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Old 08-24-2014, 11:19 PM   #1
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Chino Hills , California
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Herd of Airstreams

Hi Forum,

New here, and perhaps posting in the wrong place (please advise!)

A family member has 3 Airstreams sitting in a pasture in Montana. She is ready to part with them. This is kind of like the story of the Shelby Cobra in the barn… but these trailers aren’t mint and unfortunately they have worked for a living and haven’t been kept in a barn.

My niece's family and I want to learn about relative values and try to sell off two trailers to restore the third not as a showpiece, but as a fun and groovy family RV.

There are 3 trailers:

1962 Trade Wind- interior disrespected and wounded, floor rotten. Was used as a Forest Service trailer. Body not too bad. Hideous bolt-on roof A/C.

1976 Safari- interior rough,water/moisture damage, not sure of frame condition. Dents on front/top from ice.

1976 Trade Wind- pretty good shape except for outside dents from a tree. Best condition of the lot.

The trailers have been sitting for about ten years and all came into the pasture rolling sound. The wallboard/liner stuff is somewhat nasty on both ’76’s. Humble ’62 Trade Wind has been rode hard and put up wet, as they say… but perhaps because it’s old has some different value as a potential restoration?

Questions:

1 How can we evaluate the soundness of the frames in the field (literally, they are in a field!)?

2 What two are best to sell and what one to keep/fix up for the family?

3 We live in SoCal- recommended restoration guys around here?

4 Trailers we sell: sell as is/where is or haul them out and clean them up?

5 Other pithy words of wisdom?

Thanks for reading along… we are total (but enthusiastic) newbies and appreciate help/suggestions/get started suggestions for The Great Herd of Airstreams Adventure!
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Old 08-24-2014, 11:38 PM   #2
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1979 23' Safari
1954 29' Liner
Orange , California
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Answers to question #3 - MEL Trailers in Orange and Area 63 in Lytle Creek.

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by PasturePrime View Post
Hi Forum,

New here, and perhaps posting in the wrong place (please advise!)

A family member has 3 Airstreams sitting in a pasture in Montana. She is ready to part with them. This is kind of like the story of the Shelby Cobra in the barn… but these trailers aren’t mint and unfortunately they have worked for a living and haven’t been kept in a barn.

My niece's family and I want to learn about relative values and try to sell off two trailers to restore the third not as a showpiece, but as a fun and groovy family RV.

There are 3 trailers:

1962 Trade Wind- interior disrespected and wounded, floor rotten. Was used as a Forest Service trailer. Body not too bad. Hideous bolt-on roof A/C.

1976 Safari- interior rough,water/moisture damage, not sure of frame condition. Dents on front/top from ice.

1976 Trade Wind- pretty good shape except for outside dents from a tree. Best condition of the lot.

The trailers have been sitting for about ten years and all came into the pasture rolling sound. The wallboard/liner stuff is somewhat nasty on both ’76’s. Humble ’62 Trade Wind has been rode hard and put up wet, as they say… but perhaps because it’s old has some different value as a potential restoration?

Questions:

1 How can we evaluate the soundness of the frames in the field (literally, they are in a field!)?

2 What two are best to sell and what one to keep/fix up for the family?

3 We live in SoCal- recommended restoration guys around here?

4 Trailers we sell: sell as is/where is or haul them out and clean them up?

5 Other pithy words of wisdom?

Thanks for reading along… we are total (but enthusiastic) newbies and appreciate help/suggestions/get started suggestions for The Great Herd of Airstreams Adventure!
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1979 23' Safari, and 1954 29' Double Door Liner Orange, CA

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Old 08-25-2014, 12:18 AM   #3
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I vote for keeping the '62 Tradewind . . .
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:30 AM   #4
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This is going to be a great story.

Keep us posted.


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Old 08-25-2014, 06:20 AM   #5
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I would take a very serious and thorough look at the frames of these trailers. (since the floors are rotted, tear out some pieces)
Sitting in a field with continuous moisture for many years may have made them unfit or even dangerous to be towed, besides the questionable condition of the running gear. I looked at a trailer like that recently and even free was too expensive...
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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Welcome to the Forums!

My recommendation would be to keep the one that is in the best condition, in terms of the shell. But manage your expectations, they are all probably in equally poor condition otherwise, and are all candidates for a shell-off renovation. It might be a safe bet that the trailer with the least amount of floor rot has the best frame. Unfortunately, without removing sections of bellypan, or cutting up the floor, it is very difficult to tell. Gross frame damage might be identified by bouncing on the floor in various places to see if there is substantial movement that might indicate a complete failure of a frame member.

From what you describe, these trailers are past the point where you could just clean them up and make them useable, so I wouldn't put too much effort into it. Take a pressure washer to the outsides, and remove the obvious rat corpses, and at least a potential buyer won't be instantly put-off by the looks of the trailer. You could probably get more money for them in a highly populated place like California, but it is doubtful that you could get enough to offset the time and expense of moving them there. What the heck, try posting them for sale "as-is-where-is" and see if you get any bites. You can always move them later if you don't get any interest.

As for value, try looking at Price vs. Condition - Vintage Airstream section, and you might get some guidance.

Other words of pithy wisdom? There are folks out there that are constantly on the prowl looking for trailers to flip. They will show up and offer to take these trailers from you for next to nothing, and then you will see them on ebay a week later with some fresh spray paint on the tongue going for 5x what you were paid. My recommendation is that if someone is going to make money on the trailers, it might as well be you, but you have to decide how much your time is worth.

good luck!
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Old 08-25-2014, 10:44 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the help! Since I posted last night I downloaded and read the Kindle book on buying Airstreams, read lots on this forum, and saturated my brain with cosmic trailer rays.

I will work on a way to get a good evaluation of the safety condition of these beauties, first and foremost, then decide which/if any we should pursue fixing up.

It's interesting- the hype of course is that any vintage Airstream is worth kazillions of dollars, but you can find some online- perhaps not super old, and not cutesied up from stem to stern- that are a reasonable price and appear to be being sold by people that used them regularly and are either upgrading or exiting the world of Airstream.

And of course our friends the Craigslist scammers offering way too good to be true deals with vary strange prices- $18,763 price on a trailer? That must be with the Lagos Nigeria conversion rate!

I note a fair number of restorations begun and abandoned along the way (Beware All Ye Who Enter Here!) and to offset that, a huge number of people that just seem to be enjoying the heck out of their trailers and the travel they facilitate.

We hope to be in the later group!

Thanks again, and I'll keep reading....

PasturePrime
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:21 AM   #8
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Previous advice offered is great. I would add, however, that if these trailers have been in a dry/desert part of Montana, the frames may be in pretty good shape. Floors rot out from shell leaks, but frames seem to take a lot longer to rust out in a desert setting.

If I were you, I would choose the trailer length that works best for your family or tow vehicle, since all three seem to be in a similar state of disrepair. Or maybe the one with the best condition of outer shell, since that is very expensive to repair and you are less likely to know how or have the equipment to DIY.

Have you heard of the Vintage Trailer Academy? Once a year, a long weekend with classes taught by absolute professionals in how to repair practically anything on A/Ss, located in Albuquerque, NM--not too far from you?

Lots of luck, and welcome to Airstreams and the forum!

Vivian
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