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Old 07-11-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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Question Is this true what a dealer told me?

Hi all,
I have my heart set on buying a vintage airstream, I'm thinking 1950's-1960's. My husband thought we should look at new trailers also, so we went to an RV dealership. While we were looking at a nice 2011 trailer, my husband asked the sales person how long he had been selling RV's. His reply was "1 year". So, my husband asked him if he knew anything about Airstreams and his reply was "I know everything about Airstreams." So he proceeds to tell us some things, and not knowing too much about such things, I thought you all could give me insight.

1. Airstreams have the poorest insulation of all trailers, you will bake in the summer and freeze in the winter, making that you have to run air or heat constantly. (We live in Northern California...not too extreme temperatures either way.)

2. It will cost us about $50,000-$60,000 dollars to get it to a condition where it would be road ready. Parts are available but ungodly expensive.

3. The only people who buy Airstreams are the "Hollywood" types, with more cents than sense. (Which, does NOT describe us).

After much more pooh-poohing Airstreams, he looked at me and said "I see I just crushed your dream". What I was really thinking was "I wonder how much of this BS my husband is buying!"
SO, after much discussion, we felt they guy was a blow hard, but, we are wondering about the termperature comments...is it really like a "sweat can?"
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to the group!

Rule number one: Never believe a thing a dealer tells you. Do your own research, and this forum is the best place to do it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:33 PM   #3
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The walls are about 2" thick, not much insulation can be put in that space, plus the walls are aluminum which is a great conductor of heat and cold. You can be quite comfortable in an Airstream in most weather conditions. They are a travel trailer with wheels so that you can move to where the weather is more temperate. They are certainly not four season units, but then what travel trailers are?

We purchased our 1979 Safari in 2002 for just over $10,000. It was ready to use. If you wish to rebuild a vintage trailer and don't do any work yourself, you can easily spend $60,000 or more.

Check out the pictures of a Four Corners Unit or VAC (Vintage Airstream Club) Rally. The people I have met are not Hollywood types with more money than sense. That said, Airstreams are more expensive than any other trailer, but then they last longer.

Bill
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Me View Post
...is it really like a "sweat can?"
yes it is ALL TRUE

except the dollar figure.

double that, no, triple it.

and hollywood has gotten crowded and WAY to pedestrian for 'leet streamers ...

so we all hang on the 'islands' now.
________

it's also true that nOOb members that start threads like this USUALLY have an agenda.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:54 PM   #5
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Anything from the '50s or '60's is over half a century OLD. You'll definitely have to put many dollars and many hours into restoring something that old EVEN IF its been stored in a garage. Stuff perishes from dry rot if nothing else.

If you and/or husband are into restoring old houses, cars, etc., there's nothing in this project you cannot tackle with good advice found here - however it's not going to be a six week project - even if you have unlimited money.

DO use the SEARCH function here and look at some of the "Full Monte" and restoration threads. BTW if you're thinking of buying an already restored unit, do some research on the reputation of the restorer. One that has a lot of respect here (and has a unit for sale) would be Zep's. Click and prepare to drool.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f144...ale-66291.html

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Old 07-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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Granted that the Airstream is not the best insulated trailer out there but most trailers have 2 inch walls regardless of brand. Airstream losses a little more heat due to the aluminum ribs. I have spent an entire winter in mine so it is doable. We rarely camp anywhere with electric and have survived quite well with a couple fantastic vents. in summer

What you spend to re do it is a personal choice . I do my own work and would guess I have less than $5000 in mine ( the 61)which includes solar panels. new awning, fantastic vents, tires wheels etc, (and the trailer) What you want to spend on interior refurbishing is a personal choice and again depends on what you can do yourself.
The question is , how many 50 year old box trailers do you see still on the road??

Obviously the dealer had an agenda ( to be expected)and also limited experience if only around for a year.
I have owned the 69 listed on the side for 38 years. I doubt brand X would have made it that long
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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Wow! My net worth has gone up!! My two trailers MUST be worth 100 to 200K!!
That's the best news EVAR!!

But really...
All is bunk..
I've only been uncomfortable, uh... never. Part of it is "camping"... I don't expect my home to come along... and my "mobile palace" was actually MORE comfortable in the heat, as my house doesn't have AC.

