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Old 09-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #15
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We seem to be of one mind...

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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
I've bought TWO new ones - and I'll be the very first in line to say "Buy GENTLY used." You can easily save $10-15K by finding a model that is one, two or three years old. However, there is a really decent argument for buying new, getting exactly what you want, and financing it with dollars that will depreciate over time - and be easier to pay. Ditto for financing, then paying off earlier to save substantial interest. "Your mileage may differ" So, choose what makes most financial sense to you, but consider all options.

Why are there so many almost new Airstreams for sale? Well, people buy new, camp 2 or 3 times and decide "NOPE - this is not for me". (momma wants someone else to do the housekeeping and fix the meals, poppa can't stand driving 300-500 miles a day, and would rather hop a plane, etc.) The smart ones immediately sell at a moderate loss rather than letting the RV sit in high priced covered storage or worse in the yard collecting algae, mice, etc. Others buy "something my jeep can tow" and within a few months want to move up to a 25, 27, 30 or 34 slide out! Good deals abound.

Even though you are on the "wrong" coast, you should take the time to visit www.colonialairstream.com Their website has better and more complete pictures than Airstream's. If you love the 23' you should look at it in all the trim levels and with all of the options - trim levels are Flying Cloud, International, International Serenity, and Classic limited (though I think Classics start at 25' not shorter. You can get "pleather" - faux leather upholstery as an upgrade (quite durable and cleanable), you can choose between a gas oven and a convection microwave - and in a 23 between one and two fantastic fans. Another option is awnings all around - very nice in hotter climates. There are TV and sound systems too, but mostly standard packages now.

Any RV costs money to own, maintain, store and use. Airstreams are not an exception. New, gently used or total restoration projects cost money - so it's important to understand your own personal preferences and budget before you decide wheather to go for instant gratification or a project. I renovated an old home - I'm done with major projects.

Whatever you get, hope you enjoy it every day for many many years.

Happy searching, happy trails.... Paula
Hi Foiled Again,

Thank you for the information. It really reinforces what I've been thinking. I confess that I've only seen the insides of the 2011 and 2012 models, but I do like the aluminum interiors of the late models, the few pictures that I've seen on Colonial Airstream's website of used models from around 2005 or so have a white finish on the inside. While there is nothing wrong with the white, I just really like the plain aluminum finish. Either way, for the right Airstream it isn't a deal killer. You mentioned that you have purchased two new Airstreams, if you don't mind me asking, which ones did you purchase and why? The primary reason that Nobuko and I are looking for something in the 23' - 25' range is that we want to be able to get into National and State Parks and the smaller models are really nice, especially for weekend trips, but we would like to be able to take some longer trips. I don't think that we would want to go smaller than a 20', but I really like some of the 30' models as well.

In regards to the trim levels, I confess (at the risk of incurring the wrath of Jackson Center) that I am having a very difficult time seeing most of the different trims as "trim levels" in the same manner that you might see trim levels on cars base, SE, LE, XE, XLT etc... It seems to me that Flying Cloud, International CCD, and International Serenity are really a simple choice in interior colors, while the Classic Limited seems to be a more high-end model if you will. Am I missing something?

I agree that buying "gently used" Airstreams make a great deal of sense. Like buying a used car, three weeks after you buy it, no one in the office parking lot can remember that you purchased used. My chief problem is that it seems whenever I've purchased a used car, I've promptly had to put several thousand dollars into it to fix things.

You are quite right about Airstreams costing money to own and operate, like any other "toy" (boat, airplane, or vacation home). As a CPA, I can find no economic justification in owning an Airstream. As a human being I can find every justification in owning an Airstream. Think Visa commercial, cost of Airstream $65,000, cost of tow vehicle $53,000, watching the most romantic sunset ever on a secluded beach with your significant other... priceless.

I was thinking about giving Patrick or Lauren at Colonial a call. I only wish that I had known about them when I was in New York over Memorial Day as my wife was rehearsing for her Carnegie Hall concert and I had plenty of time to entertain myself and I could have easily rented a car to go see them.

As for living on the "wrong" coast, as I write this I'm about 200' from the Pacific Ocean with late afternoon sunshine streaming in through the windows, so I don't feel that I'm on the "wrong," coast. That said, if it helps I used to live in Norfolk, VA as a child (three guesses why and the first two don't count - Yup, Navy Brat). I really do miss the East coast, hey, even 364 sunny days a year can get boring after a while. Besides you guys have four real seasons, we have four virtual seasons here.

