Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-31-2003, 11:33 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9
Vintage v. Recent Models

This may have been addressed before, and maybe I just need guidance in where to look...but I'm interested in exploring pluses and minuses to vintage Airstreams versus new models. I've read about some recent improvements (larger blackwater tanks and what sounds to me like sealed underparts)...and think I've read somewhere that the older models are lighter than newer ones.
Anything else that's significant about the product for someone thinking about getting started?
Don't know if it matters, but we're thinking of a smaller (20-23') trailer OR a smaller be used by two soon-to-be-retired artsy fartsy types who are clueless mechanics...but diligent about upkeep of things.

Jan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2003, 12:44 PM   #2
Stefrobrts's Avatar

1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 11,818
Images: 50
Blog Entries: 1
Re: Vintage v. Recent Models

Originally posted by Jan be used by two soon-to-be-retired artsy fartsy types who are clueless mechanics...but diligent about upkeep of things.
Perhaps that is the most telling part. I think anyone who buys vintage should be prepared to get their hands dirty in the maintenance/upkeep of it. If you don't enjoy that sort of thing, maybe you would be just as happy with a new/newer one, which should come to you with few problems, and leave you more free time to enjoy your retirement.

You should be honest with yourself about how much you enjoy the bells and whistles. For example, I actually enjoy things like lighting my furnace, 'frige and water heater by hand, hand cranking my tounge jack, and other things that remind me I have a vintage trailer. If that sounds crazy to you, then you might be happier with the modern push-button conveniences in the newer trailers. And there's nothing wrong with that. A new Airstream is just as cool as an old one. And you can still personalize it and enjoy travelling around the country, and better than half the people who see you will think it's old anyway.


Stefrobrts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2003, 06:45 PM   #3
Rivet Master
garry's Avatar
1969 31' Sovereign
Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,331
Images: 7
One question you need to ask is how do you get around once you are where you want to be.
Pull a TT and you have the tow veh to drive around in. With a MH you will have to pull a toad (small car) to use for transportation.
Both have their merits.
I prefer the TT since a MH represents a two veh upkeep and MH breakdowns are "very" bad news on the pocketbook unless you are seasoned DIY'r.

I agree with Stefrobrts on the vintage question. A later model should require less hands on repair time. Most of us vintagers look at our AS as a "work-in-progress" when not in actual use.

Enjoy your retirement

garry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2003, 07:44 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9
Thank you, Stephanie and Garry. What you say makes sense. I do appreciate hearing from you folks with experience.
Jan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2003, 07:55 PM   #5
Retired Moderator
john hd's Avatar
1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,644
Images: 40
old vs. newer


newer trailers need repairs also, in the last year i have done the following on my 1992 excella:

fresh water tank drain repair

grey water tank repair

clearcoat repair

things that still need to be done:

curtain elastic replacement

furnace fan bearing

misc. maintinence wheel bearings brakes etc.

old or newer they all need something fixed sooner or later!

john hd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2003, 09:48 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
overlander64's Avatar
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,389
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Vintage v. Recent Models

Greetings Jan!

While a Vintage coach will likely require some extra upkeep and restoration/refurbishment, it often yields a coach with characteristics that aren't readily available in today's coaches. One of the reasons that I like my Vintage coaches so well is the wonderfully spacious rear bathrooms - - something that just has not been available for more than a decade. After a near total professional restoration of my '64 Overlander, I have nearly the cost of a new Safari of similar size in the project.

The one thing to remember with the Vintage coaches (at least pre-1974) is that they did not come with gray or wash water tanks so it is necessary to carry a portable blue tank for gray water or plan on always camping where sewer connections will be available. With some Argosys (at least the Minuet series 1977-79) even with a gray water tank you still need a portable blue tank as the shower doesn't empty into the gray tank because each (shower and gray water tank) is mounted above the floor.

If you are planning to have most of your repair work professionally done, it has been my experience that the newer coaches may be slightly less costly in the long-run. For me, it was the floorplan that was the initial factor that led me to the Vintage coach, and my history with the Overlander is such that I will likely keep it as long as I am interested in traveling.

Good luck with your decision!

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)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 08:19 AM   #7
1 Rivet Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9
Thanks, Kevin, for the excellent advice. Appreciate it very much!
Jan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 08:57 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
Mrs Silverback's Avatar
2006 28' Safari SE
1981 28' Airstream 280
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 70
Images: 109
Hi Jan -

Thought I would add my .02 worth.

My husband and I recently purchased a NEW model, rather than an older or vintage one. We both LOVE some of the restored models we have seen in photos online. But, our main criteria was that we wanted to take it out and USE it, as soon and as often as possible. Since neither of us has yet reached official retirement age, we do not have as much time to refurbish or repair, and wish to spend what little free time we get On The Road!!

Having said that, we DID have to take our new trailer back to our dealer right after our first trip, to have some minor items repaired. All was under warranty, and was fixed for us posthaste. We are now awaiting our next voyage, and hoping in future trips to encounter no (or very minor) further repair issues!

