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Old 10-16-2021, 12:08 PM   #1
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1966 20' Globetrotter
Larkspur , CA
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Think we got ripped off

Hi all,

We bought a 1966 Globe Trotter a year ago. Clearly not experts. It Has one patch on out side, dull outside, inside was original. Now we found out that The battery cover is missing, floor is rotted under refrigerator. Propane refrigerator stopped working and the guy we bought from replaced with an electric one from Home Depot. He also took the large propane tanks off the front and said it would be too hard to move and fill. Oven door fell off.

We paid $18,000 for it.

We had a new person look at it and said that it was worth more like $2000 and should be completely restored.

Feel very dumb and angry. Any comments out there??
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Old 10-16-2021, 12:13 PM   #2
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Thinking the 2k value is way low.
One way to justify your purchase, with the mandatory repairs, what would the street value be ?
Quick comparison nationally would yield some numbers.

A quick check on RV Trader has a few for the mid 30,000’s
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Old 10-16-2021, 12:28 PM   #3
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Welcome to the Forums!

You are in good company. There are many, many of us vintage trailer owners that thought they were buying a trailer that needed only minor sprucing up, and ended up with a shell-off rebuild.

As far as pricing, even 10 years ago when I was shopping for a vintage trailer, a 60's vintage Globetrotter in worse shape than yours would still get $4-6k. Similarly, it used to be that if yo paid $12-14k for a trailer, you could expect it to be ready to go camping even though it isn't a show piece.

Well, used trailer values have gone absolutely crazy in the last 2 years. I see 70's vintage trailers in "field find" condition with asking prices of $15-18 (who knows if they actually get this much or not).

So, maybe you paid on the high end for a used trailer that needs work, but where I would say you have a right to feel cheated is that the trailer was evidently offered/advertised in "ready to camp" condition, and obviously, it is going to need a lot of work. Sometimes a seller doesn't have any idea what condition their trailer is really in. They are selling it because they don't use it anymore, and they think back to the last time they used it, 10 years ago, and everything was fine. Sometimes the seller is a flipper, and knows darned well he is selling a "polished turd." Sounds like your seller may be the latter.

Well, the next step I would recommend is going to the "portal" tab at the top of the page and scroll down until you find the "trailer inspector's checklist." download the list and go through your trailer to try to figure out what is working, what isn't, and what shape it really is in. At this point, you can decide whether you want the project of fixing/rebuilding a vintage trailer, or if you want to sell it to someone who does want that project.

My guess is that unless a lot of hard work has already been done, your trailer is a big project. any trailer can have soft spots in the floor, but 60+ year trailers that haven't been maintained almost always do. That and rusting frames, antiquated/leaking plumbing systems, etc..

good luck!
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Old 10-16-2021, 01:44 PM   #4
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Very unlikely these days to get an old Airstream in "camping condition" for less than the $10,000 to $15,000 range. Remember "Old is Gold" and your is a 1966 that's a good range for rebuilding.

If it has the original interior and the outside isn't all beat up then your in the ballpark as these things are going at a premium these days.
It might be fair to say that if your looking to buy a vintage Airstream from the 60's in camping condition for under $20,000 it's going to be a fixer upper for sure.
If you thought it wasn't going to need anything at that price well then you misled yourself...if you weren't an expert when you bought it you will be when you sell it!
It sounds like you paid the going market at a high time. Spend some time repairing the floor and don't knock the fridge till you have used it, most times your going to be hooked to shore power and it'll work just fine having the original 60+ year old fridge isn't likely to have been an upgrade to what you have.

Go camping see what doesn't serve your purpose...shine it up or leave it dull remember if it was super shiny when you bought it the price would have reflected it.

Saying that the outside is dull makes it sound like that surprised you but shouldn't you have noticed it when you bought it? Did you buy it sight unseen?
Value of an item is the agreed upon price between the buyer and the seller and it sounds like your having some "Buyers remorse" after a big purchase...well the blush can come off the rose pretty quickly with an old trailer...oops sorry "Vintage Trailer"...fix her up and get some good times out of her and then move up if it suits your needs...your always going to get good money for the old girl as "their not making any more of them 1966 models"

You didn't do that bad it's likely just a bit of buyers remorse that's normal...wait a few months it'll get a bit worse
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Old 10-16-2021, 01:54 PM   #5
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Hi

Any "classic" is going to be an interesting adventure. Classic cars, boats, trucks, planes, trailers, motor homes .... all fall into this category. There really is no market value for any of them ~60 years after they left the factory. Some folks get lucky. Most folks not so much. They all can (and usually do) turn into expensive long term adventures.

