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Old 02-20-2009, 03:23 PM   #29
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Just Another Opinion...

Looking at this from the vintage perspective, it is my feeling that AS’ and certain other brands do age better than others. That's not to say that they are the best, but AS' are/were considered to be high end, are unique, and there is a certain pride in ownership. AS has a long history of continued sales. As such there are plenty old units still on the road, which provides a good inventory of reasonably priced vintage trailers. Thus, when it comes to vintage it's typically easier to find an AS as opposed to others.

There is also a "Love em, Hate em" side to it as well. For me...I love shiny silver trailers of any type, especially vintage ones. Owning something unique compared to most units you pass going down the highway is very rewarding. Ride with someone when one is in tow and just watch how many people notice your tow going down the road. And similar to the Honda Motorcycle ad from the 60’s…“You Meet The Nicest People In An Airstream”

Yes there's a fair amount of maintenance, as with any trailer, and AS' certainly have their own shortcomings. So I'm not about to lead anyone to believe they are the best, but they are definitely worth the effort and money required for restoration.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:25 PM   #30
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I think it woud look way cool to paint an Airstream green and yellow.
Flyfisher,
I think it's already been done...to a whale tale I might add. Take a look at the Airstream that appears about 18 seconds into this video ...

YouTube - Airstream RV Blog #37 - The $2 Million RV
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:41 PM   #31
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I painted my WD hitch John Deere green... does that count?

I can only answer "Why?" as it relates to my wife and I. In a couple of years, we plan to take a year of early retirement. We felt it would be more affordable and comfortable to spend most of our year "on the road" in an RV. We generally like the "base camp" approach where we make camp and then putt around. We didn't want a montrously large RV or to tow a car. We looked at "same old box" trailers, fifth wheels, etc. Let me see if I can describe the feeling. It was like looking at a home decorating catalog circa 1977 with plush "shag" carpeting, "avocado" and "harvest gold" appliances and over-sized dark wood furniture. Now, I'm not even remotely fashionable or hip... but the whole "box" scene felt like a retro movie of the week set. The same old boxes were something, but that something wasn't us.

We went to look at vintage trailers... spartans, avions, shastas, etc. We saw some interesting and very nice coaches. We also looked at new Airstreams. The real vintage (40s and 50s) was nice, but very cramped for two tallish travelers. The new Airstreams were nice, but I wasn't sold. The support and great people here (Airforums) made me think vintage Airsteam was the way go. I felt the vintage AS community was great. Aftermarket parts were available. We wanted a pretty custom interior (two people only, maximum comfort). We felt 26' was the sweet spot for length, towability and livability. One of the forum members helped us find a '67 Overlander less than 20 miles from our house. Boom... we're vintage Airstream owners.

Why? The vintage Airstream is a great "platform." We have the money, time and hopefully skill to bring it into the 21st century. We don't mind doing a good bit of work ourselves. We wanted a coach where we really understood every system and could make it work. Saving an old trailer is environmentally sustainable/smart living stuff. And, of course, there is the "cool" factor. Dropping out for awhile is a pretty radical idea for two responsible citizens. Going vintage Airstream is congruent with a certain mindset, a towing-to-a-different-beat approach. You don't have to be a little crazy to tow vintage aluminum... but it helps.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:51 PM   #32
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Flyfisher,
I think it's already been done...to a whale tale I might add. Take a look at the Airstream that appears about 18 seconds into this video ...

YouTube - Airstream RV Blog #37 - The $2 Million RV
You'd want to have the Airstream painted predominately green, I'd think, with the trim (as in windows, etc) in yellow. That way no one would confuse you with the Oregon Ducks. And pull it with that big JD tractor.
You know, better than a Pre-Vo.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:05 PM   #33
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We have owned a 1978 Mastercoach (which was a really nice brand and admittedly a very nice trailer) and a Coachmen (not so nice, 1980) and tow white boxes all the time for our work. When we first started towing the Airstream, we noticed much less wind resistance, it followed our truck as straight as an arrow. And it was bigger and lighter than our Mastercoach. Since the last trailer that we had was a '78 and so is our Airstream, it was neat to compare. Even though the quality of the Mastercoach was up there, the Airstream blew it out of the water. And we didn't break the bank on it. I would never buy SOB (some other brand) again, even though I still like all vintage trailers and appreciate looking at other people's vintage trailers other than Airstream.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:15 PM   #34
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I think the towing alone made up my mind. Yeah there are all kinds of other things that I like, but once you tow a big white box and then tow an Airstream.....you understand. I've done it, and you compare my 30' white box SOB and my 31' Classic and the way it responds to wind and passing traffic, its so different.

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Old 02-20-2009, 07:14 PM   #35
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Some years ago my wife and I anguished over spending the extra dollars to purchase a Ducane Stainless Grill. At that time their slogan was "Buy your last grill first". Besides being a great grill and looking very nice it has saved us untold amounts of money purchasing cheap grills every couple of years.

