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Old 09-20-2019, 10:35 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
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Late 70's original and functional, a unicorn?

I periodically look at classifieds to see what people are asking for a trailer like mine, but rarely find anything to compare it to.

Most Airstreams in my vintage are gutted shells of failed projects, trailers that have been abandoned for years and while mostly intact the seller knows nothing about the condition of appliances, etc. Then sometimes you have one that has been completely redone inside to someone's personal tastes.

My trailer is neither restored nor perfect, but still looks good and is mostly original inside and out. The previous owners seemed to have taken good care of it. In the fifteen years I've owned it, when I've found leaks I've sealed them, and when things broke I repaired them or replaced them with something that looked original to the casual observer.

Are there many trailers like mine out there or do I own a rare unicorn? I've posted a few photos. While I have no plans to sell, if anyone has a realistic suggested asking price, I would like to know.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:43 AM   #2
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Nice
Good to see the old ones taken care of.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:44 AM   #3
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Christopher,

The old "What's it worth?".

Though can't tell from the photo's, Axles Replaced? Clear Coat condition? Strip/Polished? Tire age?

These items alone can add to or take away from the value of a trailer. If the answers to the above questions are "No new axles, Original with areas that have failed, never stripped/polished", I'd say in the 10-12K area, maybe more to the right person looking for that model of trailer on the west coast. If it's got new axles, been stripped/polished and all systems work, 20-25K, maybe more to the right person/coast.

I have a 1966 Overlander that's the same way. All Original (even soft goods), but has new axles/stripped/polished. I wouldn't take less than 25K even on a bad day just because it's the most original 1966 Overlander I've seen in 20 years. When you look at the trailer and the 1966 sales brochure, they look identical.

Good Luck,
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:16 PM   #4
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I replaced the axles about nine years ago.

The clear coat is the original, gone from the roof, and peeled in blotches where the roof curves into the tops of the walls.

Never stripped and polished, and no intentions to do so.

Some minor dings and scratches but no cringe-worthy dents. Some signs of stress on the skin if you know where to look, from when the previous axles were bottoming out.
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:32 PM   #5
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Ultimately, of course, the trailer is worth exactly what someone else agrees to pay, and what you agree to accept.

I am reminded of PBS's Antique Roadshow, and my constant advice to mom, just because someone once paid that amount for item x, does not mean that item x is worth that; who knows, it could be the ONE person who wanted that item was willing to pay that amount at an auction, but no one else would.

Conversely, if you have a great trailer currently in the south or midwest, it will simply not command the price you could fetch if it were on the west coast. (kind of like housing in that regard -- do you have any clue what a basic 3 bdrm ranch would fetch in San Fran?!?)
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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Good point Skyguy. At the risk of getting off topic, I know that SF house will be at least 1 mil.

It seems that whenever I want to sell, if I want top dollar, first I should polish it to a mirror finish, then tow it to the west coast and put a For Sale sign on it.
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:24 AM   #7
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Very Nice

We too like old Our 2004 Int'l 25 was was built Sept 2003 looks like new and we will keep it that way...
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Old 09-21-2019, 10:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blickcd View Post
I periodically look at classifieds to see what people are asking for a trailer like mine, but rarely find anything to compare it to.

<snip>

Are there many trailers like mine out there or do I own a rare unicorn?
I know amongst our vintage trailer friends - we are pretty well connected or know who is. We know somebody "who's looking for what we have" or have been told "if you ever decide to sell yours..." - so we don't list them in the classified ads unless we have exhausted those leads first. We've bought & sold trailers this way...

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Old 09-21-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
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I would say that the short answer is "yes, you do have a unicorn."

The difficult thing is that your potential buyer, the person who wants to go camping tomorrow in a vintage trailer, wants it to look original, doesn't have any fantasies about "making it his own," and would pay a premium over all those other "field finds" out there is also a unicorn.

The strategy for price comparison that I would use is to look at trailers that are functionally similar to yours, that have had some work done to keep them going, but are not complete rebuilds or works of art (but similarly, are no longer "original"). I see stuff like that come up from time to time on Craigslist, and it seems that the price-point is usually around $12-14k.

good luck!
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Old 09-21-2019, 10:13 PM   #10
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For vintage value I would contact: Jim Polk, the top Airstream appaiser in the country. He appraises custom and stock vintage Airstreams. Online at Polk apprisals inc. Very reasonably priced and you can get agreed value insurance. <japolk@jps.net> He will probably have you send pictures and a list of improvements. He is reasonable and most insurance companies know or use his appraisals. I have been well pleased with his service and industry reputation.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
I would say that the short answer is "yes, you do have a unicorn."

The difficult thing is that your potential buyer, the person who wants to go camping tomorrow in a vintage trailer, wants it to look original, doesn't have any fantasies about "making it his own," and would pay a premium over all those other "field finds" out there is also a unicorn.

The strategy for price comparison that I would use is to look at trailers that are functionally similar to yours, that have had some work done to keep them going, but are not complete rebuilds or works of art (but similarly, are no longer "original"). I see stuff like that come up from time to time on Craigslist, and it seems that the price-point is usually around $12-14k.

good luck!
As a person who in currently shopping for this type of camper, I’d say all of the above is true. I see a lot advertised that are ‘beyond repair’, and few that are ‘maybe’. My biggest fears are the things I can’t see, such as floor rot and wiring issues. When I first started looking, my goal was to do a complete rebuild, but now I’m looking for something solid that will last us ten years but not break the bank. I’m okay if I have to put money into it, I just don’t want to be misled about condition and have to do major repairs. Right now, the search feels impossible.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:37 PM   #12
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In our humble opinion, we would say that unless your unit is a documented, low production model or one owned by a famous person, $13k to $15k would be a decent sale price. The 70s-80s models, while "vintage", don't seem to be appreciated as much as earlier or newer models insofar as selling price, especially if not upgraded (axles, clear coat or polished). We bought our 1989 31' Excella 5 years ago for $13.5k, it is a solid trailer and have camped in it from day 1!! However, we have put $7k-$8k into upgrades (axles, 16" rims, 3"lift kit, a/c, etc.), but it is nothing special to anyone but us and $15k would be a fair asking price if we were going to sell it today. Hope this helps, good luck and safe travels!!
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:13 AM   #13
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I appreciate the replies so far.

Sterlinghick, if it is any encouragement, my trailer is proof that older ones in good and functional condition do exist.
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:51 PM   #14
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Vintage 73 Airstream

Have an all original '73 Ambassador 29', polished, everything works down to the 8 track. Appraised at over $35,000. Purchased in New Mexico, no rust and a real conversation piece when we take it out. Not for sale just too much fun.

They are out there but hard to find and expect to pay a premium. Your pics look great - one of the rare ones.
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