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Old 02-19-2009, 08:45 PM   #1
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2005 30' Safari
Pleasanton , California
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Why Airstream???

Let me start by saying that I understand that I am posing this question to a likely biased audience. I am making a plea to those that have had other brands of campers and have switched to airstream or those that have had an airstream, switched, and come back. I understand the stigma of a certain brand. I'm a John Deere man myself. Would a Kubota or a New Holland have done the trick...yup, but I went for the JD. I'm not a fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, but instead of BMW motorcycles which is perhaps just as closed-minded. I've owned Hondas...bought one of them brand new...but ended up with a now my second BMW and I won't go back to anything else.

So, WHY AIRSTREAM? Why should I drop $5000 on a 25 to 30 year old Airstream that likely needs another $5000 in work when I can buy a 15 year old camper that isn't silver and has any ol' name emblazened on the front? A camper that probably doesn't need a lot of work except to alleviate personal peeves. A camper that I can haul off to a campsite and sleep just fine in right now. Why should I seek the silver? Why the time, money, blood, sweat, swearing, etc.

Don't get me wrong here. Being a JD and BMW man, I know what it is to have brand-identity... but I knew tractors and bikes long before settling on one brand. I'm new to RV'ing. I have no experience other than what co-workers and relatives tell me...and none of them are Airstreamers. I have two Airstream opportunities right now and multiple non-Airstream ops. Please, give your input, but please be objective about're forming the opinion in an infant RV mind!

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Old 02-19-2009, 08:52 PM   #2
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"Why should I drop $5000 on a 25 to 30 year old Airstream that likely needs another $5000 in work..."

Because you'd be hard pressed to find some other brand of this age in servicable condition.

Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #3
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If the silver doesn't call to you, you probably are better off buying a white box and enjoying that. There's something about an AS that attracts some people, other people are fine with something else just as functional.

Since I was into classic cars (mustangs, corvette), getting a classic RV was the way to go! Not a lot of RVs hold out long enough to be classics. I love all the vintage RVs, Airstream or not.

As for the money, I don't think I could get a new RV as nice as my 40 year old Airstream for $12k, which is what I have in it.

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Old 02-19-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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Watch this video showing a comparison between an Airstream and box trailer on a test track. It is amazing to see how well the AS handles the maneuvers.

Airstream, Inc :: Why Buy?
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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Because there is no other feeling like pulling into a crowded campsite with an airstream.. you get this.. thats why your here asking the question. Theres just something about an airstream.

I've owned Fleetwood, Winnebago, Aristocrat, Arctic Fox, Holidaire and Jayco. Nothing compares IMHO

"Old fashioned service on your late model Airstream"
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:26 PM   #6

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Welcome Aboard!!

Well If you have to's just a "stream thing".

Do your homework and decide New/Vintage

Should be easy....only two choices
"Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory."
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:09 PM   #7
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Swoope , Virginia
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My biggest reason for the airstream is the people that I met and the people I want to meet. I have no intention of getting rid of my jayco at this point but I am really looking forward to meeting more of the folks on this forum and WBCCI members and vintage owners. Everyone always seems to have a large time. I'm an old party boy redneck who was quite shocked when several guys apologized for the noise they made.(I didn't even notice.) I decided then that I could probably find a some new friends. Can't hardly wait to get that tradewind on the road.

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:11 PM   #8
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2017 30' Classic
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Ojai , California
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Where do I start? We began with an Airstream because of it's iconic standing in America's history, it's recognition, and it's tubular aluminum beauty. We joined a local unit, met friends, had a good time. Then decided to sell our 28' '06 Safari for a MoHo to have more room for our Golden Retrievers. Not just a breadbox, but a condo on wheels with more bells & whistles than a person needs. I didn't think selling our AS would matter much. However, just a few days later, it hit me and hit me hard. No more AS friends, no more iconic image, no more folks stopping by in the campground to see our AS ("Do they still MAKE those?!). Then I had to get up the nerve to tell my husband how much I missed our AS. Luckily he was on board with me and we found one, then two vintage '54 Clouds to remodel. We recently purchased a Winick Bambi to use until our Pearls are complete. Hard to explain, but it really is, or isn't, in one's blood.
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:13 AM   #9
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Your choice?

Hi, I never owned any other brand of RV, but after owning my Airstream a few things always come to mind.

