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Old 11-26-2014, 03:12 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
Mt Pleasant , South Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 6
Need advice! Buying 1971 Overlander

Hello everyone! This is my first post. I'm new to Airstreams and RVing in general, but I've fallen in love with the idea of owning one of my own. I've looked at quite a few over the past few months and come across this one two blocks from my house! She wants $8000. I've looked at it 3 times, each time coming back to the forum for guidance... Here's what I've discovered.
All original everything, nothing has been updated, but it was used frequently by the owner before this one. The owner that has it now has allowed it to sit in front of her furniture store for the past year. Two tires are flat, appear to have dry rot. The fridge needs a new gasket. Missing propane tanks, hookup appears in good condition. The interior is super clean, no smell! Even with original green shag carpet. A few items of concern... I jumped on the bumper and the entire trailer moved, so there doesn't seem to be any evidence of rear end sep, but I'm not totally convinced... I'll have to tear out the carpet to be sure, but I didn't see any apparent signs of floor damage or soft spots. There's definitely been some leaking in the rear compartment. Opened that up and found some rot, but the flooring directly under the toilet/ bathtub appear in good shape... I feel like I'll probably be overpaying at $8k, but I have been looking for a while and this one is in the best shape I've seen with others asking $6-$7500 in far worse condition. I cannot find a single rivet missing and the exterior/windows are in fantastic shape, some minor dents on the bumper. No sign of rust on bumper or hitch.
I am expecting to buy new axle, replace gasket, possibly fridge. I'd like to completely renovate interior eventually. I'm located in Charleston, SC. If like to have it looked at by a professional... Any suggestions?Again, I'm a complete novice, so any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks in advance!!! -Ashley

Here are a few pics: not the best, she's been using it as a storage unit so hard to see some stuff.
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:22 PM   #2
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1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
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Your picture links did work work. Try again to repost them.

Even without seeing the pics though... if it is as you described and you are handy 8 grand is a reasonable price for the amount of work you have listed, prices do vary by region though. In my neck of the woods if I saw it come up for that price I would bring it home but I do love to rescue to original ones. I am doing a shell on partial floor replacement right now on a '69 and it really isn't that hard to do.

Leya
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:21 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

Can't see the pics, but will give my standard advice: The more "original" a trailer is, the more work you will have to do. If you haven't already, download the buyer's inspection checklist from the "Portal" page, and go through it. Don't be shy about poking at the floor along the perimeter with a screwdriver.

As for the price, it is a matter of what the market will bear, and what you are willing to pay. For $8k, I would expect a trailer to be safe to tow, and "campable," but with the typical random fixes needed. Axles are seemingly expensive, but one of the easiest chores a vintage trailer will need. Rear end separation is major surgery. I wouldn't pay $8k with a trailer that needs the rear end repaired.

Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:47 PM   #4
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
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I think you probably will find a lot more to renovate, replace and repair than you may feel now. Any 43 year old rig will need most of the appliances replaced, the plumbing is probably leaking or shot, the electrical including the converter/charger will need replacement along with the fuse block, the lockset will need repair or replacement and so on. You already know about the tires, axels, gas tanks, and some floor issues. BTW, a 71 has no gray water tank either, you know.

Figure $10,000 more for all it will need, plus a lot of labor. I hope you are ready to spend that kind of money, total.

You can probably see that I think it is overpriced. Parked on the street? Used as a storage unit? Flat tires? $4 k max in my opinion.

Not trying to be negative, but please be careful and be realistic about this rig.
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:27 PM   #5
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Welcome to Air Forums Ashley. It's always fun to meet someone new who is catching the Airstream bug. It appears you have it! We hope to travel to your historic city in the new future.

I feel a vintage Airstream with a good shell is worth $5k. Why? Cause that's what I paid! Your description of this vintage Overlander sounds good and worthy of the price. Yep, there will be lots to do to make it truly towable. You could search to find one that's been renovated or restored, but chances are they will be much more expensive.

