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Old 10-11-2006, 11:01 AM   #1
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"Hi" and Help!

I have loved AirStreams for as long as I can remember. I have wanted an old one for my husband and I to restore for years but we've never had money or the one we loved was half way across the country (and we don't have a vehicle to tow it).

So the other day, as I was driving home, I spotted her ('cause if you love 'em they do kind of jump out at ya!). At first there was excitement, then there was the thought that it was too bad they painted her beige. But she stayed in my mind. So then my husband and I looked at her and he said stripping the paint wouldn't be a biq deal (he used to do some auto body and has a lot of experience with aluminum), which was a relief. So now I'm excited again. We looked in the windows, even though it was dark out, and everything looks vintage and in decent enough shape to be salvaged. So I've got the phone number and I'm going to call and see if we can look at it tomorrow. Before I do, I want to be armed with some knowledge and I figured all of you folks would be the perfect people to turn to.

Here's the dirt: the sign on her says "1974, 28 foot Argosy". There are no dents, she's been painted, inside looks okay but not updated, there is a rear bathroom. The asking price is $3750. So far, that's all I know.

If any of you have advice, suggestions, anything, please let me know as soon as you can--I would greatly appreciate it!

Whew! Now that my little manic part of the posting is over, I'd like to introduce myself a little better (I should have started there, but I think I've had too much coffee and all of a sudden I started to panic that someone would buy that trailer before I could!). I live in North San Diego County, I'm 38 years old and married. I owned a coffee house here for seven years, which I just sold September first. Most of the money from the sale went to paying off business debt but nothing would make me happier than spending a little bit of it on an old AirStream. I now have spare time that could be used on restoring it. I have a background in art, as does my husband (he is a sculptor) so I would love to get my hands on the interior! My husband has partially restored his late father's 1968 Volvo and he has so much patience when it comes to that--it would make me crazy! If he doesn't already know how to do something, he will research it until he does. He does a lot better than I do with trial and error. He makes his living as an emergency room nurse. I don't know what I am going to do now, maybe go back to school.

Like I said, I have loved AirStream trailers forever. I can't figure out what it is about them, but Im hooked. Periodically I will check out the classifieds and torture myself, but that is about as close as I've ever gotten. That and I watch "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" so I can see the caravan of AirStreams come up the road. When one of the group breaks down and has to camp out, I love every scene that shows the trailer.

Thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any advice
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:06 AM   #2
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All Argosys are painted. That is the way they came from the factory.This paint can be stripped, but the end caps ( rounded areas) are different metal and you won't get the shiny surface you might be expecting, however it will look more Airsteam like. Some have polished these, some even painted them silver.
You must check this site for the things that are common problems to any older airstream, and be able to investigate those ( flooring is one, frame is another) before you commit. The price is good if this is a decent trailer that won't soak you for money and time after you buy it.
Also go to the Vintage Airstream Podcast on the web and listen to the episodes on what to look out for, and how to buy one, etc.
If you can get an experienced person to check it out for you that would be a great thing to do also.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:15 AM   #3
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Yeah, I'm feeling like a novice--I just read something about the Argosy being painted at the factory! I could probably live with the end caps less shiny, although stripping it now doesn't seem like restoring it if it came that way. I really love the metal though.

I don't know who to take it to in the San Diego area (and Georgia is kind of a ways for me!) so if anyone knows who to take it to here, I'd appreciate the info.

Thanks, ALANSD, for your suggestions.
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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There are a number of threads in the Forums where paint match and autobody shops are discussed (try the Forums page, Argosy section). People have taken a flying leap and painted them other colors too -- like Vintage Thunder or even camouflage. The end caps of an Argosy are galvanized steel and probably shouldn't and couldn't be polished.

The 1970s Argosy prototyped panoramic windows well before they were seen in Airstreams -- about 1980 or 1981? That is a fairly strong price for a '74 Argosy -- you'd want to make sure the A/C works (on a 30 amp plug-in only!), the fridge works, explore leakage & floors. You'd probably benefit from browsing the Forums, finding all possible inspection points in assessing a unit.

On another note some Airstreams with skin problems end up getting a complete paint job in aluminum-like tint -- and it is darned hard telling the difference! Only older Airstreams had aluminum alloy skins that could be polished -- '50s and '60s for sure -- I don't recall the cutoff point.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:06 PM   #5
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Please do some search on this site for Argosy trailers and the various remodels and restorations people have done for them. We all love the shiny Airstreams, but you'll find that the little creme-colored, or blue-bird-egg-colored (or whatever color!) Argosy trailers are gems in their own right--and to own one ranks right up there with Airstream ownership! Best of luck in finding the one that fits your heart ~G
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:13 PM   #6
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Any way you like it...

it's a canvas for YOU! We stripped our Argosy, I love it, and it's mis-matched caps. Don't believe all the sub-par aluminum stories... mine looks fine.
Get it!
Marc
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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Please reconsider stripping your Argosy. They don't have to be polished, they stay cool in the sun and they are soooooo CUTE. I had wanted another AS to replace my 1967 Caravel; however, when I saw this Argosy, I was hooked. They are so much fun to work on and just as well built, if not better built, than the AS. They are easy to touch up the paint on too, if you don't want a complete repaint. That's a great price too.
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:45 PM   #8
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Yeah, I drove by her again and she looked better to me since I found out someone hadn't hidden her under beige paint! She really is in good shape, at least visually, and if she has spent her life inland in Southern California she may actually be in pretty good shape. I am already in love, I just can't explain it.