(1.) While towing, My wife asked me, "why are those trailers in front of us [SOBs] wandering all over the road?" Then we stopped at a rest stop, got out of our truck, and were almost blown off of our feet. Airstreams tow a lot better especially in the wind.

(2.) When I get inside of an SOB, I'm always tempted to push on the walls and amazed at the thin masonite or paneling used on them. My trailer has 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" plywood for interior parts.

(3.) My sinks are stainless steel; Most SOBs that I've been in have plastic sinks. A friend with a toy hauler trailer was most impressed with Airstream's real door hinges compared to his piano hinged door.

(4.) I think an Airstream looks proper parked with my Lincoln and BMW.

(5.) You can camp and have just as much fun in an SOB although parking a white box next to your John Deer and/or BMW might be embarrassing.
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2005 Safari 25-B
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:02 AM   #10
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I can understand your reservations given the current economy and some of the recent threads here in the forum. They are most thought provoking and I can see where somebody looking for reasons why to buy or not to buy an Airstream could be influenced. I can also appreciate your brand loyalties as I am a dyed in the wool Chevy/GMC truck and Harley Davidson motorcycle man. Now I can add Airstream to that list.

We had a brand spanking new SOB that had slider leaks and an RV dealer that was just interested in the sale. Service after the sale was almost non-existent. So when my wife was at her tether's end I sprung the idea of an Airstream on her. Well the Airstream dealer was great, the coach has had no leaks (knock wood), and the service after the sale has been great (even though the dealer no longer sells Airstreams). Yes there were some QC issues with our ’06, but nothing that I couldn’t easily fix myself and most of it was very minor stuff. I do have issues with the rubber brake line length on the hydraulic disc brakes and I plan on replacing them. I’m sure it is the same with all trailers; if you are handy and mechanically inclined then you are in much better shape and better prepared to take on RV maintenance challenges. Plus there is a huge resource on this forum and the Internet in general. If you are willing to get a little dirty and bark some knuckles there really isn’t anything you can’t tackle yourself or with a little help from a friend.

You can find gently used newer model airstreams (80’s-90’s) for a reasonable price that all you pretty much have to do is hook up and take them camping. You just have to be willing to be patient and kiss a lot of frogs before you find the one for you. The ’87 we purchased two years ago was exactly that. But just like anything else I own, I found improvements / upgrades I wanted to make and we have been doing them piece meal over the last two years. We are now down the really small stuff just so we have something to do over the winter.

We also liked the feeling of community we found in the Airstream family. We just didn’t feel that with the SOB. Between the WBCCI and the three Airstream parks we have visited we have found the people young at heart, no matter what their calendar age is, they are all outgoing to a fault, and make one feel immediately at ease and part of the community.

These coaches are great, but not for everybody. Good luck with your search and good luck with whatever you end up purchasing whether it is an SOB or an Airstream. As I am sure you have seen SOB owners are welcome here too.
Carl, Elaine & Finn The Beagle
2006 30' Classic W Slide & Limited Package Katarina
2006 GMC 2500 HD 6.6 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab 8' Bed
AIR #14487
NQ3U (was KB3UOM)
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:09 AM   #11
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Friends don`t let friends tow square old boxes.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:28 AM   #12
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One thing for sure is the assistance that you receive from this forum and how to get things done. Just think of the history - caravans across this world - Just compare a well kept 5 or 10 or 15 year old Airstream with any other?
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:42 AM   #13
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In my mind it is akin to the reason I buy Craftsman or Snap-On tools rather than the 'house' brand at the local hardware store - you get what you pay for. I'm referring to the fact that I have 25 year-old flat-head Craftsman screwdrivers that are as good as the day I bought them. I've thrown away several of the house brand ones that are not made of the same quality steel and actually bend (or break) when used to drive or remove a screw that is particularly difficult. The same with wrenches - the business end doesn't get malformed after intense use the way a more-poorly manufactured one does. It is not a prestige brand name thing - it's a quality thing. I know my AS will, with appropriate care, be just as good 25 years from now as it is today - I don't see that quality in white boxes (and we crawled through literally hundreds of them before buying our AS).

