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Old 06-29-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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Vintage restored or new? Which is worth more?

Looking for advice and/or experience in this area...I am looking for my first Airstream, but cannot decide if I should find an older Airstream for cheap and have it restores and customized the way I want, or locate a new or newish model.

I would go with a new one, but the prices are a bit steep. And I can't seem to find one that has exactly what I want. So, that has led me to locating and restoring an older (late 70s) model.

Here is my questions with the Vintage: Will the re-sale value be worth the money I put into it? Do lenders/banks finance this type of restoration?
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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RV's are NOT Investments!

Don't care whether it's an Airstream or not.... they lose money. Not like a yacht, but they lose money.

OK, GENTLY used is probably the least expensive to do.

Finding a bank to invest in restoring an Airstream - no problem: If you've got $1,000,000 on deposit I'm sure they'd lend you $50,000. Banking after the Gotterdammerung... gotta love it.

1970's units are fourty years old. They will need new everything - axles, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters, possibly a new refrigerator - and some work on the frame, floor, propane lines and plumbing. And then there is the interior. Your mama doesn't have 40 year old drapes in her living room. Consider foam and fabric replacement.

Most people who sell restored vintage get back $.50 for every $1.00 invested. Oh... and that doesn't include the owner's labor.

Get a five year old unit and most of that stuff still has 5 to 20 years life left in it. I know a guy who has a 2002 31' Classic for sale for $35K. Camp in it tomorrow.

Paula
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
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Another key word in your question was "or have it restored or customized the way I want." If you are not able to do some of the refurbishing yourself, the price goes up. Many owners here enjoy "tinkering" with the trailers and trailer systems. Either way, camp now or camp later. The same goes for the restoration or buying ready to use. Pay upfront for one ready to use, or pay as you go and camp while you refurbish. Have fun.....
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:36 PM   #4
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If you plan on having the work done for you, it's much cheaper to get a new trailer.
I picked up an old 72 Safari for $3000.00 and had it on the road after only about $1500.00 of work. (I did all the work, that was the cost of parts only) We continued to improve the trailer and fix things up until the trailer was distroyed by vandals. If I had been able to finish all the planed work I would have had about $15,000.00 in the trailer by the time it was done.
We replaced the trailer this years with a one year old Safari Sport for $16,000.00. It needs nothing and is ready to go.
Shop around and you can find a good AS at a good price if you are patient. Probably the best deals are on nicely restored vintage trailers. These are hard to come by as most people will not part with their restored trailer unless they are forced to by hard times.
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:05 PM   #5
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We went with the restore/fix-up option. We bought a '72 in good condition and are slowly tweaking it's decor to our liking. For now it's useable to camp in, but we will continue to update/improve it's systems as the budget allows. These trailers are a labor of love/addiction for a lot of owners. We have already done a lot of work on our AS. Some regular maintainance (wheel bearrings, new window seals), other major work (new A/C unit, flooring, window treatments). We have many more planned for the future. It's not so much whether you are going to get a return on your money, as it is kind of like the money you put into it is a kin to rental fees for using it. We bought ours because we were tired of paying high motel/hotel costs while traveling. We hated having to lug all our belongings in and out of the rooms. Last summer was our first trip in our new to us AS, and it was the most enjoyable relaxing one we ever had.

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Old 06-29-2009, 04:31 PM   #6
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Traveling in your trailer means:
  • having a clean bathroom is only 20 feet away even in a traffic jam that hasn't moved for 45 minutes.
  • renting out your clean bathroom for $2 per shot in a traffic jam that hasn't moved for 45 minutes.
  • not having to pack 5 outfits you might need - and leaving one home that you DO need.
  • never having to sleep under another hotel "duvet" that has more "biologicals" than CSI could process in a week.
  • being able to avoid the same gawdawful "breakfast buffet" that every hotel serves.
  • knowing how the coffee maker works without having to think about it.
  • having a hospitality bar that doesn't charge you $9 for a bag of peanuts.
  • being able to have tea that is plain old Lipton's or Tetley's - not some gawdawful herbal stuff that tastes like hay (Chamomile!)
  • sleeping in your own bed every night and taking a nap during the day if you can find a big parking lot or a rest stop.
P.
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adwriter73 View Post
Here is my questions with the Vintage: Will the re-sale value be worth the money I put into it? Do lenders/banks finance this type of restoration?