Is this or that number "to high"? There's no way to really know. $18K is high by traditional standards. For the absolutely insane used RV market we are in, it may well be what things are selling for.

What did the seller know or not know? What was supposed to "be obvious"? Without being there a year ago, no way to even guess. Based on your description, the issues with the trailer are not as significant as they could be. The trailer you bought is not in unusual shape for an un-restored example from that era.

Typical advice for a "ready to go" trailer is to stick with stuff that is less than 30 years old or that has had a fairly complete rebuild. Even then things like appliances ( A/C units ....) likely will need to be updated / replaced. Indeed, just as with a car or truck, as you go past 10 years, the unexpected may well pop up.

Yes it's a crazy world.

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Old 10-16-2021, 01:59 PM   #6
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1966 20' Globetrotter
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Thank you

THank you for all your replies. All good thoughts
I have attached afew pictures. We did remove the front bunk because my daughter needed a bigger table and chairs there.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:09 PM   #7
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Ok, you paid 18K for a trailer that most likely is worth less, but the question becomes "By how much?". Let's just say for poop's and giggles, it's worth 5K. So, you're upside down 13K. If you keep the trailer 25 years, that's $520 a year, or $1.42 per-day.

Take that thought process, depending on your age, income, etc.. is a 13K loss really going to make that big of a difference in your life. What you should really be concerned about "What did you learn from the process?"

A dear friend of mine once told me "There's two types of people in the world, those with 20 years of experience, and those that have one experience for 20 years". If you build on this experience "You're Fine" if you keep doing it over and over, "You're Screwed".

Just Saying,
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:38 PM   #8
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You've gotten great responses.

Would be interested to know in what areas you are disappointed versus what you expected. Did you actually see the trailer for yourself or did that somebody do the inspection for you and you purchased sight unseen?

The only error I see is that you had false expectations as you had not yet educated yourself on vintage trailers. A person looked at it and gave you an estimate of $2,000 which I agree was likely very low considering the current time and prices that vintage trailers are getting.

But you bought it anyway?

Maybe 18,000. was on the high side but unfortunately that is what vintages are going for.

Of course it helps to be better educated so that you can work with the seller to reach a price that you find appropriate.

In this market it is similar to houses, when people have money to spend they can often demand the higher prices and it will actually sell for that.

Don't beat yourself up this happens frequently with vintage trailers. It takes skills, diligence, patience and dedication to get these trailers back up to par. There's renovation, restoration, tinkering and those all come to different degrees of expertise.

Getting them safe and running and campable can be done but they will always have something to be done unless they are fully renovated either by a company or by those that buy them. Many people here have bought something with an expectation of working on it for two summers and 10 years later they're still working on it. It's not because they're all perfectionists but like an old house one project begets another.

If you still have an Airstream dream then go for it make it road safe. You can camp in them for many years without electricity, running water and furnaces. At that point it's more like camping and less like trailering. If your dream has been shattered by the long list of to do's then fix some things and put it back on the market.

Welcome, your trailer doesn't look to bad, hang in there, most of us with vintage trailers have been where you're at maybe just at a slightly different price point.

