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Old 04-13-2003, 11:30 PM   #1
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Cool Visited an AS dealer this weekend

My husband and I went down to Ashland, Oregon to see some plays (they have great theater there), and on the way swung through Eugene, Oregon to George Sutton RV, and had a look at the new Airstreams. They had an international CCD, a Bambi, and a few Classics, along with one vintage 70s 25ft.

My goodness, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, but now I'm not so sure. The new ones were SO nice compared to the vintage unit, which of course looked kind of shabby (in fact I wonder if they left it a little shabby since they'd rather sell new ones). My husband loved the Bambi, in fact he wasn't really on board with the whole trailer idea until he saw it, he thinks that was just perfect, small, self contained, just perfect for two. I liked the big windows on the CCD, both on the front, and the big windows next to the dinette. Otherwise, I didn't care much for the aluminum and white cabinets. My husband really didn't like the wet-bath. I have to agree, it looks a little inconvenient to be showering over the toilet! I was surprised that the Bambi had a full bath and the larger internationals do not.

Well, they were sure nice, but I think I'd better continue my hunt for a vintage trailer. At least to start with, that way it's a smaller investment, and if we really enjoy having it, we can always upgrade to a newer unit later. At least now the hubby is enthusiastic about the trailer idea too. We decided that we would find a trailer first, and work on finding a tow vehicle after we have the trailer. That way if we get tempted into buying a bigger trailer, we won't already have picked out an inadequate tow vehicle. So now I'm not as certain about the minuet as I was before, especially having seen how big 19ft, 22ft, 25ft trailers really are in person. I'm sure glad we had a chance to drop by.

Also, I have to say the salesman was really nice, and didn't pressure us, and even after we told him we definitly were not buying anything, he still showed us all the trailers and answered our questions. I was afraid it would be like a high pressure car-dealer experience, but it wasn't like that at all, so that was a relief! Especially after hearing about other people's bad dealer experiences. Well, I was just so excited, I had to tell someone. Now I'm going to go read through my Airstream brochure again ;-)
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Old 04-14-2003, 07:19 AM   #2
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Steph,

I know what you mean.... it's like being a kid in a candy store!

I too did not like the "wet bath" features in the International. For me, it was a toss up between the International and the Bambi. You can see by my profile which won out.

I think the Bambi is perfect for a couple and even a couple w/ a small child or possibly two. If I were upgrading today, the Safari 6 sleeper would be my next A/S, but alas, the body is willing, but the checkbook is weak (and I'd be well over the 5k tow capacity of the Caprice)!

BTW, if you were going to finance, I can tell you that from what I saw, they are practically giving the new ones away. Sure they are $25k+ new, but the payments were about $260 and you can write off most or all the interest since it's not a car and is considered by the IRS as a second home.

Maybe I'll install a toilet in my car in hopes of writing off the interest there....

Eric
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Old 04-14-2003, 08:42 AM   #3
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The bath in the Bambi sold us, it was a toss up between the Bambi and a CCD International. As Eric (Silvertwinkie ) said it is perfect for two people and in our case a Lab puppy (7months- 55 lbs.). We picked our up Jan 17, and we have used it for 7 weekend & 3 day weekend trips so far. We are taking it on a 4 day over the Easter holiday. This time we are going to Arkansas. With 10% down the payments are less than $240 on a 15 year note. Also ther is no prepayment penalty so doubling the payment a couple of time a year will pay it off quickly.
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Old 04-14-2003, 09:37 AM   #4
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International shower

We just spent 7 nights in the AS at the Region 9 rally in Harlingen. The AS is the perfect size for the two of us for trips of no more than several weeks.

I solved the wet bath problem by replacing the small, cheesy shower curtain that came with the trailer with a thin fabric curtain that is about half again as large and has little suction cups down the edges that attach to the shower walls. The fabric curtain is soft and is much less bulky than the original crinkly plastic. I removed the slides from the original curtain and bought a couple more slides at the dealer for the larger curtain. Total cost less than $20.

The larger curtain drapes over the toilet and sink so that only a small part of the outer wall needs to be wiped down after a shower. Water beads on the curtain so that a quick shake has it dry enough to stow.

For the few minutes a day the shower is in use, the minimal extra trouble pays off in spades by freeing up more living space in the rest of the trailer.
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:34 AM   #5
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I am really amazed and happy to see all these comments -- I thought we were the only ones going through this thought process. (We visited Bates RV in Florida last month.)

Like Stephanie and her husband, we looked at the 22 ft International CCD in hopes of finding our dream AS, but eventually realized that (a) we didn't like the wet bath as much as the Bambi's arrangement; (b) the Bambi was probably going to be fine for the two of us + 1 small child (we're used to tenting); (c) for us, smaller and lighter felt more comfortable. Also, we ultimately decided that the International AS had a much better floorplan. As much as I liked the idea of the desk, the overall space and floorplan of the International AS won out with us.

It was really a surprise to eventually end up in the smallest trailer thinking, "This is what we need" instead of the 22 footers. The Bambi exacts a premium price relative to the space provided but it's a pretty neat overall package with a very usable bath. The kitchen is the big compromise, but we can live with that.

