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Old 03-12-2006, 07:10 PM   #1
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Silver Streak vs. Airstream

I've been doing some reading on "Silver Palaces" and one name that keeps coming up as a tough one to beat is Silver Streak.

I have never knowingly seen a Silver Streak travel trailer. Some guys online that I have seen swear by them. Say they are made way better than Airstream.

I wondered if anybody on here had looked at them and what their thoughts were.

I showed a picture of one to my wife and she said it was "...ugly as #$!@#!@$." I had to agree, it did not have the lines of a vintage Airstream. I will give them the fact that they've got more storage space. In fact, the "Squarestreams" I've seen look pretty much just like the Silver Streaks.

Anyway, what do you all think?
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:48 PM   #2
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Jim,

I used to own a 1968 Streamline 29' Empress, which was the sister trailer to Silver Streak....essentially both the same trailer with a couple differences: Pat Patterson, a former partner with the other two owners of Silver Streak had always wanted a third beam running down the middle of the frame, increasing its rigidity. The other two owners felt it wasn't necessary, so Pat left and created Streamline. Another difference is that Streamline uses aluminum for its cabinetry; Silver Streak used wood.....my opinion: Silver Streaks were prettier. Another testament to Silver Streak is that they lasted until around 1996, whereas Streamline was bought out by some conglomerate (gee that sounds familiar, THOR!!!!!) and then sold off during the 1974 gas crunch as a tax loss. It's a real shame, because the one thing I do like about the Streamlines and Silver Streaks, over the Airstream, is the bathroom shower. They have a fully enclosed fiberglass shower with door. That, to me, is a real convenience. And, yes, the storage space is phenominal, both inside and out!!!! My Streamline, by the way, weighed 5500lbs, fully laden.
So, to answer your question, Silver Streak is a really nice trailer, and if you come across a mid-seventies for sale, and it's in good shape, I'd buy it.

Frederic
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Old 03-12-2006, 08:10 PM   #3
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Jim,

I can only speak to the vintage ones. We have a '51 Airstream Flying Cloud (AS) and a '58 Silver Streak Chico (SS). Both are extremely well built and it is tough to determine if one is actually built better than the other. However, we started with the SS but it just wasn't an AS, and where it's hard enough to find parts and pieces that are unique to the vintage AS, it's even harder for the SS's which were made in far fewer quantities. Most parts are common to the two, but if you are into restoration mode they do have differences. Personally I'm not that fussy so we ended up using AS pieces on the SS, as well as from other vintage makes where necessary.

The other thing is the whole mystique around the AS that no other trailer has. We aren't hung up on one or the other, but we do feel there's more value in the AS, as was proven out when we went to insure it versus the SS. The insurance company recommended a valuation of almost double for the AS even though they were in similar condition at that time.

I like them both, but if I had to sell one, the SS would be sadly the first to go.

Barry
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:29 PM   #4
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Thanks fella's. The Silver Streaks in my book looked cool to me, even if a bit boxy. Likewise, the '89 "Squarestreams" were a good idea functionally, but they just don't look "right".

Truth is, I like the one I've got. Guess that's a good thing
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:55 PM   #5
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Airstream has a number of nice features I'd like to have on my Silver Streak, among them the semi-independent suspension versus buggy springs. And better the door hinges.

That said, the S/S is not significantly heavier but is constructed on an absolutely super frame, not semi-moncocque like the A/S. All appliances (furnace, water heater, pump, etc) are mounted on the sub-floor and easily accessed by doors or false panels from the interior. Same for the fresh water tank. The trailer is .032 double-wall with 2" insulation in walls and roof, the floor is 4" insulated and 4" dead-air space between skins.

The subfloor is NOT a structural piece so you have no frame sag or separation problems as with A/S. My folks had their S/S for nearly 30-years, and beyond replacing appliances as they wore, or carpeting, the maintenance costs were minimal. Repairs were easily handled by more than one tech who simply wouldn't work on an old Airstream due to the problems of accessing appliances, lines, etc. There isn't anything you can't access in only seconds if need be.

The interior fit and finish on a Silver Streakis without question superior to A/S. Besides the higher quality of workmanship, the materials in a decently kept 1970's model will look far better than any A/S of the same age and relative condition. I have read plenty of threads on cleaning interior walls of older Airstreams and have yet to find (of seven recently inspected) anything like this problem.

This is an extremely well-balanced trailer, and even without sway control is likely little different in crosswinds (I took my '34 on a 25-mile drive to search out problems in a recent move). Service the brakes and axles, align the suspension, replace the shock absorbers and you're ready to go. No calling Andy at INLAND for all-new axles. Wheels are 15" aluminum from the 1970s onwards and take (approximately) a 7.00x15 tire.