You are in the right place to learn the things you need to do to make the trailer more comfortable.
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Old 10-16-2021, 02:58 PM   #9
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Paid too much? Maybe, but that’s water over the dam. You’re an Airstream Millionaire now! No time to stew over mundane matters like money.
Ripped off? Not in my mind - I’m a bit envious.
You’ve got a simpler, lighter trailer that will be easier to diagnose when things go wrong... as they do for ANY trailer.
<Insert trailer name here> (You HAVE given it a name, yes?) may be dull, but it can be polished, unlike the clear coat finish on current Airstreams.
Propane tanks? The refillers “obsolete” them after ten years or so. Consider them a consumable.
Rotted floor? If it’s only under the fridge, the PO simplified the repair by pulling the old fridge. If it’s more extensive, your trailer is the rule, not the exception.
Battery cover? Anything in the proximity of a flooded battery for decades will have been corroded beyond use. As Southern Living’s Grumpy Gardener put it, “God took a look at that plant you are grieving and said, ‘Are you still fussing with that tired old thing? I’ll do you a favor and kill it, so you can start fresh.”
Keep us posted. As the owner of a dime-a-dozen newer model, I need the excitement.
Happy travels.
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:02 PM   #10
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Out of curiosity, are those pictures from when you bought the trailer (looks like it is sitting on a "lot" with other trailers in the background), or since having bought it? Did you buy from a private individual or someone who is in the business of selling trailers? What state (in the U.S.) did you buy it from? Was it purchased without seeing it in real life, or only from pics and description in the ad?

At a glance, the good news is that I don't see any major dents (at least on this side of the trailer), and the axles don't seem to be sinking out of sight (maybe they have been replaced in recent years). If the trailer spent most of its life in sunny California, maybe the floor won't be rotting away everywhere, and the frame won't have to be repaired (patching the floor is relatively easy, replacing the entire floor is major surgery). When I see those patches, I immediately suspect they are covering the place where your water heater originally was, and the exhaust for your furnace. This could be because they have been replaced by something else (for instance an electric, on-demand water heater), or just removed (for instance someone decided they would never camp in temperatures cold enough to require a furnace). Anyway, just two more things to investigate.

Anyway, the first decision you have to make is whether you want to repair a trailer, or only to camp in one. If you are willing to take on the project, then you need to figure out if you have the skills, tools, and desire to do the work, or if you intend to hire it out (which in turn may result in rethinking decision #1).

good luck!
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:20 PM   #11
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If you DO NOT have the experience to Restore a trailer or automobile, my advice: Sell at a loss, but not a Fire Sale. You can always go down... but rarely UP.

Boondoggle Airstream: a wasteful or impractical project or activity. The project is a complete boondoggle—over budget, behind schedule, and unnecessary.

Advertise this trailer for the price you paid. Also photographs on Craigslist... which there is a minimal fee. Lots of photographs. When asked why? The truth is best: You are over your head and inexperienced.

Offers Considered, to keep an interested person... interested. They may have restored a similar model Airstream.

If you lose $1,000, $5,000... you learned a lesson. Education costs. We all learned from experience. You will as well. The additional cost to get your purchase... restored and useful, may double the cost you started with, or more... and then discover more items, like the Axle needs to be totally replaced.

If you are not handy... take the loss. You will sleep better after sitting on this for a year.

After three years of sitting... the options are the same. Put in a lot more money into this project trailer... or take the loss up front and go on. (Clean Title? and not licensed?)

There are lots of used Airstreams, late models, being purchased by Dealers. They still have to work on those to come out ahead.

You will no doubt put more money into this trailer and still have more to go. If you cut corners, the resale is affected in the future.

Casino Gamblers... make losing wagers and get ZERO back, but a free room and meals. You will get something. Negotiate with buyer with Cash in Hand. Beware of Scammers, have potential Buyers... CALL. No Emails. Then confirm name, phone number before they arrive at your doorstep. If you have never sold a car or a boat... then maybe get some help.

Good luck. A lesson learned and only your pride is abused. Get into this deeper... it will be your wallet. You were not ripped off. You were optimistic and paid for it. Far from being ripped off. If you stood there and bought it... it was a Deal both agreed upon. The seller just knew more than you did.

