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Old 03-24-2003, 10:18 PM   #29
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Good thread, my thoughts exactly

I very recently got mine and my thoughs are:

It is not just appealing to look at but also of superior construction compared to "SOB" and a better value for your money. The interior is just right. It is not too big, not too small, just right for me, at least in the size I got.

I got a used one but I hope to some day graduate to a new or like-new unit.
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Old 03-24-2003, 10:29 PM   #30
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I agree with all that was said, plus, it's just about the coolest looking thing!

Can someone enlighten me as to what "SOB" is?

I can draw my own conclusions, but I think I'd be wrong!

Eric
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Old 03-24-2003, 10:45 PM   #31
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SOB = Some other Brand.
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Old 03-24-2003, 10:59 PM   #32
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Thanks... I was thinking some other box!

Eric
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:54 AM   #33
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Well I'm/we (wife and I) one of the younger members here. In my mid 30's typical suburbanite 2 kids. It seems we also have one of the older units on the forum as well. Our 59's PO was my Father-in-laws. He purchaced it in 1980 for the original owners. He used it regularly and for the last 10 years it has been more of a "Park model". Some of the RV appliances are gone.

When he passed the rest of the family did no know what to do with the unit. My 3 brother-in-laws either did not have the means to deal with it or it was simply not large enough. When dealing with the estate they were trying to put a value on the unit and decide what to do with it. I started looking around and found this site as well as VAC, Vintage Airstream. com. Starte reading A/S history and looking though all the great pictures and rapidly was drawn in.

Part of the draw was as a kid my family did a lot of camping and traveling. We usualy went out about 4 weeks a year. COurse we travels in a 1968 VW Square back, 1973 VW 412 that became my first car when it was replaced by a 1982 Vannagon. We had a small very light pop up tent trailer. no appliances just a couple bunks. I think this thing weighed all of 600lb. Parents bought it at Mongomery Wards after getting tired of waking up on the wet ground on a flat air matress. Spent a LOT of time in that little camper and they are fond memories. I remember passing or often being passed by the big silver trailers from outerspace and seeing them in the camp grounds on our travels.

Well the more I researched the more I wanted it. The more I talked to my wife about my travels as a kid and the more I wanted to share that with my two daughters. I had not even layed my own eyes on the old gal, just a few pictures my wife managed to dig up. It was ours to keep if we wanted it and we decided to do just that.

Now my kids are going to have it a little better off then I did riding around in the back of those little VW's and having a nice little camper with A/C and HEAT to stay in. The TV is still up in the air though That may end up staying at home LOL. They will have a much roomier ride in a nice big Suburban as well.

I hardly get to see my kids. Get home from work at 6:30 and they are off to bed around 8. One is off at her dads house every other weekend. Yard work, the house etc. Hotels and rentals are a little out of our budget right now so we have not had a vacation it a few years. This has given us a chance to go explore as a family like I did as a kid with my family. Cheap to stay somewhere so we can stay out longer. Have a place to prepare our meals and not have to fork out $25-30 a meal to eat out. A mobile base that always gives us a familure place to stay at night.

I have a LOT of work to do to get the old gal back in shape but I think it will be worth it.
I see the "Toaster" as a peice of Americanna.
It represents "family time" to me. Something that has been lost in todays world.
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Old 03-25-2003, 02:23 PM   #34
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The first time I saw an Airstream I was 6 years old. (I'm 52) I knew then that if I ever bought a Travel Trailer it would be an Airstream. I finally got one.
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Old 03-25-2003, 02:57 PM   #35
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I was really thinking about this one last night and I finally came up with the idea that:

"If you'd owned one, you'd know."



Eric
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:01 PM   #36
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Nice finish Silvertwinkie.
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:28 PM   #37
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Old 03-26-2003, 04:35 AM   #38
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Thumbs up Same wavelength~

Silvertwinkie

"ditto"

ciao
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Old 03-26-2003, 10:31 AM   #39
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Here's a thread that parallels this discussion. "The Great Thing About Airstreams".

http://www.airforums.com/forum...&threadid=2454

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Old 03-26-2003, 07:33 PM   #40
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I have some sort of affinity toward the 1930's and 1940s. I like the fabrics, colors that were in vogue, the scale of things, furniture, architecture, music, etc. I like the quality of switches, dials, knobs and other mechanical things of the era. "High technology" was in its infancy and things were made with more of a slant toward durability and function rather than ability to mass produce. While mass manufacturing was present, products were manufactured more "ground up". A company would start with plastics, bakelite, steel, wood or glass rather than preassembled components. Not as efficient, but it created a much more unique product. Try to buy a refrigerator, or telephone today where every part is made from the same company. It is impossible.

Retooling and redesign was much more difficult and expensive than it is now. Computer design and manufacturing enables car companies for example to completely redesign automobiles in months rather than years. This tends to eliminate the refining of design that used to occur. Both in form and function. Body styling follows short term trends, rather than setting them. A turn signal stalk that is a half inch too long and gets in the way isn't refined shorter over the next two years after getting customer feedback, instead the entire car is redesigned and a whole new set of problems pop up that will never be addressed before the next redesign.

