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Old 04-14-2008, 09:49 PM   #1
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austin , Texas
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Considering 1971 29' Ambassador

First time A/S purchase. Seller wants $7,000. Seems high to me. Needs new carpet, awning cloth, one big window, some cabinet doors, fold-out dining table and a few other knobs, etc. Owner claims that A/C, electrical, etc. all work; but I've only stopped by to snap some photos. Is this price even close?
Independent inspector or forum inspector in the Austin/Hill Country area?

I want to join the A/S club and fix the old girl up a little; but don't want to get screwed in the process.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:24 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonerStream
First time A/S purchase. Seller wants $7,000. Seems high to me. Needs new carpet, awning cloth, one big window, some cabinet doors, fold-out dining table and a few other knobs, etc. Owner claims that A/C, electrical, etc. all work; but I've only stopped by to snap some photos. Is this price even close?
Independent inspector or forum inspector in the Austin/Hill Country area?

I want to join the A/S club and fix the old girl up a little; but don't want to get screwed in the process.
Hi SoonerStream,

As a Longhorn grad it almost pains me to answer you, but seeing as you live in Austin, I suppose I should be neighborly.

These forums are a great resource for checking the condition of a used Airstream. Additionally, you can use this as another resource, it is a price vs. condition matrix from another Airstream Advocacy site:

Price vs. Condition - Airstream Values

According to the research from the Vintage Airstream site, the price for an "average" Ambassador from the era should be in the $3500-$6000 range. From your description, it seems that this unit probably falls in the "average" category at best, and potentially it might be toward the "as found" category.

Since I, too, am looking for vintage in Austin and have been for a few months, I've noticed that the prices here in Central Texas seem to run higher than they do in other parts of the country. Still, this price seems on the high side.

In addition to what you have noted, some major areas to consider are the condition of the subfloor and the condition of the frame. If the subfloor is weak/soft, and/or the frame has structural rot, then you will spend a great deal of time and money repairing those issues. But, this could be true even of trailers that seem to be in very good condition at the surface.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what's worth it and what is not, but the link I gave above should provide you some insight on what the "Market" price might be, as well as some guidelines on what repair costs will be for those items which you already know need work. Also keep in mind that units of this vintage usually seem to need their axles replaced, if that has not already been done (and the Ambassador has 2 of them!) The link can help you assess what that will cos as well.

Good luck on finding the perfect unit for you. Keep on reading the forums and using the "Search" function to find the information you need. The more you know, the more equipped you'll be to make this decision.

Best,
-Marcus
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:30 PM   #3
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$7,000???? Yikes!

With all the work that will need to be done you are looking at two or three times that amount (You haven't seen the frame or subfloor yet have you?). If the body was straight on this trailer I might give $1,000 for it, and that's a big maybe.

There are always deals out there to be had. Follow the classifieds here on the Airforums site as they seem to get some pretty good trailers in from time to time.

and welcome to the forums

Steve
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:04 PM   #4
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1963 26' Overlander
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Yeah, soldiermedic put it far more succinctly than I did.

If you're looking for the longer trailers, here's a 31' Sovereign in Longview, TX-- the pricing seems slightly more in line on this one at $3K. On the surfce it seems like it has more issues than the Ambassador you're looking at, but in reality they're likely pretty similar.

31 foot Airstream travel trailer

Or, here's a '68 31' Sovereign in Seguin for $2K:

31' 1968 Aluminum Airstream
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:05 AM   #5
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The longer AS don't usually go for that much unless someone has put a lot of work into them already. I got mine for about half that price. Of course I didn't limit myself to looking locally and brought it home from Michigan. My Argosy came 800+ miles home from El Paso. It was in great shape, only 24ft, and much less than the trailer you're looking at. Everyone on this Forum can tell you how much you are going to spend upgrading or just replacing "stuff" in any vintage you buy. I love the 31ft we just bought and there are many of them in very good shape for sale if you look. Good luck and let us know when you find the "deal" for you. Look in the Classifieds here. That's where I found my Sovereign which had been well loved by an elderly gentleman who "never" let anyone with shoes on into the trailer.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:35 AM   #6
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Thanks to all

who replied.....especially to Marcus the Longhorn. I have the bug to buy now and get started; but your collective dose of reality is very much appreciated and the advice too. I'm not wanting to do ANY axle replacement; so I'll probably just wait it out and find just the right trailer. That, or if the axles are good, make sure the seller comes WAY down on the price. Andy at Inland RV in California tells me that the Awning and mech to support it are junk. That is just another strike against this A/S. I'll take all your suggestions and continue the hunt !
Sooner in Austin.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:56 AM   #7
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Good luck Sooner.

I've had to force myself to be patient as well-- it's difficult and at times frustrating, but in the end your patience will be rewarded.

The two pieces of sage advice that I've heard consistently from experienced Airstream owners on this forum are:

1) There will always be another one.

2) It's easier to wait and buy the right trailer, than to try to sell the wrong one.

Best of luck to you, and Hook 'em Horns!

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Old 04-16-2008, 11:50 AM   #8
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1972 25' Tradewind
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I agree the price seems high. I want to make sure you understand that the model you asked about will not have a factory installed grey water tank. This means you will not be able to use it without full hook ups or a blue belly tank to capture your grey water. Some locations will allow grey water to be discharged on the ground, but they seem few and far between.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:12 PM   #9
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Thanks again to all of you....and especially utee94. Kind hearted. I've been in Austin 14 years now....so while a know you don't embrace Sooners.....at least you tolorate them.
I think the sellers of my prospective 1971 Ambassador bought too early for too much. They, like me, wanted an Airstream badly and are now seemingly upside down on the thing.

To all: Any idea how hard it is to repair and/or replace a refrigerator on, say, a 1971 to 1974 model Ambassador or Sovreign?
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
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Just wanted to let you know that my father played football for the Sooners. My whole family are Sooner alumni and football fanatics. I am into the football for sure; however, I have two degrees from Oklahoma State University. That's not as bad as being a Longhorn, but once a year the family gives me dirty looks expecially if OSU should beat OU. Good luck in you Airstream search. My husband has found a couple of Tradewinds in the Ft. Worth area where he's working now. By the way, he works for a company out of Austin.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel
...That's not as bad as being a Longhorn...
Hey!

For what it's worth, I don't really hate Sooners. I actually have a couple of Sooner friends who I met in grad school (at UT, incidentally, so I guess they're Sooner turn-coats ).

But please, don't anyone tell my Longhorn buddies I ever said that.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:34 PM   #12
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1972 29' Ambassador
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Just to let you know that I bought a 72 Ambassador 29' for $1500.00. Has a new fridge, a/c and awning. I am replacing the flooring, stove, goucho and fixing some windows. I figured that the price was right from the research I had done vs the repairs that needed to be done.
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