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Old 10-17-2019, 06:34 AM   #1
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Early 70s Argosy war metal?


I am recently looking at a 72/73ish Argosy. It was painted white at some point and the seller told me it was because during those years they had to put all of the metal material on hold to help support the war. He said they had to recycle metal from many different sources in order to keep making the trailers. They painted them white at the time to hide the different types of metal used. Does this have any credibility?


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Old 10-17-2019, 06:54 AM   #2
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What war? Argosy was sort of a test bed for new concepts. End caps were made of steel and possibly the aluminum panels were rejects from Airstream production but that is not certain. They were painted since the steel needed protection from the elements and because it was a different color than the aluminum. Some Argosy trailers had and aluminum floor.


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Old 10-17-2019, 07:43 AM   #3
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The Argosy line was a lower price point Airstream, but had their own personal, like the front panoramic windows, long before Airstream had them.
The end caps were galvanized metal, which meant they could be fabricated out of one piece of steel, which reduced possible, (or probable leaks) on the end caps.
In the case of aluminum sheeting being rejected by Airstream due to defects or discoloration and sent to the Argosy line, highly improbable, due to the fact that the OEM finish on the sheets would have to be removed to allow for paint adhesion.

I have an 1983 Airstream 310 motorhome, a 1975 Argosy 24' motorhome, and a 1978 Argosy 6.3m Minuet, (alas with a plywood floor), but I love the Minuet the best of all.

Wars had nothing to do with Argosy production.

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Old 10-17-2019, 10:40 AM   #4
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I believe I read in one of those "History of Airstream" type books that in the early days of Argosy production, they used the blemished "reject" aluminum panels from the AS factory, but that as demand for the Argosy line picked up, they soon had to have fresh panels as the quantity of "rejects" wasn't adequate to satisfy production demand.

Whether true or not, the fact is that beginning about 1970, and moving forward, AS began experimenting with different alloys. Do a search for "history of aluminum at Airstream" on these forums, and you will find an "official" document that came from AS describing when certain alloys were used. As I recall, a trailer produced in '72 or '73 will *likely* be made of 6061 T6, though some Forums members assert that their early 70's trailers are made of 2024 T3 Alclad, so it was probably a bit inconsistent.

I have never heard that this had anything to do with war time rationing, just Airstream's efforts to reduce costs and improve competitivity/profit.

But as stated above, all Argosy trailers had a factory paint job, mostly because of the steel endcaps, and likely also to differentiate them from the Airstream brand. As I recall, a buyer of a brand new Argosy was not welcomed into the WBCCI, and could not participate in the official rallys and caravans...kind of a red-haired step child situation, to coin a non-politically correct term.

good luck!
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Old 10-21-2019, 08:20 PM   #5
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If there was materials rationing in the 1970's due to Viet Nam it must have been classified. Cause we didn't know anything about it. And there were lots of old airplanes in the bone yard.
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