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Old 09-29-2009, 10:13 AM   #1
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Vintage or New?

Been looking for an Airstream. Will buy in Spring 2010. 2004-2008's are 24K and up. Vintage (restored-fully functioning) are less than half that.
Will need to sleep 4.

Need honest opinions from Airstream owners. We are not new to camping, but new to Airstreams. If we buy vintage everything will have to be in working order. Im hearing even things go wrong with newer ones.
Worth it to finance newer model? Or start out with Vintage and pay cash.

Intend on keeping it indefinately thru the years.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

The answer is YES. Go vintage, go late model, but go Airstream. This is especially true if you plan to be in this for the long haul.

We went new with an '05 25FB, named Lucy. In the last three years, we have pulled Lucy over 50,000 miles, and have spent almost 500 nights in her. It has been a life changing experience. Our only regret is not doing it sooner.

We also looked at vintage, but decided that it was not for our style of Airstreaming. We wanted to camp in our Airstream, and not be burdened with upkeep and updating. We love the looks of the Vintage Airstreams, but going vintage just wasn't for us.

On the downside, late model Airstreams are substantially heavier per foot than are vintage. This is a major factor when selecting a tow vehicle that can do the job comfortably.

My suggestion is first decide what kind of camping you plan to do with your Airstream. Then shop for an Airstream that fits your style.

Brian
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:17 AM   #3
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Vintage or New?

Greetings Jezibels!

In 1995, I was asking myself this same question, and realized that for me the most important factor was the floorplan. As it turned out the only way to get the floorplan that I wanted was Vintage. I found the room and open flow of the 1960s rear bath Overlanders and Ambassadors to be the best fit for my lifestyle. Once that issue was decided, it was a factor of finding a coach in very good condition . . . and even 14 years ago that wasn't an easy process.

In the 14 years since purchasing my '64 Overlander, I have spent about the same amount as a new Safari of similar size would have cost in 1995. With the maintenance, upgrades, and improvements; I have a coach that is mine in every way and perfectly suits my traveling lifestyle. If I were to do it again today, I wouldn't change a thing - - the Overlander will likely stay with me as long as I am able to travel.

My suggestions would be to ask yourself the following questions:
  • For a New Unit:
    • Does Airstream offer a floorplan in the current lineup that offers everything that I want?
    • What if any living/lifestyle compromises will be required with the new coach?
    • Does the new Airstream "speak" to you when you spend time getting acquainted with the interior?
    • Do you see yourself needing to make nearly immediate changes/improvements, and if so, how much will that add to your initial cost?
  • For a Vintage Unit:
    • Are you prepared for a protracted search to find a very high quality, well-maintained original coach or a well restored/refurbished coach?
    • Does a Vintage Airstream offer that one particular floorplan that you find simply irresitible?
    • When you explore the interior of the particular Vintage Airstream does the coach seem to be "speaking" to you?
    • Do you see yourself needing to make nearly immediate change/improvements, and will this addition to the cost of the coach result in having more than market value invested in the coach? (This may be less of an issue if you are very confident that you will be keeping the coach a long time -- this was my position so I have no regrets today.)
Your question is one for which there is no good, absolute answer. Each Airstream owner has had to analyze this situation at some point. There are many plusses and minuses on either solution/answer to the question. Regardless of the option selected, there will be needed regular maintenance and repairs.

Good luck with your decision!

Kevin
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:56 AM   #4
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so you've given up on the pop up idea?

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f353...-up-46187.html

with a budget of "under 20k" a new stream is a dream...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezibels View Post
Been looking for an Airstream...What are your thoughts?
so your choices are NEW or 25+ years old? that leaves out a LOT of used/previously owned stuff...

my other thought is that THIS question has been asked a few zillion times here and there are plenty of answers for U to choose from...

for ONE post on "new vs old" see this thread, post #7...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...-it-21921.html

for the same question asked and answered, try these...

and the LINKS buried in many of the posts will take you to MORE THREADS on this question.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f348...new-32343.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...new-36995.html

then you'll wanna think money here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f353...pay-43186.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f368...lue-25926.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f349...-se-20214.html

for a dose of dope on 'issues' this thread will get ya started, but there are 100s on this topic...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...ppy-16643.html

then again there is a growing trend of rolling your own, including tow vehicles...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...sob-29968.html

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:19 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
so your choices are NEW or 25+ years old? that leaves out a LOT of used/previously owned stuff...

my other thought is that THIS question has been asked a few zillion times here and there are plenty of answers for U to choose from...

for ONE post on "new vs old" see this thread, post #7...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...-it-21921.html

for the same question asked and answered, try these...

and the LINKS buried in many of the posts will take you to MORE THREADS on this question.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f348...new-32343.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...new-36995.html

then you'll wanna think money here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f353...pay-43186.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f368...lue-25926.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f349...-se-20214.html

for a dose of dope on 'issues' this thread will get ya started, but there are 100s on this topic...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...ppy-16643.html

then again there is a growing trend of rolling your own, including tow vehicles...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...sob-29968.html

cheers
2air'
Thanks 2air, I did a search before I posted my question and came up with no threads, but I searched "vintage or new", I should have searched vintage vs. new. I found that out too late. Sorry for that. Thanks for all your help you provide us "newbies"! I look forward to all the input here as no one I know owns an Airstream.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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I think either with new or vintage there will always be things to be worked on.
So I would check and see what's out there for purchase. Go look at ALOT of trailers, new and vintage and imagine yourself using each one. Check the livable space, what would work for you and yours, would be different then someone else.
If you start checking out trailers at the dealerships, craiglist, etc you will have a better idea of what you want, and what a good price is.
Good Luck, Happy Hunting!
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
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2air~

Yes I gave up on the pop-up idea! Those are out, and the boxey ones are out too. Always always loved Airstreams. Husband calls me an "airaholic" with my compulsive searching, classifieds here, ebay, craigslist, dealers, etc. I guess I got the bug but thats OK considering what bug bit him (RC Airplane's)!!!
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:54 PM   #8
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speak, airstream, speak

Overlander64 asks "Does the new Airstream "speak" to you when you spend time getting acquainted with the interior?"

