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Old 09-08-2007, 02:26 AM   #1
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Question What happened to the 34' trailer

Hello, I just bought my 1st airstream, a 25' SS SE. What an improvement over a pretty decent 5th wheel!! I couldn't be happier. However, I have a history question. I have been told that Airstream sells 550 or so trailers per year and roughly 20 of them (4% give or take) are 34 footers. I have also been told that 10-20 years ago 34 footers were about 25% or more of sales. What happened? Did motorhomes or 5th wheels become that much better? The reason I am asking is that in 10-12 years I will be retiring and a 25 footer will be too small for my needs and I will be looking for a larger Airstream for extended trips. I know a 34 footer is expensive but its still cheaper than many really mediocre and generic motorhomes. So what happened to the 34 footers? Any thoughts?
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:51 AM   #2
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Airstream produced approximately 2200 trailers last year. 34' trailers are still being built,they have been the choice of full timers in the past. Part of the reason for the percentage change is due to production.10 years ago approximately 12-15 trailers were being built a week and now it is around 35 trailers per week.
The age of Airstream buyers has also gotten younger and they have been drawen more to Safari SE's and International series.
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:20 AM   #3
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Yes, more younger Streamer's prefer the smaller AS ........however, the larger and heavier than vintage AS require much stronger TV. The stationwagon's and sedans of the 60's and 70's were had powerful towing engines.
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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Also consider the price. I wouldn't be too surprised if some of these units are hitting close to 100K. I know my dealer has talked about this for a few years as some of the models hit over 80K. When you get into that kind of money, there are other RV alternatives that start making you look closely.

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Old 09-08-2007, 10:22 AM   #5
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I've heard RVrs I know complain that for fulltiming the AS is too long and narrow, and they don't like the curved roof. If you're not enchanted by the AS 'cult' as they call it, you can get a boxy RV or fifth wheel with many slideouts and big picture windows and live in roomy splendor compared to even a 34' AS.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:19 AM   #6
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I love my 34’ Airstream!!!
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:46 AM   #7
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I love my 34’ Airstream!!!
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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We've owned 2 34's - they are terrific! Our last one had a slide out - superb. And yes they are expensive - a comparable 2008 to what we had would list north of $100K. With a decent hitch and TV, the 34' is beautiful to tow.

We opted for smaller really based on changing needs of our family - namely kids getting older and moving away. The other BIG motivator was to get rid of carpeting and move to something easier to keep clean.

Now, our new baby has not yet been born, so of course our actual experience is yet to be determined.
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Old 09-08-2007, 12:17 PM   #9
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And yes they are expensive - a comparable 2008 to what we had would list north of $100K. With a decent hitch and TV, the 34' is beautiful to tow.
Yup, thats why I bought my 34' Avion - I know, I know but i'ts almost an airstream Ok..... Seriously, Paid well under 10k for something that was 40k new over 20 years ago. That must be close to 100K in 2007 dollars.....

It had a few minor issues but nothing serious. As the antique dealers say its is not old...it has a nice patina. As to the size - its perfect for my wife and I, my daughter and son in law, and their 3 year old princess, my granddaughter.

Tows on the hensley HAHA like it was not there... certainly better than the 30" tupperware SOB we had before, and with better mileage too!

34' is not big...IMHO and as per goldilocks......It's just right!

I might, just might change it for a 34' airstream - but I doubt it. Don't beat me up too much please.

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Old 09-08-2007, 12:37 PM   #10
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Brad we looked at alot of new white boxes in the $15,000 to$ 20,000 range and thought they looked pretty tacky and had few and small windows. We then ran into a 34 that was only 12 years old had only one owner and looked brand new. My wife decided she could live in this either full or part time and it looked "quality". We bought it for only 15,000 and plan on living in it in a year while we work camp. We are 61 years old, live in a town of 3000 people and there are three 34 footers in town owned by people our age who plan on going full timing in them. Now that we own one we seem to see 34's everywhere......
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:19 PM   #11
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I love the layout of the non-slide 34', but I just don't think I want to wrestle that around. Coming from someone who owned a 29', I think the 31' Classic is the way I'm going to go this time around. The only thing you sacrifice is a little wardrobe and living room space.

