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Old 01-13-2009, 04:51 AM   #15
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60's vs. 70's vs. 80's

Another thing that went into my decision when buying my '64 Overlander in 1995 was floorplan. I looked at a huge number of coaches and never found one with anything other than a full-width rear bath the suited me. That automatically eliminated most (but not all) post 1985 Airstreams and a good number of the post 1980 Airstreams as well. You, too, may find that there will be one particular feature that helps to make your decision between 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by TexasAggie View Post
Hello all,
...24 feet or less, that sleeps 4 and doesn't need too much work for not very much money. We want to be able to camp in it right away. That's not too much to ask is it?

My question to all of you is what are the pros and cons of the various decades of trailers?
Hey there TexasAggie, I'm your neighbor to the north and an alumnus of the football powerhouse that is Baylor University.

I just bought my first a/s about 3 weeks ago after looking at them for years. What you want is ultimately what most of us middle class types want who are lusting after these silver beauties...champagne taste on a beer budget.

If you just want to go camping, you can probably find something that is alot newer and alot more functional than what you can afford/find in an airstream. I've been thinking about this alot lately and airstream trailers (I think) are a bit more form than function. ie.They are bit more difficult to repair and maintain from a functional standpoint (rivets and aluminum panels vs. sobs). Conversely they are beutiful and will hold their value better than any other travel trailer. But that debate is perhaps a whole other thread. You're looking for an airstream.

But your quote of "not very much money" is fairly relative. What isn't much money to one person on this forum may be alot to someone else etc... So here is my assesment of the current a/s market and a few things I learned/wish I'd known since buying mine.

less than $3000 gets you something in the 70s or 60s that is dented and has had no work done to it since the day it rolled off the production floor. These are the ones sitting in peoples fields waiting like puppies in a shelter to be rescued and resucitated. (Easy to find)

$3000-$5000 gets you something from the 70s that the owner will state is fully operational. These trailers may or may not have dents in them and the skins have oxidized. (Easy to find)

$5000-$10000 gets you something from the 80s or something that is in good shape from the 70s ie. the body will be fairly straight and all of the systems will be functional. (Easy to find)

$10,000-$15000 will get you a restored trailer from the 60s or 70s or a trailer that has been very well maintained from the 80s. You can also find trailers from both the 90s and 00s in this price range with salvaged titles, but you have to decide if you're willing to go down that road or not. (Fairly easy to find)

$15,000-$20000 will get you a 90s trailer or something cherry from the 50s or 60s. (Harder to find)

$20,000-$25,000 will get you something in the 16'-22' length in the 00s or a collectors item. Whiler there are a few private owners out there selling these, the most likely place to find these trailers is on dealers lots because owners have traded them in for something bigger.

I could keep going but I'll stop there for the sake of brevity. Also you are starting to get close to the price of a new sport model trailer at this point or some late model 05-08 trailers in the 24' and below category.

A few final thoughts. New trailers are wider than old trailers and thus a 25' new model has as much usable space as older 28-31 footers. Like you when I was looking i thought to myself "I don't want anything bigger than 22' but after getting inside a few I ultimately found myself thinking "25-27' might be a little more enjoyable."

My dad is a fly fisherman and often tells me, "son fly fishing is a bottomless sea of knowledge, about the time you think you know a little about it you realize that you don't really know anything about it." I've found this to be true with airstreams, although beautiful and fairly straightfoward in their construction there is an awful lot beneath their beautiful skins to learn about.

Good luck with your search and I like TAMU and their fans alot more now that they are a basketball school.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:05 AM   #17
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TexasAggie,
First welcome to the forums, and yes it can get addicting.
Another thing that may influence your choice is sleeping arrangements. Since you said "we" in your fist post I assume you are either married or have a significant other. In many of the Airstream floor plans you find two single beds or a fold out gaucho (sofa). My wife and I still like to share a bed (more often than not) so when we went looking for Airstream number two, a queen size bed was important. It was also important that we both be able to get out of the bed on our respective sides. You may find a lot of the coaches have the beds against an exterior wall necessitating that one sleeper climb over the other to get out of the bed.

My advice is to look at as many coaches as possible and get to know the different floor plans. Do a forum search for inspection checklists and use it when ever you go looking at coaches. Also utilize the inspection feature here on the forums. There may be individuals in your area that are knowledgeable and willing to inspect a trailer with / for you.

