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Old 11-19-2017, 11:18 PM   #1
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Has anyone imported a newer Airstream Classic from the US to Europe? To travel in?

Dear Airstream Community,

May I defer to you for some guidance and some counseling? I am planning a 3 to 5 year Airstream tour of Europe. I have looked at the largest Airstream model made for the European market which is a 684 (25' long). Unfortunately, for the people that will visit/ travel with me over this period of time, I feel that the 684 will be to small for my needs and requirements.

However, there is an Airstream model that would be ideal for this trip and that is a 2018 Airstream Classic 33fb... and here-in lays my conundrum. Based on my research to date the only Airstreams over 30' I've seen in Europe are designated as 'vintage'. I have yet to find anyone's story that has imported a newer, longer, wider, heavier, insured Airstream and is traveling through Europe in it now. At first I thought that this was mainly due to the fact that the Europeans do not produce a 1/2 or 3/4 tonne truck to pull a caravan over 3500kg's. Than of course I started reading about UK width restrictions

Who I'd really love to hear from is someone in the Airstream Community who has actually circumnavigated through these waters of:
  1. Importing a NEWER Airstream from the US
  2. Preferably a 'Classic' and or over 30'
  3. Confirmation of importing a US Tow car ie: Ford F-150/ 250
  4. Registered both the vehicle and the caravan
  5. Whether a European citizen was required for registration
  6. Whether it was necessary to make any conversions when you had a proper tow vehicle to handle tongue weights, GVWR, etc.
  7. Who did you use to import truck and caravan from the US
  8. Who did you use to register the vehicles
... and are you enjoying their US Airstream Classic on the other-side of the pond? In closing, I thank anyone and everyone who will share me with me their knowledge, wisdom and experience as to whether or not I can go down this road that looks less traveled.

Kind regards, Drew AKA Kokpuff
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:15 AM   #2
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Are there roads and parks and filling stations that will handle a 33' and a F250 in Europe? Haven't been there, but what I've seen the centuries old streets aren't that spacious. Perhaps they have rebuilt everything since the GP1/4 ton was designed (Jeep).
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:25 AM   #3
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I haven't imported a trailer to the EU, but we had trailers at work when I lived and worked in the UK for three years.

I understand the maximum width for any trailer is 2.55 m in the UK, which is less than the width of a modern classic. I believe that is the reason you see older trailers (not wide body versions). For that width, you would need a tow vehicle with a GVW over 3500 kg. You may also need a commercial driver's license. You will have to get a local driver's license in any case. I believe the standardized EU rules mean that the UK rules are likely representative of what you would find in the rest of the EU, but that is worth investigating. A quick check on the web shows the same width limit in many EU countries.

There are lots of things that would need converting/adapting. Install a parking brake on the trailer. Convert the propane system. 240 v mains power. And so on.

Good luck in your investigations.

Jeff
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:47 AM   #4
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Another consideration is that hydraulic brakes and WDH are outlawed in many European countries. The trailers over there all have very light tongue weight (300lbs ish) and surge brakes as a result. By my understanding. (You can look into the history of the development of the WDH and the inventors attempt to convince the major trailer deck manufacturer at the time to increase the a frame strength to accommodate a WDH. Instead of saying, hey great idea, he lobbied for laws preventing WDH fearing loss of business due to overseas imports. Or something like that.)
Even solo, I think exploring away from M and A series highways and roads could be seriously frustrating in full size pick up. Sooooo may roads are only 1 car wide. I have many a recollection of pulling side mirrors in and right up against the farm wall and the oncoming vehicle mirrors in just passing with a hairs width of space and these were both passenger cars. Pickup? Forget it. You'd be forever backing up to the last layby or farm gate.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:24 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NevadaGeo View Post
Are there roads and parks and filling stations that will handle a 33' and a F250 in Europe? Haven't been there, but what I've seen the centuries old streets aren't that spacious. Perhaps they have rebuilt everything since the GP1/4 ton was designed (Jeep).
I've seen lots of semi trucks in Europe - they must fuel and be able tor drive somewhere.

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Old 11-20-2017, 07:26 AM   #6
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I've seen lots of semi trucks in Europe - they must fuel and be able tor drive somewhere.


