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Old 09-20-2020, 10:32 AM   #21
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1993 32' Excella
Woodburn , Kentucky
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I agree with so many of the comments others have made I don't know how to give each of them credit. $8,000 is way, way, out of line for the value of this unit, in my opinion. New axles alone will run about $3,000 and that doesn't include any of the additional work, e.g., frame, skin, wiring, plumbing, etc. Without seeming to the cruel, I think it is worth the salvage value (wholesale) of the usable fixtures and appliances. Even though you two have some skills and are willing to do the work, you will find that some of it will require professionals, especially if you have to take the shell off.

My best advice is pass on this. Spend you money on a unit that doesn't need so much restoration. Be kind to your grandfather but do not let your affection for him and the idea of having a vintage Airstream cause you to make a serious financial mistake.

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Old 09-20-2020, 10:41 AM   #22
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Don't do it. Purchase a late model used SOB in good shape today and leave on your trip in the morning. Adventure is one thing, headaches from pulling a piece of junk and sitting on the road broke down are entirely different issues.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:39 AM   #23
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Sounds like previous responses have addressed the major issues. My comment is I would evaluate whether 1) I wanted to restore my grandfathers old Airstream or 2) I wanted to hit the road and live in an RV and see this great country. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but on your timeline it sounds like they are. If you are willing to delay your trip and focus on objective 1 then do more research to determine a fair price. I think I would start out by calling a few companies that restore old Airstreams and ask them the value of it. Include your Grandfather in the conversation so everyone agrees to a fair value. Usually when we buy things from family members we do so because they have some sentimental value as well as we get a pretty good deal. Possibly your Grandfather thinks it is a good deal and everyone will benefit from some third party expertise.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:42 AM   #24
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Sisters , Oregon
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Put on your best pair of sneakers and run away as fast as you can. Gramps will be lucky to get $4K for that. Look around - there are some good trailers out there for around $10K. Keep your enthusiasm, it’s a great lifestyle.

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Old 09-20-2020, 11:45 AM   #25
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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I concur with the posts above that $8K is too much. This vintage trailer Price vs. Condition Guide may help you & 'Grampa' come to a more reasonable price of entry. Even though the information there is not 100% up to date, it is still a good reference tool.

I'm thinking in the $3-5K range is more like it for an "As Found" to "Average" trailer including the sentimental value factor. Restoring a vintage '50's trailer is like peeling an onion...the more you get into it the juicer it gets. What you see now as your list of "needed repairs" will only get longer. We have restored several trailers and most 'appeared' to be in better condition than this one when we started...only to find out they were in need of much more attention before hitting the road.

Good Luck in whatever you decide to do!

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Old 09-20-2020, 12:46 PM   #26
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1972 23' Safari
troup , Texas
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I got my 72 for free and it cost me $8000 once it was towable down the road (licensed) If your a novice at alum. rivetting repairs dont buy it. try pricing out labor to repair airstreams... than you will decide if its worth your time. this one looks like a "off the frame renovation"
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:10 PM   #27
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Originally Posted by Old57
Please let me know if this changes any of your opinions on what we should pay for this airstream and whether or not it is a wise purchase.
Not to disparage your grandfather or extinguish your Airstream-dream, but several things in your posts/photos concern mein light of the goals you have for it.
1) "a 1957 Overlander Airstream in original condition". From the photos...this trailer is not in original condition. It appears to have a lot of DIY decorating & "fixes" that affect it's 'original-ness'

2) "It has been sitting on his farm...for approximately 10 years." = Not regularly traveled in or maintained

3) "...put in about $700 of renovations into it at the time." That's about 1/10th (minimum!) of what typically goes into a proper restoration of a '50's trailer that hasn't been constantly maintained...some run over $15-20K

4) "Grandpa will not let us fill the clean water tank". Why? If it works - why not?

