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rluhr 08-05-2003 03:32 PM

Vintage Tow Vehicles
Count me in as another happy Caravel owner!

We just took delivery of our 1968 Caravel 17 ... she's dented and scratched on the curbside but in perfect running order otherwise, with lots of new parts. Extensive pictures will be posted when the Airstreamphotos site is back up.

We towed her 500 miles from Maryland to Vermont with no troubles. For those who are interested in statistics, here's the info:

Tow vehicle: 2003 Honda Pilot
Weight of tow vehicle including driver & passenger, spare tire, some gear, and tongue weight: 5080 lbs.
Weight of trailer when hitched to car, with empty tanks and minimal gear: 2420 lbs.
Gross combined weight: 7500 lbs. We expect to hit about 8000 lbs. when loaded, well within the capacity of the Pilot.
Gas mileage not towing with A/C: 22 MPG
Gas mileage towing with A/C (in mountains): 13

The Honda Pilot, Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller and Equal-i-zer hitch worked like a dream! All are recommended. The Honda 3.5 liter V6 had plenty of power at all times. We easily maintained 60 MPH even climbing through the Allegheny Mtns in Pennsylvania. The new hitch needed a little grease on the head every 200 miles as it worked in.

Overall, it was an excellent experience thanks mostly to the prior owners, who were wonderful people that really cared. The Caravel was clean, plugged in, lightly decorated (!), and ready for us to spend the first night in the owners driveway, when we arrived. This is the kind of quality experience you get when you buy from people who love Airstreams and have served as Regional Presidents of WBCCI.

-- RL

Safari Tim 08-05-2003 03:59 PM

That sounds great. Glad you had a good experience.

Can't wait to see pictures.

Have fun with your new trailer!

gwsullivan 08-05-2003 04:22 PM

Congratulations!! Were the POs the original owners??

hhuber 08-05-2003 04:47 PM

Congratulations!!! I love my Caravel!!
Attach a picture if you can.:)


Stefrobrts 08-05-2003 04:54 PM

Time to start a club for all us happy Caravel owners (It's NOT a Bambi, it's a Caravel!) :cool:

rluhr 08-05-2003 08:00 PM

Here's the rig!
1 Attachment(s)
SafariTim, Heidi, I'm happy to oblige. Here's a picture of our rig ready to go on its maiden voyage.

This picture shows the "good side". The curbside was badly scraped by an encounter with a brick house many years ago. The door was repaired (mostly) but the curbside is still pretty ugly. I'll post that pic in a separate note.

rluhr 08-05-2003 08:05 PM

Curbside damage
1 Attachment(s)
Here's the sadder face of our Caravel. Unless someone has a miracle solution for me, I think we'll live with the scrapes for now. Fortunately, it's all cosmetic -- no leaks, and the door closes & locks OK (but requires a little shoving).

gwsullivan, the POs were the second owners. It was handed down through one family from 1968 until just a few years ago. The POs did a lot of work inside to get it back into shape, of which I am the lucky beneficiary. New tires, bearings, TV antenna, brakes, A/C, countertops, flooring, toilet, plastic plumbing, screens, shades, faucets, water pump, water heater, and a graywater tank! :D Despite all this, it still looks very original inside.

Gotta love that gray tank but it does hang low and we have to be careful about the rougher roads.

-- RL

InsideOut 08-05-2003 08:11 PM


Shari :eek:

hhuber 08-05-2003 09:27 PM

I guess after 35 years she's bound to have a scratch or 2.
I'm sure you'll love her anyway. Gotta love the grey water tank


Stefrobrts 08-05-2003 09:39 PM

So is your kitchen window plastic or glass? Because from the scraping I'm guessing it probably bit it at the same time.

I have one plastic window on my trailer. It's the rear-most streetside window. I hear they are almost impossible to replace.

Chas 08-05-2003 10:03 PM

My Overlander has suffered a few nicks and scrapes over the years as well. Just give those beauty scars a good polishing and let them shine!! I think they are really less noticeable after polishing.

All you need to do is remember the last time you saw an SOB (some other brand) trailer that even exists the same vintage as yours. I have friend who has a mid 70's Mallard, a hideous beast, the only reason it still lives is because he keeps it in a metal shed.

BTW, liked your pic of it all hitched up. At first I thought I was looking at one of friends across the pond, some Europeans with the small tow vehicle.


rluhr 08-06-2003 06:13 AM

Stefrobrts, the kitchen window is plastic. It's cracked, too, so I've contacted Inland RV for another plastic replacement. I think you're right, it must have been replaced originally after the accident. All the other windows are still glass.

Chas, good points. Please DON'T post a picture of that Mallard! ;) BTW, the Pilot is about the size of a Ford Explorer, maybe even a tad longer, with three rows of seating inside. We use it as a quasi-minivan replacement, but with AWD for northeast winters, and better towing ability.

I sure would be interested in hearing from other vintage/small trailer owners about the "little touches" they've added to make life inside more comfortable or functional. For example, our first modification this week will be to add real drawer slides to the two drawers under the streetside gaucho, so that they open and close more easily. We're also planning to do the same thing to the gaucho itself (if we can figure out how) so it breaks down to a bed without all the grunting and fussing we do now.

If anyone else has a neat improvement they've made, let's hear it (and see it)! Or should I start a new thread? :confused:

- RL

Stefrobrts 08-06-2003 10:22 AM

The drawer slides are a good idea. Make sure they latch so they don't slide open while you're moving.

I'd like to see what you figure out about the gaucho. The most annoying thing to me are the three legs you have to put in to hold up the edge of the bed when it's extended. When I slip by at night I often knock one out with my foot, then I'll be groping around in the dark trying to find the hole to put it back into. Very annoying. If you think of a better solution for that, let me know.

BTW, the legs for our bed are the most beautiful wood I've ever seen. They are oiled and laquered, and they just almost glow. They are gorgeous. Whenever I pull them out to put the bed together I think 'now this is one of those details that makes Airstream special'. Why would anyone put that much work into bed legs?

hhuber 08-06-2003 10:40 AM

My legs are attached to the bed. All you have to do is pull
and the bed comes out. As a matter of fact sometimes
it flies out a little in transport. Just guessing but yours may
be an addition. My wood is not especially attractive but it
all seems to be original (matches, etc.) I can post a pic if you need it so perhaps you can copy them.


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