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Old 12-06-2015, 11:49 AM   #15
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1972 27' Overlander
Woodburn , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 117
I went the older route and I really like what I have and what we have done , basically a older airstream with everything new and modernized inside also I have things in my airstream that you can't get on a new airstream , its not cheap but it's mine and the only one like it , lots of money and time

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Old 12-06-2015, 11:51 AM   #16
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2004 30' Land Yacht 30 SL
Elkmont , Alabama
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Posts: 6
We purchased new A class in 2000 and almost new in 2010, new in 2012, then looking for a smaller A class purchased a 2004 SLD this year. I mention this because the 2004 has needed more time in the garage than we have spent on the road. We have learned a lesson if you wish to go camping buy as new as you can afford. The alternative requires a deep pocket and much time and patience!

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Old 12-06-2015, 12:39 PM   #17
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
Vista , California
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Posts: 215
I will only add this, we bought a 1988 325 Classic AS motorhome, and Chris says as he takes things apart now and again to fix something, "Wow, they did a really cheap job here". I'm not sure when it began happening, and I will say we are lucky to have one of the ones that have solid wood cabinetry, but AS began cutting corners just like the SOBs do. Airstreams are likely still better than the SOBs, but the ones they build now are not the ones they built when they first began, not by a long shot. Buy the most vintage in good repair Airstream you can afford to restore financially and emotionally because I truly believe the older ones, if they were well cared for, have the greatest potential. my .02c
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:56 PM   #18
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Caledonia , Michigan
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 98
The FC 30 BH was reintroduced in 2015, so there is not much supply of used units.

The previous and very similar model was the Safari 30 BH, only built from '05 to '06. I owned one of these for eight years and recently sold it, switching to an FC 27 Twin, now that the kids have grown up and gone to college. There were not many of the Safari 30 BH units built and my impression is that demand is high for these.
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:09 PM   #19
Tom T
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Vintage Kin Owner
Orange , California
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 425
Vintage options & considerations

Hi Dan,

I'm assuming you mean AS trailer - not motorhome/RV options.

Initially you'll need to decide whether you - & your spouse & kids - prefer new, older-new or vintage/classic trailers, or maybe all of the above. You should also think about what you want to do with your trailer & where you want to go, for how long on trips/outings, etc., future family additions - vs what you really need in the trailer.

You may find that you really need a shorter trailer with the same fitment/amenities in a shorter length to get into the parks & on the roads where you'd like to visit. A 30 footer is a BIG rig & excluded from many roads & parks. I think that Sequoyah National Park limits to 26 or 28' for example, & no I didn't miss spell it, that is the correct Cherokee phonetic spelling for the man it's named after - not Sequoia).

Many shorter 24-28' trailers from AS & vintage kin offer the same sleeping & bathroom amenities in a shorter & more maneuverable length, than a 30', but less storage cabinets & galley counters. Can your family pack more efficiently for trips & not carry everything including the kitchen/galley sink!? We did so for many years since 1988 with our VW Westfalia for 2-4 week long trips cross country, so our 20' Avion trailer now is true luxury now with just my wife & I as empty nesters!

A few points to consider....

1st - There is a 3rd option you don't mention, which is to buy someone else's completed resto project which they've enjoyed for a few years & are now moving on for whatever reason, which will save you on doing the resto yourself in both time & expense. I say it that way to differentiate from the "Flippers" who buy an old trailer, clean it up, slap on some paint & relatively low cost "fixes" & then sell them as a fully restored trailer - which they're NOT!

The key is that the resto includes updating of the critical 12v/110v electrical, plumbing & LP systems & appliances, as well as the running gear (original is okay if kept up & brakes, bearing, wheels/tires, springs/shocks, mounts/bolts are all okay or replaced), floor & frame are sturdy, etc. - in addition to all the more cosmetic renovations.

Also - you can add any modern conveniences to any vintage trailer - including microwaves, digital TVs & entertainment systems (these usually save weight over the vintage tube-type options from back in the day), so that really isn't the deterrent that the new trailer buffs claim.

Most importantly - have any trailer which you seriously consider checked out by an expert, which may cost you some "insurance" money to avoid pitfalls (we paid $250 & that included his opinion of value for insurance purposes with AAA). If you have a restoration shop in mind already, then they may do it for free in order to ensure you get a starting project which is reasonable, & they can rough out what they think the resto cost will be - on top of the purchase cost.

