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Old 02-16-2015, 08:57 PM   #1
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Reno , Nevada
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Posts: 28
'63 Globetrotter

Hello!
First time writer, long time reader here. My husband and I are a young couple, who have been dreaming of an airstream for a few years now. We are specifically interested in the smaller models- under 20'. They are difficult to find! Out of necessity, we are looking to buy a 'before', as the 'afters' are out of our budget.
I recently came across a 19' globe trotter, and according to the owner, it hasn't been used in years. It's listed for $5500 ("But you should see what they're selling for after you put a little work into them- $15k minimum! This is a steal" -owner). I have been looking at the Price vs. Condition page that I've seen as a recommended starting point on a few threads. Now according to the owner's description, it's "as is", but it's priced well into the "average" category.
Normally I would just walk away, but I haven't seen anything else that even remotely comes into our budget that is the size we're looking for.
Is this an appropriate price? If not, any recommendations on counter offers? What are the odds that one will come up if I let this one go? Does the scarcity contribute to the price?

Additionally I would love to hear about costs associated with basic repairs to these older guys. By browsing the forums I've seen that a few likely costs will be replacing the floor (rot) and new tires. Any more major repairs common to get it into a safe condition? We know this will be a long process, but we would love to get it to the point where it can be an "aluminum tent" that is safe to drive, and work on everything else over time.

Any and all advice is appreciated!
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:16 PM   #2
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1964 19' Globetrotter
The Sea Ranch , California
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Can you post pictures? That way, you could get some feedback. Is it near Woodland? It's pretty dry there, a good thing to begin with. I bought our '64 without having looked around much, found a guy selling another who also had this one, and I had to have it. In hindsight, my first clue should have been when I walked into it and immediately fell through the floor. I fell in love with it, and after a number of years of slow, tedious work, knuckle scraping work we are loving it. Check as much of the floor for softness as you can- the plywood is an integral part of the structure of the trailer, and it's good to know how much is bad so you go into the project with your eyes open. I undid the interior of ours, and was able to put a new floor under the shell myself, in my back yard in Oakland. It'll take you time if you have work to do, but you can also take it camping when it's simply a weather tight shell, and enjoy it as you make repairs and improvements. The other thing that is pretty crucial is the axle- I'm not sure if '63 had leaf springs or the Duratorque, but allow about a grand for a single axle replacement. If it's not been used and it's gross, the fridge is about a grand, and on and on. In other words, try to have it checked out to know what you're getting yourself into. Some repairs are easy to deal with and others are more complex. It's also good to know what may have been really messed up that will affect the value and how much you want to put into it. I don't know who is in Woodland, but Adam Blair is in Benicia Avalon RV Restoration Repurpose Renovate, and Vinnie's Northbay Trailer repair is in Novato, Vinnie's Northbay Airstream Repair. If you've ever restored a turn of the century home, I've done two, this is similar but a lot cheaper. It helps to be process oriented, finding pleasure in incremental forward progress. You might at least want to come to the Casini Ranch rally in Duncan's Mills in April, you can get some inspiration. Best of luck to you!
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:35 PM   #3
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Reno , Nevada
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Thank you for the reply and the resources!
I'm hoping the pictures worked.

I'm trying to get a really good idea of what I should be paying because if I go look at it before I have all my ducks in a row then I just know that I will fall in love and try to get my husband to pay full price. (I've done this before with our car...)

I have seen two other options at 18' and 19' and both were at least somewhat renovated and over 10k. There is another option in Canada for 1k, but it's completely gutted and the shell is in really bad shape, so it's way too much work for us. Other than that, I haven't seen any realistic options so I hate to pass this one up.
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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It looks like they were doing dry-cleaning in it? Really hard to tell from those photos what it's like. The windows can leak and rot the floor, so you want to look at the floor under the beds, inside the cabinets and anywhere you can. If the floor is solid, that to me is huge. The utilities are expensive- stove, fridge, HW heater, pump, the fresh and black tank, you want to take into account the condition as much as you can. If the stove starts acting up, it'll be really hard to fix since they have mercury and the parts are impossible for mere mortals to obtain. You might be able to just get it and clean it, change out cushions, new tires, axle etc and then just use it, upgrading as you go. If the floor is solid 4k might not be so bad. The smaller ones like this are easier to tow and have a broader appeal, and someone will snap it up, if it's a good buy or not. I think though, you have to steel yourself to go look at these things, fall in love but be able to walk away. OR, know it's Mr Toad's wild, somewhat expensive ride to renovation and repair, and be prepared for the process. That's what we ended up with- we love the little trailer, warts, leaks, stained zolatone and all. When you go out to look, do read up on the forum here about the little tests you can make to determine if the axle is bad, floor is okay etc. At least it'll look to the seller that you're not a pushover and may help with your negotiations. Good luck
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:53 AM   #5
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Actually, from what could be seen, it's fairly intact but beat-up. You also want to see what the exterior is like, no big dents or holes you'll have to fix and that will affect the value.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:24 PM   #6
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1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
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I'd definitely pay $5,500 for it. But I have the know how to fix most things and the right friends for where I don't. If you have the ability to do some work on it and not pay a retail repair costs on things, go for it... you will kick yourself for not getting it. I had the opportunity to buy one several years back for 8 grand that I passed up on and I'm still trying to reach my a** with my boot

These forums are great for walking you through things you wouldn't have thought you had the ability to do. ;-)
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:49 PM   #7
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'63 Globe Trotter

Given you're in Nor Cal I'd say it's worth it, even if it needs the works (axle, subfloor, etc.). We're in Sacramento and it took a couple years for us to find a vintage AS in our price range locally. And they've been continuing to get scarcer and much more expensive around here--we probably couldn't find a deal like we got today and that was less than two years ago. I say pull he trigger and pull it quick before it gets swooped!
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:27 PM   #8
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Reno , Nevada
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Thank you all for the replies!
I was a little thrown by the price guide and NADA values, but it's good to hear that the price is at least somewhat appropriate. When I'm looking at the floor, do I just feel for softness?
The fridge doesn't work, but he thinks that everything else does.. (fingers crossed)
My husband is a contractor and is handy with electrical and plumbing as well, but he has never worked on a trailer before. And with "all our free time", this could take a while. This will be an interesting experiment… if we DO end up pulling the trigger that is

Another trailer flew into my radar last night. a 1960 avian T-20 from Oregon. Cheaper, but it has a few more dents and dings. It's also a tad longer at 20', but as one of the early models, I think it can be shined up. The gentleman who owns it said that the floor under the shower needs to be replaced- a vent leaks and let water in. The rest of the floor is in good shape as per owner. Any opinions as to the condition of this one vs the airstream? I've heard that the avions are heavier, but I looked up weights comparing these two trailers and they are about the same. I am a little worried about the dents in the pics as well as the fact that parts are harder to come by. Also there are just so many resources for DIY repairs for airstreams, and such a strong community (I'm looking at you guys!)
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:52 PM   #9
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Avions are cool, but I'd still go with the Airstream. But I'm a quack who prefers my trailers Twinkie shaped rather than loaf of bread shaped :-)

PS If I lived closer and hadn't spent all my cash on the three I have I'd be trying to figure out where it was and scoop it up the second you said you bought something else...
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:55 PM   #10
The Sign Lady
 
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 675
Oh and there is a thread on here called vintage kin where I am sure you could find extensive info on the Avion trailers. I have heard they are very solid and the floor replacement process on them is simpler.
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