Camping ready trailers are out there at reasonable prices, it just takes time and patience to find yours. We looked for a year for our second one (the 1987). It was camping ready when we bought it, but as you will find, there is always something that needs to be done and changes necessary to make the trailer your rolling palace or Mobile Margaritaville (as we call ours)

Good luck in your search, keep us posted on your progress (with pictures), and ask lots of questions.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:54 AM   #18
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TexasAggie
If you are interested in coming to the Texas Vintage Rally in San Antonio for the Swap Meet and Open House on Saturday there is no charge and no arrangements need to be made. Just show up. The Swap meet is in the morning from 9-11. The Open House will be held Saturday afternoon from 1-3, but nothing says you'd have to leave at 3Pm. Stay around and visit with the various Airstreamers. I know of at least one trailer in outstanding condition that will be for sale at this rally. It is ready to enjoy now. It will be in use at the rally where you can test all systems and verify that everything works. You can then pull it home from the rally.

I'm not sure that you can attend the seminars since you don't yet own an Airstream. While you don't have to be a member of anything to attend this rally, I think you do have to own an Airstream in order to attend. Contact Elaine Jackson at elaine@gaj.com to inquire about this and to and request a registration form and fee schedule if you can attend without owning an Airstream. You would need to explain to her that you are coming to look at the various trailers and do not yet have an Airstream. Tell her what days you'd like to attend and see what her advice is. There is a motel next door to the RV Park owned by the Park. Contact Braunig Lake RV in Elmendorf (San Antonio suburb) for the phone number of the motel and room rates. We'd love having you attend.

I'll send you a private message with my cell phone and other contact information should you have further questions.

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Old 01-13-2009, 07:24 AM   #19
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Welcome, Vintage is certainly very cool. But you did say you wanted a unit ready to camp at a reasonable cost. IMO this would dictate 85 or newer. As noted above, these units tend to be very sturdy structurally (no rear bath issue, heavy frames) and also will have all the amenities that brand new units have; micro, cable TV hookup, etc. (if these are important to you). These units are also quite heavy, but you did say you were looking at 22’ or less ( for 4 people? Are you sure?). Units from this era (85-92) can be had a very good prices, but will require a stout tow vehicle. Less than 25’ feet a nice domestic ½ ton would do, over 25’ you should be looking at ¾ ton. The newer (Safari, et al) have returned to much lighter weights. Some would say this is an indication of cost cutting. The future will tell. I towed a new 25’ recently and it was way lighter than our 25’ Excella. IMO, AS’s from 85-92 are the best value in a camper most likely ready to go. You may or may not need to replace/repair appliances that are almost 20 years old (we replaced our fridge a couple years ago. Everything else has been fine with normal maintenance. A little bald on top-oh well)
Good luck, take your time. When you find the right one you’ll know!
(Disclaimer; all camper, regardless of year, should be thoroughly inspected).

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Old 01-13-2009, 11:44 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasAggie View Post
Hello all,
We are looking for an Airstream probably around 24 feet or less, that sleeps 4 and doesn't need too much work for not very much money. We want to be able to camp in it right away. That's not too much to ask is it?

My question to all of you is what are the pros and cons of the various decades of trailers?

Any help or advice is appreciated. This is a big investment, and we want to be sure we make the right decision for us.
Are you confussed yet ? info overload ? I'm sure by now you probably know you want. It can take awhile to find the one that is perfect for you. It took daily searching for 10 months to find my "63" 24' Tradewind. It was unrestored but very well maintained. Paid a fair price for the good condition of the trailer. The only major thing i did was a new axel.
Good Luck ! I love my Vintage AS !
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:15 PM   #21
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This may sound dumb but.....

.... As you are new to the forums have you looked into the classified ads posted here? There are some nice units for sale and some that need work too! Just thought I'd mention it as you may have been overwhelmed by all the great information that is available here. Good luck on your search, and Welcome to the group! Happy Trails, Ed
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:56 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by BillTex View Post
Welcome, Vintage is certainly very cool. But you did say you wanted a unit ready to camp at a reasonable cost. IMO this would dictate 85 or newer. As noted above, these units tend to be very sturdy structurally (no rear bath issue, heavy frames) and also will have all the amenities that brand new units have; micro, cable TV hookup, etc. (if these are important to you). These units are also quite heavy, but you did say you were looking at 22’ or less ( for 4 people? Are you sure?). Units from this era (85-92) can be had a very good prices, but will require a stout tow vehicle. Less than 25’ feet a nice domestic ½ ton would do, over 25’ you should be looking at ¾ ton. The newer (Safari, et al) have returned to much lighter weights. Some would say this is an indication of cost cutting. The future will tell. I towed a new 25’ recently and it was way lighter than our 25’ Excella. IMO, AS’s from 85-92 are the best value in a camper most likely ready to go. You may or may not need to replace/repair appliances that are almost 20 years old (we replaced our fridge a couple years ago. Everything else has been fine with normal maintenance. A little bald on top-oh well)
Good luck, take your time. When you find the right one you’ll know!
(Disclaimer; all camper, regardless of year, should be thoroughly inspected).

