the club? Iím a club member (#8843), but havenít had a chance to go camping with the group one time!!

I have always wanted an Airstream (call it Airstream-Fever), so when my wifeís 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 itís 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 Ė but I canít 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 Iím 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 Ė 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, 09:02 AM   #14
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2007 23' International CCD
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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