One nice thing about visiting Bates RV (Tampa) is their fairly large inventory. We saw several Safaris, Internationals, Classics, and one Bambi -- plus the obligatory older and decrepit models which we also felt served to push buyers toward the newer models.

A few other observations: the fit & finish and minor features varied between models. We saw one 22 ft CCD with a hole in the rear desk for routing your computer cables, while others didn't have it. That seems like a nice feature, although easy enough to add if you don't have it. One CCD had two water leaks (!), one evidenced by the water-stained front curtains, the other obvious from the small puddle just below a kitchen window.

We were able to check out the new 28 ft International CCD also, and found the layout to be very nice. I especially liked the side bathroom with window, and separate shower. But the color scheme "Hazard Orange" was just terrifying: black panelled walls everywhere and orange accents -- looked like a "Halloween" theme instead. The other issue we noticed with the 28 ft CCD was the wheel well directly below the dinette. It blocks legroom so much that only two people can sit at the dinette.

Like others have commented, we don't understand AS's fixation with carpet, especially in the Bambi model where floor space is at a premium. It's just not practical. We'd definitely replace our floor with the laminate wood floors that we've seen others on this forum use. With that, and replacement of the oven with additional storage drawers (we aren't going to be baking any cakes on our camping trips) we'd have our "perfect Airstream."

I'd recommend any wanna-be's like me take the time to make a dealer visit. You might be surprised at what you discover.

One question for the group: is it possible, when ordering an AS, to get the flooring of your choice, and delete the A/C? We'll never use the air conditioning where/when we travel, and I'd just as soon remove the unneeded weight.

-- Rich
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Old 04-14-2003, 11:22 AM   #6
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We too went through the agony of trying to decide which A/S was going to be our 'ideal'. We finally chose the Safair 25 SS for a number of different reasons including two separate seating areas.

Further to your question on flooring. We ordered our new Safari without carpeting as our dealer is going to install Pergo flooring for us. However, the dealer received a call from the plant asking why there was no flooring requested. They were told that reason, and I guess the factory raised a stink that no one was going to put down any type of flooring on their sub-floor!. ONly they could do it. Their prices are pretty steep, hence why we wanted our dealer to do it.

Needless to say our trailer arrived with carpeting (to be ripped out and replaced with Pergo).

Only 11 days to go till we pick it up - can hardly wait!

Malcolm
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Old 04-14-2003, 01:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie

...
BTW, if you were going to finance, I can tell you that from what I saw, they are practically giving the new ones away. Sure they are $25k+ new, but the payments were about $260 and you can write off most or all the interest since it's not a car and is considered by the IRS as a second home.
...
Eric
I hadn't even considered a new one, because I knew they started around $30k and went up, and I've never even owned a car that cost that much. I thought trailers would be financed the same as a car, for 5 or 6 years. That 15 year financing makes a big difference. My husband didn't believe the tax deductable interest part either until we came home and researched it on the net a bit. It certainly adds up to make a new one seem pretty attractive compared to putting a lot of work into an old one, plus we could be enjoying it right away. I guess we'll just see how things go. Right now this economy is really putting a damper on our business, but I'm sure things will pick up again once the war is over.

So, what kind of interest rates have people gotten on financing a new trailer?
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Old 04-14-2003, 01:49 PM   #8
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Thoughts

I bought my International AS off the lot, but, in retrospect, I would choose the couch option, the 2-burner stove (we carry a microwave), and vinyl flooring. The trailer would be quite a bit lighter and a lot easier to keep clean.

I don't care for Haloween colors, either. I wonder who will be buying the 28' CCD. I think A/S should bring out the 28' CCD layout with the AS interior decor. What a wonderful trailer that would be. Great floor layout and a nice restful decor.
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Old 04-14-2003, 01:50 PM   #9
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I think the standard offering is around 7%, however, as most can attest that have gone the new route, you can beat them upwards of 18%. No one pays sticker unless they want to. I think the Bambi retails for $29k and some change, but I did find that I got pretty darn close to 18% off that list price. Off season is a great time to buy.


BTW, I'm loading up the ol Bambi right now as I type this (more or less). She's about to go on her maiden voyage in 14 hours and 30 minutes!

I feel like Nasa with the countdown.....

Eric
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Old 04-14-2003, 02:24 PM   #10
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I agree John, even the 22ft CCD with the International AS interior would be a lot more attractive to me. I love the big windows, but why did they think everyone would enjoy that sterile look? I like to be surrounded by wood and cloth, much more relaxing. Also, I don't need an oven, I barely use mine at home, a microwave is much more handy. However, we must have a dinette, as we like to play board games and cards in the evenings (or on rainy days when trapped inside - we are in the northwest, you know).

Enjoy your maiden voyage, Eric, I look forward to hearing how it goes!
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Old 04-15-2003, 12:27 PM   #11
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"So, what kind of interest rates have people gotten on financing a new trailer?"

5.75% Jan 17, 2003 - Payment $248 2003 Bambi
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