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Old 08-18-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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The World Without New Airstream Trailers and Owners

Many forum members love to expound, "Don't buy new!"

Okay. Imagine the world without any new Airstream trailers or owners.

1. The plant in Jackson would join the ranks of thousands of other closed factories in the U.S. In a few years photos of broken windows and weeds poking through the parking lot would be posted on the websites devoted to abandoned structures like this: 100+ Abandoned Buildings, Places and Property | WebUrbanist
Look for the header "The Death of an American Icon."

2. The Airstream Forum would be defunct of postings like "Just Ordered my New Trailer - Can Hardly Wait!" followed by the plethora of "Congratuations! Welcome Aboard! We're Excited For You!" and "Please Post Pictures!" However, look for more of postings like "My 30 Year-Old International Toilet Won't Flush. Help!"

3. And when something really breaks, where do we go for bon fide Airstream service? And where will we find parts? "Joe's RV Repair" will just replace "X" with something from another white-box trailer. Pretty soon your Airstream will be nothing more than an ecclectic metal hull.

4. There will be no new trailer members at the rallies. Imagine the same old faces pulling the same old trailers year-after-year with conversations like this:
Her: "Oh no! Here comes that boring couple. Remember them from last year, and the year before that? Let's get the 'ell out of here!"
Him: "Oy vey! I remember. Let's go! But wait a minute - I have to ask someone about our 30 year-old International toilet first."

5. The Airstream-only parks would have to adjust their policy. There goes the neighbourhood!

6. Would there be any positive effects? Would Airstreams now be deemed "collector items" and rise in value? But would anyone really want to buy one now? And those who yelped about not buying new - was their trailer passed down from another family member and they plan to do same? Would their kids or grandkids really want one based on the above? Probably not. Now imagine all those unwanted trailers lined-up at the scrap yard awaiting the big melt.

Some metal for thought?

And dammit! There goes my toilet. My 1 1/2 year-old Flying Cloud toilet won't flush. Help!
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Many forum members love to expound, "Don't buy new!"
I'm probably two years from my move to Airstream and I see the "don't buy new" followed by "the quality of new ones is not good". So what are prospective new owners supposed to think when we see these postings? Is the quality indeed poor, or is there some other reason for this attitude?
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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I'm probably two years from my move to Airstream and I see the "don't buy new" followed by "the quality of new ones is not good". So what are prospective new owners supposed to think when we see these postings? Is the quality indeed poor, or is there some other reason for this attitude?
I may get kicked for this, but as I wrote, many older Airstreams are handed down. Some of these owners are grateful for that, and I think there is some merit to the quality of workmanship in some of the older trailers, but I wonder how many of these "hand-me-down owners" really wanted a new trailer but just cannot afford one. Could it be a bit of that green-eyed monster called jealousy, perhaps?

I posted this because that attitude really do not help anyone.

I bought new because that's what I wanted, and was happy to support an American icon and a local Canadian dealership, especially during this economic crisis.

My advice to those looking is to buy what you really want. Old, new, a wreck with restoration potential - whatever. There is a place for everyone, especially those buying new because this helps support all.

Okay. I'm ready to be kicked now. Shall I bend over?
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:34 PM   #4
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You're forgetting a very important point. People tend to complain when something is wrong but are less inclined to praise when things go right.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:36 PM   #5
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Buffett's gross personal income for last year was 69 million. Several of my doctor friends have incomes north of a million a year. Two of my friends are ER and heart lung machine nurses making over 400k a year. I know plenty of people who can afford new BMW's, boats, airplanes, and RV's.

One of my friends built a new luxury home on a lake in Wisconsin and bought a better airplane to fly there for weekends.

This is a pretty rich country. The doctors, brokers, and speculators I know are getting richer. I don't see affordability of new high ticket luxury items an issue. I'm a banker, I like it when people buy new . . . especially if they finance:-)
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:41 PM   #6
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You're forgetting a very important point. People tend to complain when something is wrong but are less inclined to praise when things go right.
Exactly!
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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Buffett's gross personal income for last year was 69 million. Several of my doctor friends have incomes north of a million a year. Two of my friends are ER and heart lung machine nurses making over 400k a year. I know plenty of people who can afford new BMW's, boats, airplanes, and RV's.

One of my friends built a new luxury home on a lake in Wisconsin and bought a better airplane to fly there for weekends.

This is a pretty rich country. The doctors, brokers, and speculators I know are getting richer. I don't see affordability of new high ticket luxury items an issue. I'm a banker, I like it when people buy new . . . especially if they finance:-)
Affordability of "high-ticket luxury items" may not be an issue if you're buying a plane, automobile, home, etc., but Airstreams are esoteric.
There's only one brand.

I bought new but didn't finance, so don't know where I fit into your scheme of things. Half-a-kick perhaps?
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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Exactly!
So, what you're seeing on this forum is human nature. There's a lot of good, but sometimes we become too focused on the negative. So a person who is new here is likely going to focus on the negative without even realizing that there is a lot of good as well.