One thing you probably have already done is hook up water and electricity to it and then check out the appliances. If the owner doesn't want you to do this, then raise one eyebrow and give a "why not" look. If the shag carpeting starts to get wet, you smell propane or you smell smoke, then you might offer less. Don't run the AC unless your connected to 30 amps.

Longer vintage trailers are not worth as much as the shorter ones. But the longer ones are more useable for comfortable traveling. The Overlander is one of the most popular models. Seventies trailers seem to be more prone to frame rust, and have more plastic parts in the interior. It was the style back then. You didn't mention if this trailer is the International trim, which gives you better cabinets and some other amenities. I think Internationals are worth more money.

There is a great section in Air Forums called Airstream Knowledge base, and then travel trailers. You'll find it toward the bottom of the home page. Select Overlander and then the year 1971. You will find all kinds of folks who own these trailers and are experts in them. Plan to stay up all night reading about them. It's part of the Airstream illness.

I vote to spend your money on this Airstream!

David
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Old 11-27-2014, 08:09 PM   #6
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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8K sounds high
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Old 11-28-2014, 04:39 PM   #7
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1971 27' Overlander
Mt Pleasant , South Carolina
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Thank you all so much for your honest advice... I've tried to attach the pics here... Newbie mistake.

I have taken every comment to heart and I'm now considering a 1977 Safari now as well. It is a more reasonable length for my husband and I, more expensive $10k ,.. It's really between the 2 now. Biggest pros/cons compared to the Overlander for me are that the safari has been lived in for few years, so everything works. The Overlander has a lot more unknowns bc it's been sitting. We're checking out the safari on Sunday. Wish us luck! Based on what he's told me it's in perfect condition.. We'll see. Looking at it Sunday. Again, thank you so much for your advice and your encouragement!!

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Old 11-28-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
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Finding an Airstream where everything works is better for a first time buyer than one that's been sitting with a bunch of unknowns. Let us know what the Safari looks like.

Thanks for the pictures you posted. This old Overlander sure looks original. But I'm sure it has needs.

David
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Old 11-28-2014, 06:37 PM   #9
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetekTinCan View Post
the safari has been lived in for few years, so everything works. Based on what he's told me it's in perfect condition.. We'll see. Looking at it Sunday.
Caveat Emptor
You may be better off in the Safari if all necessary repairs and upgrades have been made the price would be OK. I agree the interior looks original. I would find out if the major appliances are original or upgrades, axles replaced, upgraded upholstery and flooring, any floor rot in the ends, corners, near the door or under windows.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:24 PM   #10
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1971 27' Overlander
Mt Pleasant , South Carolina
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Update! Went to see the Safari today and turns out he did not tell the whole story over the phone ... The interior has been redone, but very poorly! Everything "works," but I would not feel comfortable using it 'as is'. Here's a rundown of what I saw and how it stacks up to the Overlander. First thing, obvious rust on hitch, AC & top of trailer were pretty rough. Electrical was redone, but all left completely exposed. He's glued carpet to the interior walls... Plumbing had been winterized, so not sure about what shape it's in, but if I had to guess not good. The windows were intact, but sloppy sealing job, some of the trim was missing. Just all around yuck!
Long story short I will not be buying the safari. I would rather take my chances on something all original, then something that has been "updated" poorly. My guess is that we'll end up spending just as much to fix the mistakes as we will updating the Overlander.
There seems to be a mix of opinions on whether or not $8k is the right price, but I've decided it's right for us. I'm thinking of this as a long term investment and to be honest I've really fallen in love with. It is the International trim btw. I know it might sound silly, but everything about it, down to the "Air Force Family" sticker in the window seemed right. (My husband and I are both in the AF). We're def realistic about how much time and money we will have to invest and it's worth it for us. Thanks again for all of your help! Hopefully I'll be bringing it home soon and be able start a Reno thread of our own! Again, if anyone is familiar with the Charleston area please let me know if you have any recommendations on local pros to consult.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:58 PM   #11
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VetekTinCan View Post
Update! Went to see the Safari today and turns out he did not tell the whole story over the phone ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by VetekTinCan View Post
seems to be a mix of opinions on whether or not $8k is the right price, but I've decided it's right for us. I'm thinking of this as a long term investment and to be honest I've really fallen in love with. know if you have any recommendations on local pros to consult. .
Ah Grasshopper, as an "investment" Airstreams are not. Your investment is your labor of love. It sounds like you are right on about your thinking on the Safari. When it comes to buying a project Airstream LOVE is just a 4 letter word. You are learning.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
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1971 27' Overlander
Mt Pleasant , South Carolina
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Ha! Too funny. I am most definitely learning! That's why I'm on the forum. And I definitely have a lot more to learn, but isn't that part of the fun!? I think so. Investment was the wrong word to use... I definitely do not plan to get anything back from what we put into fixing it up, except the memories and the pride in knowing we made something old new and functional again. We're in it for the long haul. Money and time aside. I get this can be an expensive endeavor... We're up for the challenge. Appreciate all of the positive words of encouragement!
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:22 PM   #13
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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Well I am no expert on vintage AS values, but I know a good looking rig when I see it.

