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Old 02-22-2009, 09:43 AM   #41
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Why you own a JD and a BMW when there are other more popular brands that will do the job cheaper? I have a feeling that if you inspect and compare Airstream you will end up with an Airstream.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #42
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It's like the bike ...

I too ride a BMW (though my tractor is a Kubota) ... the reason for that bike is that I love how simply it does what it does and how long I expect it to keep on doing that, without a bunch of fuss. Yes, there's maintenance, and yes there are other shaft drive bikes out there and others with ABS and others with fuel injection, and others that are less "quirky." But the total package in comfort, handling, and just plain ease of quietly gettin' on down the road, is worth the oddities of service, etc. Recently at a BMW rally, I saw a BMW bike with 280 k miles on the clock, and still looking and running fine. That's not too unusual.

Airstream's the same way. SOBs might be cheaper, might have larger fresh and gray and black water tanks, probably have the same appliances, and maybe more headroom. But I don't think they tow the same, I don't think that (for the most part) they'll last as long, and they don't inspire owner loyalty the same way. You won't find many folks actively looking for a '56 SOB out there abandoned in some field to restore. But there are LOTS of folks looking for a 'stream of such a vintage, and there are LOTS of folks on this forum who love their classic Airstreams and toil like demons to make them as good as, or better than new, and are always on the lookout for an oldie but goodie.

And, like the BMW bike, Airstreams are at their best just quietly gettin' on down the road and stopping anywhere you like for lunch and an overnight. Full hookups? That's great. No hookups? That's fine too. If your planned use is to put the trailer in one spot for the season and go to it, an SOB will make a lot of sense. But if you want to go places and see things, this is where the silver bullets are at their best. Come to a rally, visit with a bunch of owners and tour their rigs. Then decide. Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:29 PM   #43
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Why an airstream?

We have vintage. Previously owned a smaller Motorhome, and a 5th wheel. While the motorhome was easy to drive for me, it seemed like it broke down each time we took it out and hubby spent all his time making repairs on the road ~ not so much fun on vacation. The 5th wheel was just too big for me to pull around and drive and it required a huge truck gas guzzler. We also have had a vintage teardrop (which we still have and still love, by the way). The Bambi we have has proved to be near perfect for our camping style. Hubby did a complete restoration so when and if something goes wrong he knows what the problem is, where to find it, and how to fix it! We kept all basically original (except new floor, wireing, etc.) and all still works great! With common sense our Bambi has served us well. In addition the posts above really say it all... pull into a campground and everyone walks over to take a look. We have met more great folks, gone to great rallies, made new friends, and had wonderful experiences with our Airstream we didn't have at all with our previous box type campers. Those are the things money can't buy!

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Old 02-22-2009, 07:46 PM   #44
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It gave me a reason to buy all kinds of new tools . My '75 Sovereign is the first RV that I've ever bought and I'm sure that I'll own it for a while. Heck, I haven't even got to sleep in it yet, but I know when I do, I'll love it.

Going back to the subject, I don't remember when I first heard of an Airstream, but I was quite young. I remember that my grandfather use to always talk about them. I think that he may have even owned one at one point in his life, but I can't really explain why I wanted an Airstream so bad when I could have bought a newer and cleaner SOB.

I've got no regrets on buying my Airstream as I really needed the project and I'm learning a whole lot.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:51 PM   #45
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The search is over, we bought one!

Well, it's not any one of the Sovereign models that we were looking at. We were scouring the 'net for Airstreams close to us and we happened upon one that we'd never seen before. We figured sure it was sold, but nevertheless we emailed about it. After some correspondence, we had an address and were on our way. It is an Overlander rather than a Sovereign, but we can deal with the slightly smaller layout. Within minutes of seeing the trailer, we knew. It felt right, the price was insanely low, all was good. New tires, perfect awning, window awnings, interior upgrades that were already in line with what we were discussing about doing to whatever trailer we bought. After looking around in and out and having a thorough tour by the owner, we were hooked. Down payment came out, camper is bought. We still have to go back and tow it home, but the deed is done. Just gotta find time to take 1/2 a day off of work. I even got a weight distribution and sway control hitch with the camper! Life is great. We can start camping right away. Only thing that I could find bad is that PERHAPS the axles will need replaced. But, the brakes are new so if we need axles then it's only the cost of bare axles and shipping. I guess it's time to find the local chapter of the WBCCI. Airstreamers...look out...you got a new family in the group.

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Old 02-22-2009, 08:24 PM   #46
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Had a white box class C for awhile... POS.

