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Old 01-12-2009, 08:05 PM   #1
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60's vs. 70's vs. 80's

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.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:19 PM   #2
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Hello TexasAggie, welcome to the Forums from someone who could be named TexasLonghorn!


I have no doubt you'll get plenty of responses, and I'm sure you already know that the more "camp-ready" a trailer is, the more expensive it will be.


I'm partial to the 60s, and I'm also a big fan of the 50s. There are many who own and love their 70s and 80s trailers, too. Often, the newer a trailer is, the fewer problems it will have. But that's not a given.


One thing to keep in mind that Airstreams did not have gray tanks until 1974 I believe, so if that's something you want, you'll have to retrofit a 60s or early 70s trailer.

Good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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I have had two 50's trailers, two 60's trailers, a seventies trailer, and a 2006. All have pros and cons. Anything vintage is going to need restoration wirk (Floor replacement, frame repair, most often tank retrofitting, etc). I personally like the 50's more than anything, but they are difficult to find, and are not cheap. The 60's and 70's are more plentiful, and less expensive. Parts are more available for these trailers as well.

Just my thoughts.

Steve
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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Wink Isn't this what we are looking for????

[quote=TexasAggie;655854]Hello all,
"and doesn't need too much work for not very much money."...


Let me know how this part works out.

You will find prices all over the map. There are deals to be had, and reasonably priced units do come around. Just remember all units...even newer ones require maintenance. Look around...kick a few tires and discuss your expections with you SO. We always set a budget and shop around until something grabs your eye.

My personal opinion.

Newer is nice..But Vintage rules...

The choice is yours...But we expect to be kept in the loop as your adventure unfolds.

Best of Luck,

Kevin
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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When it come to buying a used Airstream remember those famous last words "everything works"

Pay particular attention to rear end separation, soft spots in the floors and the running gear. A trailer may look pretty good and still have these big bucks repair lurking in the shadows ready to pounce. You can bet your bippy that a 70s or older that has not had it's axles replaces needs it.

Find out what you can about the trailer's history. How may owners? Are there maintainance and repair records? A vintage trailer that lived in a humd area, worser next to salt water, is much more likely to have a frame rust issue.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:56 PM   #6
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The 60's and earlier are what I would consider the true classics. Airstream made more smaller trailers, many with single axles. They have great wooden interiors and a classic shape. The trailers of the 60s were slightly narrower then the later years.

When Beatrice bought Airstream in the late 60's they moved to slightly larger units, but went away from real wood to keep the weight down. The oil embargo of the seventies moved many industries to lighter is better. The mid 70s was the beginning of grey tanks as well as a better, longer lasting axles.

When Thor bought Airstream in the late 70s, the move then was bigger is better. In many of those years no trailers under 25 feet were produced. The 80s did bring the return to the real wood look, better frames and many different floor plans.

It's hard to pick the best one, they are all good, just different...
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:57 PM   #7
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Here is your answer

I started to try answer this question.....but what the heck. Your in a great spot to get you answer ......
http://www.airforums.com/forums/cale...2-4;&e=459&c=1

Its coming up quick. All your questions will be answered on the spot.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:59 PM   #8
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50, 60 skipped the 70's and went 80's

Well the 50's needed an added bath and a bunch of other stuff. The 59 required 700 + hours and over $10,000 to restore but it is soooooo cool. The 54 will need the same. The 68 was not as much of a chore to get on the road and had what would be needed to be useable, AC, charging system, full bath, holding tanks, hot water etc. But all systems needed updating and total cost is about $15,000 but not as many hours. The 88 needed a new floor, and stuff inside, has all the goodies and when road ready (camping ready) will cost about $15,000 +, the hours still to be determined. I have had it 18 months or so and still not had it on the road.

If you want to go without a problem I would look at the 90's to new, it might be cheaper in the long run.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:14 PM   #9
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I have an ’83 34’ Excella with hail damage to the front cap but otherwise in very good shape (I can’t see the hail damage from my chair). After replacing the AC (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...ead-40795.html) and refrigerator (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f425...aes-44474.html), I still don’t have $15,000 in it. I enjoyed my ’67 Trade Wind, but the addition of the gray tank, the electronic ignition for the water heater, double pane windows, and other updates make the ’83 a much nicer trailer. That said, ’83 was the last year for wood grain laminate instead of real wood inside. Veneer cabinet fronts are on my list.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forums,

Airstreamers are an interesting group of people, and there is something for everyone. I would suggest trying to attend a rally or at least stop at a Airstream dealership, if there is one close to you, prior to your purchase. I think after you walk through a few, you will start to form your own preferences. You willingness to spend money, and ability to work on the trailer will also play a role.

I have yet to walk through an Airstream, regardless of year or size, and not like what I saw.

I wish you were closer, I'd show you mine. The more you read here may help, but actually seeing a few is what did it for me. My wife and I started looking for something around a 22 footer, and I ended up buying a 31 footer. I found what I "thought" I wanted changed drastically, once I started walking through and talking to other owners.

Do keep us posted. Kind of like buying a jacket - try a couple on and see what fits.

Best of luck,
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I started to try answer this question.....but what the heck. Your in a great spot to get you answer ......
http://www.airforums.com/forums/cale...2-4;&e=459&c=1

Its coming up quick. All your questions will be answered on the spot.
We've never attended a rally. How does this work? We would be coming for the open house and maybe the sessions. Sorry, I'm so new to this.

BTW, this site is going to become addicting. How do any of you have time to work on your Airstreams?

Thanks for all of the words of wisdom. We're trying hard to do the research before we jump right in. We've been wanting one for about 6 months and are now really going stir crazy. It's cold here in Houston (for Houston weather anyway) but I really want to be camping!
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:12 PM   #12
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Hi, while trying to find a really great trailer for a nice low price, beware of trailers without titles, hidden damage, and scams.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, while trying to find a really great trailer for a nice low price, beware of trailers without titles, hidden damage, and scams.
This is a good point. From my research, here in Texas, a missing title can be a disaster, making it nearly impossible to license/register. Registration for a travel trailer is almost identical to registration for a car, and this requires a clear title (NO salvage title and a Bill of Sale is not enough, either).

I'm not an attorney, but when I was looking for a trailer, I encountered several for sale that had no title and bill of sale only, and my research with the DMV told me that it would be extremely difficult to get it registered without a title.

Good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:55 AM   #14
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We've never attended a rally. How does this work? We would be coming for the open house and maybe the sessions.
The IBT Rally is happening now at Lake Conroe KOA in Montgomery. Contact Myron Fisher (512) 784 0635 Fisch963@earthlik.net
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