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Old 03-12-2006, 03:46 AM   #1
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Unhappy Airstream Dream or Cancer Victim?

Hi, we are Chris & Amanda in Exeter UK and are virgin Airstreamers.
Yesterday we saw & fell for a great 1960 Tradewind and were ready to part with a large sam of some cash today. However, we have just received some very negative feedback from a foreign contact.
There are pictures of it on the vintageairstream.com archives - the 2nd 1960 Tradewind listed. The deal includes reupholstering and putting new flooring down (to our choice), making good all appliances and services, replacing the a-frame with a uk hitch and repairing some chassis rot on the rear rails. All sounds great.....
However, the aforementioned contact (who is a dealer) has alarmed us by saying that Airstreams that need welding are as good as useless. He compares them to "cancer victims" and says we should stay well clear as it is a losing proposition.
This is a real blow. Should we take this guy's advice? Thank you for any input....
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Old 03-12-2006, 06:23 AM   #2
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Chris,

Good luck finding a 40+ year old Airstream without some frame rust. I'd rather have an older unit that has been gone through and repaired (welded, reinforced, treated, and sealed) than a "pristine" unit that has never had the belly pan removed.

It really comes down to the integrity of the restorer. If it has been properly repaired, it will probably be stronger than original.
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input PIzzaChop.

We're in a difficult situation here in the UK as trailers are hard to come by. Prices are also high. We've been offered this one for £15.5K - $27K. This price includes the restoration work from a guy who has a manufacturing company that makes trailers, so the quality of the work should be good. Prices seem much lower in the US judging by what we can see on websites.
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
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$27,000 is a LOT of Euros!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWill
Thanks for the input PIzzaChop....Prices are also high. We've been offered this one for £15.5K - $27K. This price includes the restoration work from a guy.....

ChrisWill -

PizzaChop is right on with his advice...

Do a diligent search on comparable prices over here.

Consider this - for 27 Grand you could pay for SEVERAL inspection trips over here to the U.S. and include shipping to a port of your choice (import problems not known by this writer). Or, alternatively, pay for REALLY good inspectors - PizzaChop would be a good one - anyone who has "been-there-and-done-that" as far as a proper "Rot-Fix" and frame inspection/repair goes to evaluate one here for you.

$27K is pretty steep....especially since you cannot inspect the finished product. Having said what I did about the price, many of us have surpassed that amount if you would consider any value at all to the time spent working with our therapy projects.
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:12 AM   #5
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Chris & Amanda,

first - welcome to the forums and to the world of airstreaming on our side of the big pond!!

To be honest I first had to convert the british pounds to euros to believe the price your seller is asking... WOW 22.500 to 39.000 Euros... What will he do on the trailer? Cover everything with gold??? I am shure you will find a trailer in the US for much less in a very good shape. Do you have contacts to the large UK-Airstreamforums Scene?? I´ll send you a PM with the contact of two very nice persons, that have just imported their second Airstream a few month ago.
If you really want a nice trailer in a good shape and nearly ready to tow (or after the conversion to Uk-Standards ready to tow) Trailer, take yourselves some time and look around on the US-Market. If you find one there get as many pictures as possible and then ask someone from the forums to inspect the trailer...

Airstreams in Europe sell for a very high prices, but importing them is not very complicated, so you probably could do that by yourselves. Shipping from a US-Port to the UK/Europe is not very expensive if you take a US-Shipping Company. We shipped our trailer for half the price a german shipper asked!!

A very very good source for Airstreams and Parts in Europe is Airstream4u in Hamburg/Germany, if you want give Daniel Goldt a call and he will help you with the shipping at a very fair rate, even if you don´t buy a trailer from him. We have done the flatbedding from the port to our house with him, but not the shipping from the US, as we were into the "full" adventure of finding our trailer in the US and arranging the whole shipping by ourselves. But Daniels rate was nearly the same that we paid in the USA and he shippes to any place in europe...

It would be great to welcome you as new Airstream Owners in the near future, but again take your time and look very closely. But as PizzaChop said - a professionally welded frame is better than a frame that hasn´t been looked at in the last 40 or so years...

Bjoern
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice Bjoern, which sounds very sensible. Unfortunately the EUR 22.5K ($27K) price excludes gold plating! (In fact doesn't even include polishing).

Any help/contacts you can provide to assist us buying from the US and shipping to the UK would be really appreciated. We're starting from scratch here and it seems there's an awful lot to learn.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:08 PM   #7
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That is a LOT of money to part with sight unseen. That should buy a small Airstream in excellent condition, needing almost nothing. It could look great in pictures only to find endless problems and needed repairs. Once you part with the money and the trailer has been shipped you would have little or no recourse should anything go wrong. I would recommend having someone over here check the unit for you. Maybe even get two opinions.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:29 PM   #8
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1960 24' Tradewind
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We have seen the Tradewind, the dealer is in the UK

Thanks for your replies. We have a lot to think about. The thing if we bought from the US we would have to pay import duty and VAT at 17.5% on top of the trailer & import costs so we need to get our sums right. I am gutted as yesterday I was certain we'd found the one for us and it was only 2 hours drive away! Amanda
P.S. The dealer is a lovely person and I do trust that the trailer will be in excellent condition after the specified work has been done.
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:39 PM   #9
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Chris,

First, the problem with Dennis and myself is we seldom consider the value of our time spent on our "therapy". (I'm slowly coming around on this one.)

