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Old 12-02-2019, 10:23 PM   #1
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Where are all the '90s and '00s rigs?

Hello all!

For some years now I've been casually looking at Airstreams (and Avions) in hopes of one day finding something that's a good fit.

Several months back, I came pretty close when I stumbled upon a 2001 25' Safari. The thing looked as though it had been immaculate... before going through a hail storm. Its roof had sustained numerous dings, which didn't concern me too much. The roof vents and A/C shroud were destroyed, which in and of itself wasn't a big deal, either. But the trouble was that it had been left in that condition for at least a few weeks, allowing water to get in.

So I figured - Best case (doubtful, but maybe): remove the carpet, dry everything out, ensure there's no moisture or mold in/on the wood or insulation, replace obviously damaged parts, reassemble and call it good. Worst case (hopefully not): gut it to the stringers, and try to save as many of the interior parts as possible for reinstallation.

Unfortunately, someone else beat me to the punch, and I'll never know whether that $10K gamble (I would have been angling for more like $8K) would have paid off.

Seeing that "newer" rig opened my eyes to the virtues of later-model Airstreams. After checking out brochures and floorplans, I decided I should be keeping my eyes open for something from the late '90s or early-mid 2000s, tandem, under 30'. I was definitely open to a scratch-and-dent or a handyman's special, but not a total renovation project (cabinetmaking is not my idea of a fun time). Archived ads led me to believe I might grab such a trailer for under $20K if I were both persistent and a little lucky.

But after weeks of scouring the various classified sites, craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, every RV lot I passed, etc. I'm coming up empty. There seems to be a pretty big void in the market between the ubiquitous '60s/'70s rigs, and the <7 year old "big money" trailers. And the few that do show up seem to be either Bambis, or 30+ footers.

I know people love their Airstreams. But I can't imagine every single one made in the past 25 years is being loved and cherished by someone at this very moment.

Were the production numbers lower in those years? Or are people just refusing to let them go?
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:29 AM   #2
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Those rigs will eventually come on the market, just give it some time.

However, what do you want to do in the meantime?

My personal observation is that there is a lot to be said for the vintage rigs:

Those pre-69 rigs used the most favored alloy of aluminum on the outer skin.
The long ones in the 70s do have some issues with frame separation on the rear bathroom units, but that can be fixed for far less $$ than a new rig, and they had nice features like exterior outlets made of aluminum that closed flush and, to my eye, a more pleasingly round roof line.

Rigs after 72 came with a grey tank. If you find a rig with a good frame and shell, everything else is cosmetic, just as it would be with a newer rig. And in some ways, the older units were better.

Certainly its possible to find a vintage rig, pour tens of thousands of dollars into it, if you wish, and end up with a better, nicer, more capable trailer than new, AND STILL be thousands of dollars ahead of buying new. Don't wait, go camping while you still can!
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:14 AM   #3
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I have been fiddling with Airstreams for 10 years now and it definitely cost more to play with Airstreams now. This can mostly be attributed to the inflated cost of the new ones making the older ones worth more money.
The time frame in which you are looking will have more longer trailers >28'and less shorter trailers <25' available. Price wise these years are more palatable to many budgets and still have a fairly modern trailer (if you don't mind working on one). Exterior skins can even be replaced can by a good handyman.
There are well worn trailers and good trailers available but this is a game where you need to be patient and be ready to pounce when a good one comes available. A family member is looking for a trailer approx 10 years old. They have missed two already that recently came up on Airforums classifieds.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:37 AM   #4
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Hi

If the budget is "sub $10K" then you can pretty much cross any < 12 year old Airstream off the list (unless there is significant damage). Trailers in the < 20 year range *do* come up, but they sell quickly. They are (mostly) still usable for camping "as is".

If they are < 7 years old, they still can be financed by most banks. We could debate the rationale of financing anything ever, it *is* how most of us do things. Once you get in that range, the trailers move a lot quicker.

Bob
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthelen View Post
<<snip>>

I know people love their Airstreams. But I can't imagine every single one made in the past 25 years is being loved and cherished by someone at this very moment.