Nothing against the 34' though. My local weekend and occasional week vacation use is why I want something more compact. If I were full-timing it, it'd be the 34.
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:04 PM   #12
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Avions are cool too

Rob,

I've got an '87 Avion 34-X, similar to your's. The X has the center bath on both sides of the aisle with the huge tub. It's got tons more room than my Excella 31'. it's a nice rig. And it's silver Very good suspension setup on them.

keep your Avion, and get a small Airstream to supplement it. Like a Bambi. Use it for weekends with just you and the wife and use the Avion for longer trips.

they're all cool
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:08 PM   #13
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I love my 34 footer

I/we own a 1990 34` limited edition and just love it. It tows just so nice with our 3/4 ton F-250. We also enjoy all of the luxuries that came with it. Leaving for southern Tesas in 5 weeks and looking foreward to the trip.
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:46 PM   #14
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What happened to the 34' trailer

Thanks for the replies. As noted the 34' will be roughly 90K plus or minus 10K new and that is serious money. However 90K doesn't buy much of a motorhome or at least not anything comparable to a nice airstream. I had forgotten to ask how they pulled and everyone who has owned one remarked without prompting how nice they are to pull. I really like the idea of a triple axle with disc brakes. The only thing missing is my dream trailer (with apologies to Don Blanding's poem Vagabond House) doesn't yet exist. It would be a 34' slide out with the Hardwood cabinetry and leather of a Classic mated to a linoleum or hardwood floor with the all aluminum interior of my SE. Apparently Airstream doesn't build a 34' with the SE interior. Maybe someday, for now I am really pleased with my 25' for the 20-30 2-5 day trips I take each year going to shooting tournaments.

I'm still trying learn the fine art of maneuvering a trailer, its getting better though but I am constantly looking to park in uncomplicated places where there is an easy exit. How much more difficult is the 34' to maneuver over the smaller lighter trailers?
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:54 PM   #15
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In case any of you have looked at the Airstream web site lately, the new one is up and running Airstream, Inc :: Home . It apears to me that they have greatly reduced some of the floor plans in the Safari and Classic models with the exception of adding the new Safari Sport models. The other thing i noticed is that all the Classic floor plans now have dinettes, none with the folding/exteneding tables from the side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Hunt
Thanks for the replies. As noted the 34' will be roughly 90K plus or minus 10K new and that is serious money. However 90K doesn't buy much of a motorhome or at least not anything comparable to a nice airstream. I had forgotten to ask how they pulled and everyone who has owned one remarked without prompting how nice they are to pull. I really like the idea of a triple axle with disc brakes. The only thing missing is my dream trailer (with apologies to Don Blanding's poem Vagabond House) doesn't yet exist. It would be a 34' slide out with the Hardwood cabinetry and leather of a Classic mated to a linoleum or hardwood floor with the all aluminum interior of my SE. Apparently Airstream doesn't build a 34' with the SE interior. Maybe someday, for now I am really pleased with my 25' for the 20-30 2-5 day trips I take each year going to shooting tournaments.

I'm still trying learn the fine art of maneuvering a trailer, its getting better though but I am constantly looking to park in uncomplicated places where there is an easy exit. How much more difficult is the 34' to maneuver over the smaller lighter trailers?
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Old 09-08-2007, 10:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Hunt
...As noted the 34' will be roughly 90K plus or minus 10K new ....The only thing missing is my dream trailer... doesn't yet exist. It would be a 34' slide out with the Hardwood cabinetry and leather of a Classic mated to a linoleum or hardwood floor with the all aluminum interior of my SE. Apparently Airstream doesn't build a 34' with the SE interior. Maybe someday...
hi brad

base msrp on a 34 is 91,993$ without slide and 99,913$ with slide....

add the basic options (solar, gen prep, ultraleather, bigger ac, bigger fridge, bigger lp tanks, electric jacks, 50amp...

will add another 10k.

tack on audio upgrades, video upgrades, satellite radio and a 600 watt inverter...

and that's 5k more.

of course this is msrp not dealer selling price.

keep in mind the 'leather' isn't real but very nice anyway.

YOU CAN order a classic without carpet. i did, mine is all vinyl flooring and hickory woodwork...

there are several pix of the interior/floor tacked into the other 34 threads....

i'm not aware of any built yet without padded ceiling or mouse fur,

but i am pretty certain you could order/spec the aluminium interior walls for an up charge.

there has been talk of building a shinny interior classic unit...

3 axles are great. 6 discs are great. driving is easy with a haha.

backing up/parking takes more 'running room' but it is very easy to do...

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motoman
In case any of you have looked at the Airstream web site lately, the new one is up and running Airstream, Inc :: Home . It apears to me that they have greatly reduced some of the floor plans in the Safari and Classic models with the exception of adding the new Safari Sport models. The other thing i noticed is that all the Classic floor plans now have dinettes, none with the folding/exteneding tables from the side.
hi motoman...

the website is new and only partially loaded....

looking at the floorplans from the brand new packet i received today...

i see NO deletions on the classics OR safaris.

