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Old 12-07-2009, 04:09 PM   #1
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1974 Argosy 24
Landisville , New Jersey
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Bought my First Airstream (well...sort of)

First off, thanks for having me as a member. I have always loved the beauty and durability of the Airstream travel trailers since I was a kid, and as of yesterday, I finally became an owner of one. Well, sort of....

Yesterday I found an ad on Craigslist for a 1974 24' Argosy, which is made by Airstream, but not considered by many to be the real thing.

The price in the ad was so ridiculously low, less than the value of the aluminum, that I hesitated to even go look at it.

Anyway, I was the first person who showed up. The owner was a 90 year old widow. Her and her husband bought it new in 1974 and last year her husband died. Her three sons were kind of somber as they walked me through the trailer. It hadn't been used for the past 10 years. The inside is not that bad. It has an orange carpet and avocado colored counters. I couldn't find any rot anywhere on the inside, but the outside is pretty rough. There is no rust or decay, but all the paint is peeling and it was parked under some pine trees so one side is covered in green slime. There are also a few light dents.

The old lady invited me into her house and asked questions about my wife and family. She was quite frail and told me she wasn't interested in money. I suppose in the absence of time, money isn't worth all that much. She told me she wanted it to go to someone that would take good care of it and enjoy it as much as her and her husband did for the past 25 years. She had all the original manuals for the trailer and the appliances and even her notes of all the places she visited over the years. She gave it all to me.

I want to make good on her expectations. I want to return this trailer to it's former beauty, but to be honest, I don't even know where to start.

I'm looking for advice from someone who has restored a similar trailer. Remember that this is a PAINTED trailer, not a polished aluminum trailer. I imagine my first step would be to fix the outside and then work my way inward. But just where does one go to paint a travel trailer? I imagine it should be painted like a car - base coat, clear coat, but who has a spray booth big enough? BTW, I live in Southern New Jersey.

Anyway, thanks again for having me as a member and even though I can't count myself among the ranks of an "official" airstream, since this is an Argosy trailer, I appreciate any advice that can be offered by the Airstream community.

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Old 12-07-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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1986 25' Sovereign
Gainesville , Georgia
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Posts: 89
so far as I know the owners of vintage Argosy trailers are MORE than welcome on these far as I know...I'm new too...

And, to save the veterans from having to post the following....


1986 Sovereign 25' CB - "Melody"

2001 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4x4 Crew Cab, 7.3L PSD

Air #41001
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:03 PM   #3
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San Diego , California
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First, welcome to Forums. Second, I consider Argosy the real thing. Third, I have no idea about refinishing the skin but I know there are plenty here that do.

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Old 12-07-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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1976 Argosy 24
Joplin , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Of course Argosy is a "real" Airstream, just like a Mustang, a Fairlane, and a Thunderbird are all Fords. Just because it is painted does not make it an Airstream. If you look beside the door, you will see the Airstream logo. Argosies were the "experimental" Airstream, with layouts, windows, etc tried out on them before they were put in use in the shiny aluminum lines. They were the first with the wrap-around front windows. And yes, it is an "official" Airstream.

The first thing you do is give it a good scrubbing, it is amazing how good it will look once it is clean.
Jim and Sandy

"To know is nothing at all. To imagine, is everything." --Albert Einstein
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
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Hi Gauge, Welcome to the forums. Sounds like you found a well loved AIRSTREAM.

Here are a couple of links that will keep you busy. Airstream, Inc :: Specs - 1970 and Airstream, Inc :: Specs - Paint Codes and 74Argosy24 and

Yep! Need pics...

1973 F-250 4X4 390
1965 Chevy Suburban 454
AIR 6030
WBCCI 4258

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Old 12-07-2009, 05:20 PM   #6
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1960 24' Tradewind
St. Albans , Vermont
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Woo hoo! congratulations! We NEED PHOTOS! I love the look of the argosys... and you can paint it any color you want and never really worry about dents! Be proud of her!
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gauge View Post
Yesterday I found an ad on Craigslist for a 1974 24' Argosy, which is made by Airstream, but not considered by many to be the real thing.

Au contraire. The Argosy brand was used as a testbed for building techniques and features being considered for Airstream production. As such some models are very desireable and have some rather unique features.

Congratulations on your purchase and we're glad you're here!


"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 12-07-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
Spokane , Washington
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What a neat story. I say, clean it up,fix it up and then take it back so they can see it. I am sure you will warm a lot of hearts.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:02 PM   #9
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1978 Argosy 24
Brooklyn Park , Minnesota
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We bought a 78 argy last summer and love it . Ours had been owned by 2 families before us and was loved and cared for by both. I will not be doing a full restore, just maintenance items to make sure everything continues to work. Congrats and enjoy!
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:27 PM   #10
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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Welcome to the Forums and don't let anyone tell you your Argosy is not a REAL is...and they have a huge following you are in good company...

And what a great will do her proud...and you will enjoy it so much!

See you down the your AIRSTREAM!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
AirForums #21900 . Prez & Membership Chair, 4CU/WBCCI
Travel Log: AZBambi...On the Road Again
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:30 PM   #11
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1977 28' Argosy 28
Bullhead City , Arizona
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Great story!
If you look through the threads there are a couple on painting it yourself.
Painting the Argosy made affordable
Painting Argosy made affordable Part Two
First I think you should make sure you don't have any leaks . Pull up the carpet look around the edges of the floor .
Gypsy Jo
1977 Argosy 28' Motor Home
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:37 PM   #12
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Restore an Argosy

Look for a restoration thread by "Happy Campers" - I think they called their Argosy "Costalotta".

Uve also did a complete frame off fix that just blew my mind - built a stainless steel frame!

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:39 PM   #13
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2016 30' Classic
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Hinckley , Ohio
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I would powerwash it in the spring or the first warmish day. But right now check the plumbing, open the drain vavles, get some RV antifreeze in the traps and toilet. Blow out the water lines. Because baby it's cold outside. You will need tires and brakes checked. Grease the bearings when your down there. Then start going though the systems.
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:55 PM   #14
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1990 29' Excella
South Miami , Florida
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 28
Welcome. I trust you and your family will have many great memories enjoying your ARGOSY.

We have a 1975 Argosy 22' which we bought 5 years ago and also repainted it. I used the biege color that Chrysler uses on the 300
and the PT Cruiser. I had it painted at a local truck body shop. They have the spray booth that will accomodate the trailer.

ARGOSY is AIRSTREAM, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Merry Christmas!


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