We can't really ask people to only talk sunshine and roses when we all know that there are some serious quality control issues with these trailers. OSB floors anyone?
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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I bought new but didn't finance, so don't know where I fit into your scheme of things. Half-a-kick perhaps?
I think the best travel trailer in the world is a 1976, 31' Airstream. I must:-)
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:01 PM   #10
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Buying new is a good thing for those that are in a position to do so... or that Airstream has a product for! My point? If I wanted a nice, new 36' motorhome built on an American chassis with a body built by AS workers I couldn't buy it because AS doesn't make them anymore... so some of us HAVE to buy used.

I love our two motorhomes... they have their "quirks" and surely cost money every time we want to improve something but they exist.

I hope to pass them on to my daughter - and hopefully a travel business associated with them.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:01 PM   #11
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So, what you're seeing on this forum is human nature. There's a lot of good, but sometimes we become too focused on the negative. So a person who is new here is likely going to focus on the negative without even realizing that there is a lot of good as well.

We can't really ask people to only talk sunshine and roses when we all know that there are some serious quality control issues with these trailers. OSB floors anyone?
I also own a horse trailer and heavy-duty utility trailer. Both have wooden floors. That may come as a shock - especially with the horse trailer. The horse trailer floor is not plywood - is treated 1/2 inch wooden plank. I asked a horse-trailer manufacturer the same thing many ask Airstream, why not a metal floor. He said any leakage from outside water or urine would have more rot potential than the wooden planks in the form of metal fatigue and rust.
The horse-trailer planks have held up very well.

So, would wooden horse-trailer planks be the answer for AS? It might - but sure would add a lot weight wise.

There is folly in that "sunshine and roses" you mentioned. But some have toured the Jackson factory of late and seem to be impressed - or at least pacified - by what they saw. Airstream has stepped up to the plate and fixed some past issues (particularly the bumper-leakage related rot).
Will the new trailers now live up to the quality control of some of the older models?

We won't know unless those newer trailers are tried and tested, so let's not discourage those from doing so, okay?
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:04 PM   #12
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Buying new is a good thing for those that are in a position to do so... or that Airstream has a product for! My point? If I wanted a nice, new 36' motorhome built on an American chassis with a body built by AS workers I couldn't buy it because AS doesn't make them anymore... so some of us HAVE to buy used.

I love our two motorhomes... they have their "quirks" and surely cost money every time we want to improve something but they exist.

I hope to pass them on to my daughter - and hopefully a travel business associated with them.
Yes, I understand totally.

Sometimes you just cannot get what you want new.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #13
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Having grown up traveling in Airstreams from the age of six days old, I was always proud to have one in the family. Mom and Dad started with a 24' 1966 Tradewind Double, upgraded to a 31' 1972 International Sovereign, and finally when the kids were out of the house, went to a LARGER 32' 1986 Excella.

Each Airstream was newer, but never new. Dad was happy to buy used because that is what he could afford...and he loved the quality (over other brands) of an Airstream.

Today I am the proud owner of a 1964 Bambi II. I never thought, like Dad never thought, that I would own one single Airstream. They are out of my price range. I got mine for a steal, and now the full and total rebuild begins. Hey- I needed another project for my spare time.

I also just spoke to a couple this past weekend who are elated to own a 2011 Flying Cloud. They love it. It is a beautiful unit. They drove across several states to claim it as their own and they could not be happier.

I appreciate the new units, but I will always go vintage personally. As everyone seems to ask- "are they still making those things?" Well, yes and no. Airstreams, yes- VINTAGE Airstreams, no. There is a difference, but also a place for everyone and their own interests, tastes, and budgets.

What a great hobby!
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:14 PM   #14
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Please read my reply in a pleasant tone. I don't mean to blast back, but I have to question a few things:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly at Night View Post
Could it be a bit of that green-eyed monster called jealousy, perhaps?

I posted this because that attitude really do not help anyone.
No matter how many times people (including me) write "I'd save some money from depreciation and buy a unit that is a few years old and debugged by its first owner," people will still buy new trailers.

Some people will always want new. New is shiny. New has a warranty. New lets you pick the options you want. New allows you to buy one off of a lot rather than hunting for one for weeks/months/years and then driving cross-country. New allows you to satisfy a dream in a fairly efficient manner.

Fair enough.

But the statement that it's a good idea to buy a slightly-used trailer, or to restore vintage, isn't a bad attitude. It does help people. It helps people save some money by depreciation. It helps people to realize that it's nice to have someone debug your trailer.

Those sort of comments also have to get back to the factory. Most accounts are that quality control in the newer trailers is somewhat better than a few years back. That's a good thing.

One other thing - don't assume jealousy or that other folks can't afford a new trailer. We could buy one tomorrow. (Indeed if, heaven forbid, our Argosy got wrecked, we might indeed do that.) But one does not live or die by Airstream alone (or something like that)...

Tom
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