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Old 09-19-2020, 01:00 PM   #1
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1957 26' Overlander
Fort Collins , CO
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Question Buying my grandfather's '57 airstream - is this a good price???

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!

-M+B
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:18 PM   #2
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57s are nice trailers. I agree with you that 8 is too high. Considering the amount of work needing to be done, 6 may be steep. I understand yíall wanting to do the labor, but you still have to purchase supplies. Airstream went from leaf spring axles to dura torque in around 62. Some keep the leaf springs and have them rebuilt. Chances are the frame will need some work due to rust. I canít tell if any of the outriggers are damaged due to the damage to the banana wrap. Univolt may need to be replaced, propane lines checked out/replaced, copper water lines to PEX, checking the electrical wiring and lights,etc. Iím not trying to be discouraging, but more realistic. I believe there is a guy around your neck of the woods that is knowledgeable in Airstreams. His name may be Luke, donít remember. Whoever he is, see if he could take a look at some pictures and give his 2 cents worth. Good luck and others will chime in with their opinions. Thatís a good thing.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:26 PM   #3
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Luke Bernander, Luke's Maintenance and Repair Ft Collins.

Vintage owner, very knowledgeable.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Luke Bernander, Luke's Maintenance and Repair Ft Collins.

Vintage owner, very knowledgeable.
Thank you Sir. Iíll write that down. Got kinfolks in Ft.Fun and Longmont.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:00 PM   #5
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Imho $4000 or less.

You will need to pay already $3000 to the outside plus $ 1-2k for inside water, power for a old as
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:49 PM   #6
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Consider yourself lucky, Grandpa out bit you for the trailer, and everyone else apparently.

I think you have a decision to make, do you want to tour the country or renovate old Airstreams? I'm not fortune teller but you are in luck, a friend left his/her crystal ball here over the weekend. The crystal ball says if you buy something in better condition, probably later model, and travel you will die with many fond memories of those times. If you buy a monumental project, such as Grandpa did, you will have an equal number of memories that in spite of trying, you can't forget.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:17 PM   #7
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1958 26' Overlander
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It sounds like your overall goal is to travel and live on the road. That being said I would suggest you pass and look for a newer unit that is clearly ready to go and hit the road, airstream or other manufacturer.

I agree the price is too high, for the condition. Until you strip an older unit down to a bare shell you won't know if it is OK structurally. I'll wager the electrical is outdated and would not stand up to full time travel. The plumbing is inadequate for what is required today. Also consider an airstream is not a four season unit without considerable changes to do it full time.

I understand the allure. I caught the bug also. It took 3 years of my retirement to 'modernize' our 58 Overlander.
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Old 09-19-2020, 04:34 PM   #8
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1957 26' Overlander
Fort Collins , CO
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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. There is a rust all over the wheels, brakes and axels, but it appears to just be surface rust and not deep rust. But I know the inside is livable right now! Then we would renovate/restore the airstream over the course of our travels, 6 months to a year. And then in the end we want something that will gain equity (hence why we want an airstream vs other trailers) and that we could even maybe park on some land and airbnb or rent out for a few years. So we want something we can travel in now and also something that can be an investment.

Here is what I know about the current condition of the airstream. My grandfather bought the airstream in 2001 and had all of the electrical rewired. I checked out the electrical and everything works, except for maybe one fan. The gas piping also all works. The propane fueled entry way light works, the propane stove and oven work, and my grandfather tells me the last time he used it, the water heater and furnace (which he had fixed) work. The fridge is both propane and electrically powered and I can get the propane lit to it, but it does not seem to be cooling, so I think the fridge is broken. Grandpa will not let us fill the clean water tank ( which he replaced from the original metal tank to a plastic one) but he also says the last time he used it, the water plumbing all worked. This does not mean that they do not leak, but that they get water to the faucets. The real damages are to the the underbelly of the exterior of the airstream as shown in the photos above, the rust on the axels, wheels, and breaks (which I think is just surface rust), the broken refrigerator, and I know there is some rotting of the particle board flooring nearby the water tank. Also we will have to install a new electrical cord from our car to the airstream to work the automatic brakes on the airstream (as that cord is missing). I will also post as many pictures as possible. 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.