25-34 classics, 31 has 2 different dinette options (chairs or booth)

31 and 34 still have the multiple lift up tables, like they've had for 20 years.

of course the fb models all have the end dinette both, but that's unchanged.

along with the 2 s sports, the other safaris are...

19, 20, 23, 25, 25ss, 28 these are all availabe as safari or safari se...

also the 27 fb safari/safari se

the safari slide model was dropped after 05-06.

the option list is pretty long for all of these units.

cheers
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:17 PM   #18
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hey brad and other triple wannabees...

it might be more useful IF this thread was moved to the 2007/2008 classic 34 section.

that's basically what it is about right? it's not really a poll.

folks looking for info on the new 34s will look in the section with that heading title...

i posted the specs, prices and options for the long classics (30,31,34) from 2005 here...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f296...res-27055.html


it is still useful for new units (same basic stuff) but i've got the complete price list, options, specs, standard equipment and floor plans for ALL of the current models (classics, safaris, ccd, dwr, basecap, interstate) and will gradually put those up in the next few days...

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:51 PM   #19
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What happened to the 34' trailer

Your right not really a poll, more of a history question. But I am new and wasn't sure where to go. When I bought my 25' there was a 34' trailer in for servicing and it was a dandy. Salesman mentioned that the 34' used to be some of the most popular trailers in the Airstream line but they have steadily lost popularity in the last 20 years. I was curious, hard to pull? structurally unsound over such a long body? what? It was a proud looking vehicle. I was at the Grand American Handicap trapshoot last month and there were hundreds (800-1000) RVs of all types including several hundred of the huge Class As by Newell, Tiffin, Prevost, Marathon and others I have never heard of. The only dealer on-site was a Prevost conversion dealer. In fact at all the big shoots I go to the most popular RVs are really big 5th Wheels or huge motorhomes. So, yes I suppose a 34' has a MSRP of 91-110K dollars and that's a good buck but it is far less than a really good motorhome. A lot of my friends have 5th wheels and they don't look so good after 6 years or so on the circuit. I tried one and the supposed advantage of pulling is non-existent. Hated it, felt like a fight on those secondary roads from tournament to tournament. I was just curious how something with the class of a big Airstream loses so much of a marketshare to the 5th wheel or motorhome crowd. By the way my 25' is easy to pull and I don't have a Hensley which supposedly makes the job even easier. In retirement when the trips are for 2-4 weeks and not 2-4 days and my wife can travel more than she is able to presently I can definately see a 34' parked in the driveway. Cheers.
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Old 09-09-2007, 11:20 PM   #20
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hi brad

i'll take a stab at answering your question.

until recently (last 4-6 years) much of the a/s sales were tired to members IN the wbcci.

20 years ago, club members and especially club officers often upgraded their image by going to the 34s.

it was very common to attend an international rally and see 100s of the 34s...

this groups of officers, past/present started aging and opting for large class a moho as a/s began to offer them....

partly for ease, partly for space and mostly for status the line of vice presidents and future presidents want to be seen in the top of the line a/s products...

so class a moho began to replace 34s as the 'wb' must have unit.

NOW the wbcci has very LITTLE impact on total a/s sales.

the club is essentially irrelevant to new/modern/young/first time a/s buyers now.

this demographic wants the a/s look but with a more modern interior like the ccds and safari se...

the 34 is still only available as a classic. no ccds or dwr or ikea trimmed units yet...

it would be nice if they'd just change the hickory wood styling and door inlays...

they finally stopped putting beveled mirror inserts in all the doors (the harem look) just last year.

the new a/s customer is mostly interested in small units and those up to 25.

perhaps some day these buyers will want progressively larger units, as past experience has shown...

often a used 34 will sell for less than a comparable 30 or 28...

folks aren't sure if they can "handle" the 34...truth is, it tracks and tows very smoothly.

i've got 45,000 miles on mine in just 2 years and would not want it to be one foot shorter.

i love the triple axles too.

as you've seen the rv world is dominatied by mega mohos and 5th wheels...

so a 34 is svelte in this company, and really can go almost anywhere.

i'd love to see the factory do a complete make over of the interior, with modern refined and still classic materials... and a new floor plan or 2.

cheers
2air'

lastly i don't think a/s 'lost market share' on the 34s to 5th wheels. as i suggested the 34s lost share to a/s class a mohos, now no longer offered.

the average person shopping midsize 5ers can get 3-4 slides and twice the space for 1/2 the price of a 34.

yes there are some 5ers priced with 34s but most are still 20-30k$ less while offering many more features and space.

the 'long airplane body look' loose appeal to a family that can crank out the slides and watch big screen tell with lazyboys and sofa...
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