This is as important as all the other factors: cost, floorplan, size, age, etc. Each Airstream, new or vintage, has its own personality. They all have their own quirks and qualities. Ours is not vintage but only a few years away. It needed to be shown a lot of love--not especially well cared for by previous owners but I knew when I saw it that it was the one. I am a tinkerer by nature and thoroughly enjoy doing projects on the Airstream but that is not for everyone. The more time you spend with yours, the more you get to know it (whether it is factory fresh or needs a shell off restoration).
When you find the Airstream that is right for you, you will know it.
It will speak to you.
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezibels View Post
...If we buy vintage everything will have to be in working order...
"working order" is relative.

like any house there are typically things to fix.

but SHAKE these houses and more fixin' is needed.

along with tires, brakes, axles to maintain.

so IF YOU WANT a repair/fix/maintain free unit, well that's unrealistic.
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the moniter 'vintage is a club/ego term used to indicate AT LEAST 25 yrs old...

just using the V term, JACKS up the price...

call them ALL old used trailers. that is what they are, unless you want a parade unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezibels View Post
...2004-2008's are 24K and up...
yeah, WAY UP in sizes that fit 4 easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jezibels View Post
...Vintage (restored-fully functioning) are less than half that...
maybe, but not likely.

a "RESTORED" fully funtioning 'vintage unit' might be 20k$ to 60k$ depending on appearance and age and upgrades.

and it's not just the sleeping for 4, but appliances, storage, sitting space, food prep area and TOILET/shower/water/tanks for 4...
_______________

your best value (with a budget under 20k) is to confine the search to 70s units.

relatively inexpensive, LOTS of 30 ft size available yet still relatively light.

70s units might be found that are fully functional ready to camp OR with minor issues OR in need of major repairs.

but ANYTHING older than mid 80s may need a NEW subfloor, axles, tires, brakes, interior bits, appliances, plumbing, wiring, tanks and so on...

so either buy a FIXED up 70s unit at the TOP of your budget...

or a 4-5,000$ unit and spend 3x that on fixin' it up.

spring is not the best time to buy if PRICE is an issue.

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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I recently bought a 1999 28 foot for a LOT less than $24k...
They are available, you just need to search...This site is good, as well as Craig list..
We went used, since for us it presented the best "value" for the money . I had previously owned an Airstream motorhome, ( 350LE) which was nice, but a Pain to tow an extra car..We like the Trailer option better
.
Look at the available floorplans, decide which fits your needs best, and go for it...Personally, Vintage is nice, but we prefer some of the features that the newer models have...Not to mention the "wide body" that Airstream built starting in the late 90's...It offers a surprising amount of additional living space...
Happy Hunting...... You'll love an Airstream....
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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late 90s - thumbs up

I second the vote for a late 90s model, we bought a 1998 34' about 3 years ago for < 24K US and it has needed very little, just regular maintenance and a couple of minor issues which were resolved easily thanks to this forum. Well, minor except for the propane tank issue but that's a Canadian thing you won't have to worry about.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:23 PM   #12
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We purchased our Airstream (1971 Globe Trotter) in 1988. It was in excellent condition at the time, having been well maintained by the previous owner. We've had very little trouble with the trailer in the last 21 years. The original furnace and hot water tank, and pump went a few years ago, and this year I decided to give it a new axle. Other than this and tires, I have not been troubled with problems or spent much money on this trailer. Now, the trailer is worth at least twice what I paid for it, and if I sold it, I would get more for it than I ever spent on it since I have owned it. ....Could any other RV do that? I doubt it.

My sister bought a brand new SOB trailer that same year I bought my Airstream. Her trailer had a leak in the roof and now has no structure in the roof and one wall (totally rotted out). She paid over twice as much as what I paid for my old Airstream to buy her new SOB. Her SOB is now worthless! My Airstream is worth twice what I paid for it.

So, I recommend buying a GOOD used Airstream !!!
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:09 PM   #13
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Something else to consider is to buy a fully restored vintage AS. Based on my research, the 2 best appear to be:

David Winick - custom vintage airstream travel trailers
Timeless Travel Trailers - Timeless Travel Trailers

However, this won't save you any money over a new unit but you will have exactly what you want. This is what I am leaning towards but I am still immersing myself in these forums to learn more.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #14
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Welcome to the big store!

The only trailers I really like are older . . aluminum, yet rarely Airstream. Safety first with old equipment. All of the great brands have great units around for sale.

That said, it is a pleasure to trouble-shoot with the aid -- knowingly or otherwise -- of this group around here. This is an excellent site and no question goes unanswered in the routine troubles of an older trailer.

Makes it worthwhile. Decide if you want to do plumbing or polishing, electrical or upholstery. There is a divide in types of "restoration" or "renovation" needed with all the trailers out there. You should know which type makes you happy to do.

Actual camping is on a different floor.
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