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Old 11-01-2006, 03:08 PM   #15
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As Frank S points out, the numbers work out quite well for a used AS. There are a number of reasons for that, one, the AS is a better designed and built product than the white boxes, so it is still quite servicable after 15 or 30 years. Second, at 15 years old, depreciation has knocked the cost of ownership way down. And last but not least the breathtaking price of new units makes the older older units hold their value

But the numbers don't work for original owners of new units, they pay the high price and they take the hit of the bulk of the depreciation. Neither you, nor your children nor your grandchildren are likely to see the new unit you pay retail for sell for what you paid for it. A good used mid '80's 345 motorhome sells for less than $25 to maybe 40K now, and they cost over $100k in 1985 dollars.

The same principles apply to luxury automobiles. People don't buy Rolls-Royces and Maybachs for economic reasons. They buy them because that's what they want and they can afford them. The fact that most luxury cars of that class are sold for cash, not financed, tells you something.

I read 20 or so years ago that "the best value in a car purchase was the best used Mercedes that you could buy for $10,000." You would have to raise the amount now, but the principle still applies. By the same token, a good used Airstream is a better buy than a new white box, because Frank S's experience is not atypical. If you buy an $8K used AS and a $16K New white box, in two years their value will be about equal, and the AS will have 10 times as much life left.

You see more white boxes than you do Airstreams for the same reason that you see more Toyota's than you do Bentleys. People can afford them, and they meet their needs. If all we could buy were Bentleys, we would all be much healthier, because we would all be walking a lot more.

A side point to consider is that the white box market for RV equipment, appliances, tow vehicles and campgrounds is one of the reasons that we can afford to buy and enjoy our Airstreams. Without that market a new $60K AS would cost $100K or more and then there wouldn't be very many places to take it.

It kind of boils down to "you pays your nickel, and you takes your choice."

Neal
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
As for the new Airstreams, too bad Thor doesn't just sell shells with plumbing etc. roughed in so the interiors can be finished off to suit the individual.
A few years ago, GM introduced a concept car that employed fuel cell technology that was integrated into the chasis of the car. There was a separate electric motor on each of the four wheels that ran off of the electricity produced by the fuel cell. This chasis was called "the skateboard" because it looked like a skateboard with really large wheels. The body and all other components were removeable and all of the steering and other controls were computerized and "drive by wire" technology. The idea was that you would puchase a new chasis every 15-20 years or so, but you could buy a new body every 3-5 years much cheaper so you could maintain a contemporary and current look without going upside down or bankrupt in the process.

An Airstream, new or used, can almost be approached in the same fashion. Buy one and after 10 years and every 8-10 years thereafter gut it and remodel the interior to suit your current needs without having to buy a new one. The shell and running gear are the most durable parts and the interior and appliances are the main parts that wear out. It would be like getting a new one each time.
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:44 PM   #17
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Don't think that because it has a Thor corporate parentage, that it will be better than average. I owned a Thor built Electra white box travel trailer before I bought my first Airstream. We bought it new for $14K and we couldn't get out from under it fast enough. It was literally falling apart. Multiple roof leaks, other cheap components. We made a mistake and knew it not too long after delivery. After year three we sold it and I've not regretted that move.

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Old 11-01-2006, 05:11 PM   #18
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My wife vetoed the new trailer idea, so i bought new kitchen cabinets for the ole 79' AS today.

I do like Blue Lady's idea of Airstream selling an empty shell for the customer to fit out though. Thats basically what we're doing to the 79' AS we have now. It had seen better days on the interior, but it has one of the more open floor plans.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:18 PM   #19
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My sister-in-law bought a brand-new, built-for-them Gulfstream travel trailer about 6 months ago. As she was proudly showing off her new trailer, she opened one of the cupboards, and to her chagrin the whole door came off in her hand.
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Old 11-01-2006, 05:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
My wife vetoed the new trailer idea, so i bought new kitchen cabinets for the ole 79' AS today.

I do like Blue Lady's idea of Airstream selling an empty shell for the customer to fit out though. Thats basically what we're doing to the 79' AS we have now. It had seen better days on the interior, but it has one of the more open floor plans.
I think Inland Andy stated that Airstream would not be able to sell a shell, as there would be too much liability for them.
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