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Old 03-16-2019, 06:19 PM   #1
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How many 34' Airstreams?

Another thread asked about the value of a 34' trailer, and one of the responses said that, because there are so few, they hold their value better than other Airstreams of the same age.


We want an early 2000's 34' but haven't seen any on the Classifieds. Is there any way to find out how many were actually built? Specifically, we're looking for a "standard" floor plan (front living, kitchen/dining, bath, queen bed) with no slide.
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:07 PM   #2
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Good luck finding a 34'!
It took several years of looking before I connected with mine. I have the floor plan you mention.
I've heard/found that in general prices of 34's are not depreciating, probably increasing.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:10 PM   #3
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A friend of mine, when he decided to full-time, figured he needed a 34' but after a year or two, got himself a 50's whale tail that was 2/3rds the size and left his 34 sit for years before he finally sold it at a tidy profit. He loves his smaller trailer, and evidently like many 34' owners, decided that he really didn't need all that space after all, (even full-timing) and it was so much better in a smaller trailer.

The 34' are a curious beast; so few are made presumably because the market for them is so small, yet their rarity makes them bat above average in the aftermarket value.

Back when toy-haulers were a thing for a hot minute, AS spent a lot of effort designing and marketing the Pan-American, which, I believe was the last 34' trailer they built. The built just 19(!) of them. Sure they were expensive, but if you were one of the few that brought them, you could have used it for a few years, then turned around and sold it for more than you paid for it. There's a story here of how a certain actor, after using a Pan American trailer in a movie, just HAD to Have it. The owners who leased it to the production company did not want to sell their precious Pan American. The actor's agent eventually made them an offer they could not refuse. I think one of the 19 has been destroyed in an accident, and, horror of horrors, another was turned into some sort of mobile store for some clothing brand! And I think another has been turned into some sort of portable recording studio or something.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:49 PM   #4
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We have a 1986 Limited 34'. It has been in the family since new. I believe the first year of the triple axle 34' was 1982. I do not know the number of triple axle trailers made over the decades of production. I think they were pulled off the market about 2010. Something like 28 years in production. The later years could be had with a slide out so you can have a square dance in your trailer.

I suspect they quit making them as people quit buying them. The 31' trailers are awful nice too.

Post a 34' wanted ad in the Classifieds, and of course keep searching. There are other marketplaces to look too. I bet when the weather warms more will be advertised. Airstream trailers are in demand in the spring and summer, and peter out in the fall and winter. Just like sports cars do.

You'll find one.

David
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Another thread asked about the value of a 34' trailer, and one of the responses said that, because there are so few, they hold their value better than other Airstreams of the same age.


We want an early 2000's 34' but haven't seen any on the Classifieds. Is there any way to find out how many were actually built? Specifically, we're looking for a "standard" floor plan (front living, kitchen/dining, bath, queen bed) with no slide.
I saw a couple of 34s at oasis RV in tucson.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:02 AM   #6
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Check out Land Yacht Harbor on FL

34 footers seem to take roost at this Airstream Park! There are many years represented by these beautiful homes! Three axles are rare these days. They are probably better for long term stays than shorter versions if you are planning on visiting State and National Parks? Several older ones are for sale right now. Happy hunting!
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:02 PM   #7
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Very interesting. We have just bought a gutted 34' that we'll be renovating starting in July. When we bought it we hadn't researched values of different kinds of airstreams, we just knew how much they generally were going for and since we plan on living in ours with a kid and two large dogs we knew we wanted larger. In fact, the inside is just 30' which was exactly inside what I thought we would get even in a 5th wheel which we originally thought we would get. Never dreamed we could afford an airstream so we didn't put much stock in learning about the different sizes. Glad to see we made a good choice lol.
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:16 PM   #8
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There was a real nice 95 34’ in the classified section a few days ago. I understand that the 92-93 model may be the best one to own.

We have a 95 model that we are renovating to meet our requirements. We have a thread in the Excella section 94-96 titled Touringdan’s 95 34’ Makeover.

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Old 03-17-2019, 10:52 PM   #9
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Smile Interestingly enough...

Way back in the late 80's to late 90's, the 34's were all the rage. I remember hearing at some point back then that Airstream was selling more 34's than any other model. I sure can say that when attending my local WBCCI unit rallies 30-40% of the units were 34's. I think that changed when the wide body trailers were introduced in 94 and started getting heavier and heavier and requiring more and more truck to tow them. I know I towed my 1991 34 over 80000 miles. Behind a 1/2 Suburban and a 350 V8 with single port fuel injection. Loaded, it was a "mere" 7100 lbs. Did real well, too! Always got at least 10 MPG towing. Made it to all 48 Continental United States! A few years later, I traded down to a "new to me" 30' (still not a wide body), not because of the weight of the 34, but because i found that some of the places I wanted to camp didn't have big enough sites. However, towing the 34 was always a pleasure. It REALLY resisted sway like no trailer I've owned before or since and more than once I brought her home on only 5 tires after a flat. I'd buy a nice 88-93 in a heartbeat if I could find one. That was before they got porky and after the interiors got a bit more modern, going from brown fake wood to real oak laminates.BTW, if you see any of the ones from the 87-93 model years, you might notice several things. One, mine consistently "popped" the rivet on the Z channel just forward of the entry door in the middle of the radius by the door (seen many others like it too!) and be aware that there is enough "flex" in the body to lock you out if you happen to park it on unlevel terrain while hitched up. Happy travels!
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:16 AM   #10
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Why are those years better?
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:51 AM   #11
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I can attest to the lock yourself out in a 34. I thought I was the only one that had ever happen to. I have a popped rivet almost in the center of the front. Great observation!


