If you have searched here and on Google for information on Beatrice – frames, etc. you’ve found a lot of comment on those years. You’ll also have found different thoughts and what appear to be definitive statements. Some of those may or may not be true.
There are comments that Beatrice purchased Airstream in 1969 – another will say 1970. Beatrice actually purchased Airstream in the fall of 1967
and the final paperwork was filed with the State of Ohio on 12/5/1967. Beatrice renewed the Airstream trade name in 1972 and again in 1977. There are comments that it was sold in the late 70’s – another says 1980 which is actually what I see as correct. The State filings are not totally clear but would indicate the sale finalized in August 1980. By that time, the designs for the 1981 models would have been locked in.
Statements are made that the frame size was reduced from 5 or 4 inches to 3 inches. I’ve never seen one with a 3 inch frame – anyone out there have one? I looked at a 75 Ambassador last year for someone local – it didn’t have a 3 inch frame. The owner also had a 77 bare Ambassador frame there – it wasn’t 3 inch.
Other comments are out there that during the Beatrice years the trailers became heavier without the frame being beefed up. That’s not necessarily true. If you look at my Overlander it weighed 4,525 dry in 1969 and never went out of the 4500 range through 1977. The Ambassador on the other hand went from 4,715 in 1969 to 5,040 in 1977 but, by 1979, it was down to 4,630. The trailer you’re looking at weighed 4,340 dry in 1969. In 1973 it was 4,100 and in 1975 it was 4,110. It then dropped slightly in 1977 and 1979.
Several posters above indicate that is not a lot of difference between those two trailers and I agree. If you’re locked in on the frame issue – measure both where they exit to the bumper connection – is there any difference? The addition of the grey tank is a nice feature but, it could also be a problem. Did the prior owner(s) tow it long distance or over rough roads with a full black and grey tank – putting pressure on the frame. The frame condition is important and you’re wise to look into that.
Opinions are just that but mine is focus on overall condition, condition, condition. There’s probably not a dimes difference in these two units otherwise, and there’s an entire list of things that you should look at beyond the frame. Good luck with your choice.