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Old 10-31-2006, 09:19 PM   #1
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Thor

Hey, we recently bought a 79' Sovereign 31', we've been remodeling it but now we're thinking we should finish it up, sell it and buy a new trailer.

Anyway after seeing the prices of a new Airstream we're looking at a new Thor 310, comes with a slide out, 33' and its $16,900.00! new in the Camping World book. The way I understand it Thor is the parent company of Airstream, any opinions on Thor?
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:58 PM   #2
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Look Deeper

I just went to a super-rv-dealer, not necessarily Thor, lot to help decide wether I should put a large amount of money into my Tradewind or buy somthing new.
I was imressed. The quality appeared uniformly low. As a visitor of this site for a couple of years it was surprising to me how many manufacturing flaws I spotted. I am linking my time spent on this site to my ability to spot flaws.
Gosh, it looks to me like I will keep what I have or get a used unit in better condition.
This reminds me of a friend I used to work with who said, "Better the Devil you know than the one you don't."
We ended up at a $100,000 unit before I felt like I feel in my ratty old Airstream.
Have you asked your wife what she thinks?
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Old 10-31-2006, 10:32 PM   #3
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Have you asked your wife what she thinks?
Here's a guy that gets to the heart of the matter. Smart man, good question.
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Old 10-31-2006, 11:47 PM   #4
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Not really Thor, but.....

Hello all -

Saw the thread about the 'feeling' inside a "Thor", Airstream, or ????

Have you really gone to Camping World or the like, and actually spent any real time inside a new unit...???

I mean REALLY spent any time there? I have. Lots, actually.

CW, Holiday Camper Sales, American RV, So. West RV, CostCo (when they have the RV sales event) and the like.... All the same.

As others mentioned, you are into SERIOUS $'s before I even GET CLOSE to having that relaxed, easy and NON-high falutin feeling of my AS, when I set foot into any RV.

For that matter, I get that same Heeby-Geeby feeling when I step into a newer AS, although less so!.... all that mirror stuff, in everything from Class A's down, all that BIG Flat screen stuff (not that there is anything srong with BIG flat screens!), and that trying to make it something that it isn't..... It IS a camper after all, but THAT SHOULDN'T BE A PENALTY!!!! On the contrary.

OK, re-read that above, and it all sounds very up-ity, and I am really NOT trying to go there.... I have a '92 for goodness sakes! But there is a REAL feeling of serenity and peace and space and quality and certain..... what??? I am not sure. But, it IS THERE!!! I have been in plenty of '90's and newer era units, and even some older ones, they ALL have IT!!!! It just feels right! It is just a certain something.... What?!?

Can anyone help me with a finger on that certain something??

For me and my $'s, there is NO substitute. Thor or otherwise....

Your experience may vary.

Axel
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:59 AM   #5
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I don't know if you can make a judgment about quality based solely with Thor at the helm. I think they have bought up numbers of manufacturers (in the teens perhaps????) Wouldn't the same people be manufacturing the various lines and Thor is more a reflection of the business holdings? I could be way off here but just something I suspect may be true.

You may get a lot of bang for your buck initially but it is not going to hold its value or approach the longeivity of an Airstream. The deal with Airstreams is they are an American icon and have a unique design and a dedicated following. If you do a search there are threads on "why an Airstream" and "are Airstreams worth the money." You might check those out for many more views on the subject.

Silvertoy is right, look at units in the 90s and up until 2002 if the 7os units require too much work, you may narrow the gap on the price point and be very pleased with what you see and "feel."

(The new Airstreams don't have all those mirrors anymore.)
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Here's a guy that gets to the heart of the matter. Smart man, good question.
No wonder I stay in trouble with the wife all the time!
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
Hey, we recently bought a 79' Sovereign 31', we've been remodeling it but now we're thinking we should finish it up, sell it and buy a new trailer.

Anyway after seeing the prices of a new Airstream we're looking at a new Thor 310, comes with a slide out, 33' and its $16,900.00! new in the Camping World book. The way I understand it Thor is the parent company of Airstream, any opinions on Thor?
Just because it's the parent company of Airstream, don't think for a second that it's anyplace near an Airstream in construction. Thor has a MASSIVE warranty line on it's books, Airstream included. That unit you currently have is a gem, may need work, but at that age, few wouldn't.