Hide a key now, just in case!


ande
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCPC View Post
Why are those years better?
I think some say that because of weight.
That is not my opinion. I have really enjoyed mine!

My wide body 1999 34' weighs in at ~9,000 lbs ready to camp, tanks empty. I'm leaving FL with it next week headed home to NC, about 700 miles, towing with my 1/2 ton truck.

This trip will probably be my last long tow with this trailer. I'm part way through an exterior renovation (removing the bald spots and refinishing). When I'm done, my 34' will be for sale.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:17 PM   #13
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Actually I believe they stopped making 34's because the new axle manufacturer does not recommend using 3 of their axles on a trailer.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:14 PM   #14
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If so, they were a little late in their recommendation. Almost 30 years of production of triple axle Airstreams. I don't know the date when Dexter bought Axis who bought Henschien. Maybe one of the new axle owners frowned on it.

I will say that sharp turns must put some stress on the spindles. I leave heavy black tire marks dragging the trailer around when making sharp turns on pavement. But I am unaware of axle failures on 34' Airstreams.

David
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:37 PM   #15
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There is a '88 34' Excella on the San Antonio Tx Craigslist. '99 34' Limited on Pensacola Fl Craigslist.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:20 PM   #16
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Belated response to MCPC

Sorry, a belated answer.



Remember, you asked a question which gets you my opinion. Everybody has one. Some agree, some don't.


IMHO, Airstream has deviated from the original course of very roadworthy TRAVEL trailers. There, I said it!



Back in 1969, Airstream introduced a new body style to their trailers. (Wally probably turned over in his grave...) The new body style featured a wider "horseshoe" shaped cross section, whereas the widest part of the trailer was a "waist" about three feet above the floor. This shape gave us more room where we, humans, are widest, without resorting to making the trailer overly wide. These trailers, made up until 1993, were, again in my opinion, the glory years for Airstream. These trailers were 7'11" wide and were a dream to tow. Road-ability was a prime overriding concern. Of course, like most things, it took them a while to get it right, the pinnacle of style, function and form being reached in the late 80's and early 90's, (hence my statement about preferring 1988-1993 trailers). (Of course there WERE the 1969-1978 trailers with frames too light to hold the weight of rear bathrooms and broke, but that's another story) Then, like all things American, they started to get fat, and not only that, they were changed from the classic "horseshoe" shape to nearly "flat" sides and a totally different construction for ease and economy of manufacture (Horseshoe trailers had a continuous "bow" Z channel that created the famous Airstream shape, After 1994, a trailer is built of two sides and roof, then bolted together, with end caps added to enclose it). 1994 introduced the new construction and then the "wide body" debuted in 1995 taking the trailers to 8' 5" wide. Lets not forget the foam rubber and vinyl ceilings that self destruct. Through the "improvements" Airstreams became heavier too. I don't know if anybody noticed, but roadways aren't getting wider. But RV's and Airstream's did get wider. I totally get why Airstream did this, as in order to remain relevant and thrive they had to offer competitive products, and everyone else was going wide body too. But towing a 1993 34' trailer was like driving a sports car compared to towing a 1996 34. And they've gotten porkier since. I've owned several wide bodies and have found the towing experience to be disappointing compared to the earlier design. It's amazing to think that the first year of the 34' triple axle trailer, 1982, empty weight was only 5500 pounds (Excella) and by 2000, a 34' was over 8000 Lbs! Porky, indeed! I also am unhappy with rear visibility of wide body trailers. If you can find a way to get adequate mirror coverage, your towing mirrors need to be over 10' wide!

Aesthetically, I find the 1969-1993 shape the most appealing. I like the light weight ( I towed a 1993 30' Excella all over the U.S. with a..... 1998 Crown Victoria!) , I like the interior finish, vinyl over the aluminum...Durable!, Windows with honest to goodness FRAMES! Honest to goodness Oak cabinets. They were a work of art, but a conservative one. Every succeeding year, trailers like these get rarer as they succumb to old age and accidents. It's a shame because they were the best there was!
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Another thread asked about the value of a 34' trailer, and one of the responses said that, because there are so few, they hold their value better than other Airstreams of the same age.


We want an early 2000's 34' but haven't seen any on the Classifieds. Is there any way to find out how many were actually built? Specifically, we're looking for a "standard" floor plan (front living, kitchen/dining, bath, queen bed) with no slide.
David,
The 34' trailer is an excellent trailer in my opinion. I've owned two, a 1990 that was totaled in a wind-related accident in Canada around 2002 and my current 1991 Limited that I've owned since 2003. The third axle adds pitch stability when towing and reduces the hitch weight. In 1996 (i believe) Thor (Airstream's parent company) went to a wide-body design that not only widened the interior and exterior dimensions by about 6", it changed the way the construction of the shell to reduce the number of parts and man-hours in construction).

I think that what happened by the mid-nineties was that buyers for large towed trailers above a certain price point began preferring fifth wheels with slide outs. Also, in the towable segment, as engine displacements and towing capacities began to shrink, consumers of new Airstreams began to prefer smaller trailers so they didn't have to own a truck or large SUV as a tow vehicle.

Again, the 34' trailers are excellent in my opinion. I camp mostly in national park or state park campgrounds and sometimes I run into a size constraint with a trailer of this length.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:21 AM   #18
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Last year for 34’

We just bought a 2012 34’ triple axel special edition which I understand is the last year they built them. We full time and love this model.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:41 AM   #19
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We just bought a 2012 34’ triple axel special edition which I understand is the last year they built them. We full time and love this model.
Is the build date for your 34' in 2011? (the date is on the placard at the front corner on the drivers side)
I had heard the last year they were built was 2011.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:49 AM   #20
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