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Old 04-09-2004, 12:35 AM   #1
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Question Getting ready to get ready to think about an AS

Hi,

My husband and I are getting ready to get into the market for an older Airstream...getting closer to knowing what we want so we know what to look for before we buy. These forums have helped a LOT, both just reading them and folks who have answered. So we're not ready to buy quite yet.

We're also coming to an agreement on the length of the trailer, hubby and I, and we know we probably want the bathroom in the back of the trailer, and the length should be from 22' to 30'. The bathroom information is from other big airstreamers. He's a big guy and I don't want him squeezed in there, but with gas prices being what they are especially in California ($2.29 a gallon today) I also don't want it too big, I want to be able to afford to tow it. I also don't want more than we need.

We also sat down and realistically discussed what kind of condition it should be in, so we don't go in with totally different ideas, and we're both willing to settle for something with good bones that we can gut and redo at the worst, something in better shape than that if we can afford it. He's a general contractor and I'm willing to get my hands dirty and make the remodeling commitment. Looks like we're on the same page on that part.

So, we're making progress! We're going to go to a rally soon and hopefully look inside some models, and see what size/floorplan we "want" (I know we might end up with something totally different but that makes us happy, if it's there and it's The One). We're willing to do anything from the 50's, 60's, or 70's.

So here are my questions: Hubby says two axles is a must for towing. He grew up trailering (whatever that means). I know nothing about this whole trailering thing, it just looks like SO much fun, and AS's are so so cool. I'm not sure if DH is trying to push me to the 30' limit (He wants a house on wheels, I want a doghouse with a wagon handle, we're trying to meet in the middle). I'll listen to reason; is he right, or is it not really an issue, or does it depend on the model? Or what you use to tow?

and what about those ebay prices? There are a couple of 22' models from the late '50's that we could afford (but we're not buying yet, maybe after our tax return) but...is that the best place to buy? What would these models typically go for, on ebay right now they're less than 1k? Something tells me ebay isn't necessarily the best place to look...where do we start?

If you want to look, here are the item #'s for the trailers
1956 Airstream Safari 22' travel trailer Item number: 2472610080
1957 Airstream " Flying Cloud- 22' Long Item number: 2470738192
1958 Airstream Sovereign 30 ft Vintage Trailer Item number: 2472456365

Sorry for all these questions...
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Old 04-09-2004, 12:50 AM   #2
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I think eBay is not the best place to buy. You definitly want to take a look at anything you buy in person first. Then you might get caught in a bidding war and end up paying more than you want to. I just saw a project Safari go for $1849 on eBay that I passed up over a year ago because it didn't look like a deal at $500 in person!

Watch the classifieds at the vintage airstream club website, watch the rvtraderonline site for local stuff you might be able to go take a look at. We bought ours from WBCCI members who had been using it and were honest and straight with us, and it's the best thing we've ever done, we're so happy with our little trailer.

I hope you find a few to look at. The perfect airstream is out there for you, just be patient waiting for it to come around. The wrong trailer could wear you out before you have any fun with it. At least for my first trailer, I didn't want to spend the whole summer restoring it. Some people enjoy that, but I know I wouldn't have!

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2004, 01:10 AM   #3
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Any other places you suggest we look? I guess local ads and stuff.

Thanks,
Ingrid
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Old 04-09-2004, 03:14 AM   #4
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Go to Airstream.com. We found ours there. Much later model, but in great condition at a very good price. Longer than we initially wanted but we love it. Did have to get a bigger tow vehicle. All it needed was a good scrub. Great trailer...good luck.
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Old 04-09-2004, 04:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airstreamhopeful
Hubby says two axles is a must for towing. He grew up trailering (whatever that means)
Smart man. Double axle if you can. Its a good safety and stability factor. You also say he is a big guy and anything with a double would most likely fit him better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airstreamhopeful
Sorry for all these questions...
Don't be sorry!! You might be sorry later if you didn't ask them.

