Originally Posted by Wes-n-Kris
Hello there! I am looking at buying a '66 sovereign
30ft. I have been in the market for a camper for 3 years now and have driven all over looking at them. I never considered an airstream until recently I went and looked at this one. I really love the look of the old girl and it is in remarkably good shape. I just don't know alot about them. Is there anyone more experienced than myself who could go with me to look this one over and tell me their opinion? I'm in the tricities area (Bristol va). I will be willing to put some gas in your car for the trip and buy you a cup of coffee to discuss the old gal. Haha. If anyone can help, please call or text Wes at (276)494-1187. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for any help!
Congrats - hope you've found a gem. I'm in Virginia Beach, so it's about a 10 hour drive to Bristol VA/TN. Over this forum, my first piece of advice is to go click on the SEARCH function, go down to GOOGLE, then type in "rear end separation" - That's a BIG problem with old Airstreams - though the 70's models seem to have it worst. Do another Google search on "full monte" - which is a frame-off restoration. Airstreams have a light weight frame, and the shell-floor-frame work together strengthening each other (it's loosely borrowed from aircraft design and is called a "semi-monoque" frame. If the frame gets bent, rusts out, or breaks you're looking at a needing a full monte. Also if there is floor rot, you could have to do the full monte unless it's confined to a limited spot or two or rot.
There is a good dealer in Colefax NC, Out of Doors Mart - Overlander63 works there. You might want to see if the current owner will agree to an inspection - and to taking it to OODM to have it done. You might have to pay the current owner to haul it and even pay for the inspection, but it beats buying a "road ready" Airstream that turns out to be a basket case.
There are restorers here who have done beautiful MAJOR overhauls on old Airstreams - and if you have the skills and the time, and patients plus a few bucketsful of money I'd go for it IF you get the unit for the right price. (BTW when I was first looking I shared a link for a squarestream - and another member bought it within 10 minutes. So if you want anyone to evaluate the condition of the unit take your own pictures and post them but don't give away who the unit is owned by, where you saw the ad, or exactly where the thing is parked.