2nd - Vintage trailers/RVs are usually differentiated by being built in the early, mid or sometimes late 70's (e.g.: 1972, 1975, 1978, etc. & earlier), & vintage trailering opens you up to a whole additional set of experiences for your family at vintage trailer rallies, camp-outs & events, classic car & trailer events, etc. - in addition to the AS events (many of which are open to vintage kin/other Silver Twinkies).

3rd - What PammieSue said is correct, & I think it was in the late-80's or early-90's where this down-quality cost savings started - as a vintage AS guy we know says. He also said that the old pre-Fleetwood Avions were better built than AS, & the 80's ones are about the same quality as AS due to Fleetwood's decontenting them - eventually ending up as only an Avion decal on their standard box SOBs.

The vintage trailers will usually be lighter & stronger than the modern AS examples since the 1990s, due to use of better lighter weight materials (the cabinetry she said is a good example). The old addage of: "They don't build them like they used to!" is really true, so in a well maintained original or restored vintage trailer will be at least as good as, if not better than, a new "modern" example - despite what the salespeople will tell you (they're job is to sell new/newer used trailers - not vintage ones).

For example - our 1960 Avion T20 was 2680 lbs. before options & about 3-3500 as restored & updated with all options, wet & loaded (a 1960s AS would be in a similar weight range) - whereas a new AS 19-22 example is 4500-6000+ lbs. dry & before options. It makes a huge difference in both handling, towability & your fuel burn while towing!

So if you think you want to go with vintage, then think about expanding your options beyond vintage AS - to also include the Avion, Silver Streak, Spartan & a plethora of others "Silver Beauties" from the hey-day of trailering in the 1950s-70's (pre-oil crisis).

Go to a vintage trailer event near you or anywhere you can get to, & look at some of the options out there in the 24-30'+ range, to see what the options are, if you'd like the idea of your family hanging out with young & middle & older trailer folks, & doing the fun & silly events many do at them for the entertainment of all (mini-golf & bowling in funny outfits, potlucks & group meals, open houses to show off their vintage prides, icecream & movie nights at the campground - usually featuring old trailer/camping movies & the infamous Lucy & Ricky "The Long, Long Trailer" movie, etc.).

Many would have floor plans which would be comparable to or better than that AS 30FB, the basic structure or "bones" would be better than the new AS, & as good as or better than even the vintage AS, but the new or vintage AS command a higher price mostly on popularity & numbers out there since the post-WWII days (sorry AS guys, but it's the truth ).

Not to push Avions, but as an example of other options in vintage kin, you can peruse some old sales brochures at this link:
Silver Avion Trailer Brochures

You'll see in them that the Avion 24, 27/28 & 30' models of most years have similar floor plans which sleep 4-6+ (including the convertible dinette/full size bed), with a full bath (rear), & Galley - with basically more cabinets & floor space between those basic components. Do you really need that extra space, or would you rather have a shorter & easier to handle rig able to get on more roads & parks?

Other vintage brands also have similar factory sales brochures online too.

We got our 1960 Avion T20 in 2012 as a restored DONE project in 2007 by the prior owners, who had to give up trailering for health reasons, & have been very happy. While there is always things to do maintenance-wise & to personalize your trailers - new or used - ours is no more than what our "new trailer" friends do.

Good Luck!
Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner)
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:37 PM   #20
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2016 28' Pendleton
Bettendorf , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 23
Your choice, but...

Obviously, this will be your family's choice, but after reading through some of the ideas and going off our experience, here is a thought:

We had a pop up camper and three girls. We could take up to eight of us with this. It was a great way to start camping. We would camp several times during the year. We went to Europe and rented a camper and took the girls. We saved money for retirement and spent what we could on experiences.

Later with swimming, soccer, dance, Homecomings, Proms, required grand parent visits, we used the pop up less and less. Boyfriends take time, too.

The girls have all moved on and we bought our new AS. It is great. All three have joined us at various times and they sleep on the configuration at the dining area and couch. We have the bed. We take two extended trips with our AS every year and this winter are in Arizona. We take a long trip overseas every year, India, Europe, Middle East, Central America, Carribbean in the past and China in the next year. We could not have done all that we do, if we had spent on an AS and towing vehicle at the beginning with college, braces, etc. in our future. We did not short change ourselves but we did not go into debt, either.