Have fun with your hunt. Be patient, foremost. New units go on the market everyday. You'll find yours.

-BobbyW
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Old 04-09-2004, 06:46 AM   #6
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Airstream Shopping...

Look at every Airstream you find for sale, even if it's shorter, longer, trashier, in better condition, newer, older, or whatever that you think you're looking for. Eventually you'll have a pretty good first-hand feel for price v. condition and the amenities of various eras. When you get to the point that you can say, "Oh, that's the '67 with the Corning windows and wood veneer cabinets... or that's a '94... I wonder how it's clearcoat is" or that's a thirteen panel, seven panel, or three panel cap from a newspaper add, you'll know whether or not it's worth looking at for you. It sounds from your descriptions, though, that a Caravanner or Tradewind, (both 25' tandems) or an Overlander (27' tandem) might be big enough for hubby, but small enough for you.

Buying the trailer you want at the price you want to pay is hard work. It takes dedication and lots of time. Use all of the resources at your disposal, especially the internet, and if you can't physically go looking at trailers, spend time looking at photos when you can.

Don't be in a hurry to buy. Once you find out what you like and actually want in a trailer, one will come along that is exactly what you're looking for. You may have to drive halfway across the country for it, but it's out there waiting... somewhere!

Good luck hunting!

Roger
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Old 04-09-2004, 12:39 PM   #7
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Ugh...being patient is not my strong suit!!

But I know you're right or I wouldn't have taken the time to post here. We do have to stick with the tow vehicle we have, 2001 Chevy Silverado 1500 4x4. If we had the dough to be able to get other cars or an AS over a certain price ($5k max, which we haven't saved up quite yet) we wouldn't have to go with a fixer-upper model. But we do like the idea of customizing it ourselves, since we have to do it, we may as well start liking the idea right?

That helps, the model names of the two-axles. Any other suggestions would help, I'm taking copious notes.
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Old 04-09-2004, 12:49 PM   #8
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Hi Hopeful,
The right one is just waiting for you to find it, be patient and diligent, you'll find it. As for trying to identify sizes and amenities, look through every trailer on the vintage website maintained by RJ, if you haven't already.

www.vintageairstream.com/archives/index.html

So many units and floor plans to look at. Make three different lists: the items you must have, the items you'ld like and the items you don't want. This will help you narrow down your possibilities. I for one, wanted alot of wood and not veneer or wood-grained contact paper, minimal amount of plastic and twin beds so I searched for a late '50s model.

Enjoy the search. It can be alot of fun and a tremendous learning experience.

FF
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Old 04-09-2004, 12:50 PM   #9
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Roger, do you mind if I incessantly nag and pick your brain? I hate not knowing everything I can. It's the German in me.

i.
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Old 04-09-2004, 01:00 PM   #10
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Yep, I open that model list page in another session while I surf for models and information. That way I can just click back and forth and see what's what. What about floor plans though? Where can I find those?

I have so much to learn. I can't get over how helpful everyone out there is, I'm starting to see why people join the AS groups, the rallies look like they'd be so much fun. Get ready for questions questions questions, about everything, from Airstreamhopeful.
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Old 04-09-2004, 01:13 PM   #11
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When I was searching for my AS I had narrowed it down to wanting an Argosy Minuet, because of the big wrap around windows (I wanted a very open, airy feeling inside) and it had a grey tank for catching sink water (so I wouldn't have to deal with hauling a blue tank around), and it would be small and easy to tow. I wanted a dinette, but I was willing to take what I could get.

I was dealing with two very nice people via email, one in Seattle with a very original Minuet, and one in CO with a fixer-upper. I ended up being contacted by a gentleman in the AS club not far from here who had a Caravel for sale - almost the same size, lots of windows, a dinette, but no grey tank. I was flexable, and it was in such nice shape we decided to snap it up.

