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PoconoAir 02-14-2007 08:20 AM

What to expect for $3K
I have been looking for something small to solo in on weekends. I have been reading some posts on this forum and have some ideas what to look out for, including leaks softening the floor, lack of good title, serious shell problems and indications of frame problems. I am not sure what to expect for $3,000. The units that are rebuilt to modern standards sell for very high prices but what does that mean? It seems these are pretty desirable trailers.


overlander63 02-14-2007 08:31 AM

Well, for $3000 you can expect to get a trailer that is unrestored, and may be usable as-is, with some work needed. The kind of work it needs will be different as far as what yaer, and what size trailer you find for that money.
You will be able to get a slightly larger trailer in better shape for $3000 than a smaller one. A $3000 Caravel may need almost everything replaced, and a $3000 Tradewind or Overlander may need only some basic repairs before being usable. This is because the smaller trailers can be towed more easily, and by many more tow vehicles, than the larger trailers. Many people choose to buy towability rather than size.
It is probably better to get a trailer that hasn't been overly molested so you can molest it yourself:huh: , and alter it as you need.

rickandsandi 02-14-2007 08:33 AM


Greetings! What has become most sought after are the smaller vintage trailers which are now fetching some serious $$$. It most often is not any particular upgrade just the vintage and size. I have seen 1960's Bambis needing major restoration work listing at $10K! The price of a smaller AS will depend mostly on the year and condition. For $3,000 don't expect too much, but bargins and good buys are out there. You need to keep looking and hve patience! Good luck on your search!

InsideOut 02-14-2007 08:40 AM

We got ours for $3500...solid floor and almost "campable" from my POV...the foam was a goner and the upholstery was disintegrated...but everything functioned & worked as it was supposed to (we got lucky). Almost every trailer is going to need deep elbow-grease cleaning, but depending on your comfort level...the amount of $$$ after purchase is negotiable. Most in the lower price ranges unfortunately are going to need more than just elbow-grease...but they are out there.

We have redone alot...and put about $8-9,000 into it over 5 years to make Maxwell a 9-1/2 -10 in our eyes...but he was very useable after $500 + purchase price.

Check out the before & after photos in my photo gallery...

Shari :flowers:

urbanfood 02-14-2007 08:56 AM


Originally Posted by PoconoAir
I am not sure what to expect for $3,000.

depends on what you're looking for. i doubt you'll find a caravel for 3K, even one that needs everything (there's always exceptions though). you're more likely to find one that needs most everything between 4K and 6K, not inlcuding transportation costs. the likelihood of finding a caravel close to home is slim (unless you can find one advertised locally or better yet, not advertised at all) as people who are looking for the smaller trailers really do look all over the country and it's not uncommon to have them shipped 2500 miles (although expensive).

also as the warmer weather comes around, prices tend to increase as more people have the "impulse big" and that will drive up demand which drives up prices.

i looked for several months and was initially looking for a caravel. after seeing a few online go for more than 5K with dents et all, i looked at other options, i.e. a slightly bigger trailer. i spent 3K on my 22' flying cloud and it was essentially a shell (which i knew from reading so much info from this site). the interior was intact but all chopped up and painted and i had planned on gutting anyway and looked for a trailer that warranted being gutted.

one thing to remember is the cost of used airstream trailers is inversely proportional to the length, i.e. smaller trailer = more money, so i'd break it down like this;

<22' - expect to pay around 5K for something that needs a lot of work. expect to pay around 10K for something that may need some work (including new subfloor that has been masked by PO). expect to pay as much as 25K for something completely restored, polished and ready to go.

22'/23' - expect to pay around 3K for something that needs work. can get a shell with the interior already gone/missing for < 3000. may be able to find something between 3K and 5K that could be usuable but will still need work.

>24' - this is where you can really find the deals. trailers this size are less desirable (but still very desireable) because of there size and as a result there are more available than smaller trailers. you could get a trailer with interior for 1500. it will need work though.

those are some general guidlelines and of course there are exceptions to every rule.

good luck on your search. patience is also your friend on the quest for a used airstream.

InsideOut 02-14-2007 09:04 AM

You can alwyas refer to the Price vs Conditon website to get a feel for overall prices & repair's a great reference tool. Of course...there are always exceptions ~

Shari :flowers:

PoconoAir 02-14-2007 10:04 AM

Years ago I bought 7.7 acres of industrial property off a tax sale list for $600.00 and the previous night was sleepless. I feel another sleepless night coming.


overlander64 02-14-2007 10:11 AM

What to expect for $3K
Greetings Barry!

There is another possibility if a polished aluminum exterior isn't critical to your dream. The Argosy coaches (1971-1979) have the basic Airstream shape and construction with a slightly lower level of standard equipment than their sister Airstream products. While Argosy values have steadily increased over the past decade, their values still lag behind those of similar year and size Airstreams. The one possible exception is the Minuet series (1977-1979) that has been experiencing a relative surge in popularity.

If you aren't disturbed by the painted exteriors, an Argosy may be one way of streching your budget a bit further.

Good luck with your search!


Aerowood 02-14-2007 10:22 AM

I bought my 21ft Globetrotter for 1800 and felt lucky to get it. I was really looking for a 19ft Globetrotter but just could not find one locally, and A long distance purchuse did not appeal to me, but I almost did buy one in Califormia, gutted and without title, for 3500. I found mine local on Craigslist after a long search, not a 19ft but close enough. I am now in the process of a complete overhaul (if it ever quits snowing). The interior was in very poor condition so the new interior will be for my wife and myself and nobody else, and will be reconfigured to suit our needs. The Trailer was a mobile locksmith shop at one time so the kitchen was replaced with a workbench. They are out there but you really have to look.

moosetags 02-14-2007 10:34 AM

I've been looking for a small Airstream to gut for commercial use at trade shows and this is what I have found. I can buy nice campable 31 footers for $5,000. Anything under 20' that has a decent outer body is $10,000 and up.

PoconoAir 02-14-2007 10:38 AM

Aerowood that sounds like something I would like, two person hot tub in the back and fireplace in the front. :)

Snowing here in PA too.

PoconoAir 02-14-2007 12:04 PM

So is there any reason a Caravel should take a back seat to a Bambi?

bertro 02-14-2007 01:03 PM

We found our safari 23' for $3,000 with just a visual inspection. I will have a bath floor replacement if it ever warms up but other than tires I think was useable as found.But does need a full gasket job and axles down the road.You can see as found photo's in 71 safari.

Lumatic 02-14-2007 01:24 PM

Vintage Airstream Inverse Proportion Rule
The amount of money required to make a vintage Airstream campable is inversely proportional to the square of the purchase price. $3000 is statistically the median point.:)

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