I would say that your AS still has some sparkle after all these years. We have all seen listing photos on the AS classified sections so unkempt that we can smell them over the internet. From what I can see in the photos your AS looks like it was well cared for and was somebody's Baby.

So congratulations and hope that you enjoy your new AS.
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:24 PM   #14
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1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
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Ashley

Looks very clean, that is always a good sign. If you havent negotiated a price, keep in mind that its getting on to winter and campers generally dont move when its cold. That and it's missing the propane tanks could be bargaining chips in your favor. If you can get somebody to help you inspect it locally that would be good, though keep in mind that there is only so much you can see without tearing up carpeting and dropping belly pans for better access.

If you can, at least hook it up to some power and see what works and what doesnt. You can grab a small propane tank and hook that up as well and see if you can light off the fridge and stove. Unless you have water pressure, don't light off the water heater. And if you can get a hose on it, you can check to see if there are any leaks or split pipes as well. You can try to light off the furnace as well, but that needs 110v and just be careful about potential CO gas if you dont have a CO gas monitor (20 bucks at lowes). You could also try the built in water pump and see if that fires up, though there may not be much water in the tank to pump, but you should hear it spin. The AC may run, but it might not have enough current if you have it all running off an ordinary extension cord.

Take some more pix and look in all the nooks and crannies that you can. Shoot some pix of the rear bumper and the surrounding sheetmetal. Good luck, keep us all informed.
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:13 PM   #15
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1971 27' Overlander
Jackson , Tennessee
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I have the twin version of the trailer you're considering. I didn't pay quite $8k, but sometimes the price is simply dictated by what the market offers you, as in my case. The tough truth is, you only really know what you're buying when the belly pan comes off.

I had near perfect cabinets (which I have since replaced), working stove and fridge (but due to re-working interior, replaced these, too!) and minimal exterior damage. Fortunately, the frame and floor work was limited to the universal rear-end damage and the steps. If the frame had needed replacing like some trailers, my price paid would have been much harder to take.

Regarding your comments about the rear-end bouncing test, I can't imagine a trailer of this era not having frame and floor damage back there, due to the "wicked funnel plate" design. (Nod to Perry.) If there is no separation movement, I would be suspicious of a band-aid/elephant ear repair. Mine had this, poorly hidden on one side by a misplaced reflector, on the other by a rear panel placed on top of the original. If so in your trailer, this will need appropriate repair.

Have fun,
Alan
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:11 AM   #16
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
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I think you were right on to pass on the Safari. Sometimes the sales pitch is way above the actual condition, like "everything worked the last time we used it." The Overlander looked nice in the pictures. Just be prepared for "hidden' rust and moisture damage. It can be repaired in good order, it just takes more time and cost.

Let us know how it works out.

David
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:43 AM   #17
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The Overlander is in amazingly great, clean condition for its age. I like the funky 70's retro vibe going on with it. I would be tempted to leave it original as possible but making it roadworthy and able to be camped in.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:22 AM   #18
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The Felvers in Beaufort SC do restoration and are great at any repairs you might need.
Their forum name is Der Ousterkoste or something like that...
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