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Old 10-20-2015, 02:41 PM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
Richmond , Virginia
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Plea$e Help - did you buy/$ell a restored trailer?

We spent a ridiculous amount of effort to keep ours original, but bring it all up to date with new gray and black tanks, water heater, much much more and about $12,000 worth of other materials.

I sat in the trailer this morning, and realized that it still almost looks like the day we got it. It was a real time capsule. You look down the hall and it's a lot cleaner, and the floor is no longer plywood, and I'm sitting on NOS vintage upholstery, but it looks like a new 60's trailer off the showroom floor. All the zolatone is intact and cleaned and touched up professionally where needed. Nothing is cracked or broken. All the parts are there and have been restored. The floor is 9" tile. All the trim and plastic and everything is still there. The only difference is a little heat pump control, and a little hot water tank control. Everything else looks 1960.

I've heard that a really good restoration is very hard to find. I think I created one. I'm dying to enter it into a contest somewhere. From what I heard on the VAP, those guys said my trailer is worth $50k.

Anyway, how much did you buy/sell your vintage restored trailer for?

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Old 10-20-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Sorry to rain on your parade. I think 50K would be way high. Not that it is not worth it but it is a limited market. You may be able to get 25, but maybe you will luck out. I would contact James Polk of Polk Associates. (805) 646 7293 who is a professional appraiser and familiar with vintage Airstreams he might be able to help you out.

Check out Vintage Airstream They have a table. Looks like 17K would be top end.

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Old 10-20-2015, 04:00 PM   #3
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1971 31' Sovereign
Indian Wells , California
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Those prices were written in June 2010. Just sayin' they probably different now.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:42 AM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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When the VAP guys said that a professional restoration would cost upwards of $50k, I believe it was in the context of "If you brought your old vintage trailer to a professional restorer, collaborated on fully custom work and upgrades to modern statndards, they would charge you around $50k." You could easily say that this is what you have done, with you as the amateur/professional restorer, and yourself as the customer, and the labor costs unaccounted for.

What they don't touch upon is what someone else would be willing to pay for a fully restored trailer a year later. This is where you have to find someone who is a "museum quality" vintage trailer enthusiast, who not only appreciates your attention to detail but also appreciates the value of the work you have done so far. This customer is hard to find. I see post after post from newbie owners that think they can take their $2000 40 year old wreck to "rennovated" condition in 3 months for under $10k and go live full time.

Now, for price comparisons, Smokelessjoe completely rennovated an Argosy, bought a flat bed sprinter as a tow vehicle and a matching Mini Cooper to ride on the flat bed. He detailed his whole rennovation on his thread (below), and finally ended up selling the whole shbang at the end. In post #720, he offered to sell the trailer only for $47k, and eventually sold the whole lot, though I don't think the sale price was posted.

good luck!
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:39 PM   #5
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1990 29' Excella
Stone Mountain , Georgia
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It is easy to take an older AS and renovate it, and in the process sneak in some improvements, and get a considerable amount of money tied up in the process. You finish and it looks terrific, and is fun to pull everywhere, and fun to be in. That is part of the value that you get. It is easy to get more money into your AS than you can recover, so just be aware of that, but don't let it ruin the experience.

If you want to protect your investment, get a certified appraisal from a recognized appraisal group like IVAN, who are expert in older Airstreams. Then go and buy an AGREED VALUE policy for the amount of the appraisal. The appraisal itself will cost you between $200-300 but is well worth it and essential. Some Good Sam insurers can offer AGREED VALUE and I bought a policy from Nationwide. I think Progressive might have it as well. Most insurers, like my State Farm agent, DON'T. Agreed Value isn't much more expensive, and you will get what your AS is actually worth, maybe less than you hoped, but a realistic documentable value. Otherwise they will depreciate it as if it were an old car, or SOB and its value will be about the aluminum scrap value. Protect yourself now that you've got serious money in it.

