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Old 09-29-2017, 12:07 AM   #1
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New member shopping for a restored 1960s Airstream

Hello from Kansas City. My wife and I are in our second year of retirement and are ready to purchase an Airstream. We are looking closely at professionally remodeled 1960s models. Any advice from those who have gone before us on this shopping journey is appreciated.

Thanks! Rich & Cindy
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:39 AM   #2
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Rich and Cindy, Iím in the process of renovating two 1968 Airstreamís in Kansas City. Iíve learned a lot over the past few years. Not interested in selling either at the present time, but Iím happy to help if you have specific questions. There are several others doing the same in or near KC (Lawrence, etc). The closest professional group I know of is Timeless Travel Trailers in Colorado.
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:35 AM   #3
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Restore?

When we started our Airstream quest, we did a lot of research and decided that we wanted to buy an older model and have it restored/updated. We would have loved to have found what we were looking for already done, but they are next to impossible to find, and there is the fear of "quality" of work. We talked with a couple of people that do this work, I'm capable, but lack of time/work space just wasn't doable. In the end we decided to look for a newer unit, main reason was time, we wanted to start Airstreaming and the time frame for a redo was going to delay that. We never looked back, although we absolutely love the the older Airstreams, but certainly enjoy our times using the first and now second. Good luck, hope you find one that is already completed, with a nice pedigree.
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Old 09-29-2017, 08:19 AM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums!

My advice is simply the usual, buyer beware.

All "professionals" are not created equal, so be sure to research the repuation of the professional who did the job. There are plenty of folks out there who are doing their own rebuilds, and the quality of their work is all over the place. Many of them call themselves Professionals, much as I can call myself a poet because I have penned a dirty limerick or two.

Educate yourself on the complete rebuild process so that you know what questions to ask. Ask for receipts, pictures, descriptions of work done, etc..

Learn what "good" looks like. There are plenty of trailers out there being sold by "professional" trailer flippers. The skin is shiny, the upholstery is new, and the flooring has been replaced, but many of these superficial fix-ups are just lipstick on a pig, and hide real issues.

Manage your expectations--A freshly completely professionally rennovated is likely to be hard to find because the professional shops do custom work--they are not factories just pumping out rennovated trailers to sit on a lot. Most folks who invest the time, money, and emotion into getting a trailer completely redone are going to hold onto it for a while--it might be ready for significant repairs by the time they are ready to part with it. Your best bet might be to buy a vintage trailer in "as found" condition, and then have the professioal restorer of your choice rebuild it to your specs. Realize also that a true professional rebuild is likely to cost as much as a new trailer...because...it is a new trailer.

good luck!
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomic_13 View Post
Rich and Cindy, Iím in the process of renovating two 1968 Airstreamís in Kansas City. Iíve learned a lot over the past few years. Not interested in selling either at the present time, but Iím happy to help if you have specific questions. There are several others doing the same in or near KC (Lawrence, etc). The closest professional group I know of is Timeless Travel Trailers in Colorado.
Thanks, Atomic 13. I've considered tackling a restoration myself but presently have a building project underway and time is the main issue. I'd like to see how your restoration is coming along if your ok with that. Rich
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:37 AM   #6
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RBS, Thank you for reply. I understand your thinking and may follow your path in the end.
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:55 AM   #7
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finding a trailer with good bones is a quest in itself. if you do, you can always hire someone to make it what you want. you may find your needs evolve after using it awhile
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:36 PM   #8
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Thanks Belegedhel. I've seen the "pig lipstick remodels" up close by now. That's fine for some I suppose but I see a never ending stream of repairs for those. I was enticed to look at a unit not far from us and the initial impression was nice but I quickly lost interest due to a soft subfloor that showed serious rot when I looked in the storage compartments. Also some poor splices to the original wiring and capped off plumbing eliminating the holding tanks. All for the price of a fully restored unit. Kinda annoyed me frankly. They could have been up front with the state of the systems. Maybe they didn't know any better. It's no longer listed and I feel for the buyer who likely over paid.

A curious thing I've noticed...trailers seem to almost always photograph better than they are in person. Don't know why that is.

I'd like to see some trailers being restored. It'd fill in some gaps for me. I built/remodeled houses with my dad and I'm sure certain elements of the Airstream require a specialized approach.

Thanks again!
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:41 PM   #9
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ALANSD, great links in your post. Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:06 PM   #10
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:43 PM   #11
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Welcome. I'm from the KC area and would love to talk with you. Pm me I'm having a 62 Tradewind redone now.
Rachel
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:31 PM   #12
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Rich, happy to meet up sometime. Send me a direct message and weíll coordinate offline.
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Old 10-02-2017, 04:06 AM   #13
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ALANSD, great links in your post. Thanks!
glad to be able to share ny experience, i have owned
4 airstreams over the past 18 years and enjoyed them greatly.
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