Secondly, I think you can probably do better if you're patient and wait for a forum member to sell their's. While we'd all love to be compensated for the time and energy spent on restorations, most of us are realistic and realize that market forces dictate what we can ask for our units when we finally decide to sell. When buying from a "professional" (someone who derives income from restorations), you can be sure that you'll be paying for the number of hours spent, as well as parts and equipment.

I'll use myself as an example. My '72 Overlander is currently listed in classifieds for $7250 (about $1K less than what I've invested, not including my time). It's not perfect (has one painted panel, a scar, and could use new axles), but with all new appliances, refinished bath, custom dinette and bunks, it's a no-brainer for myself...knowing how much I've put into it.

(Perhaps there's money to be made on Europeans!)

Many "unprofessional" restorations are actually better than professional because the owner plans to use it for him/herself. "Good enough" is seldom good enough in our shops!
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:55 PM   #10
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Oops! I forgot about your taxes!
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:51 AM   #11
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Cancer???

You know, I got a 65 GT and I took all floor out because I wanted to restore the frame, I tought that it was rusted, just because the age of the unit.

I had a big surprise to find out that the frame had no more than superficial rust and most of the places still had the black paint.


I wirebrushed it and put some primer and a silver paint and that was it
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Old 07-21-2006, 02:13 PM   #12
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Not familiar with your side of the pond, but I know there are dealers of new Airstreams that are made specifically for the UK in England. Are they that much more expensive than this unit you are discussing and wouldn't it be worth a little more to have all new appliances and a new warranty? I understand the appeal of vintage, but that is quite a price to pay for vintage charm.

I started out with my interest in a circa 1972 International that one of my employees was considering selling (he still owns) nearly two years ago. I could have bought it for under $3,000 US if he had gone ahead with the sale. Once I investigated the cost of replacing all of the "original" equipment and the likelihood of them failing in the near future, most likely while we were off on vacation (holiday), I quickly decided new was the way to go for me considering my non-existant technical and mechanical skills.

Just my humble opinion.
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Old 07-21-2006, 02:54 PM   #13
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To answer your question requires one additional piece of information. What will be the "Fair Market Value" of your '60 Tradewind after the dealer does everything he says he will do? $27,000 would be an outrageous price here in the United States, but it may be fair market value there. Will you really be able to unload it for $27,000 if you fall out of love with it, or if one of you becomes sick or injured and you can't use it?

If you decide that $27,000 is the FMV, you must insist on watching and taking photographs of every step of the frame restoration. Don't wait until it is all buttoned up and accept on blind faith that it was properly restored.

There are experts on these forums (like PizzaChop and others) who can offer an instant assessment of the restoration process if you ensure that it is done in a deliberate sequence with time between steps for you to subject it to our "virtual" review.

In closing, I am worried that you "fell for" this Airstream. There is nothing rational about falling in love. This can be fine and work out well for humans, it can spell disaster forAirstream purchases. Take a deep breath and try to be critical, and analytical about your decision.

Hope this helps.

P.S. I have never been critical and analytical in my Airstream purchases, but it sure sounds like a good idea.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:22 AM   #14
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Going with your heart (long, philosophical message)

Dear All,

I really appreciate the time and effort you have put into advising us. I should let you know that we bought the TW nearly three months ago so I guess we are stuck with it! The good news is that we love it and have no regrets whatsoever.

Two things swayed it
1) we looked at what £15k could buy us in the European secondhand market (absolutely no competition)
and b) deciding to go with going with our hearts.

I was interested to read you comments, Klevan, about using logic which does make sense on paper (or pc screen). But like you, we as a couple don't use logic when deciding things like buying houses or Airstreams, or indeed, whether to have another child or not! According to many, we were mad to buy our house - 150 years old and used as student digs for years. With a little hard work and patience we have a house with soul. There's no ensuite bathrooms and three flights of stairs to the top (good for the butt) but it has history and nice looks in it's favour. It also feels like a special house - more on this later...

The other analogy - having another child. Why have a third? Wasn't two enough? What if something is wrong with the third? The list was endless. What swayed it? Going with our heart - it felt right even if it didn't quite work out on paper. We have a beautiful, funny, loving three year old sister for our two boys. An absolute joy - obviously intertwined with sleepless nights, no foreign holidays and a much tighter budget. No competition though.

The Tradewind? It looked well shabby when we saw it but looking beyond the smelly carpet and dirty bathroom we saw beautiful, wooden interior, all working (or potentially working) appliances and a very good looking exterior. It somehow felt right.

We were quite anxious once we parted with the 50% deposit and I felt really sick when we went to pick it up. I had chosen fabrics, flooring etc over the internet and wasn't confident.

We were gob-smacked - it really was the most beautiful (manmade) thing we had ever seen - inside and out. After dozens of trips in it it is still amazing to wake up in such a beautiful environment. Everything works and it's big and comfortable as well as easy on the eye. We are so happy! It is spending the summer at an amazing campsite in Cornwall we have had so many amazing times in it already!

We didn't want any old caravan, we didn't want any old knackered, neglected Airstream, nor were we after a status symbol. We wanted a thing of beauty, something which feels, as well as looks beautiful which is, in my humble opinion, I suppose what most Airstreamers really want. I don't know if any of you have read any Alain de Botton but he articulates what I'm trying to say in "The Architecture of Happiness". Perhaps someone should write "The Philosophy of Airstreaming"!

Thanks all,
Amanda x
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