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Old 10-24-2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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1968 24' Tradewind
San Jose , California
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We sold our 68 Tradewind last month for $19,900 which was asking price. The first person to look at it bought it which may indicate we had it priced a bit too low. On the other hand, my experience is that after anything is on the market over two to three weeks inquiries drop off dramatically.

Your question asking what your trailer is "worth" indicates you are not thinking of selling it but want to know market value. My research before putting the trailer on the market indicated it could sell for $15,000 to $25,000 so we listed it at the mid point. Your trailer may in better shape than ours was but that may not impact market value that much. Vintage Airstreams are in demand currently but the buyers are not the same as collectors of vintage cars. I'm involved in that hobby as well and know authenticity and provenance add value in the vintage car market. My opinion is this is not true for vintage Airstreams. People don't collect old trailers like they do old cars.

I was surprised to find virtually everyone that responded to our ads was planning on using the trailer for an office, guest room or other non-camping function. Appearance items such as exterior and interior finish, condition of upholstery and cabinets etc. are important to these buyers. Stove and other appliances come after that. Even though our trailer had new axles and tires I don't think they had any value for the buyer or other prospective buyers. The market value of these trailers is more related to the current cost of adding a guest room, office or whatever than anything else.

I am located in California which may have different market factors in play than in other parts of the country.

The bottom line is: Enjoy your trailer while you own it. What it is worth will depend on when and where you put in on the market and what someone is willing to pay for it at that time and place.
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Old 10-24-2015, 06:53 PM   #7
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billings , Montana
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When restoring a model A ford coupe ,you can spend $30-$50000, and still have a $17000 car, almost get your parts money back and nothing for labor....
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:00 PM   #8
Tom T
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Orange , California
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Best defense - insurance claim-wise - is a good professional appraisal by an appraiser who knows vintage trailers values well.

That said, vintage trailers aren't in the same value class as some classic cars, so you can easily get underwater with an expensive & "correct" resto - just with the "wrong car" (e.g.: a Pinto vs a Mustang).

We bought our 1960 Avion T20 (`61 MY) in June/July 2012 as a mostly correct OE semi-resto-mod/updated systems for $12k & had an opinion of value by the pro restorer who did our PPI at $18k for insurance purposes.

It's also the #2 T20 off the line, but that & $2.50 will get me a cup of coffee!

Get the appraisal to protect your time & $$ investment!

Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:24 PM   #9
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1963 26' Overlander
Hollis , New Hampshire
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Restored trailers with updated systems go routinely at $25,000. Would I buy one? Maybe....if you could prove the frame was sound and electrical had been completely redone. I know what the electrical looked like in my 63 Overlander and it was a nightmare. If your Zolatone is original, then I'm assuming this trailer wasn't gutted?

Robwok, I think you should reconsider selling, IMO opinion this will never make money for you.

Only way trailers are going to demand a premium price ( $50,000+) is if they were completely restored by a reputable shop ( new everything not refurbished) , or something truly special an unusual like an " Around the World" trailer.... The smaller the better and Overlanders don't make the grade.

I am totally sympathetic, even though I have no intention of selling , I already know I have way more into my trailer ( NOT including labor ) then it would ever be worth.

Ps I second the recommendation to contact James Polk. He certainly could do an appraisal that would prove to potential buyers the current market value.
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Old 10-25-2015, 04:23 PM   #10
Tom T
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Orange , California
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I 3rd for James Polk, since he was recco'ed to do an "official appraisal" by Uwe Salwender of Area 63 AS restorer who did our PPI & OVR (his is an opinion of value report, since he's not a licensed appraiser, but AAA accepted his for Agreed Value at the $18,000 noted above).

Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner)
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:52 AM   #11
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1964 26' Overlander
Richmond , Virginia
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Polk is in California, and I'm in Richmond. That may be hard to get him...

I appreciate all the feedback. you guys are great!

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