Thank you again for the information. For now we are having fun searching and defining what we want and can compromise on. I hope that we see you on the road someday.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:23 PM   #16
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Hi Greg,

Thank you, I'll go check out the TAC. I actually made a donation to the Air Forums yesterday. I guess that it takes a while to process through the system.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:30 PM   #17
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If you're on the west coast you should check out the stock at George Sutton RV up here in Eugene, OR. We just got a great deal on a new Eddie Bauer. They have a lot of aluminum on the lot so there's plenty to choose from. We worked with Terry and it was a great, no pressure, atmosphere.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:12 AM   #18
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If you're on the west coast you should check out the stock at George Sutton RV up here in Eugene, OR. We just got a great deal on a new Eddie Bauer. They have a lot of aluminum on the lot so there's plenty to choose from. We worked with Terry and it was a great, no pressure, atmosphere.
Hi Phbarnhart,

Congratulations on the new Eddie Bauer Airstream! Thank you too for the Sutton RV recommendation. I been very impressed with them based on what folks have said here on Air Forms, their website, and a phone call that I had with Joe at Sutton. Since I'm in California, I wondered how it would work buying an Airstream in Oregon. Joe told me that Oregon doesn't have any sales tax and that they would arrange for a 15 Day transit tags so that I could bring it to the DMV here in California and register it. The only downside is that I would still have to pay use tax here in California, but that is no biggie as it would be roughly the same as the sales tax I would have paid if I had purchased the AS here.

Please post some pictures of your new rig so that we can all see it. See you on the road.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:16 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Janet View Post
Well - sort of. Some AIR mods are TAC members. Some are not and others just aren't 'joiners'. (Airstreamers are an independent lot - have you noticed?) AIR offers forum space for TAC and some other groups as well. We try to remain neutral and keep the door open to all Airstream fans but AIR and TAC are separate entities.



Thank you. Supporting memberships help keep AIR online and they are deeply appreciated.
Hi Janet,

I donated this past Friday. After lurking and learning so much in the space of about one month, I thought that the least I could do was support the cause. I just thought that I should at least post my introduction first.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:40 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet View Post
Well - sort of. Some AIR mods are TAC members. Some are not and others just aren't 'joiners'. (Airstreamers are an independent lot - have you noticed?) AIR offers forum space for TAC and some other groups as well. We try to remain neutral and keep the door open to all Airstream fans but AIR and TAC are separate entities.



Thank you. Supporting memberships help keep AIR online and they are deeply appreciated.
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Originally Posted by flygrrl View Post
Welcome, good luck finding your baby!! It took me nine years, but I think I had Aluminitis much, much longer than that. I think Mirelle is a lovely name, It's ladylike and graceful, also alludes to the sparkly mirror finish .
Leonie
Hi flygrrl,

Thank you for the warm welcome and encouragement. Nobuko and I decided early on that we would take our time finding our Airstream, but we also decided that we would do our best to enjoy the process. How long did it take to find yours? There was a early 60s Globe Trotter sleeping in a driveway near my office that I would pass almost every day and I always wanted to talk to the owners, but could never figure out what to say to start the conversation without looking like a complete idiot. I went to take some pictures of her to post the other day and found instead a used white box in the Airstream's place. What a total bummer! Had I known that the owners wanted to get rid of it I probably would have bought it, even though I'm not really in the position to tackle a complete shell off restoration at this point (no space to work on it). I would prefer something a little bit more useable in the beginning. Did you restore yours or was it good to go at the start? What is her name? I'm glad that you like Mirelle. It was hard to choose a name and I suppose that it is not final until we get the Airstream. I have to be careful though as anytime I came up with a woman's name, my wife wants to know who it is and where got it.

See you on the road,
GinMame (Rion & Nobuko)
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:08 PM   #21
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Dear GinMame


Your mention of vintage interest spawned this note...


Be that I am a bit aged “sweet great lakes boy”, I too am blessed with a beautiful Japanese “better half”. We have a 1968 Globetrotter.


Our path to Airstream...


Years of research concluded that a 1969 caravel (last year of real wood interior) would be a good fit. Similarly sized to an older Bambi, but a bit less $. I like the weight, and the more modern rounded windows. The short Airstreams hold value well.


Another year of searching all the nationwide trailer listing services revealed that the caravel isn't that cheap either. Found one 1969 for 10K but couldn't get to it fast enough.


Then, on a cold winter night between Christmas and New-year's Eve, My eBay-bot notified me of a 68GT down in Tennessee. I quickly recalculated my needs:


20ft v 18ft but in that extra two feet there's another window, and a full bath, and the bed pulls out without blocking entry door...
2990lbs v 2880lbs
Similar tongue weight
narrower, vintage look


Had to beat 26 other bids. It's important to do enough research so you understand the value of the various models, and have the confidence to pull the trigger when you have yours in sight...


So, after a grueling thousand miles RT through wind ice and snow... it's ours. There's pictures and description in my posts...


When Ami saw that big deep bathtub, the gleam in her eyes assured me that it was the right one for “Us”.


Anyway, Sometimes I think it's the best Airstream ever!! AND!! You could pull it with a 1968 Dodge Dart.


The Dart weighs close to 4000 pounds wet, and, in '68 there's a 275hp 340 and torqueflite available. They did build a handful of 426 Hemi Darts that year, but that's a whole different avenue. And if that isn't enough, they offered a nearly Airstream blue color.


Somethin' to think about if you go vintage/nostalgic.


