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Old 06-23-2006, 10:14 AM   #1
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Buying an Airstream direct

Is it possible to buy an Airstream directly from the manufacturing plant in Ohio?

What I am specifically asking is, does the plant in Ohio also have its own dealership that sells directly to the public?

Thanks,

Curt
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:26 AM   #2
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If I'm not mistaken, you can only purchase through authorized dealerships.

But you can talk to the factory regarding options that might not be mentioned on AS's web site or their brochures, which as far as I'm concerned always seem to be two steps behind...

Armed with the options you might want, you can then order through the dealer, haggle about price, etc.

Jonathan
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:44 AM   #3
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Authorized dealers only. Although direct would be nice...then again, most of the authorized dealers would end up out of business.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for both of the replies.

My next question would then be this one (and it is a doozy):

Is there a consensus opinion on here as to which Airstream dealer in America is considered to be the #1 dealer from which to purchase a brand new Airstream?

(Potentially opening a can of worms here, I know, but my wife and I would be willing to travel almost any distance to get the best new Airstream possible).

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Authorized dealers only. Although direct would be nice...then again, most of the authorized dealers would end up out of business.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:21 AM   #5
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I couldn't be more happy with our local dealer, and he's also an Airstreamer. The dealer is Roger Williams Airstream in Weatherford, Texas, the manager is David Tidmore, he is dtbw on this forum. He has been written up in the last issue of Airstream Life and on the Airstream Life "Tour of America" blog. He's one of five "Airstream Only" dealers in the nation. The customer service and attention to detail is top notch. We recently bought a 25' International from him, took delivery last Wed.. He also has done work on our Caravel adding a/c, installing disk brakes and replacing some dented panels. They had our 25' in the make ready bay for a full week checking every system, cleaning, waxing etc. The rig has been performed flawlessly. I'd recommend giving him a call at 817-596-0050; his knowledge of Airstream is impressive.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:23 AM   #6
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I think everyone has an opinion....

so mine would be George Sutton RV in Eugene OR. While I did not buy new, I have had great part service from them.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:28 AM   #7
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Thanks for your reply. George Sutton RV is actually on my list already (and is close to my home in Seattle).

FYI: our local dealer is Great American RV in Fife, Washington. I don't want to start "bad mouthing" any dealers in this thread, but have to honestly say that I just was not impressed with the quality of the Airstreams that I looked at in the Great American RV lot (hence our reason for wanting to purchase elsewhere).

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so mine would be George Sutton RV in Eugene OR. While I did not buy new, I have had great part service from them.
Marc
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:37 AM   #8
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Well the quality is another story. There has been a lot of talk about the subject on this forum. The coaches arrive at the dealer in less than presentable shape, often times with major problems. Hence the importance of a dealer with an eye for detail and well versed in the practices of the Airstream factory.

When they were making ours ready he found the skylights and fantastic fans leaked, the water heater wouldn't light, there was something wrong with the grey water tank, the fridge wouldn't light on propane, bulbs out. Not to mention it was littered with aluminum shavings and construction debris. I hope it holds up, if not we'll gut it and do a custom interior.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:46 AM   #9
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62 Overlander:

Thanks for your reply.

It is after hearing stories like the one you relate below and from others here on this forum that prompted me to ask the original questions in this thread. My thinking was that if we could purchase directly from the factory, we might avoid a lot of "nickle and diming" while trying to iron out the kinks.

The Airstreams that we viewed at our local dealer all had obvious flaws in them; quite a few were very dirty inside and did not seem to have been cared for on the lot, all of which left us thinking that there might be too many "unseen" problems with mechanical/electrical devices as well.

We are hoping to learn which dealer consistently has the best quality of trailer and whose attention to detail might minimize our chances of having to work out too many bugs while on the road. (Our game plan is essentially to pick up our new Airstream from the dealer and then start to travel. Naturally, we would like to buy the best trailer with the least amount of bugs to iron out and have anything that is obviously defective repaired before hauling the trailer away. I sincerely hope that we aren't sounding way too naive about that particular aspect of our plan and by posting this here, hoped to hear from other buyers/owners about the best dealer around).

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Originally Posted by 62 Overlander
Well the quality is another story. There has been a lot of talk about the subject on this forum. The coaches arrive at the dealer in less than presentable shape, often times with major problems. Hence the importance of a dealer with an eye for detail and well versed in the practices of the Airstream factory.