Bought the Airstream new with the idea of keeping it for a lifetime. I wish it didn't have filiform corrosion - but so far that's just cosmetic.
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Old 02-22-2009, 10:31 PM   #47
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Welcome to the group! You're going to like it here
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:17 PM   #48
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Congrat's on the purchase. I am amazed at the responses generated by your inquiry, perhaps because I am new to the A/S family: we bought a Class A "plastic" mh but the quality is the initial reason. I've been with Bimmers for almost 20 years, but the X5 wouldn't tow what we wanted (walk-around queen, s/o), and a local one owner 30' s/o unit showed up.
I could have bought a new 30' Class A for the same price last Spring, but even with a few maintenance costs I would not do anything else. Today it was raining, so we took a glass of champagne out to the rv, turned on the tv and the furnace & kicked back for a couple of hours. Too bad I can't toad the M Coupe behind.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:56 AM   #49
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Jason and Andrea,
Gongratulations on your find. It happens like that, when you least expect it you find your Airstream. I am sure Any from Inland RV will chime in about your axles, but from the picture, they look pretty good. I have read here that as long as you have 3-4" bewtween the top of the tire rim and the bottom of the wheel well trim, you should be OK. When you get it home, be sure to post some more exterior and interior shots. Everybody loves to see new coaches.

You are fortunate that you live on Ohio and are not too far from the mother-ship in Jackson Center. You are also close to another great resource for trailer maintenance, polishing, and rennovation, P & S Trailer Service in Helena, OH. Steve and Kevin have been working on Airstreams a long time and are great to work with.

Once again congratulations on your find and have fun camping.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:14 AM   #50
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The question Why Airstream is hard. We just returned from the RV show in Chicago. Our beloved Chummy has been on the market and we will be replacing it with a trailer. Airsteam had three tiny models on display starting at $55,000. The interiors were stark, cushions spongy, and seats were short compared to some of the better SOB's on the market. Those SOB's were thousands of dollars less, no tens of thousands less. They came with slide outs, outside grills, outside showers, bunks for grandkids, big comfortable seating, large windows, and standard features which are options on the Airstream. It is getting really hard to justify that price difference. I've been to the factory and have watched them be built and yes I was impressed but not $35,000 impressed. So I think it boils down to the iconic look and impression when when we camp. Yes, I like the attention of being the only AS in the campground and having heads turn on the highway but is that worth $35,000? Decision time is coming up real quick since camping season is almost here and this is a real hard one.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:27 AM   #51
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Congratulations! Welcome to the party.
Here's how I explain the Airstream to non-Airstream types. When I pull my 40-year-old 25' Airstream into a campground, it's not uncommon for owners of brand new 40+ foot SOB owners to stop and want to take a look even before I have a chance to get set up. All of them make comments on how well it's built or how nice it is. That doesn't happen with any other trailer of any make or year. It's sort of like owning a vintage sports car or muscle car. People just cant resist checking it out.
I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who were Airstreamers, and I grew up camping in one. So, when I got to a point in my life that I wanted a camper of my own, the choice was clear. There was no travel trailer other than an Airstream in my eyes. There's simply nothing else like them.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:34 AM   #52
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Once again, it's the Harley-Davidson problem... or more broadly, the Detroit automaker problem. People will pay more for an "icon," whether it is a motorcyle, a travel trailer or a car. One of the ways people justify spending the additional money is the "premium" quality. What happens when top shelf becomes ordinary? Ask Cadillac.

Airstream could forego "slide-outs" if they went back to their roots and began producing lighter coaches. Drop 20 percent off the dry weights. Combined with the more aerodynamic shells, you have a very towable trailer. Things like outside showers, outside grills, bunks, comfort, more natural light... those types of things should be expected. For tens of thousands more, premium should be the standard, e.g., a top drawer converter, AGM batteries, LED lighting, etc. There also should be those "cool" features that turn buyers heads. Airforums is a great R&D department at zero cost to the company.

One of the reasons we went vintage is that we kicked the tires on new Airstreams and new boxes... and we felt we could do much better doing things ourselves with a vintage shell. And I'm not an RV engineer.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:36 AM   #53
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Wow, looks GREAT and ready to go to boot. Your 'gonna love it.
Now don't forget we love photo's..
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:03 AM   #54
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Why Airstream? Because we didn't want a disposable trailer and they're beautiful.
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Old 02-23-2009, 08:55 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atobols View Post
Well, it's not any one of the Sovereign models that we were looking at. We were scouring the 'net for Airstreams close to us and we happened upon one that we'd never seen before. We figured sure it was sold, but nevertheless we emailed about it. After some correspondence, we had an address and were on our way. It is an Overlander rather than a Sovereign, but we can deal with the slightly smaller layout. Within minutes of seeing the trailer, we knew. It felt right, the price was insanely low, all was good. New tires, perfect awning, window awnings, interior upgrades that were already in line with what we were discussing about doing to whatever trailer we bought. After looking around in and out and having a thorough tour by the owner, we were hooked. Down payment came out, camper is bought. We still have to go back and tow it home, but the deed is done. Just gotta find time to take 1/2 a day off of work. I even got a weight distribution and sway control hitch with the camper! Life is great. We can start camping right away. Only thing that I could find bad is that PERHAPS the axles will need replaced. But, the brakes are new so if we need axles then it's only the cost of bare axles and shipping. I guess it's time to find the local chapter of the WBCCI. Airstreamers...look out...you got a new family in the group.

Attachment 75870
So, after reading your several threads about various things Airstream, and now that you have bought one of your own, I would love to see your answer to the same question--

Why Airstream?