5) "he says...the last time he used it, the <fill-in-the-blank> all worked".When was the last time it was used? If it didn't work it wasn't used

6) "real damages are to the the underbelly of the exterior of the airstream". I agree, these are a real concern. Both because of water damage from below (if it has been on the road with this damage) and easy entry access for mice (if it hasn't). Have you been in the trailer? Does it small 'musty'? This could be a sure sign of either.

7) From the photos...the 'white plumbing solution' is not even close to an acceptable set-up. That will be bumped off the first time you go over a speed bump. Also, I don't think many campgrounds would approve...

8) "something that we can roll off the lot in about 3 weeks". The restoration of our trailer (I know we did a complete restoration) took +/- 4000 hours over 2-˝ years. Just because it can move - doesn't make it safe or roadworthy.

9) "Then we would renovate/restore the airstream over the course of our travels, 6 months to a year". Doing all the work ourselves at home with access to all our tools is one thing, doing it 'on the road' will be very difficult.

10) "then in the end we want something that will gain equity". Not going to happen without a major restoration. Even then you'll be lucky to get your money you put into it back

11) "...park on some land and airbnb or rent out for a few years". Do you already own the land to do this? Depending on where it is, zoning in a lot of place will not let you do this...

12) You haven't mentioned anything about your tow vehicle... do you have something suitable? It is a large trailer...especially if you plan on towing in the Rocky Mountains.
As I said before, it's not an unattainable "project trailer", but it's not a realistic candidate for the goals you have set forth and the time/money needed to bring it back to life.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do! If you do decide to take on this project - I hope to see you on the road or at a rally!


P.S. I do LOVE all the turquoise cool!
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Old 09-20-2020, 07:05 PM   #28
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Portland , Oregon
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Old57, you write “ So the intent with this purchase is to have something that we can roll off the lot in about 3 weeks, which I believe is possible with new tires.”

Just curious, given the trailer’s condition can you get it fully insured in that time frame for a reasonable premium? Can you get it legally registered and licensed in your state?

Not to rain on your enthusiasm, but there are considerations beyond those that you mentioned. Perhaps you’ve already considered them, in which case my concerns for you are redundant.

Best of luck!

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Old 09-20-2020, 10:09 PM   #29
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1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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I pretty much agree with most of the comments from others. The top value based on what I see is about 4K. I would have your grandpa put tires on it and tow it to the local vintage trailer person and see what he thinks. This needs to be done whether he sells it to you or somebody else.

I generally tell people to buy the best Airstream they can afford and to look at lots of them. I recommend you and your boyfriend look at some vintage Airstreams to learn for yourself what is available and for how much money. After a while you will figure out what is best for you both.

I like your overall plan, but grandpa’s Airstream may not be the best one if you want your plan to be successful.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:22 PM   #30
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2016 30' Classic
Southeast , Michigan
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I concur with what everyone has already stated. Getting it ready to go in 3 weeks and restoring it on the road are not reasonable expectations. This trailer is complete enough to deserve restoring, but that would be a multi-year, many thousands of dollars project if you do it yourself. Multi tens of thousands if you pay someone to do it.

The asking prices of project 1950s Airstreams have been increasing for several years and have gone ballistic in this COVID year. Grandpa may have seen that. The price increases are largely driven by first time buyers that underestimate the work needed. I agree that realistically this trailer should sell for less than $5000 in the current condition (how much less is open to personal interpretation and location), but the facts are that if grandpa put it up for sale, especially on a Vintage Airatream Facebook page, he'd probably get some unknowledgeable newby to spring for it at $8000, then gut it, realize they were in over their head and unload it at a loss.