If you sell that Airstream, and go and buy a box for $16k, you'll regret it, maybe not initially, but at some point perhaps. Thor, like every other RV manufac is a box pusher. Build 'em hit quota and get a bonus. We'll deal with the warranty work later, just keep building them faster and cheaper.

That's the current state of the RV market lately.
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:31 AM   #8
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There aren't many RVs that will hold their resale or have the longevity of an Airstream, particularly a box at $16k. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but plan on having a new trailer that will last a maximum of 10 years before it's time for the RV graveyard, and will only be worth $8k after you roll it off the lot, and will depreciate $2-$3k a year after that (not that losing $16k on a trailer in five years is all that bad considering that you'll take a $20k hit on a new Airstream in three years... but after that the Airstream values tend to level out.

We bought our 1994 tri-axle 34' and used it for three years before we sold it for pretty much what we had bought it for. There are few other units that hold their value that well.

Roger
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:04 AM   #9
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From a purely dollars and cents perspective, if you will loose $20K on a new AS in 3 years, and a white box costs $16K, you could buy a white box, use it for 3 years, throw it away and still be $4k ahead.

Neal
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:40 AM   #10
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I am a hardcore Airstream fan but there was a time when we went looking for our first trailer. My wife, the salesman and myself were sitting in a brand new trailer on the dealer's lot. This lot was next to a fairly heavily travelled highway and the day was windy. We sat on the foam cushions while the salesperson yelled the amenities to us. We replied also yelling to be heard. My wife loves to express herself by using her hands while she talks but the rocking and rolling had her holding on tight. We left that dealer without a purchase but with our desire for an RV still intact. Eventually we purchased a then 26 year old 1975 Tradewind and loved every minute of that ownership. Our Tradewind is still rolling now with a new owner and we have moved on to a 25 year old Airstream motor home. I do not know for certain and can not prove it but I will bet that box we sat in on that dealer's lot is no longer in service.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:57 AM   #11
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Why I don't want SOB or a white-box...

Our States lone Airstream dealer is located across a divided four-lane highway from a major north-south rail line in a RV sales park - three or four dealers with a collective 1/2 mile lot full of trailers... Huge Canadian locomotives still configured for crossing the Rockies pulling serious freight thunder past regularly. I've been in dozens of trailers as the trains went by but the new Airstreams truly amazed me. Just walk in and take a few steps from the open door and no more noise. I guess I first heard the Airstream 'Hush" in 1992 when I started my trailer hunt. My 1973 Overlander does not have the full 'Hush' effect but has some, I'll admit for me the goal is a 2000+ Airstream just because of the quiet!!!
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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Hi--In 1988 we bought a 1973 27' Overlander for $5000, becomming the third owner. Since then we have traveled most of the USA east of the Rockys, with about 800 days total on the road (retired in 1992). We invested about $1500 over that time in brakes, tires, batterys, water heater, and toilet (except for the tires doing the labor myself). This year we installed new Dexter axles, including labor, for $1275. So now we have a total cost of $7775, in an A/S that's still worth about $7000, and will still be rolling, long after we are too old to use it. Where am I going with all of this? If you are a serious RV'er, you can't afford not to own an A/S.--Frank S
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Old 11-01-2006, 11:02 AM   #13
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you're either an Airstream person, or you're not

There's just something about an Airstream. Not to get all philosophical but it's like a visual icon for travel, adventure and non-conformity. Sure maybe the white boxes have more room and more "amenities" but basically they all look like a Super8 motel room on wheels. Obviously that's fine for most folks because you sure see a lot of white boxes on the road. What you don't see is a lot of Airstreams. They turn heads. On our maiden voyage-- a 3 week, 5500 mile trip thru 10 rocky mountain states--we met people who just wanted to look at the trailer. And of course I was glad to show it off. They were interesting people and we had great conversations.

As Neal said, if it's just dollars and cents issue, buy a white box. If you're a travelller and an adventurer, then an Airstream is for you. Tourists collect things; travellers collect memories.

As for the new Airstreams, too bad Thor doesn't just sell shells with plumbing etc. roughed in so the interiors can be finished off to suit the individual.
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Old 11-01-2006, 01:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncleneal
From a purely dollars and cents perspective, if you will loose $20K on a new AS in 3 years, and a white box costs $16K, you could buy a white box, use it for 3 years, throw it away and still be $4k ahead.

