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Old 01-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #1
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28' Ambassador v. smaller size Airstream

We are committed to getting our first Airstream. Looking at a late 60s Ambassador (28') or a shorter 22' or 23' size. Is the smaller size worth the inside room trade off for better fuel economy, easier to park, easier to handle, etc?

We sold our 23' RV, love to camp, but this will be our first pull behind camping trailer.

Comments and advice appreciated.


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Old 01-24-2011, 05:48 PM   #2
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1963 28' Ambassador
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Our 63 Ambasador is the perfect size for us with 2 kids and 2 adults. Anything smaller would feel a little cramped to me. Good luck in your searching, its all part of the fun.

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Old 01-24-2011, 05:56 PM   #3
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short MIGHT provide some advantage if using campgrounds with tiny spots...

but fuel economy isn't a factor, and handling is sometimes better with longer trailers...

and many folks find backing (parking) longer units easier.

sort out how much interior space is needed and what features (real shower, dinette, sofa, galley space) are important...

also decide if converting basic things (beds/tables/sofas/toilets) just to sleep cook or bathe matters...

depending on era HOLD TANK sizes may vary too...

IF the previous rig was a small class B moho, extra interior space may be a bonus or a curse.

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Old 01-24-2011, 05:56 PM   #4
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The 60's models are fairly light to tow compared to the 70's+ models and the 28' is only a 4'-6' feet longer than the shorter models. In my opinion they all are viable choices - so look at whatever you can and see what feels right for you. We bought a 1977 25' Tradewind and feel a 23' or 27' in the same condition would have served us just as well.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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We've owned a 66 Overlander 26' and now have a 65 Safari 22'. The Safari is easier to pull, easier to back up and gets better mpg with our 1/2 ton Silverado. We love the shorter Safari but sometimes miss the twin permanent beds of the Overlander. With our Safari we have to make the beds each night.

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:29 PM   #6
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1961 28' Ambassador
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We have a '61 Ambassador. Anything smaller for the 6 of us would be too cramped.

Plus, it only weighs about 3800 pounds at 28' in length.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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1978 28' Ambassador
Kenton , Ohio
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As a kid we had a new 1967 Ambassador that held 6 of us (mid twins with bunks above). It was great! We have had our 1978 Ambassador now for 10 years. We have mid twins. There are four of us (2 college age boys). It is a great size. They tow nicely and the length has not been a negative factor in regards to camp sites. They are large enough to spend a day or two inside due to weather if you have to. I think it is a perfect sized trailer and layout. If it were much smaller we might have issues with storage. Thumbs up!
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:48 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great input. I should have mentioned it's only my wife and me and our Husky so we thought smaller would be ok space wise...the real issue is fuel economy...our tow vehicle is an Excursion 7.3 diesel. Sounds like the extra 5' won't make much difference in fuel comsumption. Nigel
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:08 AM   #9
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Let me chime in with the "longer is better" crowd. Two items not yet mentioned:
  • Typically, the shorter ones are more sought-after, and will therefore command a higher price (hence longer trailers can be a bargain relatively).
  • The main difference I found was storage. There is usually a lot more of it in the 28' and up models than you see in the shorter ones.

If there is a difference in gas mileage between a vintage 28-footer and vintage 23-footer it's going to be negligible, especially if you tow with what a lot of folks do, a V-8 pick-up.

Good luck, and let us know how you make out. You're on the right path: keep asking questions!
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:05 AM   #10
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1968 28' Ambassador
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We agree with longer is better

We have a 68 Ambassador for the two of us and our boxer and we find it to be the perfect length for us. We have not found a place where we could not fit and we love the mid is like having a cozy home....and room for our bikes to travel is a great size for the weekend or 3 weeks....hope to go longer in it someday......paula
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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I can't speak of long towing mileage, but I have a feeling you might forget you're even towing anything with your TV. I have an Excursion deez and anything I've towed with it has been hardly felt. I haven't towed the '57 Overlander yet but I imagine it will be very easy.

I was looking at anything from 18' and up when I started. Just wanted 13 panels, vintage and something that I could do at least some work on to make my own mark. As fate happened for me, I ended up with the 26'. When I'm inside, I feel it will be perfect for me, ocassionally my husband, our two small-med. dogs and four cats. I wanted a trailer that I could feel comfortable spending a lot of time inside if the weather got crummy. Cozy is good; claustrophobic is not! It's really a matter of feel.

I'd suggest one thing:
Go to a rally near you on their open house day and check out everyone's trailers. You are usually more than welcome to stop by and introduce yourself. This is the best way, IMHO, to really get a feel for sizes. Most will be lived-in. They will have "stuff" in them and you can see right away what feels good.


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Old 01-25-2011, 01:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
Thanks for the great input. I should have mentioned it's only my wife and me and our Husky so we thought smaller would be ok space wise...the real issue is fuel economy...our tow vehicle is an Excursion 7.3 diesel. Sounds like the extra 5' won't make much difference in fuel comsumption. Nigel
You can tow just about anything you want with that TV. Sal.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:00 PM   #13
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Aage was right about smaller Airstreams commanding more money. But that market premium seems to pretty much end when you get to a 20-21' Globetrotter.

Given that any Airstream will have similar aerodynamics to one another, and since you're towing with a massive Excursion, there won't be much of a fuel economy difference. In the era that you're looking, these are all mostly sub-4500 lb trailers anyway. (Of course, depending on the trailer, you could downsize the tow vehicle if you want.)

I'm an advocate for the smaller size trailers. I like being able to park in two "normal" back-to-back spots. I like slotting my trailers in little campsites - there are 2 campsites that I've really enjoyed where a bigger trailer wouldn't have fit.

But you really should tour lots of trailers before deciding. We did. It made the difference between buying what would have been too small (a Caravel or Bambi) and just right (a Globetrotter or the Argosy Minuet we bought.)

Finally, think about how you're going to use the trailer. Are you OK making beds every day? We are for now, but it probably will eventually drive us to buy a slightly larger 22-23' trailer - that length is where you start to find models with two fixed twins.

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #14
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1966 28' Ambassador
Mobile , NewOrleans
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this is my is 66 ambassador
they are EZ tow!
i have teenagers and friends who like boondockin
i dont think i could go smaller

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