Whichever way you go, good luck!
Mrs Silverback
Arizona Sonoran Desert
2006 Safari SE/LS 28'
2004 Chevrolet Silverado
Charter Member Four Corners Unit WBCCI 5125
Mrs Silverback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 09:41 AM   #9
Rivet Master
Edie's Avatar
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 561
Images: 19
MH breakdowns are "very" bad news on the pocketbook unless you are seasoned DIY'r.
I'd like to clarify that a little. The new MH repairs can be a true burden. But we have two mid-70's Argosy MHs and are pleased with the repair costs. The big new MHs are the ones that can bite you on maintenance and repair costs.

We pay about the same to get a lube and oil change in a MH as we do in a car. The big new rigs can run upwards of $500.

And repair costs run about the same as repair costs did on our trucks that we used to tow our TTs.

We had two AS TTs before purchasing our first MH. We've been thrilled with the MH, but found a floor plan that suits our traveling style better so purchased the second MH. We are selling the first MH, but don't have a single regret about buying it.

Right now, a mid-70's TT and a mid-70's MH sell for close to the same price. We chose to not go any older than mid-70's because we don't always stay in campgrounds and didn't want to deal with the lack of a gray/wash water tank.

Good luck in your search!
Edie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 10:20 AM   #10
Very american 4 a french
brunoffrance's Avatar
1971 27' Overlander
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 631
Images: 68
Blog Entries: 9
Hi Jan;
just to bring my 2 uro ( I'm french);

you can't get the retro look of an vintage A/S, with a new one, and it's a pleasure to work or repair this old silver bullet; there is something between my caravan and me, something like sympathie or part of my familly... So it's a strong machine, even with some decade old.

Another matter of fact opinion, the scale of prices are very different... Vintages are more accessible by most of people than a new one.

Thinking to buy an airstream like you, was one of the best moment for me ; I envy you .

brunoffrance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 10:42 AM   #11
79 SLY
trumpwer's Avatar
1979 31' Sovereign
Fairview , Montana
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 132
Images: 46
you have to allow for insurance, and payments when comparing the two, and decide then which allows more resources (time and money) to travel. This is a highly personal thing, where one can replace a hot water heater in 1/2 day, the other may take 2 days, but the second can make enough at his or her career to pay to have someone else do it in 1/2 day or less. Some like the new style interior, some like the 50's or 60's, I like the comprimise of the slightly inferior quality of the 70's (compared to the 50's or 60's), to get the slightly more updated conveniances (grey tank, oven, storage)

And of coarse, it depends on where you start. We started with a pickup that my wifes grandfather built a camper shell on, and that my first daughter rode home from the hospital the first time in. You dont give up an heirloom, so we had to match from there.
The Trumpowers
1979 SLY 31'
1979 GMC 4 door with s/c camper shell
trumpwer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 04:38 PM   #12
Just an old timer...
85MH325's Avatar

Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,015
Images: 37
Thumbs up it IS a highly personal choice!

We've just about run the gamut, from a '61 Bambi to our present '94 Limited 34'. In between we've had and used a '70 Safari and an '85 325 motorhome. We've also bought, with the intent to restore, but sold before we had the chance, a '77 Minuet 6 meter and a '57 Overlander.

My suggestion to you is to look until you find the coach that is "just the one" for you. It may be any vintage, and you probably won't know which one it is until you see it. It may not suit your needs for the rest of your life, but it will be the one that fits you right then. Looking at lots of coaches, both old and new will begin to give you an idea what you like and don't care for in each size and vintage.

There are lots of pluses and minuses to both vintage and new. Cost is an issue, but make sure that you're calculating the full cost of ownership of either a new, newer used, or vintage coach including annual depreciation and interest costs weighed against the cost of repairs/refurbishment. The financial end is pretty interesting when you look at the possibilties on paper before you buy.

Best of luck, and I hope you find "just the one" for you.

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2003, 09:46 PM   #13
2 Rivet Member
Tomy Dean Noah's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 27

If you want additional information about Airstreams go to then at the searsh, inter Airstream Excessive amount of information for Airstream Lovers.
Blue Moon
Blue Moon
Tomy Dean Noah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2003, 06:59 PM   #14
3 Rivet Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 103
Images: 17
vintage vs. recent models - take 2

So as not to hijack another thread...

How about comparing:

1) a newer model


2) paying 5-10k for an older model and then paying 10-20k to have it professionally refurbished and personalized...
(so maybe it could resemble a CCD or some cool retro look)


- Do such refurbishers exist?
- Is 10-20k a reasonable budget?
- How long would the refurbishing take? (3 months, 6 months, 2 years?)
- How hassle-free would ownership be at the end?

just starting to search!
darkStar is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Vintage sub-units? Midamrail WBCCI Forum 47 12-10-2006 08:53 AM
Vintage vs. "other" trailer Steve-O Trailer Values 15 01-08-2004 10:49 AM
Vintage Minitrailers babycakes Our Community 13 12-12-2002 03:46 PM
How vintage is vintage? zamboni On The Road... 9 12-02-2002 03:30 PM
Vintage trailer rally 83Excella WBCCI Rallies & Events 0 08-13-2002 09:27 PM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.