Belegedhel can give you the advice you need. Contact him directly. ...and thank him profusely.
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Old 10-16-2021, 04:58 PM   #12
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Value on stuff like this is what itís worth to you. Maybe you paid more than a fair market value, maybe not. You liked it enough to buy it. Now remod it and enjoy the hell out of it. AND donít look back.
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:10 PM   #13
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Forget the $2000 estimate. The $18000 is closer. I am not a fan of “vintage” sorta because of what you are experiencing. A lot of the money goes towards the scarcity and “look” rather than to useful features and condition. The trailer looks pretty nice. Trailers like that could be worth from $5000 to $50000. And the owner will have more than it is “worth” invested in all of them, most likely. There are probably not a lot of 66 Globetrotters out there if that matters to you.
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Old 10-16-2021, 09:46 PM   #14
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I see you are in Ca - Iíve seen trailers in far worse condition sell for a lot more - I think any sub 20k trailer is going to need some work - if the only floor rot is under the fridge and the frame is solid then thatís a very easy fix - the rest is not a big deal - that being the case and from what I see I would say you got a pretty good deal - have you seen the price of a new one ? Go slow acquire some skills - check the rest of the floor - gets some friends to help and go slow and you will have a great trailer for a reasonable price - the person who said 2k is super nuts !!! Maybe he was trying to steal it from you ???
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Old 10-16-2021, 10:13 PM   #15
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Ken J is right. It could be a big job, a bigger job or somewhat less than that. You have to assess whether you want to take it on. New and nearly new trailers can be a lot of work too.

My take on what you have said is that you didn't realize what you were getting into and now are trying to learn what to do. Someday you'll know more and will learn from it. It is dull because it hasn't been polished—some make them shine like a mirror, some don't do anything and mostly people fall in between. You need to learn more to decide what to do.

The exterior in the photo looks pretty good. Not sure about the interior, but a lot of stuff is still there and one wall looked to be in good shape. Good axles will save you a lot. The subfloor and frame can be deal breakers. People with no knowledge have restored old trailers, so it can be done. Do you have mechanical skills? Plumbing, electrical, handyman type stuff? Do you have a place to work on it? Are there people locally who can hep you with systems you can't or won't do?

You had dreams and found out it wasn't quite what you expected. Life is like that. We all have sometimes been overwhelmed by our decisions. It'll will look better sometime in the future. I haven't priced trailers of that era, but RV prices are out of sight now, so maybe it was fair price.
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Old 10-16-2021, 10:55 PM   #16
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This new person who looked at it and told you $2000 obviously doesnít know the first thing about Airstreams, or theyíre being intentionally dishonest for some reason. That is a ludicrous number. $18k doesnít seem at all unreasonable in the current market and I doubt youíd have much trouble selling it for what you paid if you so desired. Your propane tanks would have been out of certification and not usable anyway, so thatís no loss. You bought a beautiful trailer that actually looks to be in pretty good condition. Iíve been watching Craigslist for the last year or so for vintage Airstreams, toying with the idea of getting a second to fix up, and Iíve seen way worse condition trailers for more money than yours that went quickly.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:20 AM   #17
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pictures worth a thousand words

Looking at the pictures if there's not a lot of hidden damage then you did "OK"
Likely what it's worth today is what you paid.

Lots worse have sold for lots more...these are crazy times for Airstream prices.

Lets go camping!!!
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:41 AM   #18
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I disagree with you and others on this thread that it is dull. That trailer was at least partially polished, just not to a mirror finish, I can see lines from polishing in the picture. A dull Airstream of that vintage is a dull gray with almost none of the reflections that can be seen in that picture.

I do agree with some from pictures and your description, in this market the trailer is worth $10,000-20,000. Yeah, maybe the one trying to rip you off was the guy that said it was only worth $2,000, did he try to buy it?

Also unless the tanks were aluminum you're better off with new ones.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:47 AM   #19
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You may have paid more than somebody else would have, but on that day it was worth $18000 to you, so you paid the right price for you. If you decide to sell, all you have to do is find somebody who agrees with your assessment from that day.
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Old 10-17-2021, 09:04 AM   #20
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If I could buy that for $2,000.00 sign me up!!
Now the first step as I see it is how handy are you? How handy do you want to be? Vintage does mean that you need a deep wallet or be able to make repairs.
Things like the refrigerator shouldn't bother you just decide how you will camp and go from there. You should be able to find an appropriate replacement with not much effort.
The floor could be an issue but there are many ways to make a good repair without doing a shell off. Also consider that there are allot of newer Airstreams that have had issues.

Not sure about it's real value but I wouldn't sell ours for less than $38,000.00 just because it would cost more than that to replace it. Make this one yours and maybe we can meet at a campground somewhere. You will have a sense of pride when you camp next to a newer one & they want to look at yours!!

Take a look at my restoration pages by clicking on the link below my signature.
Best! Steve
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