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Old 10-13-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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1968 26' Overlander
1977 31' Sovereign
seattle , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 108
question regarding airstream purchase

all,

i've also posted this question in the '74-79 safari forum.

i am a newbie looking for a smaller airstream to use as office or guest room and also take out on a trip once and awhile.

i'm familiar with used airstream issues and found a very nice 1978 23' safari in very good condition with all systems tested working/great floors/wheels/axles/outer skin/etc.

my main question is i remember someone mentioning any airstream made after i believe 1975 or 76 is less desirable because the aluminum skin is not a thick or not airplane grade?? - can anyone respond and let me know what the story is on this.

thanks,
william
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Do a forum search for "history of aluminum at airstream." Some of the forum members composed a fairly detailed history showing the changes. The quick answer is that before the 70's, AS used 2023 T3 Alclad aluminum, which polishes up nice and is aircraft grade. In the early 70s, they were using 6061 T6, and in the later 70's, 3004 H18.

The thing I notice most is tha Newer airstreams seem much more fragile than the older ones. I just don't see 70's and older trailers with hail damage. So, I am not sure what you mean by "desireable." A trailer made of 2024 T3 Alclad will shine up nicer than others, but if you don't intend to polish to a mirror finish, then this may make no difference at all. I find that the older the trailer is, the more "desireable" to some folks, and the smaller the trailer is, the more in demand. If the trailer you found fits your tasts and your needs, i don't think I would worry about the skin, unless of course you intend to go for a mirror polish.

good luck
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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1968 26' Overlander
1977 31' Sovereign
seattle , Washington
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 108
what do you think is a fair market price for s 78 23' safari in good condition. he's asking $9500 - i was going to offer $5000 - the trailer is in tacoma washington
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Ah, the age old question... First, have a look at the following link:
Price vs. Condition - Vintage Airstream

Next, compare this trailer to others that have sold recently, that are in similar condition on ebay.

In my humble opinion, a trailer selling for that price ought to be completely road-ready. I don't mean that everything works, as much as everything has been worked over. It should not have the original axles, or AC, and most of the appliances will have been changed out too. There should be no floor rot, rear end separation, or general disgusting smell. If any of these exist, then the price should be reduced accordingly. If the floor is rotting, or the rear end is separating, then you are looking at a floor replacement, which is major surgery.

There are several checklists on the forums and possibly on the site above as well, that show you what to look for. Its tough to identify the condition of the floor if the previous owner has laid some kind of hardwood over the original subfloor, but you can identify rear end separation just by standing on the rear bumper and watching the lower trim for relative motion.

What I have observed is that 70's vintage trailers don't command a very high price, and "originality" doesn't much play into the equation. What is going to be worth money to you (ie. a premium price) is how much work the current owner has actually done to turn back the clock and make a 40 year old trailer useable (and safe). If all they have done is check out the systems, fix the leaking plumbing, and replace the shag carpet with pergo, then I would say their asking price is probably way high. I took a look at Craigslist for your area, and if the 78 Safari international is the one you are looking at, it looks to me like the owner has spent most his time shining up the exterior, and very little time with anything you will need to get you down the road. A shiny exterior is just icing on the cake--a pair of axles will run you around $1500.

good luck!
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