Bill
Generally I agree with Bill. However, there is very little difference between ’83, ’84, & ’85 so you could widen the range a little. And ’84s just turned vintage this month.
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:07 PM   #23
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60's vs. 70's vs. 80's

I would also add -- Don't automatically discount one of the pre-1980 models with the comfortable rear bath. For anyone who is larger than average in size, the accommodations of a rear bath coach cannot be beaten by any of the 120 odd side-bath Airstreams that I have looked at (28' and smaller). A rear bath does not automatcially relegate a coach to the status of less desirable (IMHO).

Kevin
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:30 PM   #24
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Like everything else here, I have a different opinion. I find that I like the shower in the ’83 Excella center bath vs. the “tub/shower” on the ’67 rear bath Trade Wind. The “tub” is more of a “wash pan” and really too small to use as at tub. The shower curtain is really a joke. You can take a shower if you are mid 5 feet or less, but anything less is difficult.

In this cast, size really does matter. The mid bath shower will accommodate a taller person. It will be nicer as a shower for everyone.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:34 AM   #25
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Thanks for all the advice!

I think what I'm finding is there are lots of different opinions. We're planning on attending the open house at the Texas Vintage in San Antonio in Feb. and hopefully will get to see lots of Airstreams there to get a feel for what will work for us.

We both work full time and have a toddler and a preschooler hence the need for something that is fairly ready to go. Bill, I thought the smaller size would be easier for towing and parking, not to mention getting better gas milage. Do y'all find length matters for those reasons? It seemed to me anything would be bigger than a tent but maybe....

The only Airstreams we've been in were new Safari's (very nice but unbelievably out of our price range), a 1980 Caravelle - the guy doesn't have Title, and a 1960-something Overlander - again no Title.

As Deitz645 suggested, we'd prefer a double bed instead of twins and my husband is 6'3" so I'm wondering if he can even sleep in the old beds. Hmmm...

Also, I just got Wanderlust in the mail - wow!I wish Feb. would get here so I could come dream.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:40 AM   #26
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At 6’3” your husband will be happier with the shower in the middle bath. As far as beds go, be aware that RV “Queen Beds” are not longer than Twin Beds like a real Queen Bed, just a little wider. I replaced the “Queen” in my Excella with a high quality twin, but there’s just me.

Take pictures and share at the rally!
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:04 AM   #27
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TexasAggie,
You are taking the correct approach by attending the rally. You will definitely get to see a lot of Airstreams and you will find the owners falling over themselves to show you their coaches. It's a wonderful thing about Airstream owners. Be sure to take pictures, ask lots of questions, and take notes on the myriad of floor plans you will wonder through. Who knows, you may even find your Airstream at the rally, as there are always a few for sale or somebody that knows of one for sale.

Since you mention your husband is 6'3" he may find the showers and beds a bit small. I was just in our '06 and '87 and measured the shower stalls and both at their highest were 6'. Which is more than enough us as I am the "tall" one in my family at 5'6" on a good day. We are probably some of the only people that can enter and exit our trialers without ducking through the door.

Another suggestion is to look at the clasifieds here on the forum, do Ebay searches, Craig's list searches, look at dealers' on line inventories, do a general Google search. The more you look and research the better off you will be. It may seem madening at times, but don't get discouraged, you will find your Airstream.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:20 AM   #28
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Without even reading the posts, I went to the end because Ifeel so strongly about the perfect Airstream. I had a '71 24 ft Land Yacht. It was perfect for many reasons. Good size and storage for myself, wife and three kids 5-7, towed easily with a 350 chevy, cheap, easy to work on and everything is mechanical. Don't let anyone tell you that electronics makes it better. There is nothing like being able to fix everything in the box with a tool box and it doesn't matter if the battery is dead and still have the refigerator working. I bought mine for $2500 and everything worked. Replaced a few things cosmetic, used it for five years and sold it for $3500 in good shape to a retiring couple who are still using it up. Good luck on your persuit and enjoy it now.

Sorry, I was corrected in a private message. It was a 25 ft Tradewind as the Land Yacht was the generic name for the masterful trailer that I learned to love. Can't say enough about how tough that trailer was. I really asked it for everything and gave very little back except pure love.
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