While true, you will not often see them on B and C routes. And those are where all the interesting stuff is.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:31 AM   #7
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I believe there is a unit of WBCCI in Europe so that might be a place to start asking those questions. I would think there would also need to be major adaptations to hook up to European Campgrounds for power. Certainly traveling with 30 Classic would be restricted because of width and weight to only major road. Most of the European Motorhome and Travel Trailer are much thinner and lighter then the American versions so there must be a reason for this.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bbandeddie View Post
Another consideration is that hydraulic brakes and WDH are outlawed in many European countries. The trailers over there all have very light tongue weight (300lbs ish) and surge brakes as a result. By my understanding. (You can look into the history of the development of the WDH and the inventors attempt to convince the major trailer deck manufacturer at the time to increase the a frame strength to accommodate a WDH. Instead of saying, hey great idea, he lobbied for laws preventing WDH fearing loss of business due to overseas imports. Or something like that.)
Even solo, I think exploring away from M and A series highways and roads could be seriously frustrating in full size pick up. Sooooo may roads are only 1 car wide. I have many a recollection of pulling side mirrors in and right up against the farm wall and the oncoming vehicle mirrors in just passing with a hairs width of space and these were both passenger cars. Pickup? Forget it. You'd be forever backing up to the last layby or farm gate.
Agreed. You would much better off purchasing the trailer/vehicle combo over there and then re-selling it. I can't even imagine trying to tow in some of those places. I've lived in Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland as well as toured most of the countries around there. I think you would be further ahead using vacation rentals.

When I go I usually prefer a small car as I can park it in the city center in an underground garage or car park. A larger vehicle you wouldn't even be able to park at the mall or hotel lot. Have you tried to park in Zurich or Munich let alone try to navigate through Zurich. Try finding a parking spot in Dublin or Stuttgart. The smaller the better. Your F150 would come back so dinged and dented up not to mention what the AS would look like. No thanks.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:39 AM   #9
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It was interesting living in Australia. Despite the massive wide open spaces and enormous geography, all their roads and parking lots are designed around the smaller international vehicles. Every once in a while we’d see an imported full size truck or suburban or expedition and go “holy F that’s HUGE”. See one in the parking lot? Oh man, they so don’t fit those spaces. It was comical, hanging halfway out into the travel lane, no space to open doors.

Back to Europe though, those small roundabouts? With a full size and a classic. That alone gives me shivers.
I applaud the desire though.
The guy that writes the roadtreker blog took his class b to Europe and wrote about the import experience and some of the challenges. That might give you some further insight too.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:54 AM   #10
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I have considered doing the same and it isn't easy .... i have driven all over europe and i wouldn't want to be there with anything over 23-25' which would still be a big rig in europe... most campgrounds etc don't look like they could handle the larger rigs/ trucks ... I visited several on my trips over and that was the thing that hit me no one has big rigs>
good luck
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:56 AM   #11
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I can't add much of value. Other than when we toured Jackson Center this summer, European models were coming off the line. Might consider contacting them for info on sizes, electrical connection, propane and other technical data that would be beneficial to you.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bbandeddie View Post
Another consideration is that hydraulic brakes and WDH are outlawed in many European countries.
I believe that electric trailer brakes are legal, but it isn’t quite that simple.

* The trailer brake controller must be mounted on the trailer, eg an inertia device
* No manual trailer brake application, drivers hands must be kept on the wheel
* Brakes need EU certification. Such systems are available
* I believe there is a front of trailer indicator light requirement for brake activation. The light must be visible in the driver’s rear view mirror.
* Parking brake with mechanical latch and capable of holding the trailer on an 18% grade must operate on two wheels
Etc.

All that would be inspected when the trailer is put through the inspection process. Of course, none of this applies to a modern Classic 33 as it is overwidth for EU roads before we start.

WD is legal. Hitch ball dimensions are an EU standard, though.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bbandeddie View Post
Another consideration is that hydraulic brakes and WDH are outlawed in many European countries. The trailers over there all have very light tongue weight (300lbs ish) and surge brakes as a result. By my understanding. (You can look into the history of the development of the WDH and the inventors attempt to convince the major trailer deck manufacturer at the time to increase the a frame strength to accommodate a WDH. Instead of saying, hey great idea, he lobbied for laws preventing WDH fearing loss of business due to overseas imports. Or something like that.)
Even solo, I think exploring away from M and A series highways and roads could be seriously frustrating in full size pick up. Sooooo may roads are only 1 car wide. I have many a recollection of pulling side mirrors in and right up against the farm wall and the oncoming vehicle mirrors in just passing with a hairs width of space and these were both passenger cars. Pickup? Forget it. You'd be forever backing up to the last layby or farm gate.

As stated the roads throughout much of Europe are quite narrow for a Classic AS & TV. That said I know of people who have purchased large trucks in the US and had them shipped to France for use there. I never asked if they intended these trucks for daily drivers, tow vehicles or just to collect US vehicles.

Good luck in your research. Hope you can have a successful plan.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:45 PM   #14
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Dear Nevada Geo, Good question.... not sure this is the right answer but there are no shortage of semi-trailers on the road

I read in this blog/ website below of an UK couple that are avid Airstream travelers and all things to do w/ vintage Airstreams .....
http://www.eurostreamcaravans.com/Vi...e/Welcome.html
traveling Europe in 30 ' longer and saying that they put a towing ball on the front of the two trailer to making the parking of the caravan easier in tight campground spaces.
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