Someone else said something similar, about getting a white box, too. They are much cheaper. All campers cost money and time. You have a family and that really costs, too.

Oh, my wife just retired at 54. I was 59 when I retired.
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:40 PM   #21
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St Paul , MN
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 120
That's a really tough decision between two great choices! The newer bunk will get you out the door camping with the kids asap and what you see is what you get. The custom vintage sounds unique but you're trusting someone to do a quality job and stay on budget in a chosen timeframe - three things that can go wrong - inferior workmanship - over budget - when's it going to be done?. I got the impression you want something unique so if you have a reliable source - go for it! It might take longer to get what you want but may be very much worth the wait - think of all the fun you can have too as a family going to vintage shows, rallies, and all things Airstream. No matter which way you decide it's going to be a blast!
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:07 AM   #22
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2008 30' Classic
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
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If the goal is to be out camping within a year or less, you will want a newer, functional unit. There are many used units out there, but, as you know, they are not on the market long. You need to be able to move quickly when yours comes up. If the goal is to have something vintage outside, new inside, and you are hiring out, well, most work like this is twice as long as predicted, twice as expensive as estimated, and only half as good as bragged about. There is a couple in our WBCCI Central Indiana Unit who went this route, bought a rough, worn vintage very cheap, took it to a "professional", and over a year later and 1 1/2 times the total renovation budget, did not even have the trailer weathertight, let alone any renovations completed. They wound up doing the work themselves, and found it was far easier, less daunting, and more satisfying, with a great trailer the result.

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Old 12-07-2015, 04:41 PM   #23
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Welcome, Dan. I'm glad that you are going to let your girls learn about camping while they are young.

As for what to get, you've already seen some good advice. NO coach will be perfect, so there will always be something to do, and that includes brand new coaches. Buying a used coach, rather than a new one, is certainly a good way to save money. In fact, most people recommend that someone new to RVs do just that.

Buying a project coach might save you a few dollars, but will cost you LOTS of time. My suggestion would be to buy a 10-15-year-old coach with rear twin beds. As others have said, you can then easily add some upper bunks. That provides a place for the girls, and leaves you the couch. Not ideal for full-timing, but good enough for vacations and weekends.

If you find a coach that has the rear queen bed that otherwise meets all your needs, you can probably convert it to bunks without too much work. I suspect that a rear queen bed coach is more common than a twin bed one.
David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:26 AM   #24
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1967 26' Overlander
Anywhere , USA
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 47
We have a 1967 Overlander with our 4 kids. It has four bunks and the front dining area turns into a queen size bed. Many of the vintage midels with middle twin beds or couches can also have 1-2 bunks. Our bunks are permenant, but I would prefer gaucho couches and the vintage style bunks that can be pushed up during the day. That makes the space more versatile. We even looked at ine that had made the bottom bunk into a very sturdy desk that converted to a bed. Smart.

Ours is a 26' and everything is of course tight. Storage is not a problem if you're organized, but with kids you know things are not always tidy. So I do get annoyed by having the bunks basically form a hallway to the bathroom...if everything is not perfectly put away, you suddenly have a path of stuff being trampled. So, in that way, a rear twin converted to bunks would be convenient so that a playspace is not in the middle of the walkway.

I do think that leaving money in the budget for a few conversions to fir your family is preferable to trying to find a pre-designed model. Chances are they weren't designing with your particular family dynamic in mind. I think someone mentioned trying to find a closer fit so your conversions are fewer. Just keep an many things we think are "must haves" might not really be critical or could be approached differently.

Good luck! It's challenging but a lot of fun as well!
Warmly, Beth

"wherever we go, we're always home"
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Old 12-11-2015, 06:40 PM   #25
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Carrollton , Kentucky
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 16
Have a look at this one: 1993 Airstream Excella 32 - Florida

Looks good in the pics, sleeps 6, center bath... if I was looking, I'd go check it out.

Good luck and happy hunting!
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:57 AM   #26
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1988 32.5' Airstream 325
Vista , California
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by MichaelS View Post
Have a look at this one: 1993 Airstream Excella 32 - Florida

Looks good in the pics, sleeps 6, center bath... if I was looking, I'd go check it out.

Good luck and happy hunting!
Link didn't work.
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Old 12-14-2015, 05:17 AM   #27
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Carrollton , Kentucky
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Working for me. ??

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