When they were making ours ready he found the skylights and fantastic fans leaked, the water heater wouldn't light, there was something wrong with the grey water tank, the fridge wouldn't light on propane, bulbs out. Not to mention it was littered with aluminum shavings and construction debris. I hope it holds up, if not we'll gut it and do a custom interior.
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plotrow
Thanks for both of the replies.

My next question would then be this one (and it is a doozy):

Is there a consensus opinion on here as to which Airstream dealer in America is considered to be the #1 dealer from which to purchase a brand new Airstream?

(Potentially opening a can of worms here, I know, but my wife and I would be willing to travel almost any distance to get the best new Airstream possible).
My vote would be my local dealer, Bill Thomas Camper Sales in Wentzville Mo. Has one of the best prep guys in the business (he's even gone up to JC to explain to them the stuff he has to fix). He has about 8 full hookup sites and you stay there with your new trailer. You don't begin to do any paper work until the trailer is at your statisfaction level. Good folk there. He takes care of his customers. You will find a chilled bottle of bubbly in the fridge waiting for you. PM me and I'll be happy to give you further details as to who to talk to.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:25 PM   #11
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No you certainly don't sound naive. I'd call it very thoughtful. These things cost a lot of money and there could be nothing worse than to spend that amount of money then not be able to use it because of poor workmanship or attention to detail.

Ours looked like crap in the inside (well I had seen some that were worse) but I have confidence in it only because I know the dealer (and he is an electrical engineer by training and I know how those guys are about details) would go through, make sure everything was right and see to it that it was right when it rolled off the lot. Whether it stays right or not will be up to the test of time.

When I picked it up, the lp gas tanks were full, the water tank full all it needed was our personal belongings. We took it on two trips, leaving 2 hours after we picked it up. Now it's back home with us and we've actually been going up to it at bedtime, sleeping in it, waking up, having coffee, then going back down to the house to get ready and go to work. Then we leave one week from tomorrow for Taylor Reservoir in Colorado for a week with Tin Hut, the dealer ,dtbw, and a couple of other Airstreamers.I can't wait!
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:48 PM   #12
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Curt.

We bought ours from Paul Sherry in Piqua, Ohio. The dealership is a short distance from Jackson Center which is convenient if there are any serious problems. There were not with our AS to speak of. Our sales person has since left, and it has been over two years, so I don't know what they are like now.

I do agree with Jack that Bill Thomas seemed like an all around decent dealership and very friendly. One person (Mac?) was real pleasant to deal with, even AFTER we got our unit from PS. Being the penny pincher that I am, we had to go with Paul Sherry, but I would certainly entertain Bill Thomas once we decide to go with our 25' or 23' SE

Good luck.

Jonathan
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Old 06-23-2006, 12:57 PM   #13
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Oh Yeah...

I forgot about the Spokane Dealer (who is actually a member here online). Karen (I think that's her name) gave our recent forums ralley lots of good freebies (which she really didn't have to do). She seems attentive enough. Their website looks promising, but again, I haven't had the opportunity to buy anything from them. Their service department looks good too.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:12 PM   #14
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Consider a vintage Airstream?

Seriously- People who have a higher quality standard than ThorStream are in business to handle clients that you sound like you are- demanding and expecting a quality trailer.

My argument would be for these guys to take whatever size you desire- source a restorable trailer in the dry southwest, restore it to a desired level, and you'll probably be ahead of the game in money.

I know that Craig Dorsey does well- but has high $ clients. On the east coast there is GSM( gsmvehicles.com ) and Trailerworks ( .biz ) and I would recommend both for what you're looking for. They know axles/brakes so you get new running gear, and they can make the interior whatever you want, in any finish, and the windows, gaskets, etc- are all re-done with quality parts- most available from Vintage Trailer Supply- who is across the lake from GSM.

Trailerworks- Eric, had a great 1946 Spartan Manor he was selling for about $35K- I'd take that over a warranty-ridden ThorStream anyday. There were things I'd do differently, but I didn't order it, so it was done the way he spec'd it. Thats another advantage- you get YOUR taste represented, not the in-house version of whatever pattern-picker resides in Jackson Center Ohio.

You can also try Iowa Boys in LA, and Vince Martinico in Auburn- he has a list of guys who have re-done them and are selling, and he does some restorations himself. FunkyJunk Farms has a guy there too- but I forgot his name- have it written down- also a fantastic quality restorer, but very busy.

Good luck- whichever way you decide to go...
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