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Old 08-22-2013, 06:51 AM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
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We need to start a Therapy Forum

Let me start out by saying that I have a 1975 Sovereign of the Road. I took to an awesome craftsman in Temple Texas for an systems check and estimate for repairs. The estimate came back at $41,000 for a total restoration. I know that this money would be well spent but I have never dropped this kind of money before in my life. I know my wife thinks that I have lost my mind for even considering spending that kind of money but I am hooked on Airstreams. The cheap cracker boxes they sell now don't even interest me. Even though I am planning on keeping my airstream and passing it down to my kids. My hope is that if I invest that kind of money..that if I did have to sell it that I could recoup my money. Anyway...thanks for reading.

God Bless

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Old 08-22-2013, 07:44 AM   #2
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We're doing our restoration ourselves. I think we're beyond therapy at this point.


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Old 08-22-2013, 07:50 AM   #3
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Hoo wow you are in deep! That is exactly why most people here do their own work! Be airstream does not a good investment make. The money you put in will probably never be recouped upon sale, unless you view your enjoyment of the trailer to be return on investment! Will your kids enjoy the memories or an inheritance more
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dennis82468 View Post
My hope is that if I invest that kind of money..that if I did have to sell it that I could recoup my money.
Not going to happen. Chances are that you'll never get back all the money you put into the restoration. But don't sweat it.

The difference between what you pay and what you can get back is the price of the fun you've had in the meantime. What exactly is your enjoyment worth?

Or, look at it this way… You already have the trailer. You'll use it whether the restoration is done or not. So all you need to do is ask yourself a few questions…

Will this restoration put you in a financial bind? If the answer is "No" go on to the next question.

Will you use the trailer more often after the restoration is done than you will if the restoration isn't done? If the answer is "Yes" then go for it! But if the answer is "no" then there's one more question.

Is any of the work essential, that has to be done whether you do the full restoration or not? If the answer is "yes" then get the repairs done, but not the restoration.

See? Break the big decision into smaller decisions, and it becomes easy.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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41,000 Dollars. Your crazy if you do that. Even if you think about it.
"If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted
then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production."
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:19 AM   #6
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When you are all done you still have a 38 year old trailer, although a very nice one. If you haven't done the work yourself you don't have any personal sense of satisfaction from the project. Anyone (well almost) can restore one by throwing money at it.
It is highly unlikely you would be able to get back a significant part of your investment.

Protagonist's post pretty well nails it.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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1975 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
41,000 Dollars. Your crazy if you do that. Even if you think about it.
Thanks Melody time tell me how you really feel
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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I suspect that if your trailer was a '65 instead of a '75, fewer people would find $40k shocking. If it was a Bambi or another similarly "cute" small trailer, fewer still would think you're crazy, even though they realize you won't be able to get the money back out.

Here's how I think you should look at it. It's your money, as long as you recognize that even an exceptional, fully-modernized '75 Sovereign that's essentially perfect is going to be a slow seller in the high 20s and is simply unlikely to sell at all for over $30k, make your decisions accordingly.

If the "craftsman in Temple" is actually in Harker Heights, I know him and the number has much more meaning than it might have from some other "restorers" who put in heavy interiors and polish shells but don't bother with pesky details like axles, brakes, structure and plumbing. For a big '70s trailer, though, you're likely to get a negative return on your investment if you just look at it in terms of dollars. You'd need to be sure you were going to like the trailer enough and keep it long enough to get your money's worth in travel and enjoyment, these things are not really investments in a financial sense.

My opinion here is somewhat biased, because I recently bought a 28' Argosy for $3k that I fully expect to be into for well north of $30k by the time everything is really done and it has a new, high-quality paint job (something you don't have to worry about as much with a silver trailer.) At that point, I figure on the market it would be worth in the ballpark of $25k, but I have no intentions of selling it. I'm willing to put in the effort and money because it's what I want, and I want to put together a trailer I'll enjoy using and maintaining for 20 or 30 years. (and maintaining them ain't free either, by the way.)

So, if your central question is "Can I sell this thing for $41k after spending $41k on it" I have to agree with the statements made before this one, there's just no way. If your question is "If I spend this kind of money on it with the right shop, will I end up with a good trailer?" then the answer is yes, with a reiteration of that "right shop" qualifier.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:24 AM   #9
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I will simply quote Oscar Wilde: "cynics know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

You will not take any of your "resources" when you're gone. If this is important to you, and it will serve as a potential asset/memory for your family then you are most assuredly doing what is right for YOU, and potentially for your kids/grandkids.

I get a great deal of joy thinking about my family using my Airstream long after I am gone.

Oh, and by the way, my aunt and uncle took me to Yellowstone in their '59 Tradewind when I was 14. I am now 68. My BIL has restored that '59. It is still in the family.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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If I had $41k to spend, I'd just go buy a newer model and hit the road. But if you have the money to have a vintage unit done exactly the way you want it done, and you would enjoy that, then do it! Highly unlikely you will ever get your money back, but it's your money to spend. If you plan to use it until you can't hitch up anymore, which is what many Airstreamers do, then do it your way and enjoy!

For that price it sounds like he's going to build you a new trailer from scratch

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Old 08-22-2013, 09:50 AM   #11
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For $41,000 you could build a shop buy what tools you need and if you don't know how to do the work pay someone to come and help you and probably still come out cheaper. When you are done you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself, know how everything works and have a place to store it when you are done.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:00 AM   #12
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We need a therapy forum?

I thought this WAS a therapy forum!!!!

Many have been cured of boredom, listlessness, and of having overstuffed wallets. We've all gotten lots of fun, great experiences, many terrific photo ops, and too many calories at Rally potluck dinners. Sounds like a cure to me!
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:25 AM   #13
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I do not know what you would pay a skilled craftsman an hour, $75? So add up the hours it will take for a frame off, frame repair, floor replacement, axle replacements, plumbing replacement, electric fix, new insulation, rebuild of interior furniture, upholstery, exterior shell repair, polishing exterior, etc, and then add about half that for materials, and I can see $41K. So to me the number is not out of line, but is spending that much relative to what else you can spend it on or relative to the value of that money to your budget, it may be out of line. In the end you will have a close to new trailer that loses its value as soon as you take delivery. It is still cheaper than new. What does a new one that size cost? $100K+? And I expect it too loses $20K in value as soon as you take delivery.

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