I would suggest one not enter in to ownership with ROI (return on investment) in mind, as disappointment may well be the end result.

As others have stated, unless you are handy and plan to do much of the work yourself, be prepared to contribute substantial funds to acheive your goal.

Just my tcw. Above all we're glad you're looking into AS ownership, and you've joined us here.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Traveling in your trailer means:
  • having a clean bathroom is only 20 feet away even in a traffic jam that hasn't moved for 45 minutes.
  • renting out your clean bathroom for $2 per shot in a traffic jam that hasn't moved for 45 minutes.
  • not having to pack 5 outfits you might need - and leaving one home that you DO need.
  • never having to sleep under another hotel "duvet" that has more "biologicals" than CSI could process in a week.
  • being able to avoid the same gawdawful "breakfast buffet" that every hotel serves.
  • knowing how the coffee maker works without having to think about it.
  • having a hospitality bar that doesn't charge you $9 for a bag of peanuts.
  • being able to have tea that is plain old Lipton's or Tetley's - not some gawdawful herbal stuff that tastes like hay (Chamomile!)
  • sleeping in your own bed every night and taking a nap during the day if you can find a big parking lot or a rest stop.
P.


AMEN!


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Old 06-29-2009, 05:21 PM   #9
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I have to agree with what has already been said here. Restoring an Airstream will not give the average owner anywhere near what could be considered a reasonable return on investment in my opinion.

I bought my Overlander very gently used given it's age, with a great deal of recent work having gone into it's systems. I paid a premium for it.

Roughly two years have passed and I have been very careful to ensure that everything is perfectly maintained. I've also spent a rather large amount of money upgrading/replacing various things.

None of those things that have been upgraded/replaced are really all that visible. An Airstream lover might like the Inteli-Power 9200 with Charge Wizard that was installed last month but the average buyer would not give a rip, or even know what on earth it was.

Long story short, I figure that I could sell the trailer today for what I paid for it two years ago. All the upgrades and replacements I've done would have to be considered a complete loss if one was looking at it as a financial investment.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:08 PM   #10
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I also agree with the above posts. Airstreams have a funny way of costing around the same whether new or restored vintage. The difference lies in the timing of the cash outlay. One rarely gets the return on investments of time and money when reselling vintage, especially the older coaches. They really are a labor of love (and hard-earned money).

That being said, you will probably spend less time and money overall going with your plan to find a post mid-70s model that has been well maintained. Then you have a greater chance of spending less on major systems and more on custom features you want.

Good luck and I hope you find the perfect Airstream situation for you.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:19 PM   #11
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It's all been said above. The choice is yours. If you like dirt, grease, dust and grime, do it yourself. Everyone on the forum will offer advice and help, most good, some bad, but offer it they will. It really is fun to take a very used coach and turn it into something you will be proud of. We're on our third one. Never made a profit, but had fun.

Good luck with whatever you choose. And Happy Camping.

Marie
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:13 PM   #12
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If you need to borrow money used is probably the way to go since you can pay as you go.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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Lot's of great advice. Restoring old A/S is a huge labor of "love" and it eats time. Everything always seems to take 3x longer to do than you thought. I have metal and wood work skills, but I am forever amazed at how long it takes to do things. That said, if you pay someone else to take a rough older trailer to the really nice stage, you are talking about lots and lots of labor hours. If you would to go camping soon, buy as recommended earlier a "gently used" trailer you will come out much cheaper. I paid very little for my trailer, but is is rough. I'll have around 10K in it when finished and it will be really nice. Labor charge, zero. Sadly thing I would do well to get 6K if I had to sell.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:52 PM   #14
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I bought a well cared for vintage trailer, and spent the next 6 years slowly getting into reliable condition. Now I can grab it and go anytime, but I put a lot of work into getting it there. I never could have paid someone else to do all that work. Just the materials and the little bit I did hire out set me back about $6k. So if you can find one ready to use and then work on it as you go, I'd recommend it. But if you don't like to work on it yourself, you can either take one to a restorer along with a trailerload of cash, or buy a newer unit and just go camping!

As for getting your money back out of it? Well, I could get my money back out of mine, but the little trailers are very popular. The real question is why would you want to? Airstreams are the kind of thing you keep forever

What are you looking for in a trailer that you have been unable to find so far?
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