Were the production numbers lower in those years? Or are people just refusing to let them go?
I've owned 4 Airstream trailers prior to the two I own now. With one exception, I used them for multiple years then sold them for more $ than I paid, without spending a lot repairing/upgrading. I'm pretty sure I can do the same with the two trailers I own right now.

The reasons:
1. More people want used Airstreams than are available, so prices are up.
2. Dollars are worth less than they used to be, so prices are up.
3. Fuel is relatively cheap right now. What I have experienced in my 45+ years of towing travel trailers is; when fuel prices are down prices of recreation vehicles go up.

ps:
A ~10 to 20 year old Airstream trailer, I've found those to be the best value, unless a project is wanted.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:53 AM   #6
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High Springs , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthelen View Post
But after weeks of scouring the various classified sites

Weeks? Get ready for years. I bought my first AS, a 1999 Safari, on a whim thinking I'd like to see what they are all about. After a lot of work I was satisfied I knew enough about AS to quench my thirst for knowledge. I sold it, quickly I might add, and bought another within a few weeks. Same MO, a 2004, did some repairs and improvements, took my customary coast to coast and back trip then sold it. After that reality latched on to my smug "I'll just get another" attitude. Months and months of fruitless searching. A lot of total disasters represented as cream puffs, a day late, seller's reneging on deals even though you've driven hundreds of miles only to find it sold a hour before you got there, you name it, I dealt with it. A few tips: A watched pot doesn't boil, ease up and let it happen when it happens. And old adage in the sales business was "buyers are liars." I'll add to that, seller's are worse. Don't rack up too much time and expense traveling to find the right rig. I must add, some seller's are indeed honorable (although rare). I bought my 2004 about 800 miles from home. The seller, while I was still a few hundred miles out, had a guy trying to buy it out from under me and he honored our deal and waited my arrival. Not so the guy in Ft. Myers.



It can take a year or better to find what you describe. Better spending that year patiently waiting the right rig than buying the wrong rig and spending that year, or more, trying to rebuild a disaster.


It will happen. I'd long given up, having bought a SOB, that I happen to like very much, and done some decent travel in it. I'd occasionally take a peek to see what was out there and seeing nothing had changed I'd go back to doing something other than obsessing about finding a decent AS of my liking. And when I least expected it just what I had in mind popped up and I snagged it.


Good luck in your search.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:23 AM   #7
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People like us will keep what we love - till death do us part ... Just saying . I know how hard it is when we're not in the economic position to buy a new one at $100,000.00+ and keep looking for some beloved unit to come availible. But my friend that is the nature of the hunt. IMHO it is important to remember this old saying, "those who hesitate lose".
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:37 AM   #8
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I’ll sell you mine for $30,000.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:42 AM   #9
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I really do like my '04 and probably short of an accident or weather related issue, it may be the last trailer I ever own. My insurance provider Progressive, has covered it since it was new and if I ever experienced a total loss, I'd collect the full price that I paid for the trailer when it was new.

A major advantage is the slide out and that makes a big difference. The other is that it's of the vintage that is not full of quirky electronics that are beyond my skill level to repair. Quite honestly the only thing I really haven't been enamored with is the carpeting. But in the '04 model year the carpet is a important component I was told, in the roller system in the slide out unit. Apparently the rollers would destroy a solid surface when the unit slides in and out. I heard that in subsequent years that system was modified so that solid surface flooring could be used. I steam clean the carpet at the end of every season it it looks as good as the day I took delivery.

All in all it has more than met my expectations and while it was expensive at the time I bought it, I consider it a bargain when comparing it to the current model trailers. And with that fact that it's garaged, when I do part with it, someone will really get a creme puff.