I installed a Hensley Arrow hitch on mine, and, with full-timing equipment on board scaled at what appears to be several hundred pounds under the 8,000-lb GVWR. Trailer axle balance is only changed by full waste tanks (30-gl grey and 22-gl septic) and only then by 300-lbs. Fuel mileage is equivalent to what I am seeing for A/S owners and diesel trucks.

Storage space is incredible. I recently read a blog of another owner who purchased his new in 1980, and, having inspected and measured carefully all the competitors, chose the S/S based on that storage and construction. He and his wife found over 250 cubic feet of storage onboard, not even close, they said, to the others.

Now, I realize that in intervening years that Airstream has become porky (slide-outs? 11,000-lb GVWR? Wide-body?) as the market has changed. S/S really hasn't been seen since the mid-1980's so they are not as easy to find. The prices are also lower. Cherry condition for a nice early 80's model shouldn't be in excess of $15,000 at present. Prices are appreciating, however, so a good S/S can be remodeled more easily than a comparable A/S with a higher potential profit for resale after a few years (or lower operating cost in this sense).

Still, there isn't that much to do to ours: new cork flooring after replacing some subfloor (see thread in Vintage Kin), new curtains, some new furniture. Nothing else is needed. Oh, the original mattresses/boxsprings are going a little soft so we'll get around to it someday (after we find someone who makes 79" twin bed sizes).

Yes, the anodized body won't polish to a sheen. No, I'll never have to beg, borrow or steal a Cyclo, and I won't be moaning about clearcoat.

Many pieces available from Vintage Trailer Supply also fit this trailer (Hehr, etc), and what doesn't can be fitted otherwise.

Best of all, a Silver Streak isn't generic like an Airstream. You won't see yourself coing and going on the road. No African herds at rallies. Just have to get used to people thinking all aluminum trailers are A/S. There never were as many S/S, and, as they only made a few hundred per year with an accomodating factory ["Want an LPG generator? Okay, we'll fit one in"] there are plenty of variations.

"Vintage Kin" is an excellent name. We have far more in common than otherwise, and the true generics (only kidding above) swamp the campgrounds (and, soon, the backroads and dumps). All-aluminum is unique, thus doggoned cool.

(Did I mention the fit, finish, and storage space?)
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:50 PM   #6
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Squarestream's:look like Silver Streaks? I'll have to goggle 1980's Silver Streaks and check 'em out!
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:34 PM   #7
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Hey guys,I found a real good site for all kinds of older trailers + they have a Silver Streak forum link . I can not do links (sorry). Here's the address:"Vintage-vacations.com",after you enter,click on links near the top of the page.....Brian
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Old 07-20-2007, 10:50 PM   #8
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We sold our Silver Streak to our neighbors about a year ago. They've torn right into it including a frame off and are in reassembly mode right now. They are updating it much in the manner of a high end late model Bambi with tweaks of their own. It will be gorgeous when it's done. I check in on a regular basis to see how the project is coming along, as they are one driveway over from us.

It will look great, and I'll pass on the website you've found although I suspect with their internet research they've probably found quite a bit. Great people with a great trailer soon to be going down the highways.

Barry
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:20 PM   #9
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1983 Silver Streak Brochure Cover
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:47 PM   #10
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Sorry, this link will eventually expire....but it's a very nicely redone Silver Streak from 1970. Some say that the Silver Streaks are indeed better built than Airstreams, although they're less pleasing to the eye...my eye that is.
This one, though, looks pretty hip iside, wouldn't you agree?
Thanks, Debra, for the link!
eBay Motors: 1970 Silver Streak Travel Trailer - Vintage RESTORED! (item 260189587152 end time Dec-09-07 18:42:13 PST)
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Old 12-06-2007, 05:46 AM   #11
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It is one impressive renovation.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:24 AM   #12
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There was a beautiful 31' for sale in Santa Barbara. It's not restored vintage, but was done by an actor for his on set trailer. Too long for me. I just bought a 1964, 19ft. SS and I'm very excited about it. My first trailer! I've been following prices all ove the country and I believe a comparable AS would be about twice the price.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:41 AM   #13
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Here is one RARE one

Here is an opportunity to see a really nice Silver Streak. I don't think its pictures are even on the SS Site. This one is from Houston and owned by some great folks. It is absolutely perfect and clean, etc, etc.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:05 AM   #14
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I've heard great things from others about Silver Streaks. Rednax just sold a beautiful one, I was sorry to see him sell it though I'm sure he'll get another one in the near future.

Aesthetically, I don't find them as pleasing as Airstreams. The same can be said for Streamlines and Avions. Those models are simply too square for me, even the older ones from the 50s and 60s. The iconic shape of the Airstream is a result of its curves, and the other trailers just can't duplicate that.

But there's no doubt they are worthy of praise and consideration, and it is also a reality that personal tastes differ greatly, and there are likely those who like the SS shape better than that of an Airstream.
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