This century has produced many wonderful products. Western Electric for example, producing the 302 telephones. This phone remained virtually the same from 1938 to 1958. There were changes in the body materials, but was basically the same product for 20 years. Because it was designed to last a while, aesthetics were more important, because the style would have to hold up as long as mechanicals.

World War II changed a lot in our day to day lives. America learned to mass produce on a scale never before imagined, it won the war, and it also began to bring a higher standard of living to more and more people. There was a price for this however. Details. Aesthetic details, functional details. "New and Improved" began to mean easier and cheaper to produce. "Features" of a product began to appear not because people wanted them, but because they were cheap and easy to integrate. A 500 number memory on your cordless telephone is offered because it's easy to electronically increase the memory, but adding a way to enter or manage the data is complicated and expensive. So here we are in the new millennium comparing products in stores and dealerships by tons of features we probably will never use, and not realizing untill we get the product home that all the features are accessed through a couple of multi-functioned buttons and menus. . . because it is cheaper to make that way.

The Airstream as art.
Art to me is something that transcends mere craft. Some objects whether purely aesthetic, or functional as well, are self evidently art. They contain some energy that knows no description other than art. Of course everyone has their own artistic tastes. Companies who manufacture products are beholden to sales, and therefore they progress in their designs with an eye toward profit. This means that to an extent they design with certain set of mechanical goals in mind, floor space, amenities etc. Every once in a while someone comes along who finds that sweet blend of everything. Who make a functional piece so obviously well balanced in aesthetics and function you just can explain the "just right-ness" of it by no other word than art. Like a perfect blend of spices in a dish, or the guitar solo that could exist no other way. We see these products occur now and then, The Vespa, the earlier mentioned Western Electric 302, the Volkswagen Beetle, Stickley Furniture, Harley-Davidson, the Wesclock Big Ben, the Supermarine Spitfire. These and others become more than what their specification sheets would imply. They are art, whether they are your taste or not, and this is what sustains them as classics.

Unfortunately I think that we are seeing less of these artistic icons happening. The aforementioned ability to quickly re-tool allows for less commitment to a design. Wacky trends can be chased, products can be designed by committee, its not as serious, not as committed as it once was. Its easy to re-vamp the whole thing if it doesn't sell.

The Porsche 911 held its basic design (aesthetically and mechanically) from 1965 until 1989, an incredibly long run for a design. But Starting in the 1990s, technology, marketing and safety laws have drastically changed it several times over the last 13 years and now it only hints at the original. The cars are selling well, but that's because of more compromises made to increase customer base, but in 50 years what will be more a a classic a 1969 or a 2003?

The post war manufacturing technology boom didn't affect travel trailers as quickly as telephones, stereos, televisions, and even cars because the trailer is a fairly low tech item. There weren't a lot of corners that could be cut by technology. Airstream started in what I'll call "the golden age of cool stuff." After the war and into the 50s and 60s the basic structure of a trailer didn't change all that much, because there was no need for it to. even today the technology required to manufacture an "International" is not very far from that required to make a "Clipper". Fortunately for Airstream lovers, the low techy-ness of the trailer has kept it fairly true to the beginnings.

Some may say I am living in the past, and perhaps I am, But I think some of us just see things, think they are good, and like them. We see the energy, the art in them. We don't want to throw away our cordless phones every 18 months, we would rather paint our wooden windows than install vinyl, we just don't like the color of light from compact florescent bulbs. Not that those things are inherently bad, its just that certain things are more important to us than others.

-Andrew
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Old 03-27-2003, 01:54 AM   #41
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Classic manufacturing techniques

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Good points, I feel the same way. Airstream is a classic. All of them are, old and new ones too will surely be classic whereas a SOB has no hope of becoming a classic. In 10-15 years, it's just a collection of old parts not worth anything considerable.

It seems to me the trend is to towards high-quality disposable products. I am not an expert on different years but Airstream seems to be excluded from this process.
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Old 03-27-2003, 09:36 AM   #42
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"High quality disposable products" - how true!

Read about the "car of the year" in a magazine - it's features, shiny paint, how it's .2 sec faster than another car... It may break down regularly, blow its engine, the metal may rust, the interior parts may fall off in your hands... but it's the "car of the year"! A high quality disposable product.

Same with SOB trailers. They look pretty in the showroom. But the boxy shape tows poorly, the wood frame shakes apart, the staples that hold the fiberboard together pull out, and in 5-10 years they are permanently parked in a farmers back 40.

My Porsche 911 is 26 years old, and I fully expect it to still be driving around in another 25 years. My Beechcraft Bonanza was 50 years old when a hail storm totalled it. My Dad's Airstream was 26 years old when he passed away and it moved on to it's next owner. My Airstream is a few months old... I fully expect it to last 26+ years too.

Harleys are another story... I hate the things, but I'm in the minority!
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