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Old 12-27-2015, 03:10 PM   #29
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A cheaper Airstream?

The iconic aluminum Airstream is desirable because of the unique appearance. It's really not any more functional than many other brands, but the modern interior treatments make it look unlike anything else available, thus they can ask for incredible prices for a unique product. My Thor stock is doing well, as a result. Would I buy a new one? Only if I was suddenly graced with an unexpected financial windfall. I couldn't spend earned money for obsolete components like wood floors, which is a design choice, not a design requirement.
There are less expensive options, like the Oliver trailers. There is another brand, Escape, made in Canada, which is already sold out for 2016. What these brands have is two piece fiberglass shell construction. This limits their sizes to the mold sizes they have invested in. Airstream just makes a longer frame and adds panels. What these brands need is something to make them distinctive and, therefore, desirable. Maybe if they made them in bright colors like red, green, yellow, etc. Then, you'd see one going down the road and know what it is right away. I've seen Argosy units painted in red, blue, brown to meet the owner's desires. Get a designer to redo the plain vanilla interior and offer a CCD or Eddie Bauer equivalent. There is room for an Airstream competitor, and a market to support it.
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:22 PM   #30
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Here it is

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingeezer View Post
We had a Westphalia when we graduated from tent camping with our two young daughters back in the mid-seventies and I loved it!

It was our daily driver too.

Seemed plenty big enough for the four of us in those days, but now, many years later I cannot talk my wife into downsizing from our Classic 30 to a B van for just the two of us!

I guess you cannot go back in life! I think I'd be very happy with a B class!


Brian.
The new version of your old Westphalia
First Drive: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:54 PM   #31
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Oliver Trailers... a coming affordable option?

I went to the Oliver website and am impressed with the advertisment they offer on the internet. Imagine... Nitrogen filled Michelin LTX M/S2 Tires... and nobody is saying the trailer will ride heavy and hard cause it to fall apart. The 23.5 foot double axle has a very nice road side appearance. Price may be elusive on the internet, unless someone already has done some research. The width will be my next search... as a 23 foot to 25 foot trailer is the largest optimal Off the Grid option that I could recommend.

"Newer larger font on switch labels"... as an upgrade? Some of the current upgrades seem to be a struggle to make the newer model... better and justify a price increase. I have not researched their history, but now that curiosity will get the best of me... I will.

Being the "top dog" in any enterprise makes you the target of up and coming competition. A "boxy" Airstream like an Oliver... would not hurt any customer's feelings. Myself included. For Off the Grid clearance... the Oliver has it over Airstream. White is good for hot areas and summer use. They say Four Season Living...? That is a stretch, but maybe not all hype.

An Icon "earns" its status. Airstream will always remain an Icon, but even if production were stopped today... any Airstream still being used will retain that Icon image. Airstream's future... I need to go to the next Las Vegas RV Show and see what I have missed since 2006. Obviously trailers have changed and I have been too busy bitching about Marathon tire problems and batteries...
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:58 PM   #32
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For a well equipped Oliver expect to spend around $45k.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:03 PM   #33
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Escape Trailers... 17, 19, 21 lengths.

Geez... I almost feel like a traitor discovering these trailer options that are popular sizes and finding them on an Airstream Forum. I am going to take a look at their Forums and follow some chatter... Customers are the best advertising a company can have to promote a product. Looking good and actually living up to appearance... I am curious.

If there is any time in the history of Airstream to develop an up and coming model in those sizes... now is the time... or the largest share of the trailer market will already be taken.

The Oliver and Escape do not appear to have that front fiber glass section that was prone to begin leaking on the Arctic Foxes. I am afraid someone else is going to point out another brand being made today in these sizes.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:40 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Escape Trailers... 17, 19, 21 lengths.
...Customers are the best advertising a company can have to promote a product. Looking good and actually living up to appearance... I am curious.
Escape has no dealer network. Nor do they do a lot of advertising. Want to view a trailer? They'll put you in touch with an owner of one who will show it to you. They must be doing something right because their expanding their facility. A couple around the corner from me has one and have gladly offered me a tour and showed me all the features. My only real complaint is the oak millwork, which isn't to my taste.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:53 PM   #35
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Browsing the Escape website and their Forum, which is the same format as our Airforums... I find the Escape Forum having similar routine questions as we. Not as lively... but who knows what could show up...

Many are new owners... most threads are in the 2014 to 2015 time frame. I could tell from the responses to issues, like with a Dometic refrigerator... much confusion as to how they operate and propane / electric options while... driving.

Most owners live in the USA. Obviously production is at a slower pace than Airstream and building a market demand by making fewer but all seem to sell creating more interest. So far I have not found any interior photographs. No shortage of exterior views. Hmm. Same theory as Oliver's production with people inquiring to find used models since the 2016's appear to be already claimed in advance.

One customer received confirmation that their 21 foot would be available several months earlier and posted their "build sheet". Some were awaiting the "build sheet" diagram on the interior to criticize and compare. Down to where the light switch was placed.

Since all are sold by the manufacturer, you are not going to see too many new models on a lot. It seems that someone in an area offers to show theirs to promote sales. A real grass roots campaign that has a following determined to get onto the list.
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:05 PM   #36
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People buy an RV for all kinds of reasons. They have all kinds of concerns and issues about what they do/do not want. They have all kinds of camping styles. So one size just doesn't fit all.

As folks at the small end of the AS length spectrum, we simply wanted a short trailer. We wanted the versatility of getting into the small sites that are still typical of many western public campgrounds; and then being able to drop the trailer and go off exploring in a high-clearance 4WD TV. We wanted to tow it with our Tacoma.