The lack of a grey tank turned out not to be as big a deal as I'd anticipated. However, the one thing I wanted to say was that everyone I delt with was so nice and helpful, I couldn't believe it. It really was a fun hunt and I was very happy with what I ended up with, and we're still friends with the previous owners. Not often you have an experience like that buying a vehicle! Airstream people really are a special group!
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Old 04-09-2004, 04:30 PM   #12
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Have 1976 25' Tradewind for sale

Airstreamhopeful.. We have just got an Argosy 1975.. 26' and will be selling the Tradewind... asking 6500 US.. tandem axle and we pull it with a GMC 1500 5.3.. and it tows like a dream.. good tires , brakes, ac is really cold.. pergo floor.. skin is in very good condition.. new belt lines and rub line done with the parbon treatment above each.All tambour doors work and all bins are there.. Annie.. located in Ontario..
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Old 04-09-2004, 05:57 PM   #13
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Hi ...

First Congrats on your hunt for a new A/S. As you can see there are as many opinions on what to do as there are models and years to look for.

Some have to look forever and some like Peter and I - left the looking upto the computer screen and then pow there she was just waiting for us after only a week looking for A/S's but about 4 weeks thinking and planning to purchase a TT.

Of course I wanted the new ones - just fell in love with them - untill of course I saw the price tag - yeh ha - can think of a few things to do with that dollup of money

Anyway we found our baby on Airstream.com classifieds - and then used the Service provided on this forum - where really really really really kind!!!! people offer to go look at a potential coach for you and give you a first hand visual either via digital camera or through their own eyes - when you live 1500+ miles away from a coach you just might like it can get a little pricey running around North America - just a tad too big

My hubby is 6.2 and although we have a really small bathroom - he fits just fine if you know what I mean. We don't have an overly large bedroom either. However you have to look at the reasons why you want to travel with a TT in the first place. Age will certainly play a big role (wanting and needing several conveniences that younger people don't quite need yet) You can always trade up when the time is right.

Weekender, long hauls, or yearly trips for several weeks at a time all require various immenities.

We love the outdoors and will spend 90% of our travel time (other than sleeping of course) NOT in the trailer. Like you our Tow Vehicle did come into the picture -as we just bought a brand new Kia and was not about to trade it - so we new we had to be under the 4K# mark. If you are going to take your Tow vehicle close to it's limit the most important number we have found to watch is the Rear Axel Gross Weight - I have seen vehicle rated for 7000# and yet are only 100# more RAGW than our Kia - you can have all the power you want but if you overload that RA you will be in trouble. - Many talk about wizing up and down mountain passes and yet more time will be spent on the flats - hit a few nice head winds and that will be harder on your vehicle. (lots of opinions on what to pull with from overkill to just using your common sense and always put safety first!)

We saw Annies Tradewind the other day (our new friends met here on the Forum and yet we are neighbours!!!!) Peter and I can vouch for it's condition - Annie actual understated the skin - it is in excellent condition - with a nice shine. Roomy with lots of little up grades already done.

You see we invited them to dinner and on their way they found the Argosy and the next day they bought it Too funny - How they spotted it in that driveway I will never know - we drive past there daily!@!

Type in Airstream dealers and visit everyone of their websites and go to the used or classifieds - check this forum and the Vintage forum regularily - and just put the word out to all your friends to keep an eye out. Don't be afraid to knock on someones door and ask if their A/S is for sale.

We are in the middle of our restore - not too much has to be done mostly cosmetic - we paid a little more for ours but then we don't have the huge repair bills either.

Good luck and if you have any questions please feel free to PM us. Check out our Photo Album for pics of our recent acquisition - 69 GlobeTrotter 21ft
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:46 PM   #14
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Thank you!! I have a feeling that AS is out of our budget...we're looking for a real fixer-upper...Jeff (husband) wants to gut it and re-do. But I did PM Annie about the price. We're really not in a position to buy right now, being self-employed and on the verge of getting out of business debt so we can start building a profit.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your posts...my 5 year old wants my attention right now so I have to sign off, but I'll be back!
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