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Old 10-26-2003, 10:07 PM   #1
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2005 25' Safari
Gold Canyon , Arizona
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Just retired; starting serious search...

My wife and I just returned from a 6,000 mile road trip following my retirement last month -- which confirmed our desire to get an Airstream. We're looking for experienced opinions on what would work best for us (which years are best, what to avoid, etc.).

Our tow vehicle will be a 99 V-8 Mountaineer; rated to tow about 6300#. We're considering a vintage unit in the 25-28' range -- thinking this is big enough, but not too big for most of the National Parks. (Saw 5 on our trip). We'd want something that is ready to travel... no "project" vehicles... so leads to possible vehicles would also be appreciated (we'll be searching the web, too.)

The plan is to be on the road for 3-4 weeks at a time. We'd like to go on the WB caravans/rallies.

We'd appreciate being able to talk/meet with someone in the southern Wisconsin area (we live in Whitewater) about what to expect, or things that would be helpful to know.

Thanks for whatever help/advice/ideas/considerations you can provide!

-- Larry

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Old 10-26-2003, 10:18 PM   #2
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Larry, Welcome aboard. I'm not retired yet but I did buy a vintage Airstream probably more to fix up and tinker with at this time. My recommendation is to read the book, "Steeles on Wheels". It is about fulltiming with a trailer the first year. In this case it was a non-Airstream 5th wheeler but the info is still pertainent.

The web site about the book is:

I bought it at You won't find it at a bookstore.

2015 Sprinter Class B Camper Van
(Former 1971 vintage Airstream Owner)
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Old 10-26-2003, 11:11 PM   #3
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1984 29' Sovereign
Savannah , Missouri
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You couldn't do worse then to take a look at the unit that "smily" has for sale on here..
I know it's slightly longer than what you mention but..
You, could gage whatever else you look at by the standard of excellences that his unit is in...
I can tell you that his price is Well worth what he's asking~!

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Old 10-26-2003, 11:20 PM   #4
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1987 29' Sovereign
Sparta , Tennessee
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Congratulations on the retirement.

I retired april of 2001, bought a 29' a/s + new tow vehicle this year. Joined WBCCI and plan to do a caravan or two per year plus a couple rallies.

I went to look at a 27' advertisement but, trailer turned out to be a 29' 1987 Sovereign.

I think your length 25-28' is dead on. Space for extended trips but, not to spend the winter in Florida or Texas. Short enough to get into most campsites. Minimal rearend drag. Heavy but, doesn't require a turbo diesel.

Your tow vehicle at 6300# will probably still be marginal. Airstreams are heavy.

I would think about joining the WBCCI right away. Most units have monthly dinners / meetings. There will be people with 20-40 years experience towing airstreams of every size. They know vehicles, hitches, and airstreams.

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Old 10-26-2003, 11:22 PM   #5
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2005 25' Safari
Gold Canyon , Arizona
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Thanks for the book lead... have a couple of them, and they've been helpful.

Thanks for the lead to Smily's unit. It sure looks like a nice one! Unfortunately, it weighs too much for what we'd like to use for towing.

-- larry
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Old 10-26-2003, 11:34 PM   #6
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You are on the right track looking at 25 foot and trying to stay vintage when you take into consideration your tow vehicle of choice.

The problem with doing that is you fall in love with someting that is either close to the limit or over the limit and now it is time for a new tow vehicle to maintain both your and other drivers safety.

Not saying you won't find a trailer that matches up nicely, just that the trailer that chooses you may not be towable by your mountaineer.

That being said, here are some things to consider in your search. Vintage units ARE lighter. They also have fewer do dads to go bad. Most units, even today are simple technolgy, but vintage are even simpler. Biggest drawback to vintage is the lack of a gray water tank and a limited fresh and black tank. 2 days on fresh water (25-30 gallons) and if you don't have sewer hookup you are carring a blue belly portable tank. Also most vintage will only have 1 battery, so power conservation if boondocking is an additonal concern.

Post 74 you have gray, but it is small up until 77-78 then it starts to get where you can go 3 days if you are conservative on the gray tank. The grey is normally the limiter, not the black. 69-73 had issues with the tambour doors, if they have not broken they were either replaced, or it is time for them to break. 66-68 there were these neat framless windows, curved corning class. They can break and are hard to find, or you need to budget for it.

To stay in the size you need to because of the mountineer, you are looking at mostly single axle trailers in the 60's and some dual in the 70's. Names like Safari, Tradwind, Caravanner, Globetrotter are all in the 19-25 foot range. Most 27 footers will be called Overlander and will be dual axle, but they may be over your limit. to see pictures of the units I am talking about look here :

For weights to help you narrow your search look here: You will need Adobe to read it.

This is the time of year to buy one if you find one you like. Winter in your neck of the woods tends to depress prices some. If you want to buy from a GREAT dealer it is worth the drive to Ace Fogdall in Cedar Falls Iowa. I bought 2 trailers from them. Good dealer that delivers a 100% working coach, new or used. 1-800-747-0747

Buying from a dealer will save you from the to-do list syndrome that many of us have when we go private party.

Good luck on your search!
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 10-27-2003, 07:29 AM   #7
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Gold Canyon , Arizona
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Thanks, Wingfoot and Brett. Appreciate the info greatly.

Wish that I had started this a week earlier. We passed within 20 miles of Cedar Falls on our way back home! Looks like it will make a nice trip out there to see what Ace may have in stock or info.

I realize the Mntr is marginal, but it's been the right size vehicle for us. The new ones will tow up to 7000#, which would give a little more cushion when the time comes to trade. I don't really need a bigger vehicle the rest of the time. I have looked at suburbans and full-sized vans as alternatives, but just not ready for one yet.

Your comments about fewer doodads in the older ones rings a bell. My landlord in the 70's had an airstream. He didn't want the "bells & whistles" back then for the same reason... didn't want them to become things to fix. My interests are more with woodworking than plumbing, so am looking forward to make some changes when the right one comes along.

Will also look for the local WBCCI chapter to see if they'd let us in before owning one.

Thanks again.

-- Larry
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Old 10-27-2003, 08:20 AM   #8
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
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Just retired; starting serious search...

Greetings Larry!

I was just at Ace Fogdall RV last weekend to drop off my '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre for a thorough check-up and its regular winter service pack. They only had one Vintage Unit at the time, a very nice '71 23' with tandem axles. You can find information about the rig at:

Ace Fogdall RV, Inc.

They often have at least one and sometimes as many as three Vintage Airstreams and Argosys on the lot. They are preparing for a move in December to a new location just off of US 20 so it seems their inventory may be a bit smaller than usual.

I suspect that with your desire to stay with your current tow vehicle that you will find Vintage units under 26' to be below your maximum. My '64 Overlander International (26' 8") weighs in just a little under/over 6,000 pounds when it is fully loaded for an extended trip.

Good luck with your search!


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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