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Old 02-04-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a 24 or 28 MH to use in UK & Europe but worried 28 will be too big!!

Just wandering if anyone one can give me some advice on buying and driving either a 24 or 28 ft motorhome. I currently own a classic 1961 VW but need more space! However having done a lot of european travelling I'm worried that I wont get onto many of the campsites in a bigger Airstream let alone drive through the small French roads. Really want to upsize to another classic vehicle and am set on a 24 but they seem to be few and far between so am now considering a 28 or 27. Anyone driven one in the Uk or Europe and what is your driving experience? How do you get on, with turning, monouvering,fuelling up, stopping at supermarkets etc. It seems that all european Motorhomes are small, around 20ft and I assume the reason for this is the road network, which makes me think that a large Airstream may just not be practical, (really hope not.)
So anyone with any advice that will help me would be appreciated. Also anyone who knows of a 24 for sale please let me know. Many thanks
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:50 PM   #2
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FAQ < Airstreamer | Airstream Europe : FAQ, frequently asked questions, how, where, and what
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Old 02-04-2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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I'm guessing that the 20' Argosy motorhomes (same basic construction as the Airstream, but available in earlier years than the AS and painted) didn't make it over to Europe in any quantity. They're rather cute little things - maybe it's worth importing one?

Having driven ever so briefly in the UK (my wife is from Birmingham), I worried more about width than length on the narrow roads - but car parks are a lot smaller there too, so I understand the length concern.

Tom
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys, i had a look at the FAQ site but it seems to be more orientated towards towing caravans, some useful info that I didn't know though.
I also viited the link about Argosy 20's, I have considered them, but ideally want some sort of division between sleeping areas for us and the little one (something we don't have at the moment thats for sure!). Also really want an Airstream that can be polished up and I've read that the early Argosy's have steel endcaps so I'm not sure how they would work if the rest of the motorhome was stripped back to Ali. I do however like the skylight type windows on the Argosy's, Oh decisions decisions!!
If only I could have the early Argosy but with the ali end caps!!
Thanks again, Tim.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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airstream in europe

Hi, no problem driving an Airstream in Europe. You need to know what you are doing, but the roads are full with lorries and coaches, so the Airstream can be used. We have been all over Europe with American made motorhomes (at first a Champion, then a GMC Transmode and sine a year an Airstream 250), we never take motorways, but usually stick to the smaller scenic roads. France, Germany, eastern and Central Europe are no problem at all. You may have some hairy moments in the UK, Ireland and Italy mostly because the roads can be pretty narrow and certainly have not been made for US roadholding quality.

Parking at supermarkets and in city centres may be somewhat cumbersome, you may have to skip the first choice and move on to the next. We only use the motorhome on holidays in a leisurely pace. Would definitely not like to use it in everyday traffic.

I know of an Airstrem 24 for sale, it is a project as it is completely stripped. Technically it should be fine but no interior.

regards,

Barend
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hi, think Barend ment my 24 ft Airstream. Just imported and registrated, taxes and all being paid.
Project indeed but technically very well . Lot of work being done allready.
It is sitting in Holland.
Interested?
Mail at gjtbraak@nlzorg.net

regards,

Gert-Jan ter Braak.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:47 PM   #7
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Thanks Barend for the vote of confidence, what are your thoughts on campsites, I do most of my touring in France usually taking 3 weeks in late August and stay mostly on officially sites. Have you ever had problems getting to a site and not being able to fit on a pitch, or even worse not being able to turn around once on the site, I suppose you just find sites that are suitable, a quick e-mail ahead would probably rest my worries. My only other concern is tour the Alps and similar areas but as you say if the lorries can do it there is no reason why a 24' MH shouldn't be able to. thanks also for the lead on the Airstream24 for sale, e-mailed Gert-Jan ter Braak about it this evening,
regards, Tim.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:52 PM   #8
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Hello VWtim,

I have a 345 (that's 34 1/2 feet long) and I live in Kent in the countryside in narrow lanes no more than 9ft wide, my biggest challenge was getting into my drive ! these rigs are all slightly narrower than a standard 7 1/2 ton truck, they are lower and the lenght will be the only thing to consider. My 345 does have a lot of rear over hang so backing it into tight places that require turning does present a challenge, but day to day travel was easy, even in our narrow lanes. Farmers drive massive tractors and HGV's pick upfrom the farms and manage, so get brave as theres nothing like driving the Airstream in the UK ! good luck,

Paul.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:55 PM   #9
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VWTim, just seen your not far away in the south, if you want to pop over and see it in the flesh let me know.

Regards, Paul.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:21 AM   #10
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Hi Tim,

Please drop me a line. My mobile is in your private messages.

cheers

Nick
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:23 PM   #11
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Hi Paul, Thanks for that, I'll try and get brave! I'm used to towing large trailers (help a friend with his boat haulage company) but not used to a large "unhinged" vehicle if you know what I mean. My concern is the length but I'm impressed you own a 345 in the UK, you must have a pretty big drive and it must cost a fortune on the ferry!
I think I am going to try and look out for a 24 to start with and see how I get on with that, a mear Smart car in comparison! I think my next problem is finding one for the right price.
I'm happy to find out the width is relativly narrow, useful info. THanks, Tim.
May take you up on the offer of a look (gawp!!) at your rig when I'm getting closer to finding something myself, much appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #12
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Hi Nick, just worked out the message thing, will give you a buzz, cheers, Tim.

