So I've never owned an Airstream, but I have had several campers and RVs and have plenty of towing and RV experience.
I currently have a 2011 Itasca Navion 24J Class C motorhome. That's the Mercedes Sprinter 3500 chassis, and it's rated to two 5000 pounds. I've gone from NC to Colorado and back with an enclosed trailer that was about 3,000 pounds total, and while it did slow on the big grades, it was still faster than most semi trucks on those, and it was completely fine otherwise, so I consider it adequate for that kind of load (assuming the trailer has working brakes).
What I'd *really* like to have is about a 22' Airstream that I can customize on the inside, and by "customize" I mean I'm willing to build out the ENTIRE inside from scratch if necessary, including tanks and such. I really just want a full bathroom, four bunks, and empty space in the front. No galley, no dining space, no chairs, no real storage to speak of. My plan is to setup the empty space so that I can tie down two small motorcycles in there (yes, I realize I may have to do some work to the door to fit them through, and will have to be able to lift and move them around once inside...but think dirtbikes and young people here). The purpose? A trailer that can handle a decent volume of "stuff" to take with us on a trip, and then a place to sleep four more people and let kids "hang out" when we get there. Our family of four can go places in the RV by itself, but with this we'd have more room to spread out *and* they could take a friend or two.
I've checked out the weight chart of the different models here:
airstreamguy.com - ** Airstream Lengths, Weights and Tongue Weight
And I think a 22' model with most of the interior gone and being smart about what I build back could get me what I'm after. That said, from my research it looks like there are a LOT of random differences between the models that span the large time period that would work for me. So I'm curious if anyone has any recommendations on what to look for. I think I'm fine with a single axle trailer, but I know that means making sure and put very high quality tires on it and keeping an eye on them (as well as having a spare!). There's a '59 for sale in the classifieds right now that needs a ton of work, but I want to know if it's okay to go that far back or if there's some reason that the 50's models would need a new axle to be safe and a 70's model would be much better or something like that.
Any recommendations here? I'm definitely looking for something under $3k, even if it is one of those "I gutted it to restore it, but never did anything else" kind of projects.