Jack
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:43 AM   #10
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Yes, the used ones hold their value! But on the flip side isn't it nice to know that once you buy one it won't depreciate so quickly? Although you're looking for larger, I searched six months for a 3-5 year old 16RB. I looked at several before finding one in nearly mint condition: a 2018 which the owner had used only a few times before deciding it was two small for his family. Although it was certainly "market-priced", the owner had upgraded the battery to lithium, upgraded the towing system to Blue OX and installed a pricey wireless brake controller. When I added up all those upgrades, the price seemed quite reasonable. Anyway, my advice is to clearly understand what the cost/value range is for the model you're interested in, then subtract out the obvious repairs that will be needed and add in the extras. In my case, the deal was a good one.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:29 AM   #11
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Shame on me, I bought an sob... But I have an 84 sovereign 25 for sale in the spring. New floors, new axles, all the heavy lifting done.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:33 AM   #12
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Used Airstream

I am on my 3rd AS... a relatively rare front kitchen 30 ft. 1994 Excella. It took me three years to find one back in 1996 and I had to travel from PHX to Northern CA to get it. I still have it. I still think this was the best floor plan AS ever made. It will be my last one... To each his own, but I feel the newer models are overpriced for the quality you get. I always kept my previous one until I got the next one. I usually sold the previous one within a month of listing it. One guy came all the way from Vermont to get one of them. I figure I have 3-5 more years with before hanging up the keys. I get offers to buy it all the time...
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:24 PM   #13
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I have a '96 Excella; well used, and although the skin is in decent shape (no scrapes, one small dent), but showing some clear coat loss. The decals that were so prevalent in the "90s are a mess. I will likely have P&S strip the finish and take it from there.

I recently attended the International rally in Doswell Virginia. I was seriously afraid the AC would not make it through the 105F temps we endured. My old unit performed flawlessly, while new units all around were having failed AC issues.
We paid $25K Canadian for this unit in 2014. A bit on the high side but we needed a trailer badly and this one had a history we could trace. It came with 70 Watts solar (still working quite well after 22 years), wired for 2 AGMs. (..not in the trailer at the time ) and window stone guards, rock guards, plus a catalytic heater and replacement flooring. So I did OK and the value side.

I like many others, cannot afford a newer trailer and this one is holding up so I will not be selling until I can't pull it any longer.

Availability comes in many forms. We got ours through a contact in the Ontario Airstream Club who knew the owner was selling. I've seen a private sale for a "95 Excella go for half the worth since the owner was not an Airstreamer, didn't know the value, and just needed to get rid of it. Saw that one a week after we bought ours.
We got our first '96 AS 15 years ago when a fiend called from a rally in PA to say he saw one in the Michigan Club newsletter; an absolute gem of a find, and no one was biting on it. We paid $10K US for it and brought it back to Canada with exchange and taxes for $16.5 K total price. We had been looking at early '80s for $25K CAN. Bide your time and keep looking.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leif9016 View Post
Shame on me, I bought an sob...
Inquiring minds want to know...what did you get?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leif9016 View Post
But I have an 84 sovereign 25 for sale in the spring.
Your sig says 27'. Same rig?
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthelen View Post
Hello all!

For some years now I've been casually looking at Airstreams (and Avions) in hopes of one day finding something that's a good fit.

Several months back, I came pretty close when I stumbled upon a 2001 25' Safari. The thing looked as though it had been immaculate... before going through a hail storm. Its roof had sustained numerous dings, which didn't concern me too much. The roof vents and A/C shroud were destroyed, which in and of itself wasn't a big deal, either. But the trouble was that it had been left in that condition for at least a few weeks, allowing water to get in.

So I figured - Best case (doubtful, but maybe): remove the carpet, dry everything out, ensure there's no moisture or mold in/on the wood or insulation, replace obviously damaged parts, reassemble and call it good. Worst case (hopefully not): gut it to the stringers, and try to save as many of the interior parts as possible for reinstallation.

Unfortunately, someone else beat me to the punch, and I'll never know whether that $10K gamble (I would have been angling for more like $8K) would have paid off.

Seeing that "newer" rig opened my eyes to the virtues of later-model Airstreams. After checking out brochures and floorplans, I decided I should be keeping my eyes open for something from the late '90s or early-mid 2000s, tandem, under 30'. I was definitely open to a scratch-and-dent or a handyman's special, but not a total renovation project (cabinetmaking is not my idea of a fun time). Archived ads led me to believe I might grab such a trailer for under $20K if I were both persistent and a little lucky.

