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Old 09-29-2020, 06:58 PM   #81
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Atherstone , Warwickshire
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The cheapest airstream on airstreamclassified is currently 8K...the next cheapest is double that...

I don't think people realise how expensive even scrap ones have become.

A bit of reality please...
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Old 09-29-2020, 11:28 PM   #82
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Newport Beach , California
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by Old57 View Post
Hello Everyone,

I'm so happy to be here! I haven't yet purchased this airstream, but my grandfather has a 1957 Overlander Airstream in original condition. It has been sitting on his farm in South Dakota (not on jacks or blocks) for approximately 10 years. My boyfriend and I are extremely interested in purchasing Old'57 from him to live in full time for a while as we tour the country.

My grandpa wants $8,000 for it, and is not willing to budge on price (he has agreed to include new tires.) He purchased it for $3,500 in 2001 and put in about $700 of renovations into it at the time. He is the 3rd owner of the airstream. Frankly, it needs some work. Most of the interior is in tact - and we would like to keep it as original as possible so this will eliminate lots of cost to renovate. It seems that the only thing that does not work on the interior is the refrigerator. I am more concerned about the exterior. Old'57 has leaf springs and axles (both are rusted) and the outer underside of the shell has been badly damaged and ripped due to gramps running over a tree. It appears there is some gas piping sticking out.. There are also quite a few places in which the aluminum shell is torn at the bottom (pictures included).

I would be grateful for some guidance on how much work/$ will be needed to make Old'57 road ready. My boyfriend and I are handy and not afraid of hard work (we plan to do it ourselves) but at the end of the day we need to know if $8,000 upfront is a reasonable price for a project like this, and how severe or minor these issues really are. We think $8000 (including all new tires) is too high and feel as if $6000 (including all new tires) is more than a reasonable price. Are we wrong?

Grateful for any help, and thanks in advance!


I know the idea of renovating an airstream is romantic and everyone thinks they can just jump in and do it. But this trailer needs major work. It is old which means all of its parts are old. Think about it realistically, do you want to drink out of a 60 year old plastic straw? Can something 60 years old survive a strong earthquake for hours on end every time you change locations? Most likely your answers to both are NO. You have to replace, clean, sanitize, reinforce, and improve EVERYTHING; not just what you can see. That airstream is going to your iceberg.

Honestly for what gramps paid for it minus the damage he caused, it is not worth over $5000 and considering he is family you should pay even less than that. You are going to have to pay in excess of $10,000 just for the parts you need. Send the pics to someone that restores airstreams to get REAL part prices. Thereís a good place in Georgia called no abode and there is vinnies airstream in California. They both do body work and restoration so they could give you a pretty solid number just at a glance.

Good luck with whatever you decide. That airstream could be really great if you can get it for a great price and afford to hire someone to help.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:16 AM   #83
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
Durango , Colorado
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Location: 1975 25' Tradewind
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I donít mean to be combative - I wonder how many of these responses have actually owned and restored a vintage trailer ? It is a labor of love and can be a very fun and rewarding experience - yes there is time and money and cut fingers and dirt involved - but in the end something really cool -
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:46 AM   #84
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1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
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This trailer is a great candidate for restoration, and a great project for someone who wants to spend the next two years working on it.

It is not a good purchase for someone who wants to be travelling in 3 weeks.
1977 Safari Land Yacht
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:58 AM   #85
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by Ken J View Post
I donít mean to be combative - I wonder how many of these responses have actually owned and restored a vintage trailer ? It is a labor of love and can be a very fun and rewarding experience - yes there is time and money and cut fingers and dirt involved - but in the end something really cool -

As we roll around the country visiting folks and talking (or rolling around the forums):

There are probably 20 older Airstreams sitting here or there "being renovated" for every reworked one that is even close to usable. If you include the abandoned ones, you probably get into the 40 or 50 range.

By far the most typical thing for folks to do is to start this not realizing how much work it is. They get a little way into the project and are overwhelmed. It then sits there forever and ever in the "not really working on it / have not given up" state.

The why? may involve time. It may involve the enormous range of skills involved. It also may involve funds. They might have gotten really unlucky in their pick of (needs a new frame ...) trailers. Lots of reasons and no single one seems to fit all situations.

The problem with doing this is that you now have a torn down trailer. It's actually in no better shape (and may be in worse shape) than when you bought it. You have funds / space / mental energy tied up in it. Most folks don't seem to have a plan for exiting the situation.

Because of all this, indeed a lot of us are big on trying to make sure that people understand this isn't a "work on it for a couple weekends and it's done" sort of project.

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Old 10-01-2020, 09:33 AM   #86
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1964 30' Sovereign
Ione , CA
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 146
Just to start in making it roadworthy for life on the road, you'll need to replace the axles and shocks. That will be $4,000+ right off the bat. That old of a trailer does not have a grey tank for shower/sink waste you'll need to purchase a portable blue tank or rework the entire plumbing system. The electrical system will need major work...especially for incoming shore power conversion, new battery, etc. Everything else will be additional...

Don't underestimate the costs you will incur.
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1964 Airstream Sovereign 30' (Double)
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:04 PM   #87
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1965 26' Overlander
El Prado , NM
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 6
Just my 2 cents

Well, you better be a master carpenter, sheet metal worker, plumber and electrician and you better have deep pockets to get the trailer back to 1957 showroom statis. Which is why people buy the vintage trailers. They want a showpiece. Think of it as if your buying a 1957 Chevy that you found in a scrap yard. It needs alot of work and it will take alot of money. Good luck.
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Old 10-06-2020, 07:14 PM   #88
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1965 26' Overlander
El Prado , NM
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I have a 1965 overlander. It was in pretty good condition when we bought it and the previous owner had spent 5000 on plumbing repairs. And a few other oddities. We put another 15 k into it. Plus the cost to purchase. No labor costs as my husband was a custom home builder, master carpenter. We restored the trailer. New walnut paneling, new floors, new metal on the inside and outside. New windows, the list goes on and on, but you would never know we did anything to it (that's what restoration means as opposed to renovation). It's allmost like it was in 65. Definately alot of work, but we enjoyed it. A couple years is about what it took. Of course we still camped in it along the way, and after every long road trip... 1 month plus, there's always a list if items that need to be addressed. It's the nature of the beast. Prettiest thing rolling down the hyways and byways. At least that's what we think.
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