We removed and re-sawed the ash interior so there is a dinette on the side, a good bit of plumbing and wiring in progress... but it's relaxing work, where we hang out together and talk. Right now it's our “tin tea house”.


Peace, Wm
Hi William,

Thank you for the warm welcome and information. Sadly, I no longer own the radio station (the license plate was WVZ 370 and always sounded like a radio station call sign to me).

I agree that a 340 powered Dart would make a great tow vehicle. The problem with my Dart was that it had the 225 six in it and lacked power breaks. I can remember at least two occasions when after being parked at a trailhead in the Sierras for several days the breaks would give out coming down the mountain. Not an encouraging sign for a TV. When the car became mine in high school, I learned a lot about car care and how to work on engines and especially breaks. In fact, I learned so much that I won't work on my own breaks today, never could get the hang of bleeding them correctly.

Your story about how you acquired your AS sounds really interesting. In my experience, the perfect anything usually comes that way, you really have to rush to beat everyone else. My problem is that I don't know where to research vintage Airstreams let alone their value.

I guess that my question would be, "Where can one research vintage Airstream floor plans, models, specs, and so forth?" I'm assuming that there are no central clearing houses of information. Another question would be, "How to know when the Airstream that your looking at is a diamond in the rough or should be passed by?"

I assume that finding the answers to these questions is part of the fun and challenge of Vintage Airstream ownership. Kind of a right of passage. That's fine, I'm up for it. Besides, the longer I wait, the more things that I come up with to do the trailer. Currently, I've come up with a design for a AS Computer. Basically, it is a completely solid state (SSD drive - no hard disk), low power computer to control the lights, a/c, heater, internet access, weather reports, and so forth (look at the cabin control panel the next time you fly on a 777). OK, I admit that it completely unnecessary, but still it would be kind of cool to bring a 60's space age era AS into the 21st century.

I think that your Tin Tea House sounds like a wonderful place to hang out and relax. I wonder, do you and your wife do tea ceremonies in it? Do you have a noren for the bath that says "yu"? Nobuko has already put that on the shopping list for the next trip to Japan.

Like your Ami, when Nobuko set foot on the first Airstream (a 19' FC Bambi) she was sold and no other trailer or even class "A" will do...

Thank you again for the encouragement and information. I hope to see you on the road someday. Until then Happy Airstreaming!

Rion
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:28 PM   #22
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Hi Phbarnhart,

Congratulations on the new Eddie Bauer Airstream! Thank you too for the Sutton RV recommendation. I been very impressed with them based on what folks have said here on Air Forms, their website, and a phone call that I had with Joe at Sutton. Since I'm in California, I wondered how it would work buying an Airstream in Oregon. Joe told me that Oregon doesn't have any sales tax and that they would arrange for a 15 Day transit tags so that I could bring it to the DMV here in California and register it. The only downside is that I would still have to pay use tax here in California, but that is no biggie as it would be roughly the same as the sales tax I would have paid if I had purchased the AS here.

Please post some pictures of your new rig so that we can all see it. See you on the road.

Cheers,
Rion
Hi, the writing on this thread, without pictures, is too long for me to read, but I caught this part about Eugene, Oregon. I bought my trailer from George Sutton in late 2004. [2005 model] What helped it work for us was the fact that we paid no sales tax. Oregon has no sales tax and California had a 91 day deal; If I bought my trailer in Oregon [no sales tax] and kept it out of California for 91 days or more, California wouldn't charge any sales tax either. [DMV still tried to collect it but I quoted their rule] Then this California deal stopped and now I believe it is back, but you have to keep it out of California for one year. This would be hard to do, but not impossible.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:24 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, the writing on this thread, without pictures, is too long for me to read, but I caught this part about Eugene, Oregon. I bought my trailer from George Sutton in late 2004. [2005 model] What helped it work for us was the fact that we paid no sales tax. Oregon has no sales tax and California had a 91 day deal; If I bought my trailer in Oregon [no sales tax] and kept it out of California for 91 days or more, California wouldn't charge any sales tax either. [DMV still tried to collect it but I quoted their rule] Then this California deal stopped and now I believe it is back, but you have to keep it out of California for one year. This would be hard to do, but not impossible.
Now wouldn't that be something! I'm sure that you could find someone to play with your new Airstream here for a year.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:57 AM   #24
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Love your summation re: Airstream fever. If you want to learn more about vintage models there are a couple of sites with the data you crave:

Vintage Airstream Photo Archives

Airstream, Inc :: Travel Trailer Specifications

Fred's Airstream Archives - Travel Trailers and MotorHomes For Sale

I learned long ago that my bride was better at names than I. She choose "Instead" because we were going to be doing this instead of anything else. I added the tag line 'our shelter from the norm.'

Welcome to the forum regardless of what or when you choose. In the meantime, you can read extensively about every aspect of Airstream ownership, inspecting, repair, remodeling, customization, decorating, towing, etc., from those who love their silver tube. If you don't find the answer you seek using search, ask - someone will probably know and, better yet, share!
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