That and the fact that I've wanted one since I saw one on the Skyline Drive when I was 10 (45 years ago).
Steve & Susan
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2005 28' CCD, 2011 Sierra 5.3L, Equal-I-Zer
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:48 AM   #14
Vintage Kin
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I don't think it is quite fair to link Airstream to the idea of prestige brand, as if it were just a fancy covering on a an otherwise ordinary conveyance. A Harley is an example of that, there are better motorcycles for the money and for the performance. Same with many cars: there are those which perform better but few, if any, are on the road full-time past a certain point (be it Honda or Mercedes). One would think that the very high-priced would not only last longer, but be cheaper -- per year -- as a result.

The original appeal of an Airstream is the one that still motivates the curious buyer. The low weight, the low center of gravity and aerodynamic design made for an easy-to-tow coach that could take mile-after-mile of road where lesser brands began to fail. A lower powered car could pull one, or a higher powered car found better fuel mileage and longer life. Etc. And, they would last forty years given reasonable maintenance versus the industry standard of ten-fifteen years for conventional construction.

Were there trailers better built than Airstream? Without question. But those companies are no longer in business, thus there is no dealer support nor were there ever the sheer numbers produced that gave a large number of available parts from NOS or salvage yards. None of the others had the streamlining taken to this level, nor -- with one exception -- did they feature independent suspension.

A Harley is a $30,000 chrome joke. An Airstream, seen with the eyes of an engineer, makes sense the first day on the road . . . and thirty-seven years and a quarter-million miles later. Efficiency is it's own reward.

That said, A/S trailers are way out of line these days for the weight they carry. Compare mid-1960's trailers to those of today (as well as features).
Airstream has had no competition at this end of the market for twenty years, and are not as good as they should be. Don't mistake the concerns of owners around here trying to get things right, this is a demanding bunch by comparison to other owner groups who simply buy trailers again and again every few years. While my family bought Streamline and Silver Streak, they also kept them from fourteen to twenty-seven years (I appear to be the exception).

The important thing to remember is that conventional trailers simply aren't comparable, overall, nor in detail in most instances. You need never buy another.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:48 AM   #15
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I am in the very beginning stages of restoring a 1964 Safari, and the help I have already received from Airstream and Forum users is incredible.. How many 1964 SOB's are even around anymore, much less restorable? How many other SOB's leave perfect strangers to exclaim "wow, Airstream, I always loved those". How many SOB's are in museum's? A love for the brand, great owners, art and longevity, these are just a few of the great reasons for me.
"I've got aluminum fever, and the only prescription, is more AIRSTREAM!!!"

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Old 02-20-2009, 07:02 AM   #16
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As someone new to the community and a person that bleeds orange, I have to say it is all the above. I know that my Argosy is 30 years old and I will be able to get another 30 years + out of her. It is a vintage thing. How many vintage boxes do you see on the road? This one is my first and I can not wait to get another one from the 60's. You will not be able to find a box that matches the size for the weight.

I would have to warn you that "aluminitus" does exist. You start doing the research and you get hooked. Before you know that $5k goes to $10k goes to $15k. A little tweak here, something new there, but it is true it is the most fun I have had and I have not even had her camping yet.

Good luck with you research.

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Old 02-20-2009, 08:21 AM   #17
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An Airstream is something that you want, not something that you need.

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Old 02-20-2009, 08:28 AM   #18
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:14 AM   #19
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It's a lot like an old Corvette (mine is a '79), they were special and need to be remembered and appreciated. They grew into what is a premier American automobile today. My Airstream is exactly the same way. It is 40 years old and still a thing of beauty. It has evolved into the premier trailer in America today. I enjoy the link to an important part of the American past. If I didn't I might have a box.
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Old 02-20-2009, 10:40 AM   #20
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Hello and Welcome,

All I can add is that my Argosy feels like home and I've loved Argosys from the 1st moment I saw one.
I've had SOB's and hated the layout, lack of function, and especially the lack of view to the outside.
None of them can compare to the Argosy. Everyone will always comment on how "roomy" or "spacious" it feels inside. Of course the wrap around windows in the front and large windows all around make it easy to enjoy the view wherever you are. I find that I always had a hard time keeping an eye on my little ones in other similar sized SOB's. As soon as they went out the door I couldn't see them and the windows were not at my eye level. That's not the case with the Argosy and I could never go back.
I figure, I got a good deal on mine and I've been working on it myself. It's worth the effort to me for something of quality and great design. I like making it my own and knowing it will be with me for years and years. Even though it's 30 years old I still prefer it to anything else I've seen.
Good luck with your search,

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