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Old 02-03-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
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1961 28' Ambassador
1975 31' Excella 500
Bladensburg , Ohio
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Thinking of selling my '61 Ambassador --- ADVICE SOUGHT AFTER

Hello. I need your help, or at least your opinion plesae.

I have a 1961 Airstream Ambassador Twin. It is in 'As Found' condition - the heater, stove, water heater, water pump, and tub are missing. There are two floor areas that are showing some signs of rot. I did put in a water pump and it works... but there's one small leak I haven't fixed yet on the inside. No external leaks that I could see.

The brakes and hubs and bearings have been re-lubricated and re-packed. The brakes work I'm told, but the PO cut the line for some odd reason, so I only have a 4-pole connector and the state mandates a 7-pole I believe.

There's 6 of us - and we are used to roughing it in a tent. I love Airstreams, Grandpa always had one, but I do NOT have the money to fix this up. I just don't have the money to fix her up... the most I could afford to put in her is about $1,000 - $1,500.

I figure in my area I can probably get about $2K out of her - I've already had several say to tell them if I ever want to sell. I can buy a nice used pop-up for between $3-5K.

What would you do if you were me? Hold & Fix or Sell.

Your advice appreciated. I really love the AS, but I want to be practical too.
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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1961 28' Ambassador
1975 31' Excella 500
Bladensburg , Ohio
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Attached are some pics.
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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Nice older trailer for "as found"

$1500 won't get the job done

There are cheaper ways to camp.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:20 PM   #4
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Assuming the running gear is in good shape - if I remember 61 has springs - it doesn't leak - fairly solid trailer from what I can see - why don't you just buy some foam for beds, and a few other items and just use it - if you are going to buy a pop up you could probably have the amenities that the pop up would have - then sometime down the road you can add stuff as you can afford it - do you have a vehicle that will tow it? Enclosed trailer is much more comfortable than an open pop up....

Belieive me I understand the overwhelming thoughts when you first buy an old trailer - just take it one small step at a time - I don't think you will regret it..

I think for 1,000/1,500 you could make it a very useable trailer - assuming its in as good of shape as I can tell from the pics

Just some thoughts......
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:27 PM   #5
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1961 28' Ambassador
1975 31' Excella 500
Bladensburg , Ohio
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Thanks for the replies. It is SOLID... just needs some things fixed before I want to tow it anywhere. Really could use tires, I see dry-rot. Brakes and brakeaway cable are also a must.

I agree, we're used to tent-camping so foam and we'll be good inside. We cook outside on wood fires anyhow. My buddy has an extra F150 we use when we go camping together.

Thanks KenJ! Appreciate the feedback.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:40 PM   #6
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I say keep it....once its gone you will be sorry. Its hard to borrow a truck when you want to go somewhere though. My 63 Ambassador is one of the best things I ever bought.
As long as your running gear is up to par and the brakes are good, you can't compare it to a pop-up.
Good luck....
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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61 - If Ken J thinks $1,500 would make your AS functional, I'd take that advise to the bank - he knows his stuff. You say you are willing to spend up to $5,000 for a pop-up. Invest 1/2 of that in your AS, make a 1/2 ton truck your next family vehicle, own a trailer you can make family memories with & still have something of real value to give the kids in 20 years. Think on it - where will that pop up be in 20 years?
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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Out of the Box

I recently bought a late model AS, but it was a long time coming. Previously, out of necessity, I have rebuilt used camp trailers and I have owned a slide-in camper.

There have been times, especially when we were first starting out, that I could only dream about having your AS. My colleague in life and I have had several different campers, all old, most were funky if not junky. At any time I would have loved to have had the AS that's in your driveway. I'm for re-thinking the idea of selling your AS, its a great little camper.

True, it would be nice to have one of the new or remodeled AS dream ships. Some of the people on the forum have done some out of the box reconfigurations that, for my money, are better than new. But, you don't need to blow your wad on remodeling your AS, certainly not at this point in time.

Tent campers can be nice but they are what they are. In my mind, what you have is way more than a tent camper, not even in the same league. Cobble together some interior adjustments that will work for now and get out there and enjoy.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:57 PM   #9
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The advise I give my sons, is to sell all the toys, get another job and get all the way out of debt. Then save up for emergencies, start a retirement fund, and save up for education of the children. If they still have extra energy, I tell em to get another job and do the above quicker. If they like camping, I tell em to get a job managing a campground.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 61Ambassador View Post
Attached are some pics.
That is a nice, clean looking, trailer. Pictures can't tell us the smell. Some of these old trailers have a pretty nasty stench after sitting around for so many years, but it sure looks clean and dry. If you can avoid tearing it apart to repair floor rot (that is a very slippery slope that many of us have fallen down), I'd be inclined to keep it and camp in it for a least a season before deciding whether to sell. If you are willing to camp without a stove and water heater, just fixing the brakes and getting new tires should be well within your budget. If it doesn't suit your needs, sell it next year. Otherwise, you can slowly pick up replacement parts like the tub, water heater and stove.

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Old 02-03-2011, 04:12 PM   #11
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1961 28' Ambassador
1975 31' Excella 500
Bladensburg , Ohio
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See, this is why I want to keep it... great folks! I REALLY appreciate the advice.

I am going to keep it and fix the brakes, have a breakaway cable attached, and she'll be ready to camp in.

I agree for the money I can have the same amenities as a pop-up (plus a working toilet) for only $1000 - 1500. I'd be crazy to sell.

Thanks for the help folks!

I will stick with it and make it work! Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:49 PM   #12
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61,

I would suggest getting in touch with "Shacksman" here on the forums(can be found on the class ads). My guess, he could do a bunch for you at a good price. I had him go through a trailer for me (after using it for 6 years) and did a great job!

Tell him Paul sent you.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:39 AM   #13
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Whitsend - thank you for the kind words - of course all the advice is qualified because we have not seen the trailer - - - - -

So budgetwise - you'll spend about $550 or so on tires - get the maxxis - brakes are pretty easy to do your self - maybe $100 - breakaway switches are about $25 - and the dry rot - hopefully you can't see through the floor - if so buy some penetrating epoxy and that floor will be solid as a rock until you can get around to replacing sections - that is if you really need to after putting the epoxy on - if the floor is just soft, it should work - so maybe $100 bucks there - at this point you are under $800 - which leaves $200 - $700 for other little odds and ends and you should have a very usable trailer - the smell mentioned above is just the sweet smell of an old trailer -) - after you air it out and use it over the summer you probably won't notices - kinda like living next to railroad tracks.....

For the first 10 years or so of our camping life we had a pop up and they are great - had a blast with it and the kids really enjoyed it - so not a bad option either - packing it up in rain storms got old though...

So let us know how we can help - we are a bunch of armchair Airstream restorers - think of us as your cousin Vinni sitting there with beer in hand in an easy chair watching you do all the work.... We enjoy giving all kinds of advice - some of it may even be good......

Ken J.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:54 AM   #14
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Ken is being far too modest-- if you want to see what you can do with a smelly old trailer, I suggest you read his thread here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ion-12320.html

Many good ideas and lots of inspiration in Ken's thread, and at only 8 pages, it's one of the shortest of the major renovations threads.

Another inspiring one with tons of great ideas is Uwe's thread about his 63 Overlander:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ler-11687.html

But they did full restorations/renovations, you don't have to tackle that if you don't want to.

Good luck!
-Marcus
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