Cost? Well, sure, you CAN spend 50 to 60k if you wanted too. You can spend 1 to 2 mil on a house too. We bought our Argosy for $2,700. I replaced just about every system as time has gone on, learned how to sew, created new foam and cushion covers myself, and MAYBE have $7 - 8 thousand total into it. Along the way, we've been up/down the west coast 4 times, up into Canada, all around WA state, numerous forum rallies, and met all kinds of great people. They're kinda like tube shaped Harley's.

Buy what you want.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:16 PM   #8
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That guy is blowing stuff out his butt...

We bought our 68 for $4,000 and have put about $8,000 into it. $3500 for the new axles. all my labor. I have marble counter tops. Home style fixtures. Small tile in the bathroom on the counter, Maple floors. Gutted it, put in bunks and a dinette for us and the kids. Just need to build the cabinet doors. Already have the wood. Was able to use it while working on it. except for a month and a half. Had it in the mountains in sub zero temps. Was fine. The floor is insulated which most SOB are not.

Sure a new one is way over priced in my opinion. And you are paying for the name, aluminum and the shape. The inside quality isn't much better than a high end SOB (some other brand) and $20,000 more. I don't think I could justify and new one for me. But I'm not retired, and I have four young kids.
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Me View Post
Hi all,
I have my heart set on buying a vintage airstream, I'm thinking 1950's-1960's. My husband thought we should look at new trailers also, so we went to an RV dealership. While we were looking at a nice 2011 trailer, my husband asked the sales person how long he had been selling RV's. His reply was "1 year". So, my husband asked him if he knew anything about Airstreams and his reply was "I know everything about Airstreams." So he proceeds to tell us some things, and not knowing too much about such things, I thought you all could give me insight.

1. Airstreams have the poorest insulation of all trailers, you will bake in the summer and freeze in the winter, making that you have to run air or heat constantly. (We live in Northern California...not too extreme temperatures either way.)

2. It will cost us about $50,000-$60,000 dollars to get it to a condition where it would be road ready. Parts are available but ungodly expensive.

3. The only people who buy Airstreams are the "Hollywood" types, with more cents than sense. (Which, does NOT describe us).

After much more pooh-poohing Airstreams, he looked at me and said "I see I just crushed your dream". What I was really thinking was "I wonder how much of this BS my husband is buying!"
SO, after much discussion, we felt they guy was a blow hard, but, we are wondering about the termperature comments...is it really like a "sweat can?"
Answers to your comments.

Comment # 1. Not true.

Comment # 2. Not true. How would he know, since he doesn't repair them?

Comment # 3. Extremely NOT TRUE.

Obviously, that salesperson wanted to destroy your thinking about older Airstreams, so that he could sell you a new one.

That's the kind of dealer you should run from, and NEVER look back.

WOW. He has been with the Airstream program for 1 year, and says "HE KNOW EVERYTHING". I wonder how much he could teach me, to add to my 44 plus years?

Or maye he should hand out toilet paper, as he speaks.

Many owners on this Forums, will heartily disagree with that person comments to you.

Andy
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Old 07-11-2010, 01:55 PM   #10
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Is this true what the dealer told me? Yes the sales fellow has only been working for 1 year. With an attitude like that not only would I report him but it is unlikely he will be around for season 2.

I've never had another TT so I wouldn't know about the pro's and con's of the other brands. However I'm thrilled with my A/S and love the history and friendships that goes along with it.

If I was better informed I would have bought a second hand slightly used trailer rather than new, but I still would have gone with an A/S.

Enjoy the experience look around and check out as many as you want. I would go to another sales clerk. At the dealership where I puchased, our salesman did not own a TT (lived on a lake and owned horses), a young sales fellow that was interesting to chat to had a older A/S and was into the restoration stuff, the dealership owner had a SOB. We wanted an A/S...

Jackie
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Me View Post
Hi all,
I have my heart set on buying a vintage airstream, I'm thinking 1950's-1960's. My husband thought we should look at new trailers also, so we went to an RV dealership. While we were looking at a nice 2011 trailer, my husband asked the sales person how long he had been selling RV's. His reply was "1 year". So, my husband asked him if he knew anything about Airstreams and his reply was "I know everything about Airstreams." So he proceeds to tell us some things, and not knowing too much about such things, I thought you all could give me insight.

