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Old 05-23-2014, 11:59 PM   #1
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Houston , Texas
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Vintage: To Be (Picky), or Not To Be (Picky)

It has been a long time since I posted that I was interested in purchasing a vintage Airstream, and then seemingly disappeared like most Airstream wannabes. But, I'm still here, and still looking (never stopped).

Since my last post, I've both given myself a needed reality check and actually camped in a vintage Airstream. And I've gotten some towing experience. My wish lists have now been altered and simplified.
- I still want vintage.
- I now want smaller (I'm still a single gal planning on camping solo). 22' max is ideal.
- I'm still drawn to 60's trailers, but late 50's (57+) are ok too
- I've not swayed on "NO WET BATHS!"
- I'd rather pay a little more for things like upgraded axels, brakes, wiring, plumbing already done than having to do/coordinate them myself
- I will compromise on interior condition for these above things
- Given the above, I want camp ready in need of TLC, but not major overhaul needed

A 60's Safari is my ideal. A 50's 22' trailer in good condition would be ok too.

My tow vehicle has changed. It's a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 with the factory installed towing package*.

So, I'm now looking for advice on how picky I should be on floorplan. Do I disregard the front dinette vs. front lounge floorplan I have been drawn to since starting my Airstream dreaming in lieu of overall condition and price? In the past I've been told those front dinette's aren't that comfortable, especially to work at; but, couldn't I upgrade cushioning, etc. and make it a comfortable work space? I've also heard opinions on changing layouts...with just changing out a front lounge to a front dinette layout, other than costs, does anyone have opinions on implications around this?

I am going to take this plunge, eventually. Hopefully sooner than later. And when I do, you guys can give me advice on all of the infinite concepts I like to tell myself I can figure out but really, which I will be completely lost without your prior experience.

*I specifically purchased this vehicle knowing it would work for my everyday and that I (as a single trailer hauler) have no business pulling anything other than a small and lightweight trailer. For those unfamiliar, it's rated towing capacity is 7,200 lbs. I know the rule of thumb is not to go over 80% of that (5,760 lbs.). I have no intention of getting close to that.

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Old 05-24-2014, 12:11 AM   #2
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I just realized I asked the same question about changing to a front dinette in my introductiory post a while ago. I guess that makes it a long standing priority, and learning how hard it is to convert to one vs. one already being there pretty important.

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Old 05-24-2014, 06:23 AM   #3
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Hello ( Flower of New Orleans ? )

Are you going to be living in the trailer? Is it going to be a home office? I "configured" my trailer for how I use it. I don't eat in the trailer very often. I usually cook outside, except for morning coffee. So, I leave the dinette in bed mode ( and it travels better that way although it's nice to have that option ) I leave the gaucho in couch mode because it gives me a little floor space.
I'll tell you this….in the long run, vintage trailers are no bargain, especially if you are not going to be working on it yourself.
I don't want to start yet another heated debate, BUT I for for one do not agree with the " I want a dual purpose tow vehicle that gets good gas mileage " concept. I think you end up with a not so great everyday car and/or a not so great tow vehicle.
And….you will be surprised how easy it is to get to that 5000 pounds. You have to add the weight of everything in your tow vehicle, including people.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:08 AM   #4
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Check out the Tin Can Tourists on facebook for ideas. Jim
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:52 AM   #5
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1957 22' Caravanner
Port Hadlock , Washington
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I'm almost up to three years full timing in a 50's 22 footer, so what you want to do works, or at least it does for me. My wet bath gets used all the time and it works just fine.

Don't believe you can be picky on the floor plan if you want a 50's or 60's trailer that is ready to full time in--it'll have to be one that is already restored/renovated and that will be much harder to find. Needing just TLC is fine, but that kind of trailer is much more likely to have hidden problems. That nice laminated floor often covers a rotten subfloor.

Forum Thread: First She Had to Take a Ride on a Boat

Blog: My 57 Caravanner
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
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1966 24' Tradewind
Placerville , California
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We bought our 24' '66 Trade Wind twin bed 8 years ago. I had spent many hours searching online for no more than 22' vintage Airstream. There were none that offered a BED, double or twin in anything under 24'. We wanted not to make UP a bed each night so pull out beds were not for us. Doubles were too difficult to make from being cramped in corners. My wife at first was against twins but I prevailed by asking, "Who's going to crawl over who in the night"? My wife is in her mid 60s and I in my mid 70s. We LOVE our twin beds. Our front dinette is uncomfortable to sit at for long sessions. A previous owner had converted it from a gaucho to add large fresh water capacity (40 gals) under the benches. They did a decent job but perhaps deeper cushions may be an option. We find ourselves 'lounging' comfortably on our twins for TV watching and reading.

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Neil and Lynn Holman
FreshAir #12407

Kirk Creek, Big Sur, Ca. coast.

1966 Trade Wind

1971 Buick Centurion convertible
455 cid

1969 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
455 cid
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Old 05-24-2014, 04:24 PM   #7
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Posts: 776
Neil and Lynn
I really like how you did the interior of the trailer, that woodwork is gorgeous.
And that convertible tow vehicle is a blast.

To the OP (I'd use your first name, but I dont see it)

I agree with getting the trailer in the best shape mechanically and with all the systems upgraded if you can. The interior work can always be done at your leisure and you can modify it to fit your needs. The trailer you are looking for is also on everybody elses' short list so you have to be quick and not as picky as you may like.

Ongoing adventures at:
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:43 PM   #8
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Vintage Kin Owner
Katy , Texas
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Greetings from Katy, TX - we're neighbors! In keeping with the "not too picky" mindset I have found size is the underlying denominator. I have a 1977 6.0 Minuet (19 ft), "the Palace", and it seemed to be the perfect compromise for us - not to big not too small - a step up from the van camper we use to have. However, it has proven to be too small as well for anything other than a weekend: we being two adults and two medium sized dogs. After considerable upgrades; new axels, new plumbing, new toilet, new A/C, new fixtures, new awning, etc. it is still too small. If you 're not too picky this would be the perfect trailer for you. It's beige and not silver but has the big pano windows. It has a seperate shower, but it is small too. You're new GC would be a great tow vehicle as the Minuet was light weight, ( est.2,800 lbs. ready to camp), Airstream's first and only "all aluminum" trailer with aluminum floors- no rotten floors! It also has the big pano windows in front! Mine is side gacho and front dinnet with new upholstery. All that being said, "if the trailer don't fit you must re-equip" (apologies to OJ). I'd be happy to show it to you to see if this might be another option rather than Vintage or not - but Argosy or not? This is the perfect single person let's go camping trailer and it has had all major issues addressed.

The road goes on forever and the party never ends... Thks to REK
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