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Old 11-07-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
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Athens , Georgia
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Thinking about purchasing a 1974 25' Trade Wind

Greetings all! This is a great site, from what I can tell since I joined yesterday afternoon.

Obviously, I am new here to the forum, but I have been searching for an Airstream for about a month now.

I found this one on Craigslist: 1974 25' Airstream TradeWind*

I plan on going to see it Saturday. Any suggestions would be helpful, in addition to what I've read on here, as to what to look out for and whether this model is a good one.

I can tell you that I am planning on living in a camper for 6 months to a year on my land in GA. Thought about it, still thinking about it...I have just always liked Airstreams so I am about ready to commit. I am still wondering, though - is an Airstream right for me? Is an old one going to give me more headache than comfort? Is an Airstream a good investment and is this a good model of Airstream for the money??

Please, if anyone has ANYthing to say or any advice to give, I'll gladly take it!! Thanks, Sib.

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Old 11-07-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,390
Welcom to the forums!

Do a search for terms like "buyer's guide" and "inspection checklist", and you should get a variety of helpful lists of things to look for.

The major things to look out for are floor rot near the walls, and especially in the back, and "rear end separation," which is also the result of floor rot in the rear end.

Go to and look at the pricing guide. There is a lot of info in there that may help you to negotiate to a fair price.

As to your other questions, here goes:

"I am still wondering, though - is an Airstream right for me?" Only you can answer this one. Not only do you have to be and "RVer", but you have to be an RVer that accepts 40 year old technology (in the case of an "original" vintage trailer). For the pricetag on this trailer, you could buy a fairly new white box trailer with all of the modern amenities, but no character at all.

"Is an old one going to give me more headache than comfort?" This all depends on how much work the previous owner put into it. The pictures of the interior make it look pretty clean. If it has actually been fixed up, and not just maintained, then you might have less trouble than you think. If it has merely been maintained, then imagine buying a car from 1975 that a little old lady only drove on Sundays. If the refurb work hasn't already been done, then you will probably end up doing it at some point. Someone once said that if you want to experience being a boat owner you should sit in the bathtub under a cold water shower and push money down the drain. It can be like that in the trailer world too.

"Is an Airstream a good investment and is this a good model of Airstream for the money??" Again, look at the pricing guide mentioned above. Compare this trailer to completed listings on ebay, and see what the real "market price" is. In my mind, for $8000, the trailer ought to have no floor rot, all working appliances, and no major body damage. It ought to be ready to go camping. Despite conventional wisdom, Airstreams are not a particularly good investment, any more than buying a used car. If you end up investing a bunch of time and money fixing up a trailer, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who is willing to pay you what you have in it. Now, if you find a camping-ready trailer for a reasonable price, and don't put a bunch of money into it, then I would expect you could hold onto it for a few years and sell it for about what you paid for it, without any noticeable "depreciation." The 70's trailers are not terribly rare, thought the shorter ones are more in demand, and command a better price.

Good luck!

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Old 11-07-2012, 03:36 PM   #3
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1983 31' Airstream310
Cactus Hug , Arizona
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Having had four Airstreams, it's the luck of the draw about buying a coach of that age: Do you want to cruise or spend weekends and $$$$$ getting the old dear in road shape? If the coach comes with up-grade paperwork, that could count, big. Otherwise, it's a pretty old coach that someone is asking too much money for.
"A settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere"
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
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1974 Argosy 28
Tampa , Florida
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It looks clean but $8000 seems high given the amount of information provided. It's unrestored and 38 years old. If it's just going to sit on land and your going to live in it you may be better off getting the exact floor plan you want and going 28' or more. It's a small space to call home, take your time looking at different AS model and years. There are a ton out there.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:13 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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I lived in a '69 Shasta 14' for 11 months thru the winter in Vancouver, BC, Canada. But I only paid $1200 for it. Compared to the Shasta the '74 would have been like being in the Marriott.
If you don't have to pay a mortgage or rent. You could recover your $8K pretty fast. $500 a month rent for a year is $6K.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:09 PM   #6
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Tradewinds are one of the best model Airstreams to buy (I am biased). They can be towed easily by most any 1/2 ton truck or medium to large SUV. They have two separate living areas with a bathroom in the back. They have tandem axles for low tire loading, stability and braking power.

The mid 70's models are larger than the 60's model but are generally not as desirable because the cabinetry is cheaper.

This looks like a good one, but I could only pull up one interior photo. It is unusual to find one with a solar panel installed. I would like to think that this means that the owner is on top of things, but you never know. 8k and unrestored in my book is fine as long as there are no rotted floor issues and all the appliances work- A/C, water heater, stove,fridge (both on electrictiy, 120v and on propane, all lights should work, water pump works, no water leaks, and the furnace should work. He says it is an easy fix, so fix it! If furnace does not work, then deduct $800 for a new furnace. It would be a good idea to replace it anyway, since you will be living in it full time and an old furnace may have a heat exchanger leak that can kill you.

Buy it if you like it. What you spend is not as important as buying the right one for you.

Welcome to the forums.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:16 AM   #7
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1974 Argosy 28
Tampa , Florida
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I think the price seems on the high side because I see listings like this one often.

1975 25' Airstream Camper
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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2017 26' Flying Cloud
1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
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I'll chime in to say that I also think they're asking a premium price for this one. It *may* be worth close to that, if a detailed inspection turns up no problems with it and it's really ready to go camping.

From the photos and the ad copy, there are a couple of things I'd check on early in the inspection. First, it says "tires good shape" which is a low-information statement at best. You want to see date codes on the tires, and inspect the sidewalls carefully for signs of tiny cracks. If the tires are 4 or 5 years old, it doesn't really even matter if you can see cracking, it's time for new ones. Just because there's plenty of tread they may still be ready for recycling.

Another concern I have from the photos is the state of the upholstery. The front gaucho (sofa-bed) seems to have had an ill-fitting futon mattress thrown on it, and all the photos of the center gaucho show it configured as a bed with what looks like a pretty thick mattress on it. You can see in the photos that this obstructs a big chunk of the doorway to the bathroom. For your purposes (living in it) you might have it configured as a bed most of the time, but at the price they're asking both of them should have good upholstery and easily reconfigure from sofa to bed use and back.

Find out if the axles are original or have been recently replaced. For the 6 months of being parked on your land, this won't matter but if they're stiffened-up original axles you'd want to replace those before using it to travel, and that would reduce its value.

Pay special attention to the cabinetry above the refrigerator and microwave. These doors do not appear to be original, so you want to make sure those modifications are well-done and durable. If you're evaluating it for use as a travel trailer in addition to the full-timing on your land, make sure those doors will stay closed in transit, they probably have magnetic catches or something.

Print out a copy of this inspection checklist, read through it before you go look at the trailer, and fill it out honestly and as completely as you can while you're inspecting it. This checklist saved me from a bad trailer, and helped me feel confident about the trailer I did buy. I haven't had any regrets about the trailer I did buy, by the way, though I have still had to spend more money on it. TANSTAAFL.

Zero Gravitas 2017 Flying Cloud 26U | Il Progetto 1976 Argosy 28 Center Bath | WBCCI# 15566

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:53 AM   #9
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Athens , Georgia
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Thank you for the advise!

Thank you for the advice and wisdom!

Unfortunately, I lost a dear friend in Thursday and that took over my weekend so I wasn't able to get to Atlanta and see this Trade Wind.

I'll be going sometime this week after Wednesday.

I'll be sure to use the price guide and check lists that some of you sent my way. And I will be patient and thorough in my search, though the stream is calling my name at night!

Many thanks to you all for the feedback!

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