1. Airstreams have the poorest insulation of all trailers, you will bake in the summer and freeze in the winter, making that you have to run air or heat constantly. (We live in Northern California...not too extreme temperatures either way.)

That's total BS. We have hade both a new and a vintage trailer. They were both great in the summer and winter. We alway ran either heat or AC but it takes little of either to keep the trailer comfortable. The biggist problem is moisture build up because the Airstreams are so tight that you don't get air circulation unless you open a vent.

2. It will cost us about $50,000-$60,000 dollars to get it to a condition where it would be road ready. Parts are available but ungodly expensive.

Wrong again. You could spend that much to get a totally original trailer with all vintage parts, but why bother? Most modern replacement parts work great and don't cost that much. With good wood working and other basic skills you can restore an old trailer for a lot less. The minimum would be about $10,000 for a really nice trailer. Try to get one with a good body and work from there.

3. The only people who buy Airstreams are the "Hollywood" types, with more cents than sense. (Which, does NOT describe us).

An other lie. Just check out this forum and you'll see that there aren't many "Hollywood" types here. You don't have to live like Tom Hanks to enjoy an old Airstream.

After much more pooh-poohing Airstreams, he looked at me and said "I see I just crushed your dream". What I was really thinking was "I wonder how much of this BS my husband is buying!"
SO, after much discussion, we felt they guy was a blow hard, but, we are wondering about the termperature comments...is it really like a "sweat can?"
Don't underestimate the time and effort it will take to restore an old Airstream. We worked on ours for three years and never did finish. We had it road worthy in 4 weeks and took it camping right away. Every year we fixed, repaired or replaced something and it was getting better every year. Then it was vandalized. We didn't have the time to keep at it that year so we just took the insurance money and bought a new trailer a few years latter.
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:14 PM   #12
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Check this one out:
1976 Airstream 25ft Tradewind - Airstream Trailer Classifieds - Used Airstreams For Sale
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Old 07-11-2010, 02:54 PM   #13
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I don't see much truth in what the salesman told you. I find the insulation is fine for the places we visit. Most of the time we do not have hookups, but we will run a fan if it gets too warm.

My trailer was 30 years old when I bought it and it was ready to go, just the way it sat. We did pay more them most for a trailer of this age, but it was a small percentage compared to current prices. I have install two new awnings and a new air conditioner. Everything else has been normal maintenance which you would have to perform on newer trailers. I am talking about grease seals and tires. I have also invested a lot of time and a few bucks into the polishing of the trailer.

Bottom line is that I have around 13K invested at this time.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:07 PM   #14
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What A Hoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Me View Post
Hi all,
I have my heart set on buying a vintage airstream, I'm thinking 1950's-1960's. My husband thought we should look at new trailers also, so we went to an RV dealership. While we were looking at a nice 2011 trailer, my husband asked the sales person how long he had been selling RV's. His reply was "1 year". So, my husband asked him if he knew anything about Airstreams and his reply was "I know everything about Airstreams." So he proceeds to tell us some things, and not knowing too much about such things, I thought you all could give me insight.

1. Airstreams have the poorest insulation of all trailers, you will bake in the summer and freeze in the winter, making that you have to run air or heat constantly. (We live in Northern California...not too extreme temperatures either way.)

2. It will cost us about $50,000-$60,000 dollars to get it to a condition where it would be road ready. Parts are available but ungodly expensive.

3. The only people who buy Airstreams are the "Hollywood" types, with more cents than sense. (Which, does NOT describe us).

