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Old 04-14-2012, 09:51 PM   #15
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1947 25' Spartan , Manor
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Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
All I'm buying when I buy an old Airstream is the aluminum body. If that's not right, then it's either too big of a project, too expensive, or it's a parts trailer. There are trailers for sale with all good bodies. I'll pass on this one.
I would agree with this for me personally, I would rather be the one to put the dents in my trailer:-). But that's not to say it would be the same for you. If all you see are the dents when you look at it then passing on it might be best. If you can ignore them then it might be right. It does seem a bit strange to buy a trailer and then spend close to twice as much to fix it as what a non dented trailer might cost....

When you say the frame is solid; how did you determine this? Are some of the wraps and belly pan missing so you can see it? Or did the owner tell you this? Hard to know until you get under there.....

The price on this should be very reasonable with the size and the dents (once again, not to say this is bad). Good luck!

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Old 04-15-2012, 09:49 AM   #16
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Thanks everyone for the tremendous number of replies and the fantastic advice.

This was extremely helpful. It's fascinating how personal all of this is and there is clearly no hard right or wrong answer.

As to some of the questions posed:

I've focused on 25 feet and up in my search because I'd like to be able to accommodate my wife, kids and dog comfortably. My kids and I love to go camping, by my wife just won't do a tent - so this project is in part an attempt to draw my wife into outdoor family activities. I also have hugely fond memories of family car vacations all over the US when I was growing up - and want to offer the same experience to my kids.

I understand the length restrictions - we go to Yosemite a lot and they allow trailers up to 35 feet, but we'd be banned from Pfeiffer Big Sur which we also love but only allows up to 27 feet.

When I said frame is solid - I did a visual inspection of everything I could see without removing the belly pan and saw minimal to no surface rust anywhere the frame is exposed. There is no sign of droop on the rear of the trailer and I jumped up and down on the rear bumper and saw no flexing or sign of separation. The subfloor is exposed in the trailer and I saw no evidence of water damage anywhere.

All this said, I'm still on the fence based on the feedback here. And on the fence means pass I think on a project this big unless I can get the seller to really drop the price. She started out at $13k for this trailer last summer, and the asking price has been going down every month since and now stands at $5k. I'm thinking more like $2,500... There's another one that just showed up on Craigslist where the body looks to be in better shape and I think I'll go visit that one next week - it seems like about once a month a new trailer comes on the market here in the Bay Area.

Again thanks for the amazing replies - I'm just blown away.

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Old 04-15-2012, 10:35 AM   #17
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Another factor to consider... it seems to me that vintage Airstreams (and just about everything else old and cool) commands higher prices in California, vs. everyplace else.

Could be the better weather... the symbolic link to movie stars and Ray-Bans... who knows.

I put this theory to the test when selling our GlobeTrotter last year. After weeks of getting little to no response on Chicago's craigslist and eBay with a Chicago location, I added the option of delivery to California. Poof, our GT sold almost immediately - and for 50% more than the previous high bid. It now happily resides in Santa Cruz.

My roundabout point is that if you're willing to look a little further afield than the west coast, you may find you get a lot more for your money. You certainly don't need to settle for creases and dents in a 70's trailer, which are still quite plentiful.

Lastly, I'll stress that we've found our trailers in Washington, South Carolina and Michigan, and getting it home has always been a hugely enjoyable part of the adventure.

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