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Old 06-27-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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Clarification on year model

I bought a 1981 Airstream Excella 28' MH a few years ago. I was told that although the engine and chassis and basically all the mechanical stuff was built bt GM in 1979, that the coach was built onto the chassis in 1981. Lately I've been curious about that since I'm beginning to get interested in restoring the MH, but I can't find any info on 1981 Excellas! They were made in 1979. I know that nothing was built in 1980. So do I have a 1979 Excella or a 1981 280? It says Excella on the side of my MH. Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:38 AM   #2
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The year of the chassis generally defines the year of the coach.
We had a 1995 Chevy conversion van that wasn't converted until nearly 1997. It was still a 1995.
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Old 06-27-2009, 02:28 AM   #3
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Hi, motorhomes are registered by the year model of the body and are given a new serial number by the motorhome manufacture. [completed vehicle] The chassis still has it's original serial number for parts referrence and year of chassis manufacture. [incomplete vehicle] It is very common to find motorhomes in-which the chassis year is one year prior to the motorhome year. If your motorhome is a 1981 year model, it can very well be built on a 1980 chassis. I personally have never seen a two year split between the chassis and the body. But I won't say they never did it.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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I'll check again since I haven't been a very good and loyal Airstream enthusiast recently (since I got my Corvette ha ha), but now I'm really gonna fix up the MH. The PO had the AS registered as a 1981 and he told me that story. I believed it, but now I wonder. It seems obvious that since all the mechanical labels on the engine and air cleaner says 1979, along with the coach model indicating "Excella", especially that badge on the side of the coach, that this MH is a 1979. I'm going to have to change the year at DMV! I got suckered.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrodokk View Post
I'll check again since I haven't been a very good and loyal Airstream enthusiast recently (since I got my Corvette ha ha), but now I'm really gonna fix up the MH. The PO had the AS registered as a 1981 and he told me that story. I believed it, but now I wonder. It seems obvious that since all the mechanical labels on the engine and air cleaner says 1979, along with the coach model indicating "Excella", especially that badge on the side of the coach, that this MH is a 1979. I'm going to have to change the year at DMV! I got suckered.
You can post the VIN here, we can tell if it's an 80 or 81, or even 79.

Bob, I've forgotten, did manufacturers start using the standardized VIN in 1980 or 1981?
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:29 AM   #6
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I do remember that when I tried to get it registered in CA, that there was alot of confusion due to the number of digits in the VIN. There weren't enough. Here it is: CPS3793315698. How can one tell?
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
You can post the VIN here, we can tell if it's an 80 or 81, or even 79.

Bob, I've forgotten, did manufacturers start using the standardized VIN in 1980 or 1981?
Hi, Terry I could be wrong, but I think General Motors started using the 17 digit serial number system in 1980 and everyone else started in 1981. The motorhome in question has a 13 digit serial number.
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrodokk View Post
I do remember that when I tried to get it registered in CA, that there was alot of confusion due to the number of digits in the VIN. There weren't enough. Here it is: CPS3793315698. How can one tell?
Hi, this is what I found: CPS3793 315698

C-Chevrolet
P- Forward Control
S-454-4 V8
3-1 Ton
7-Motorhome
9-1979
3-GMAD Detroit

3
1
5
6
9
8..........Sequence numbers.

I would look for numbers designated by Airstream, although unlike today, I read that back then Airstream used the chassis VIN for legal purposes and their own numbers for Body style, length, interior arrangement ETC.

If this number is on your registration, then you have a 1979 vehicle/motorhome.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:07 PM   #9
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Would they have different styles model trim for the same year then? I know that PeterH-79MH has just the word "Excella" on the side, whereas mine says "Airstream Excella" on the side. The coach number is IA9TEAM29BJ009619. The coach ID trim tag has these characters stamped on it, but in a "not so straight" manner...looks shoddy to me. Also, the trim tag was only screwed on with two screws. I think I'll rivet it back on later. I know that the chassis is definitely '79. I just would like to find out when the coach was put on.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:14 PM   #10
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Here is a pic. Can anyone tell from the photo? The trim words are under the window behind the passenger seat.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:39 AM   #11
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More digging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrodokk View Post
Would they have different styles model trim for the same year then? I know that PeterH-79MH has just the word "Excella" on the side, whereas mine says "Airstream Excella" on the side. The coach number is IA9TEAM29BJ009619. The coach ID trim tag has these characters stamped on it, but in a "not so straight" manner...looks shoddy to me. Also, the trim tag was only screwed on with two screws. I think I'll rivet it back on later. I know that the chassis is definitely '79. I just would like to find out when the coach was put on.
Hi, here is what I got from this VIN: IA9TEAM29BJ009619

IA9-Airstream Class "A" motorhome
T...........Airstream states that they don't use "T"
E-Excella
A-Alumuinum Shell
M-28'
2-Double Axle
9-Check digit [mathematical figuer]
B-1981
J-Jackson Center

0-sequence numbers
0 " "
9 " "
6 " "
9 " "

This makes this a 1981 year model and should be registered by this 17 digit number.
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:28 AM   #12
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Thank you all very much. It is possible then, that this coach was built in 1981 onto a 1979 chassis. If Airstream didn't use a "T" in the ID, what did they use? Where can I see that info?
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:24 AM   #13
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here's one for you;
my 78 Argosy Moho is registered in Ca. as a GMC. The Vehicle ID # is on a tag riveted to the engine compartment tin. Appears to have been registered this way for some time. When I got it last year I just left it that way as I'm not on a first name basis with god, as I would need his help to correct this issue with the California DMV.
Thanks for the tour of your rig a while back, pushed me into this project.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:54 AM   #14
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Hi Tim! Lomg time no see. I missed Casini this year. I probably would have been the only motorhome there anyway, like last time. I'll PM my address and hopefully you can drive that Argosy that I inspired you to get over from Lodi (bring Linda).

Robert: You listed the Mfg. # as double axle, but my MH has the single rear, unless they count all axles (front too). I'm wondering if the Mfg. plate is incorrect as it seems to have been tampered with (no rivets and that "T"). I'll investigate further.

I really would love to have the last Classic aluminum built, I think '97 was the last year. Looks like the pointed nose LandYacht, only all metal. The twins beds in my Classic aren't working for me anymore since the two boys have grown up, so I want a rear Queen instead.
More later.
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