Same with our Airstream. Of course they are a little expensive. Of course it fulfill that desire to own an american icon. It tows great and the low center of gravity can't be beat. It is very comfortable and with regular TLC Airstreams last a long long time. Best of all it is just plain cool to be camping in an Airstream.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:38 PM   #36
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Reasons to buy Airstream:

  1. all of the above posts
  2. snob appeal - if you want snob appeal, this is Prada that will still be in fashion next year, next decade
  3. approachable - even if it is supposedly a snob appeal RV, all you have to do is smile at your neighbors and offer them a cup of coffee (freshly ground and french pressed, mind you) and you can make friends who are dying to look at the inside of your Airstream
  4. minimalism - esp in the CCD version - it just doesn't look like someone puked up the 70's inside.
It's like porn - hard to define - but you know it when you see it.

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Old 02-21-2009, 09:47 PM   #37
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A word about Ducane

Quote:
Originally Posted by fltlevel510 View Post
Some years ago my wife and I anguished over spending the extra dollars to purchase a Ducane Stainless Grill. At that time their slogan was "Buy your last grill first". Besides being a great grill and looking very nice it has saved us untold amounts of money purchasing cheap grills every couple of years.
.
I also have a Ducane.....unfortunately if you haven't followed along, the company went out of business. Apparently their free lifetime warranty on the grills sent them down the tubes. Weber bought what was left and is now the owner. I called to replace my burner and some other components (which would have been free) under the lifetime warranty. The Weber folks informed me that my warranty is now void. They gave me a courtesy discount so I ended up spending $100 for parts.

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Old 02-21-2009, 10:46 PM   #38
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With my airstream, I am living inside a part of America and it feels great! You really grow to love them if not right at the beginning. And yes, the snob appeal is great.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:03 AM   #39
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I think the reason we own an AIRSTEAM is My father always had an SOB of some kind. I don't even know or remember the names of. He had at least 2 motorhomes. I remember one Was a GEORGIA BOY . For whatever reason I never got to use them or even camp in them. But it seems I was always around them.
I think the turning point was when the wife and I saw a video on a PBS Station which I think was a hr long program. IT was a look inside the manufacture of AIRSTREAM Start to Finish. After viewing that program we were convinced that if we ever got an RV it would have to be AIRSTREAM. Also in my 34 yrs over-the-road I had seen a lot of accidents with SOB's where there was nothing left but a few sticks and insulation gathered up on a flat bed and decided then "NO SOB's FOR ME."
We knew there was no way we could ever afford a new AIRSTREAM. Then for some reason I stumbled on AIR FORUMS and was able to see what U all had to say about AIRSTREAM and your restorations. I thought "HEY I CAN DO SOME OF THAT!" I began looking at what might be in our price range(Classifieds an Ebay) and with a little of my own labor we are now the owners of a Vintage Airstream.While still a work in progress its functional and we enjoyed it very much last yr and the new friends we made are priceless to us.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #40
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The Decision Process

When I was looking for an RV, I had always loved the AS. That thought was in the back of my mind. As I explored and experienced RV's at shows, everytime I would sit in a SOB, I would say it just doesn't feel right.

I sat in the AS and it felt so right. The AS gives me so much pleasure and the fellowship within the units is wonderful.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:43 AM   #41
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Why you own a JD and a BMW when there are other more popular brands that will do the job cheaper? I have a feeling that if you inspect and compare Airstream you will end up with an Airstream.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #42
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It's like the bike ...

I too ride a BMW (though my tractor is a Kubota) ... the reason for that bike is that I love how simply it does what it does and how long I expect it to keep on doing that, without a bunch of fuss. Yes, there's maintenance, and yes there are other shaft drive bikes out there and others with ABS and others with fuel injection, and others that are less "quirky." But the total package in comfort, handling, and just plain ease of quietly gettin' on down the road, is worth the oddities of service, etc. Recently at a BMW rally, I saw a BMW bike with 280 k miles on the clock, and still looking and running fine. That's not too unusual.

Airstream's the same way. SOBs might be cheaper, might have larger fresh and gray and black water tanks, probably have the same appliances, and maybe more headroom. But I don't think they tow the same, I don't think that (for the most part) they'll last as long, and they don't inspire owner loyalty the same way. You won't find many folks actively looking for a '56 SOB out there abandoned in some field to restore. But there are LOTS of folks looking for a 'stream of such a vintage, and there are LOTS of folks on this forum who love their classic Airstreams and toil like demons to make them as good as, or better than new, and are always on the lookout for an oldie but goodie.

And, like the BMW bike, Airstreams are at their best just quietly gettin' on down the road and stopping anywhere you like for lunch and an overnight. Full hookups? That's great. No hookups? That's fine too. If your planned use is to put the trailer in one spot for the season and go to it, an SOB will make a lot of sense. But if you want to go places and see things, this is where the silver bullets are at their best. Come to a rally, visit with a bunch of owners and tour their rigs. Then decide. Good luck!
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