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Old 06-20-2003, 04:48 PM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Question Airstreams: 1978 versus 1984

I'm in the market for an Airstream, and there's a 1984 and a 1978 in the same size that are available. Given all the other considerations, the two are roughly equivalent prices.

Now first of all, I haven't seen either one personally up close, and there may well be considerations about either that would put it out of the question. But what I'm looking for is opinions about which year is more likely to have major problems.

Like "For gosh sakes, don't buy a 1978, because that's when Beatrice Foods had 'em firmly in the trash!" or "Watch out for the 1984's because they all explode once a week!" , or general wisdom like that....

Any input or suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 06-20-2003, 05:20 PM   #2
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1978 31' Excella 500
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The range of conditions can vary widely. I was very fortunate when I bought my '78 Excella 31 footer. There were others at the dealership that looked a lot worse for the wear, but on the outside looked about the same. I am very happy with the 78 even though Beatrice Foods was responsible for the line then.

Unless you can touch them both and look for the faults, it is difficult to make a decision. Both being the same price, the first inclination would be to go for the '84, but 6 years isn't much to an Airstream. What really matters is how were they maintained.

Good luck and welcome to the forum. You will find that the folks here are honest, likeable and above all helpful.

Vic Smith
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31' 78 Airstream Excella 500
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Old 06-21-2003, 12:48 AM   #3
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Airstreams: 1978 versus 1984

I would second Vic's advice, given the modest age spread condition and evidence of good maintenance would certainly be a deciding factor.

If the conditions and maintenance issues are comparable then it will be more of an aesthic decision. Tambour was still being used for many of the cabinet doors in '78, but was being or had been phased out by '84 if my understanding is correct. The '78 may also be outfitted with some of the "typical '70s decorator elements" such as burnt orange, avacado green or harvest gold appointments as well as "flower power" wall covering in the bath - - I suspect that the color palet would have been more neutral by '84.

In either case, at twenty plus years of age, either coach may be in need of new software in the interior (drapes, upholstery, cushions, etc. - - I know that it was a #1 need in my '78 Argosy).

Good luck with your inspections!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-22-2003, 07:07 PM   #4
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I think you have received some very sound advice. A couple of inputs from my Airstream search. Stay away from the early to mid 70's units with "double pane" windows. There are a lot of entries on the site about them and replacement or repair gets expensive. Second, look hard if you get a rear bath unit - rear sag, etc. I stayed with the rear twin units and center bath - a tried and true design for the 70s and 80s.

Finally, the feel of the unit means a lot. How many owners has it had? How's the documentation and has it obviously been cared for. I can tell you that you will view several units before the right one jumps at you, unless you are luckier than me. GOOD LUCK.
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