By the way is there an Airstream MH club in the UK? anyone know?
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:06 AM   #13
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Hi Tim,

There isn't a Motorhome club per se, but there is a group of GMC and Airstream MH owners who have got together in the past. In addition, there are a number of Airstream Trailer and MH owners who have met over the past couple of years at a UK campsite. There is an Airstream campsite in Southern France Airstream mirepoix ariege, camp-site mirepoix ariege, Airstream France, airstream trailer park A friend of mine and I know or are in touch with several UK MH owners.....there aren't that many of us. I also know of two MH in Europe.

Speak soon
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:18 AM   #14
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Tim, for what it's worth the wheelbase is the key to maneuverability. I drive my 28' almost every day during my travel season.... starts this week through end of November.

I can park (with care) in a single car spot in most lots where I can back in and hang the tail over a boulevard. In most shopping centers I just take up two deep in a middle row.

I harken back to my teenage driving training at the hand of my uncle who was a Canadian Armed Forces driver trainer. He said, "just look ahead and drive there."

My 28'er drives like a car. I just have an ingrained habit of backing in most everywhere I park.
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:21 PM   #15
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Hi Nick,
thanks for that, i found the French website on a previous search and have been meaning to visit it but never seem to end up in that part of France for long enough to visit it. Thanks also for info about the club scene. It seems Airstreams are rarer than I thought in the UK!

Hi Glen Coobe, thanks for insight into driving a 28ft'er, good hear they drive like a car. I get the impression from everyone that I really don't need to worry about driving and manouvering one but just need to take the plunge and buy one and experience it first hand.
Thanks,
Tim.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:22 PM   #16
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Hello! Ive found this thread very interesting as I am living in Europe also(In Spain)Well Tim did you get one???We also have a VW ,Well we have 3!!One to use,one to do up(16"syncro)and one for parts!!I am totally taken with the Classic Airstream motorhomes,they are beautiful,Ive never seen one for real yet,but Im looking forward to it!We have a soft spot for classics and as my husband was trained as a mechanic it helps!!My family and I are hoping to travel to America and spend a year touring,so if we found the one we wanted we would use it there and then import it.The 250 would be the one for europe,but I wonder how it would be traveling in one for a year with two adults and our children of eleven and six ?I think it would be fine.Of course finding one might not come so easy!Boom sounds,I tryed sending you a pm asking about how you have found yours,but maybe I did something wrong!I had a look at the photos of your one and it looks really lovely,What is your floor plan like inside?There is one for sale now on this forum ..or freds and it has two armchairs and a sofa in the front,would you think they are bolted swivel chairs with seatbelts or just freestanding?If anyone would have a look an tell me what they think about it and also the value of it ,I do understand that so few 250 were made and that is why its quite high compared to its bigger brothers,Anyway,I better stop talking now! Looking forward to any replies...Stefany
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:04 PM   #17
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I think travelling for a year would be fine. You'll be in heaven compared to a VW i.e. you can all stand up inside, the 250 has beds for four, full fridge freezer, four burner hob plus microwave/convention oven, loo, shower, heating and power and water i.e. everything you need......plus they are great to drive. The layouts do vary on the 250s. Most have the standard double rear bed alongside rear bathroom and sink. This can be screened off from the front by a sliding door. Front configuration is gaucho which converts to a double and either dinette or cocktail chair/chairs. Now some 250s have two settees which both convert; one in the rear and one up front and some look like they were made for the Commercial Division e.g. NASA or Ambulances. You can modify the dinette and fit two sets of two coach seats with integral three point harnesses in their place. We acheieved this successfully for a major trip round Europe. We didn't like the idea of our three children travelling in the dinette, cocktail chairs or sidewards on the settee - frankly it's just not that safe. In fact, when we took the dinette out we found it was fitted with tiny screws i.e. barely secured to the floor so we were glad we went down this road. We're in the process of trying to re-install the original look/feel but retain the three point harnesses. The other things to look for are the Luxury Edition (LE) features - Corain counter tops, oak galley floor, lambrequin window close outs and carpet on the interior walls (it's better than it sounds), reversing camera, levelling jacks, leather interior, power seats etc. There are a number of places to look out for them; they rarely come up and command around 30k, even more for a really good one with all the options. I thoroughly recomend them for Europe. My website will soon host all the info I have on 250s, which I have kept over the past few years. Drop me a mail if you need any more info.

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Old 04-25-2010, 08:31 AM   #18
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Our 310 I think is the largest to go for overall accepatbility at most sites, and they are easy to manouver.

I have driven the 345 around Dorset and Hant, with no trouble it is just that little extra in the back. The rest is the same.

It would be nice to see another AS MH in the country - there are a few of us now to kick off a group.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:20 PM   #19
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Hi Stefany,
Sorry I havn't replied but I didn't want to temp fate, I am currently in negotiations to buy an Excella 24, fingers crossed everthing should be finalised this week!! Still got the VW Bus ('61 Samba) so really really looking forward to the extra space! but not the extra fuel bill. I will be looking to convert to LPG, anyone got any recommendations?. I've read a couple of theads from Boom sounds so hoping to source the conversion on the US and get it put in the Airstream for fitting once it arrives.
Boom souns, Look forward to seeing your web site and will keep everone updated on my buying progress.
Regards all, Tim.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:21 PM   #20
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I am a Brit living in SoCal and now the owner of a 345...
One of the concernes you should have is Voltage... the Airstreams being 110v, and the UK and EU being 220v...
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