Neal
Actually, if he kept his current unit, and fixed it up, that would be the most ideal situation. Spend the $16k on the Airstream, and in 5 years, it may still be worth $8k or more depending on condition. It's been suggested that as the new models increase in price, the vintage and used models will be even more attractive.
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:08 PM   #15
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As Frank S points out, the numbers work out quite well for a used AS. There are a number of reasons for that, one, the AS is a better designed and built product than the white boxes, so it is still quite servicable after 15 or 30 years. Second, at 15 years old, depreciation has knocked the cost of ownership way down. And last but not least the breathtaking price of new units makes the older older units hold their value

But the numbers don't work for original owners of new units, they pay the high price and they take the hit of the bulk of the depreciation. Neither you, nor your children nor your grandchildren are likely to see the new unit you pay retail for sell for what you paid for it. A good used mid '80's 345 motorhome sells for less than $25 to maybe 40K now, and they cost over $100k in 1985 dollars.

The same principles apply to luxury automobiles. People don't buy Rolls-Royces and Maybachs for economic reasons. They buy them because that's what they want and they can afford them. The fact that most luxury cars of that class are sold for cash, not financed, tells you something.

I read 20 or so years ago that "the best value in a car purchase was the best used Mercedes that you could buy for $10,000." You would have to raise the amount now, but the principle still applies. By the same token, a good used Airstream is a better buy than a new white box, because Frank S's experience is not atypical. If you buy an $8K used AS and a $16K New white box, in two years their value will be about equal, and the AS will have 10 times as much life left.

You see more white boxes than you do Airstreams for the same reason that you see more Toyota's than you do Bentleys. People can afford them, and they meet their needs. If all we could buy were Bentleys, we would all be much healthier, because we would all be walking a lot more.

A side point to consider is that the white box market for RV equipment, appliances, tow vehicles and campgrounds is one of the reasons that we can afford to buy and enjoy our Airstreams. Without that market a new $60K AS would cost $100K or more and then there wouldn't be very many places to take it.

It kind of boils down to "you pays your nickel, and you takes your choice."

Neal
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu_Hwy_Lady
As for the new Airstreams, too bad Thor doesn't just sell shells with plumbing etc. roughed in so the interiors can be finished off to suit the individual.
A few years ago, GM introduced a concept car that employed fuel cell technology that was integrated into the chasis of the car. There was a separate electric motor on each of the four wheels that ran off of the electricity produced by the fuel cell. This chasis was called "the skateboard" because it looked like a skateboard with really large wheels. The body and all other components were removeable and all of the steering and other controls were computerized and "drive by wire" technology. The idea was that you would puchase a new chasis every 15-20 years or so, but you could buy a new body every 3-5 years much cheaper so you could maintain a contemporary and current look without going upside down or bankrupt in the process.

An Airstream, new or used, can almost be approached in the same fashion. Buy one and after 10 years and every 8-10 years thereafter gut it and remodel the interior to suit your current needs without having to buy a new one. The shell and running gear are the most durable parts and the interior and appliances are the main parts that wear out. It would be like getting a new one each time.
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Old 11-01-2006, 03:44 PM   #17
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Don't think that because it has a Thor corporate parentage, that it will be better than average. I owned a Thor built Electra white box travel trailer before I bought my first Airstream. We bought it new for $14K and we couldn't get out from under it fast enough. It was literally falling apart. Multiple roof leaks, other cheap components. We made a mistake and knew it not too long after delivery. After year three we sold it and I've not regretted that move.

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Old 11-01-2006, 04:11 PM   #18
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My wife vetoed the new trailer idea, so i bought new kitchen cabinets for the ole 79' AS today.

I do like Blue Lady's idea of Airstream selling an empty shell for the customer to fit out though. Thats basically what we're doing to the 79' AS we have now. It had seen better days on the interior, but it has one of the more open floor plans.
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:18 PM   #19
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My sister-in-law bought a brand-new, built-for-them Gulfstream travel trailer about 6 months ago. As she was proudly showing off her new trailer, she opened one of the cupboards, and to her chagrin the whole door came off in her hand.
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookeville34
My wife vetoed the new trailer idea, so i bought new kitchen cabinets for the ole 79' AS today.

I do like Blue Lady's idea of Airstream selling an empty shell for the customer to fit out though. Thats basically what we're doing to the 79' AS we have now. It had seen better days on the interior, but it has one of the more open floor plans.
I think Inland Andy stated that Airstream would not be able to sell a shell, as there would be too much liability for them.
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