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Old 11-05-2003, 09:01 PM   #1
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Airstream vs. Avion

I am a travel trailer novice and I have been looking for Airstreams for a few months now. During my search, I have come across info on Avions and the '73 to '79 Avions really appeal to me. There are a few good informational sites on Avion too.

So far, I haven't been forced to decide what I'll buy, simply because there are very few Airstream or Avion units being offered in Minnesota.

Question: Are Airstreams better than Avions?

Princeton, Mn

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Old 11-05-2003, 09:37 PM   #2
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While the membership here is 98% airstream owners we all think the all aluminum constructed trailers are cool. The "better" issue is one that comes up once in a while and while I have no information as to construction and strength or longevity, many of the avions are still around. The thing to consider is if you will be able to purchase model spefic parts. Alot of the parts are still available for the Airstream Vintage units. On the Avion ones most of the available parts seem to come from donor coaches, that supply is finite.

Just some food for thought.

BTW you wont get the advantage of the WBCCI or the VAC with the Avion. Both are a resource like this forum that can enhance the enjoyment of the Airstream if you go that route.

Brett G
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1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 11-06-2003, 06:09 AM   #3
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I used to own a rare late 70' Avion Motorhome and found that the construction was at least equal to Airstreams.
Brett has a good point about replacement parts, especially preformed exterior corner segments.
1983 310 Classic Motorhome
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Old 11-06-2003, 06:19 AM   #4
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"My trailer is better than your trailer."

Another arguable marquee from that era is the Silver Streak.

A bit different in construction, but also has a dedicated core of aficionados.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 11-06-2003, 06:22 AM   #5
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In the mid '80s, I was living in an Airstream. I thought that if my living arrangements became permanent (they didn't) I wanted a larger coach. I looked at both the Airstreams and the then late-model Avions. One thing I noticed about the Avions consistently was that the interiors of the coaches were darker. They didn't have as many windows, or the window placement was different or something... They just felt dark and claustrophobic. Later on, as I have looked at many trailers over the years, I found that the SilverStreaks were similar to the Avions that way.

I think that the construction of the Avions was absolutely up to par. They were very nice. As a matter of fact, Ace Fogdall recently had a late '80s 34' Avion as a trade, and it was beautiful. The craftsmanship was excellent.

My issues with them today would be the same concerns voiced by Brett and Peter. The interior systems are all pretty stock stuff, but if you need body parts, you're pretty much out of luck without owning a donor trailer.

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Old 11-06-2003, 08:32 AM   #6
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I almost bought a 34 foot Avion .. I think it was an '87 or '88 ... about a year ago.

It was in perfect condition inside and out. What struck me was the quality of the construction ... very solid ... and the exterior skin was not peeling.

I agree .. it seemed alot darker inside when compared to an Airstream.

Unfortunately, the seller wanted a huge amount of money for it .. so I passed.
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Old 11-06-2003, 09:17 AM   #7
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The later model Avions, Silver Streaks, and (I think) the last years of the Streamliners are all anodized aluminum, so there is no coating to peel. The bad news is that you can't polish them. The good news is you can't polish them.

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Old 11-06-2003, 06:09 PM   #8
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As an owner of both. I will say that Avions have far more interior room than most Airstreams and as far as construction and fit and finish Avion wins again...But they tend to be MUCH heavier and do not tow as well. And about the parts thing it's not easy to get windows,segments,or any exterior parts for these units...But Hey their both great units in their own way it just depends if you want to go the hard way or the easy way...............
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Old 11-10-2003, 12:38 PM   #9
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I am an Airstream enthusiast.....

but I have to admit it was an Avion that got me hooked. My wife and I were shopping for a camper. We were just about ready to pop for a $36K Holiday Rambler. Very pretty, but it had all the cozy appeal of of a new, sterile, Holiday Inn. My brother-and-sister-in-law bought a 1971 Avion in mint condition. When we saw it, we were hooked on the concept. It was only a matter of time before we found our used Airstream, which was also in mint condition. Our expenses have been negligible and our pride of ownership has only grown - thanks in part to this forum, which allows others to share their own feelings for their trailers.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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comparing my parents 50's as to my avion. let's see they have a sprayed interior white and blue flecks. and i have insulation with insulation and then plastic. i heard that airstreams were built for warmer weather and avion's were built for colder weather. but, otherwise very similiar. my parents is in original condition. wish i talk them into selling it or fixing it. but, to no avail deaf ears. she just sits. what a shame.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:20 AM   #11
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I'd like to follow up to on this thread and add my two cents about Avions, to possibly help someone who is considering an Avion.

They are high-quality trailers, built on a frame of box steel. Makes for a very solid base for the trailer. Avion is known for their cabinetry, among other things. Avions are well-insulated. They used blown-on insulation that became rigid when it dried, which adds to the structural integrity of the trailer.

The Cayo family was involved in the origin of Avion. I think it was in the mid-70's when Fleetwood took over building Avions. The Cayo family still has an RV service business in Watervliet, MI, still works on Avions and knows them inside and out. They can do anything needed on the trailers, including external skin repair. I've heard of people in the aircraft industry being able to repair the aluminium-skinned trailers. They are a great source of information and parts. They are located at:

Cayo Repair Services
4835 M-140
Watervliet, MI 49098
(269) 463-5068

Other than the external skin, there is nothing "model specific" that it cannot be repaired or replaced. Some things are hard to come by (like some Airstream stuff), but like other vintage trailers, it all depends on how resourceful you are or want to pay someone else to be. If you are not up to the task, you should look at a newer trailer.

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