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Old 02-23-2009, 09:07 AM   #56
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In 1981 Carmen, our youngest child graduated HS and moved out. In late summer I bought a big slide-in camper and a ton Chevy truck (way to small for the big camper) and we took our first vacation w/o kids. After two vacations (the second with a larger truck) I was hooked on the RV thing but I hated the slide-in! I sold both the truck and camper and started looking for an Airstream. I had a friend who owned one and I was greatly impressed with the engineering and the low profile. In the summer of 1983 I bought a 1969 International 31 for $6,000.00. We redecorated right away to get rid of the awful 1960s colors. Several years later my wife made all new drapes that really were beautiful. I did a lot of repair and maintenance during the sixteen years we had it. My largest outlay was for a near-new refrigerator. I doubt I spent more than $1500.00 on it (including what I spent on tires). I sold it via the internet in 1999 for $7600.00.

I bought my 92 Limited in 1999. After I got over my feeling that this trailer with its third axle was twice as long as the old trailer, I adjusted well and found that it pulls even better than the old one (and is no harder to back up). Nothing that is made is perfect so there are issues, as you can readily see on this forum, but the benefits far outweigh the problems. I still prefer the low profile, even though Im 63. Anyone who travels across Wyoming knows what tremendous sustained winds are common there, and I cross the state a lot. Ive never had to pull off the road and wait out the wind. I can honestly say that since 1983 Ive never wanted any other type trailer.

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Old 02-23-2009, 09:15 AM   #57
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By the way, here's the rig that started it all. You can see what a greenhorn can come up with. Surprisingly, I had no trouble on our very long trip through the west (Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Colorado).

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Old 02-23-2009, 04:59 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
So, after reading your several threads about various things Airstream, and now that you have bought one of your own, I would love to see your answer to the same question--

Why Airstream?
Well, first and foremost I'd say that most of "why" was in place before I even asked the question in the first place, but I really wanted to see if others were buying for the same reasons that I thought I should buy.

I am big about quality of construction and it's clear that if someone or in the case of vintage AS owners, many people, are willing to buy campers that are 35-70 years old and use them regularly and are able to maintain them, then that's quality and longevity. Kinda like old John Deeres...you can walk into a JD dealer today and see microfische and order parts for a 1936 model D just the same as you can with a 2003 model 4310. I see the same for AS. The original parts are still made and still available. Second is servicability. Obviously that's there. You can go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get basic systems parts (wood, paint, elec. fixtures, plumbing, valves) Yeah, there are some RV specific things, but in general everything on an AS is repairable. You never get to the point of...oh there's just too much to replace / throw away...might as well buy a new camper. With an AS, it never gets to the point of needing to replace it all unless it's neglected and let to sit in a field for 5+ years. Even then, someone says, "let's gut it and rebuild." A SOB just gets scrapped or left to fall apart in the field.

Lastly, I do like brand identity. I'm a big motorcycle buff. I've never been a fan of HD because until the last about 10 years the quality clearly wasn't there and I'm not a fan of breaking down on the road, taking short trips, or repairing my bike more than riding. So, I've been a Honda man for a long time. I bought one brand new even...loved it...rode the $hit out of it and still sold it for over $10000 at 4 years old with 44,000 miles on it. Problem was that a Honda is a very durable bike. BUT, Honda as a corporation isn't really interested in supporting the fanatics that ride their bikes. The limited amount of merchandise was expensive and really not as good as mainstream gear that was 1/2 the price. So, I pal'd around with a lot of BMW riders and went to a lot of BMW rallies. They were accepting of me and my Honda. But, they had true comradery. They rallied. The company rallied with them. I loved it. I'm now on BMW bike #2 and I think I'll keep her for a while. Not the couch on wheels that my Honda was, but it's so much more in a different way.

Not sure if the reason why I bought an airstream really comes through in all that, but that's how I rationalize it. Nobody knows or cares what brand of trailer you have when it's square and white. When you roll in with an AS, no one needs to ask what brand it is...they all know. I think the best part is going to be telling them that it's 35 years old and still that nice.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:55 PM   #59
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Welcome Jason & Andrea. Looks like you scored a good one.

I'll answer the first question anyway. My wife was tired of traveling from one crummy motel to another and eating in too many mediocre restaurants. Uncomfortable beds, sheets that won't stay in, questions about whether things are really clean. We bring a lot of food so we eat well, and looking for motels where we could eat comfortably and had a fridge, not always easy. I was tired of it too.

Then she discovered the Airstream website. Eventually she told me of her secret vice.

It came down to design—kind of art deco—and having a happy wife. It's different and classic. I was shocked at the prices, but we didn't look at anything else. I didn't want to restore a trailer, so we bought new. I am unhappy with QC and some dumb design issues (for ex., location of the water pump is plain stupid), but I'd buy another one, though probably an older one in good condition.

It's good to have something that looks so cool and maybe that's being a snob, though I won't admit to it.

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Old 02-23-2009, 06:20 PM   #60
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I like the shape, construction, and the fact the company understands the heritage/tradition of the product and wants to keep old ones going.

plus.....
You can tell its an airstream from a mile away.
Kinda like my BMW GS.....
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