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Old 03-22-2004, 09:44 AM   #1
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Price on vintage AS's soaring?

The widespred press given to Airstreams in the past year seems to have had a major impact on the price of old AS's.
This is probably a good thing for the vintage market but it sure takes the fun out of scavenging for bargains for an AS treasure hunter like myself.
I have bought abandoned AS's for as little as $150.
Now I see threads such as where a guy was seriously considering purchase of a gutted and abused '57 Overlander for $5200. I also see classifieds advertising a $100 finders fee for a lead to any AS bargain.
When I picked my Caravel up in Pittsburgh last July, I spotted an old neglected Safari in an overgrown field way off the beaten path. I of course stopped to ask the owner if it might be for sale. The reply was short and not so sweet....."NO!".
Word of the value of old AS's seems to have spread throughout the land. Refurbishing old AS trailers is my pride and passion, but it seems as though everyone and his/her brother has jumped on the bandwagon.
Is the well going dry? Is Airstream ownership becoming a pleasure which is available only to those with deep pockets?
Sometimes I almost wish Al Gore hadn't invented the internet.

Rog
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:01 AM   #2
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Those pesky Democrats...always taking credit for something....by the way, I suppose the Republicans namely G.W. Bush must be wrong about the economy and the Democrats right since there seems to be quite a bit of "disposable" income being spent on big ticket items such as Airstreams......

Seriously though, it would make sense. I mean the cost of the new units goes up, making a like increase in the vintage also possible since they would be inline with how it was before the price increases for the new units...making the vintage units a proportionate value depending on condition.
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:42 AM   #3
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The classic car market had a similar bubble in the 80s-90s. I was wanting a classic mustang at the time, and somehow they went from cool old cars high-school students drove, to collectables that were getting traded at rediculously high prices by adults with real jobs. However, eventually the bubble burst, and then it went through a painful period where everyone was asking too much for their 'investment cars', and being sorely dissapointed because basically the kind of person who wants a project mustang typically doesn't have a big bank account. Now it seems to have come back to reality and I see project cars evey day at what I consider reasonable prices (for something that's going to need thousands of dollars dumped into it to make it a nice car).

I wouldn't be surprised to see airstreams go through a similar process as the glamor of buying an old airstream fades into the reality of fixing it up.

But as for the market being picked clean, I agree with that. I've also seen people asking thousands for trailers that were going to take so much work I wouldn't want to drag them home. But as long as there's someone to take the bait, it will continue. There's a 24' argosy parked down the street from me right now, and no one's bit at the $2600 price tag yet, but maybe the guy will get lucky. I wouldn't give them a grand for it myself, I can see all the work it needs.
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:57 AM   #4
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Good point Steph

But they didn't build Mustangs for nearly 70 years. We've all seen the claim "60% of all Airstreams ever built are still in service today". How many were built? Where are the other 40%?
Anybody.....anybody.....Bueller?.....Bueller?

Rog
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:00 AM   #5
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Like the economy, it's cyclical...goes up, comes down, goes back up comes back down...it's all in the timing.

Not that I'm an econ major or anything, heck I need a calculator to add 1+1 sometimes.
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
How many were built? Where are the other 40%?
The factory says about 75,000 are still "on the road". This is an estimate based on DMV registrations, repair records, parts sales, etc. Keep in mind it might include a few which are legally registered with the DMV but rotting in a field.

Let's assume it's fairly accurate. That means about 125,000 were built over the past 70 years.

The other 40%, well, they are rotting in fields, in scrapyards, etc. That's where the original vintage parts come from!

It's clear that Airstreams are not rare. They are "desirable" and that's what is driving the price. So Stef is probably right: an unreasonable increase in the price can only be a bubble, except for a handful of exceptional units (very rare models or extremely customized ones).

As to the economy being a factor, I don't think so. Only a few hundredths of a percent of the US population owns an Airstream. Perhaps a few tens of thousands own a vintage unit -- out of well over two hundred million population in this country. A general rise or fall in the economy will still leave plenty of people who can afford to buy and restore a vintage unit.

Fashion, nostalgia, and other cultural factors play a much larger role. Airstreams are being re-appreciated for their "cool" factor right now.

The state of the economy does affect how many people can buy *new* units, but that's a whole 'nother story.
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:21 AM   #7
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Ty for the info Airstream Life

Well I think that the pity of it is that many unscrupulous folks are cashing in on the current vintage AS feeding frenzy and selling substandard craftmanship, such as the guy who wants $15k for the old Sovereign with the megaton Onan generator on the bumper, but I think by and large that most vintage buyers are conscientious folks who really appreciate the quality and integrity of old Airstreams and treat them like the works of art that they are.

Rog
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:56 AM   #8
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One other thing, I used to read the VAC classifieds every day, but I kind of got out of the habit because it seems like all the new ads anymore are wanted ads. It does seem like everyone's looking for an AS lately...
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Old 03-22-2004, 12:19 PM   #9
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Exactly my point Steph

And I gotta believe that most of those wanted ads are from folks looking to make a fast profit from an unsuspecting or uneducated buyer.
Thank goodness for this forum but we are few and the crooks are many.
I have bought and sold 5 Airstreams in the past 2 years. Yes I made some profit but that pales in comparison to the satisfaction I got from converting old and broken trailers into roadworthy vehicles. All are safely back into use today.
I just spent $405 in having my Caravel totally inspected by an RV dealer and it passed with flying colors. I don't think you can put a price on your own peace of mind in towing a travel trailer, or the safety of other travelers.
Beware those "Wally Gyam mint condition" ads you see.

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Old 03-22-2004, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Airstream Life

The state of the economy does affect how many people can buy *new* units, but that's a whole 'nother story.
Kind of where I was going with the state of the economy comment. Fact is that Thor (parent company of Airstream and several other brands for those that don't know) has added another 660 people to it's payroll to keep up with new demand.
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Old 03-22-2004, 01:55 PM   #11
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Re: economy

dontcha just really get tired of hearing certain politicians tell us how good the economy is when you look in your billfold to see if you have enough to buy a big mac for lunch?

Rog
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Old 03-22-2004, 02:10 PM   #12
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Re: Re: economy

Quote:
Originally posted by Rog0525
dontcha just really get tired of hearing certain politicians tell us how good the economy is when you look in your billfold to see if you have enough to buy a big mac for lunch?

Rog
I hear ya...and the they aren't as bad for you as people say!

http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/03/19...eut/index.html
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Old 03-22-2004, 02:26 PM   #13
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Well that isn't enough to stop parents from sueing Mickey Dee because their kids are fat.
Maybe I should sue Ebay for advertising tantalizing Airstreams I can't afford. Maybe I should sue Airstream for building addictive RV's. Maybe I should stop posting and go work on my Caravel.

Rog
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Old 03-22-2004, 05:58 PM   #14
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As the baby boomers hit retirement more and more retirees will want to travel, so that is why I think Airstream prices will remain strong. IMHO.
Dick
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