But after weeks of scouring the various classified sites, craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, every RV lot I passed, etc. I'm coming up empty. There seems to be a pretty big void in the market between the ubiquitous '60s/'70s rigs, and the <7 year old "big money" trailers. And the few that do show up seem to be either Bambis, or 30+ footers.

I know people love their Airstreams. But I can't imagine every single one made in the past 25 years is being loved and cherished by someone at this very moment.

Were the production numbers lower in those years? Or are people just refusing to let them go?
I have a very nice 2000 30' Excella. We love it but as we age we want something smaller, like a 23'. We are considering selling it.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #16
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1994 28' Excella
Hood River , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 92
Our 1994 Excella is for sale.

https://portland.craigslist.org/grg/...010601726.html

Great shape except for some peeling clear coat on one side. Any advice for repairing that? You can look my thread to see what has been updated. No leaks.

We sell Battleborn batteries and will include two new batteries with purchase of the trailer.

All the best,
Hein
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:17 PM   #17
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1995 25' Excella
xxxxx , xxxxxx
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I looked for 2-3 years for a 90s model trailer before I found mine 5 years ago. I paid new SOB money for it. I don't regret it a bit. Everything works as it should. It's original inside and still very nice. The outside is a bit weathered, which I don't care about. I am always looking to upgrade, but have yet to find a trailer that is worth twice the price, which is what one half as old would probably cost.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:32 PM   #18
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2000 28' Excella
Godfrey , Illinois
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I wondered that a year ago. :http://www.airforums.com/forums/f259...ls-189873.html
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:46 AM   #19
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1994 30' Excella
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 6
1996 excella

Quote:
Originally Posted by kthelen View Post
Hello all!

For some years now I've been casually looking at Airstreams (and Avions) in hopes of one day finding something that's a good fit.

Several months back, I came pretty close when I stumbled upon a 2001 25' Safari. The thing looked as though it had been immaculate... before going through a hail storm. Its roof had sustained numerous dings, which didn't concern me too much. The roof vents and A/C shroud were destroyed, which in and of itself wasn't a big deal, either. But the trouble was that it had been left in that condition for at least a few weeks, allowing water to get in.

So I figured - Best case (doubtful, but maybe): remove the carpet, dry everything out, ensure there's no moisture or mold in/on the wood or insulation, replace obviously damaged parts, reassemble and call it good. Worst case (hopefully not): gut it to the stringers, and try to save as many of the interior parts as possible for reinstallation.

Unfortunately, someone else beat me to the punch, and I'll never know whether that $10K gamble (I would have been angling for more like $8K) would have paid off.

Seeing that "newer" rig opened my eyes to the virtues of later-model Airstreams. After checking out brochures and floorplans, I decided I should be keeping my eyes open for something from the late '90s or early-mid 2000s, tandem, under 30'. I was definitely open to a scratch-and-dent or a handyman's special, but not a total renovation project (cabinetmaking is not my idea of a fun time). Archived ads led me to believe I might grab such a trailer for under $20K if I were both persistent and a little lucky.

But after weeks of scouring the various classified sites, craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, every RV lot I passed, etc. I'm coming up empty. There seems to be a pretty big void in the market between the ubiquitous '60s/'70s rigs, and the <7 year old "big money" trailers. And the few that do show up seem to be either Bambis, or 30+ footers.

I know people love their Airstreams. But I can't imagine every single one made in the past 25 years is being loved and cherished by someone at this very moment.

Were the production numbers lower in those years? Or are people just refusing to let them go?
We found ours, last year that had been stored in a shed for 6 years. After I finish my last project I will began to redo ours. Good luck and keep looking, yours is out there.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:19 PM   #20
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Every Airstream only park in the USA and Canada is a happy hunting ground.

Dade City FL. Travelers Rest.
25 or more on the campground. Used to be Airstream only. Many are still. As owners age, park models become a more reasonable choice. Print up some flyers or business cards. Knock on the doors and say, "please keep my card if you ever think of selling"

Look on storage lots, etc. There are field finds, etc. Everywhere. Rallies and caravans have campers who know someone who is selling.
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