I called the owner and my husband and I are going to go look tomorrow.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:18 PM   #9
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have fun looking, but be armed with info, and take an ice pick to check the critical floor areas, for soft spots. If there are a couple of small ones its typical, but carpet and tile can hide some serious issues.
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel
Please reconsider stripping your Argosy. They don't have to be polished, they stay cool in the sun and they are soooooo CUTE. I had wanted another AS to replace my 1967 Caravel; however, when I saw this Argosy, I was hooked. They are so much fun to work on and just as well built, if not better built, than the AS. They are easy to touch up the paint on too, if you don't want a complete repaint. That's a great price too.
There's a good reason that Airstream currently builds with a white roof!
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:36 PM   #11
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Actually...

I left my roof white just for this reason! I'm already upgraded!

It's your choice what you want to do with it - some thoughts for buying it.

Check out the systems - I've (and pretty much everyone else here) has replaced the systems as time's gone by. The big ticket items
fridge - 750-$900
A/c - 750+

The windows are pricey and hard to find - I'd want a solid shell, floor, windows, and then go from there.

I've replaced pretty much everything else, but I still think this $3000 dollar trailer was a good deal.
Axles - read up on Inland's site, then search Dexter or axles, or Henschen and make your own choice.

Don't be scared, they really are fun! Make it campworthy, and then upgrade and customize/restore as you see fit. Hey, if it's a 28ft'r, does it have the rear wrap windows too? (mid bath) Not only rare, but a great feature to have.
Marc
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:34 AM   #12
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Please let us know what you find and take pictures when you go see it. We love pictures on here and we're all excited when someone finds their first trailer.
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:13 PM   #13
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Well at least now I'm hooked.

We went to check out what I was hoping was going to be a future family member, but sadly, the Argosy was in sad shape--too sad for us, and the owners were shady. My husband said if he could have gotten it for $1000 he might have been tempted.

My husband and I showed up armed with info, ice pick, and camera. In the "fix it" department I am qualified to jiggle a toilet handle if it is running, and even I was thinking "whoa" when I got up close enough to check out this poor Argosy. I think what bugged me most, was that instead of just seeing her in disrepair from years of neglect, someone had done some really stupid things to her. My "favorite" was the standard home model porcelain toilet that was "installed"--the original cupboards were cut to make it fit.

My husband found some soft spots on the floor but didn't think they were too bad. The paint job was in pretty bad shape but there were no dents to speak of. Absolutely verything else, inside and out, had some type of damage that would require replacing or doing a lot of work on it.

The worst part was the shady owners. The original guy I talked to wasn't there (even though I talked to him only two hours before). A woman finally wandered out of the house near where it was parked about then minutes after we had agreed to meet. She told us everything worked, but then said she'd only owned it for three weeks. Later, my husband pointed out that there was no propane tank and all of the connections looked hammered, so it was doubtful that she had even checked it. She kept telling us that they (trailers? AirStreams? Argosys?) sell for 7 or 8 grand. She wondered why we were taking pictures so I told her that I had a group of experts who wanted to see it and give us advice, she got pretty quiet after that. I've saved the best part for last: the new refrigerator she kept bragging about was a $200 Home Depot, college dorm sized 'frige. It wasn't attatched to anything and didn't fit in the space. I couldn't believe it. I can't imagine driving a quarter mile to my house with that thing sitting there!

I feel like I'm ranting and raving, but I'm sad to see her go and I felt like I was leaving her with abusive and neglectful parents (this is why I'm not allowed to visit the humane society very often). I'll post pictures if I can get my computer to cooperate, but the pictures look a lot better than in person.

I really want to thank all of you for all of your input. I am now totally hooked so I will be actively looking for an AirStream. I even have a soft spot in my heart for the Argosy now, even though I initially was put off by the beige paint. I read a thread about this being a cult, so I guess I've been sufficiently brainwashed into it. Loving every minute of it!
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:56 PM   #14
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Aaarrrrgghh!!

Well.. Thanks for sharing update.. Better to find these things sooner than later... Sad to think some other good souls might buy it before checking here or other places where knowedgable people willing to help. I wouldn't be surprised to see it on E-Bay with a single photo and short write-up claiming again "Everything works.. New Refrigerator.."

You are now officially enrolled in the "Still Looking" sub-group on the Forum.. Be sure and follow the 3 or 4 major electronic classifieds (HERE, rvtraderonline.com and airstream.net classifieds) and understand the market may be national rather than local.. Certain trailers in sizes from 23 to 27 feet are in demand if in good (actually!) condition, and people here have and will travel over 1,000 miles to buy one. You can cover more geography by considering letting another Forum member observe and possibley inspect a trailer in a remote place...

It's also worth noting (without getting into politics) that the Airstream Owners Club (wbcci.org) has local chapters, and often members with nice trailers share with their fellow members their intent to sell before they put their unit into classifieds. A couple phone calls to local chapters might also be time well spent...

Good luck!

John McG
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