A pop-up tent trailer or A-chalet was out of the question, as we had previously packed & unpacked tents in the rain. We wanted to camp in during the cold-shoulder seasons with some heating efficiency, and in bear country, besides.

A white box SOB was out of the question due to our sense of taste and aeodynamics, although we looked at a couple. We just didn't like their looks, inside or out. Some are just cheesy-chintzy.

We had looked at a T@B (oh, fer cute) but the lack of an interior toilet, let alone the model with the outside kitchen (due to aforementioned rain storms,) got them off our "possible" list. The small fiber glass "clamshell" trailers often have no interior toilet either, and some are so narrow and low-ceilinged that they are claustrophobic. Especially if you need to stay inside it for most of the day due to aforementioned rain storms. Some of the dinettes claimed to seat 4 require the 2 outer people to park their knees off to the sides, because 8 adult legs do not fit under these tables.

Some of the old Bolers, Trilliums, &c are fixable, but some cost more than they are worth for repairs. (Just ask our son.)

Back around 2004 when we saw our first 16-foot Bambi at a rest stop in Idaho, we were intrigued. After locating a lightly used one at Can-Am, we knew we'd found our match. (The 2005 was an International, with stone guards, rear storage bumper, and metal propane tank cover standard equipment, unlike the newer Sports.) While getting the hitch set up in the Can-Am service shop, we saw a big white box SOB with its entire back exterior paneling off, and the pink insulation beneath it black with mold. It's not like the Jolly Jumbos don't have serious problems.)

Snob appeal had nothing to do with buying an AS. In fact, we prefer not to get all the Looky Lou questions about how much we paid for it. It was more like love at first sight, appreciation of the relative interior roominess for a small trailer, and the quality design.

Sure, things go wrong with them. But isn't this the nature of a RV? (Comparable to owning a house, in-ground swimming pool, boat, or possibly a small plane?)

We would still have the 16-footer if it wasn't smashed in an accident. It had a few problems in the first year, when thankfully it was under the dealer's warranty, so they made all the repairs. We've taken our 19-foot FC from BC to SoCal, plus other trips in between, and the only problem in thousands of miles and something like 3 months total on the road in 2015, was a jammed lock on the exterior storage compartment.

We are really happy with our 19-foot 2015 FC.
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:08 PM   #37
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p.s. One thing to think about for some of the fiberglass trailers with no dealerships nearby is that if something goes kaflooey, and it's under warranty, whether you'd have to return it to the manufacturer for repairs.

I just checked the Oliver website. On their 18'5" model, the interior height is 6' 1". On their 23' model it is 6'6".
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:15 PM   #38
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Oliver's Forum has also a lot of enthusiasm having a production date given to the customer. Most appear to be younger adults with young under 12 year old children. An emerging market for the smaller, less expensive trailer market.

The enthusiasm is healthy and I wish them all well and get many years of travel.

I will be anxious to visit with owners on my future travels. More so, to get different opinions and ideas and what we and they have in common and not in common with Airstreams. The enthusiasm in contagious among those younger than 40 and it shows on their Forum.

The Airstream we are familiar is beyond the Oliver and Escape, but where will these younger trailer owners going to find themselves looking in five or more years? Maybe upgrading into our favorite lengths and options as their family grows and demand more conveniences.

Am I ready to part with my 25 foot Airstream? No way. My interest is at the present is to check out Airstream's competition and be pleasantly surprised to see an Aluminum Hybrid Airstream that will keep Jackson Center humming... and all of us thrilled to have a younger generation to follow in our tracks. Or at least... two ruts in my case.
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:27 PM   #39
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Airstream Trailers are like Craftsman Tools... last forever

Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
p.s. One thing to think about for some of the fiberglass trailers with no dealerships nearby is that if something goes kaflooey, and it's under warranty, whether you'd have to return it to the manufacturer for repairs.
******
Agreed. Great summary on the other post.

Our friends had an 25 foot Arctic Fox. They spent a $1000+ they say, fixing the front from leaking and with their new Tundra had crunched one side and replaced the entire front. From our 2006 RV Show, the Arctic Fox had less cardboard walls than other brands at the show.

The Airstream... was far superior in ALL points, but price. Following our train of thought... Once the Price is Forgotten the Quality Remains!

I would like to find Airstream breaking into the young family 25 to 45 year old market and create the same drama and enthusiasm. These are not struggling adults, but families watching their budgets. When Airstream can offer a serious option at a similar price... the fallout of the competition may be severe. Much like when Wally Byam in the 1930's appeared to have every other aluminum riveted trailer wanting more of the market during the worst of times for an economy.

What a wonderful time for those of us who are retired and see so much going on in the 16 foot to 23 foot trailer market. Thor needs to act fast and that was ten years too late.
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:45 PM   #40
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Thanks, Ray. I was going to add to my latest post that the comparable interior height on the 19' FC is 6' 7.5", including the ceiling-mounted Air conditioner. I couldn't tell if the Oliver interior height included the AC unit or not.

But the point being, that some of these newer fiberglass trailers may feel a bit cramped for taller or larger people. Something to consider.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:19 PM   #41
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I still think that a Bambi 16 model, with an added second bunk over the front area (like those home bunkbeds that are a twin over a full), could meet most of the feature list needed at a doable price point for many. Big point being that the 16 is the only current production AS that is towable by most sport utility vehicles or minivans with no compromise in vehicle rated tow capacity.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:29 PM   #42
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Two lane that's a nice forklift thingy. Could use of those around here.
Mr. Forky and me have built much over the years. It is a three stage and goes to about 16 feet high.
I could probably sell it for more than I have in it too.
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