We appreciate any information!

Sincerely,
M+B
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Old 09-19-2020, 04:43 PM   #9
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1957 26' Overlander
Fort Collins , CO
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Some more photos!

Here are some more photos of the 1957 Overlander and its condition
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:05 PM   #10
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1957 26' Overlander
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Thanks Bubba! Yeah all the information helps! I have looks number and will give him a call in the morning.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:12 AM   #11
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run away quick...that trailer looks like a money pit. Grandpa should be paying you !
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:29 AM   #12
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I hate to be the one to pour cold water on your dreams, but in my opinion, given the condition of the trailer and what you want to do with it, $1,000 would be "too much." $8,000 should be able to buy you a much, much more usable and functional trailer than your grandfather offers. My "vote": Tell your grandfather, "Thank you but no thank you," and keep on looking elsewhere, for example, airstreamclassifieds.com
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:30 AM   #13
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The body work alone would make me run. Best wishes on your decision.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:38 AM   #14
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No offense but I find it hard to believe anyone could restore that trailer in 6-12 months. What youíve described is not a good deal.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:44 AM   #15
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1964 30' Sovereign
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The $8000 may not be out of line, but you will not be doing the required repairs while traveling. You have a bunch of serious fixes underneath trailer...which need to be repaired/replaced over the course of months with the trailer on blocks in your yard (or an inside garage). Besides the shot tires, the axles, springs, wheels and running gear are probably shot...and need to be completely replaced. Don't put new tires onto shot wheels. While the interior may look ok, that old of a trailer won't have a modern plumbing system (black and grey tanks) or clean water tanks. You have no idea if the electrical system works...even if it does, the converter/battery unit will need to be replaced. Exterior lights should be replaced with bright LED ones. Does the trailer have electronic brakes? - if not it needs them and those will be part of the running gear replacement. Could be a nice fixer-upper but it will take you 10 months+ before it is ready for travels...IF you work on it almost every week or hire a refurbisher to do the work for you. I'd guess you'll need to invest $8000+ after buying the trailer just to fix the serious problems and body damage. Whatever you do...HAVE FUN!
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:47 AM   #16
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I agree with HarryK and add you also need to check out trailer weight, approximate loaded tongue weight, proposed towing vehicle towing capacity, TV loading information including combined capacity for occupants and cargo. Tongue weight is part of the cargo weight. If your TV is actually a "car", few cars would safely tow this trailer.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:02 AM   #17
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Based on everything,

It appears you are not the favorite grand-child

One things for sure, old grandpa is not cutting you any slack on the price. The question becomes, time, money, effort? If this trailer is close to home, you know what's there, etc.. it will save you lots of time/money/effort running around the country looking for just the right Airstream, which can add up driving 250-750 miles to go look at a trailer to then find out it too is a piece of crap.

Trailer will need a certain amount of work just to get it road-worthy and be used as a Aluminum tent. Depending on where you stay (campgrounds), it could be used quickly by depending on showers/toilet/etc... at other locations.

Pros/Cons?

Enjoy,
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:13 AM   #18
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Is there a way to replace the banana wrap on the vintage without removing the inner skins?
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:14 AM   #19
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I think brokeboater said it very well. We had a house that was loaded with nostalgia, but the projects never stopped coming!
Will Grampa help with the repairs? If you approach him on this, it might adjust his perspective. Or you might get the benefit of the man’s experience and build some memories beyond raking out fiberglass rodent nests.
Otherwise, $8.000 is way too much to pay to relieve hIm of this project.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:18 AM   #20
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After seeing all the photos, I suggest you walk away, no run! Too many shoddy home brew handy man fixes

If they paid YOU the $8000 maybe. Otherwise there is likely $10000 worth of work over 1-3 years

Imho, move one and look fir a better
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