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Old 04-13-2015, 03:51 PM   #1
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New to this - worth it to restore?

Hi,
I've been looking at getting an Airstream and came across one that has possibility of purchase.

A friend is selling a 1974 Sovereign 31' that has been gutted. It needs lots of tlc and attention. Parts of the outside need to be re-tacked and restored. They are using it as their "Garage/storage" room at the moment. I'm waiting on some pictures of it cleared out to see how bad it really is.

How much work am I looking at putting into it? Is it worth it to buy gutted or already restored?

They are asking $1000. They mentioned they could get more to scrap it... I don't have a clue how much it is worth!
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:03 PM   #2
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The 70s rear bath Sovereigns had rear end separation issues if towed with the black tank full. Plus, the longer trailers seem to be less in demand than the shorter trailers, due to lack of suitable tow vehicles.

They're probably right - selling the windows, awnings and doors might be the way to get the most value out of it. If you don't mind dealing with packing and cranky buyers.
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drboyd View Post
The 70s rear bath Sovereigns had rear end separation issues if towed with the black tank full. Plus, the longer trailers seem to be less in demand than the shorter trailers, due to lack of suitable tow vehicles.

They're probably right - selling the windows, awnings and doors might be the way to get the most value out of it. If you don't mind dealing with packing and cranky buyers.
Suburban 1500 tow package or similar rig works just fine. Or at least it has for me for the past 15 years. I have had 3 exact style Suburbans and my 1976 31' Airstream Sovereign . You don't need a 3/4 ton TV or a dully diesel to tow these trailers. But remember even if they gave it to you $0.00. The true cost starts from that point as you rebuilt it. You are looking at a big project from the ground up. Good luck
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:47 PM   #4
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I see this question - or similar variations of it - asked fairly often here.
The one thing that is impossible for us to answer for you is; What is your skill level?
You would need to have skills - and tools - to do fine cabnetry work, to do plumbing, electrical, quality sheet metal repairs and as said, on the ones with frame problems, welding and steel fabrication.
Are you up for that?
Can you do it so that in the future you will have a unit that not only functions well but would have some kind of resale value. Remember, Streamers are a picky bunch and they want high quality work.
If you don't have the skills, tools, confidence and money to do a first class job of it then I would let this one pass and wait for a more suitable unit.
Even if it costs 4 times more.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:10 PM   #5
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Pre-gutted has pluses and minuses. Some of the work is done, but you miss out on how it was put together originally, to put it back together eventually. We gutted and did a complete interior redo (see our thread "Little Girl Refurb" in the 72 sovereign section), and it is a lot of work and money. However, at the end of it all, our trailer is worth $17,000 more than what we put into it financially (our work being free). I agree with Ultradog that it needs to be GOOD solid work. We think a lot of people on these forums have done and are doing that. The question is: can and do you want to do it? If you do, $1000 might be a good price (less than we paid).
If you're iffy on the work and money, wait for a more solid unit to come along. They exist out there.
Good luck!

Kay
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:54 PM   #6
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I would venture to say you will have $15K in the coach by the time you do all of the upgrades, interior and exterior work. And that is nothing fancy.


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Old 04-14-2015, 11:18 AM   #7
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Welcome to the Forums!

You have to ask yourself, do you want to go camping, or do you want a project?

If you want to go camping, then look for a trailer that is intact, and has already had the heavy lifting done (ie., axles replaced, floor/frame repaired, all working appliances). This trailer will cost you at least $10-15k, but if the work was done well, you will start enjoying your trailer almost immediately.

If you want a project, then a gutted 70's vintage trailer certainly qualifies. The benefit of buying this one is not the low price, but the fact that you can get started working on it immediately, rather than spending a year looking for a trailer and still ending up with something with rotten floors and a need for restoration. As mentioned above, expect to "invest" $10-15k and 1-3 years in the rebuild of the trailer.

Most of the gutted trailers out there started out as intact field-find trailers that were bought by enthusiastic would-be Airstreamsers who thought they were getting a great deal. They pull up the stinky shag carpet and discover soft spots in the floors, and before you know it, they are emptying the trailer. As they take the interior out, the plastic distintegrates in their hands, and they eventually decide that all of that stuff will need to be replaced anyway, and it goes to the landfill. A year or two goes by with that empty hulk sitting in their driveway, and they finally throw in the towel and sell it at a loss.

good luck!
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:36 AM   #8
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If you have the work done by a pro...

It could cost more like $ 20-25K. I say that because that is how much I spent. And I still have more work to do.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:46 PM   #9
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Listen carefully to Belegedhel. Then re read and listen again. And again.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:31 PM   #10
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If you want to play with it and need to have stress in your life then I say offer them 300 for it if they say no then move on! Yes the can sell parts and scrap the rest but it will cost nearly everything that they would make just to do it unless they have buyers in the area and the scrapers are user friendly (not the norm). All metals separated and doors and windows in excellent shape they may make a few hundred but since it is a storage area ( and they are not good storage boxes) then the get er done just is not there and as they say money talks and three Ben Franklins are damn near a band! Just my thoughts.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:38 PM   #11
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If you want to restore/refurbish and use it for years......then maybe. Just draw up a plan and budget it out. If you want to restore it with the hopes of flipping it for a profit....good luck.
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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If you feel up to the challenge..... We just wouldn't want to see you get discouraged and disappointed. Ive been working on our 78 31' since we bought it. There will ALWAYS be something it needs. Finding the correct parts is half the fun. If you design your own interior it will go much faster. You can always camp in a tent while you get the AS right. Good Luck either way.
Clayton
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Old 04-14-2015, 05:31 PM   #13
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