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Old 06-18-2021, 09:01 PM   #1
New Member
1975 31' Sovereign
Kent , Washington
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 1
1975 Sovereign Possible Purchase/Reno Project

So a member of our family has offered to sell their 1975 - 31’ Sovereign to us… it needs work, but love the whole idea of restoring a vintage airstream and having a getaway/travel home as we look towards retirement in the next 7-8 years. This would be a complete new challenge for us & I’m reading a lot on this forum about what to look for when considering a purchase of this caliber. I’m thinking of still keeping its vintage look but adding some good paint, fixtures, etc. what are the pro’s/con’s? Take a look at these photos, tell us what you think? We can pick it up for $5,000… which, from what I’m reading, is a good price… so intrigued but yet know nothing of this type of project. It’s been sitting on property and not being used but in good condition (used for guests in the mtns.) any/all feedback.

What is the monthly cost to store a trailer this size at an off site storage place?
What type of truck would we need to have to tow.. was told an F250 isn’t enough?
How much, would an average, Reno cost.. I know that varies on taste/upgrades?

Just trying to gain a better perspective and more insight so I can maybe convince my husband… hahaha.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:19 PM   #2
Rivet Master

1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,113
Sure, I’d go for it. Looks to be in good shape. The cost of renovating depends on how far you want to go. A complete full Monty is the most expensive. I know a complete shell off renovation with all the modern amenities in a 22 footer a few years ago ran about 25k. That’s with your free labor. Now, materials are a lot more expensive. Do you plan on doing the work yourself or paying someone else? I don’t know about storage cost. Luckily we have room to store both ours under cover at home. Figure out how far you want to go with a renovation. Do some preliminary cost estimates. Again, it’s expensive to pay someone to do an update. At that price, I would go for it. Good luck
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:25 AM   #3
3 Rivet Member
1980 24' Caravelle
vallejo , California
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 239
looks good,5k isn't bad.i paid 6k for my gutted caravelle;have about 6k in the rebuild so is site storage can run75$ on up; check your local storage places.good luck. kurt
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Old 06-19-2021, 10:41 AM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1975 27' Overlander
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 6,972
Images: 1
Greetings and welcome from Colorado: And maybe welcome to the vintage Airstream hobby. I have a 75 Overlander 27' which is two model sizes shorter than the Sovereign 31'. The price you mentioned is a "family price" seems to me as I would guess the trailer is worth twice that as it sits in your photos.

That said, Airstreams in the damp northwest usually have more moisture damage than a southwest trailer. For some reason, 70s trailers are prone to more frame rust that other decades before or after the 70s. 70s trailer were built for light weight due to the high cost of fuel and early emissions controls on vehicles robbing power creating smaller vehicles. I find the cabinet materials inside a 70s trailer tend to delaminate and fall apart. The plastic bath parts and plastic end cap ceilings tend to crack. 70s trailers are more work to renovate. I did my 75 Overlander and then my friend and I renovated his 76 Sovereign. The gory details can be found in the Knowledgebase near the bottom of the Forums page.

That said, these vintage 70s trailers can be renovated into very comfortable travel trailers, and it is worth the effort in my view. I would guess this Sovereign would cost about $15k in materials and 1000 hours in labor to complete. Think axles, brakes, tires, water tanks, belly pan, frame repairs, subfloor repairs, new plumbing, new appliances, cabinet rebuilds, floor coverings, soft goods, door lock and on and on. It's fun but a big project. If you don't think you would like laying on your back under a dirty old Airstream, maybe this isn't the way to go.

Here is a tour of my 75 Overlander. It tows nicely, and it is very comfortable for us.

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WBCCI #8607 VAC Region 11
KnowledgeBase trailer renovation threads: 69 Globetrotter, 76 Sovereign, 75 Overlander, 66 Trade Wind Such fun !
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:09 AM   #5
Rivet Master
1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,792
Blog Entries: 13
I think it is fairly priced and looks to be in decent shape. An F250 is more than capable of towing it anywhere you would care to go as the earlier “narrow body” trailers were much lighter.

Just my two cents:

Buy it.

Repack bearings, inspect or replace brakes, Check torsion axles (probably shot) and repair/replace as necessary.

Have the unit pressure tested for leaks by a service provider with a Sealtech machine (locations on their website) and get it watertight.

Check the flooring with an awl for soft spots. Evaluate and do spot repairs or get ready to dive into a new subfloor…

Go camping. Decide what you like and don’t like. What is working, what needs work, what needs replacement.

Tackle one thing at a time interspersed with more camping.

Lots of ads for “project trailers” over the years because folks bought a useable trailer and, first thing out of the box, stripped it inside and out. As the months pass and the dollars evaporate, the project starts to become drudgery.

Work on it when you can but use it as well.
Sorta new (usually dirty) Nissan Titan XD (hardly paid for)
Middle-aged Safari SE
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