After much more pooh-poohing Airstreams, he looked at me and said "I see I just crushed your dream". What I was really thinking was "I wonder how much of this BS my husband is buying!"
SO, after much discussion, we felt they guy was a blow hard, but, we are wondering about the termperature comments...is it really like a "sweat can?"
As I sat here and read what that salesman said to you the phrase that came to mind was "A Real Hoot" which is the southern term for laughs. As to the statements above here is my half dollar.
1) Seeing how I have never tore one apart I can not tell about insulation, but in my 76 Sov, 94 Legend, I have had both in 40-95 deg weather, in the heat just after opening it when parked the temp registered at 94-96, after AC was on within 15 mins we had it at a comfortable 78 deg. In the cold the temp registered outside 40.5, inside 52.0 deg, heat brought temp up to comfortable 72 in about 10-15 minutes. All temps was maintained without too much problem.
2) You might be able to hit that amount if you had gold, silver, inlays, high dollar cabinates, etc. From everything I have seen on here I have not seen anyone spend half that amount. I had on my 1976 Sov - new fridge, water heater, water lines, toilet, awning, tv antenna, elect connections fusebox 12/120v redone, and only cost me $9800.00 at the factory in Jackson Center. I know someone who all brand new hand made Amish cabinates, wood floor, furnature, tables, counters, and he only spent 10,000.00.
3) I only know of 2 hollywood types & 1 country singer, that have Airstreams, the rest of us are just regular people.

So I guess you might say that he was just trying blow BS at you and to get you to buy an SOB.
Consider this;
Airstreams increase in value, SOB decrease,
Airstreams when taken care of last and last, SOB's just deteriorate,
25 year old Airstreams value in the 5000-20,000 range, SOB's few hundred dollars.
To my knowledge Alumnimum is worth money but plastic siding is not worth anything.

You are looking to buy check this: http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...=10495&cat=500

Sarge
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:36 PM   #15
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Granted - new owner here but in Six Plus Months now and over 10,000 miles - 70 plus days use in mountains, beaches and dessert - snow, sleet and desert temps I have always been comfortable and know I can escape to my Airstream to get out of the elements.

Really enjoying some time off and breaking this trailer in the rivet way.....

While in the Rockiees - 10 degrees night with 35 - 45 day (it was an odd early spring up in Steamboat Springs) between the heat pump of the A/C unit during day, furnace at night - I was always comfy.

Las Vegas - vents at night with a/c during day (104 degrees to 75 degrees)

Beach - vents day with furnace night (75 - 55).

Btw - open all those windows - get the fans running - 80 degree outside and the inside is fine (I do have all three awnings open - main one, little one in back, front protector open, little street side open).

I'm always comfy - as long as I have propane and power (generator when boon docking or shore power). There is no where I can't go and be happy. :-)
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:53 PM   #16
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:25 PM   #17
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All I can do is add to the great advice that has already been given. I bought a '80 AS after my 4 year old 5th wheel was totalled because of a seam leak that ruined the floor. Enjoyed the 5th wheel, but I could live in my AS. Yup, it's 30 years old, and I tell everyone that the only difference between it and a new one is $90,000.00. I don't feel bad when the dog hair is on the floor. The salesman doesn't know what he is talking about. Love my AS.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:41 PM   #18
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Everyone has offered so much helpful information that the only thing I can add is: If you enjoy the work(restoration/rebuilding) it is better (and cheaper) to buy vintage that is "usable" and fix it up. If you don't love the work, no amount of money will be enough to keep it going. BTW the trip never ends :-)
cheers, bill b.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:57 PM   #19
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I'm a guessin' ours was on the very very very edge of keeping/repairing. I am also going to say that in as a bad of shape as it was in, we could have been camping for about $2500 over our purchase price. we have decided to do more than just get it campable, but to do a restomod type deal. We plan to/are do(ing) all the work ourselves, and have so far. I doubt we will have $10k in it cash money wise when finished, but also we will have 100's of our own hours in it, but we enjoy working on it together, so as far as I am concerned it's a win-win.

Now.. could you spend $50-60k redoing a 60's trailer? absodamlutly.
Buy the worst example you can find and take it to Jackson Center.

Is that the amount needed to "buy into" a vintage airstream? absodamlutly not.
Buy one in better shape, fix it yourself. If you can run a skilsaw, a drill and a pair of pliers, understand "righty tighty, lefty loosey", know the difference between a rivet and a screw, you have, or can learn, the skills needed. It isn't rocket science.
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:12 PM   #20
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Another tidbit, and this is fact, 65% of all Airstreams produced are still on the road today, if that don't say anything about the quality of Airstream nothing else will.
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