Bottom line, while desirable, this trailer is not aligned with your goals and intentions. It might look usable, but you would likely find it would quickly shake itself apart as it accumulates road miles.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:44 PM   #31
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1970 23' Safari
Victoria , British Columbia
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Originally Posted by RamRider View Post
Don't do it. Purchase a late model used SOB in good shape today and leave on your trip in the morning. Adventure is one thing, headaches from pulling a piece of junk and sitting on the road broke down are entirely different issues.
I think you need to be careful not falling in love with a huge project trailer.... find a nice rig ready to go for maybe 8-12,000..way less than you are going to put into this one.... unless you want your wonderful dream to travel to be a renovation dream.
Granpa isnt giving you any great deal ... run
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:29 AM   #32
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Hurst , Texas
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I agree. Grandpa's Airstream is disappointment, disillusion, and drudgery on wheels. Although not Airstreams, I've known of many car restoration projects that would compare to this: new owner of a genuine "junker" with stars in their eyes, high hopes, and lots of "it's not so bad" thinking. All of this evaporates shortly once the work begins and the enormity of the project soaks in. Then, completely dejected, the owner sells the heap to the next hopeful ( if they can).

Same principle applies here. Don't do it. Please.
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:51 AM   #33

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Disclaimer...I know nutt'n.

You will probably go ahead and do it don't, unless money is of no concern.
Have Grandpa read this thread, the madder he gets the more you know the truth.

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Old 09-21-2020, 06:13 AM   #34
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1972 29' Ambassador
1962 19' Globetrotter
1951 21' Flying Cloud
Central , Texas
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You have some great advice from a few of the Vintage Airstream icons. I would take the advice of Shari, Joe, Paul and the others that have been down this path.

Unless Gramps took you camping at Yellowstone in this trailer when you were a little tyke, I don't see this as anything special. It isn't a 13 panel, it is a longer trailer, it's in poor repair etc. The purchase price of this trailer is just the beginning.

While I have no idea of your financial situation, I'm guessing that your budget is fairly tight based on haggling with Gramps about $2k. If someone brought me this trailer and asked me to get it roadworthy and livable, I'd ask if they have at least $20k in their budget to start.

Good luck in whatever you decide.

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Old 09-21-2020, 07:27 AM   #35
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Elbert , CO
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I guess I'll join the chorus and say $8k is way too much for this trailer. Given your goals and ambitions, if you really want to buy this trailer, you need to get it closer to $2k and spend the other $6k on a second trailer. That way you can be on the road AND work on restoring this thing between trips.

By way of comparison, here is one on the classifieds for $8k: It too needs some work, and the lack of a title is concerning, but compare the condition of this to what your grandfather is selling. If you could get the paperwork sorted out, I think this would be a more suitable "restore while underway" purchase - of course, this is based on sitting at home and looking at pictures. But you get the idea.

You might try your grandfather's insurance agent - presumably, somebody he trusts and knows how to evaluate things - and see what s/he thinks it is really worth.
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Old 09-21-2020, 09:38 AM   #36
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Don't try to talk him down in price, just drop the idea. Hope you take the advice offered here to heart. As stated even for free just way too far gone to be practical to restore to a nice road-safe condition.
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:33 PM   #37
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It's worth what someone is prepared to pay.

Try to find an Airstream under 8000 on Ebay or any of the classifieds and you'll struggle so I wouldn't say he's being unreasonable.

As other posters have said it depends on the work you want to put in...
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Old 09-22-2020, 05:38 AM   #38
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1956 22' Safari
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Williston , Vermont
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I would have to agree with everyone else, if you want to travel soon, pass on this one and get an SOB. Looking at the little bit wiring that can be seen, there is no way I would have plugged it in.

Now as a restoration candidate it is interesting, probably in the $4k to $5K range - Mark
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:34 AM   #39
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Walk away
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:37 AM   #40
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Backing up a bit .....

If the objective is to come up with something to rework as a first project, a trailer from the 1980's or newer would be a *much* better target.

If keeping peace in the family is a consideration, breaking the news to Grandpa that $1,000 is the max value of his beast may not be a really good idea.

If you are looking at something to live in, come up with a budget. Look at the costs of living on the road. Do that *before* you buy the "home".

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