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Old 06-20-2020, 07:59 AM   #1
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New 1959-1980 Airstream/Argosy Serial Number Decoder

Hi All,
I wanted to announce that after months of effort, a new 1959-1980 Airstream and Argosy Serial Number Decoder has finally been published in the Documents Section of the Airstream, Inc. website. This is the result of a collaborative effort between Airstream's Archivist/Historian, Samantha Martin and myself and reflects our best collective knowledge at this time. It was compiled using resources in the Airstream, Inc. archives where possible and was supplemented by information from other sources when necessary.

The previous "pre-1980" VIN decoder on the Airstream website was both incomplete and sometimes inaccurate for the years it addressed and should no longer be quoted nor trusted. The new 1959-80 Decoder is to the best of our knowledge complete and accurate, though I encourage you to read the errors and omissions caution statements on the first page of the new document.

This new decoder addresses all Airstream RV products produced from 1959 thru 1980, including Airstream Trailers, Argosy Trailers, Airstream and Argosy Motorhomes, and even the large commercial trailers, including those produced under the Mobile Industrial sub-brand. Non-RV products produced by Airstream, such the A-Van aluminum delivery vans are not included.

At the current time, the years 1958 and prior are not included because Airstream production records are incomplete and research is ongoing. These years may be added in the future.

The years 1981 and after are not included because thay are already covered by the Airstream VIN Numbers Post-1980 document that addresses the government mandated 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system that Airstream implemented starting with the 1981 model year.

The 1959-80 Decoder has directly replaced the previous document in their Document Archive named Airstream VIN Numbers Pre-1980, so it can be found using that link. It can also be accessed using this direct URL: https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...2020-06-16.pdf

(I will caution that the direct URL may fail to work in the future if the 1959-80 Decoder is updated again, as the date of the file is encoded in the document name, though the link in the Document Archive should continue to work.)
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Old 06-20-2020, 09:21 AM   #2
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Here is a link to the "Airstrean VIN Numbers Pre-1980" link in the Airstream, Inc., Document Archive:
https://www.airstream.com/owners/doc...ments=pre-1980
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:01 AM   #3
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Joe,

Thanks for tackling the vin number effort. It's definitely interesting to see it come together.

I do see a couple of discrepancies. My 74 motorhome vin is M20D4V0159 and is a rear double bed with a center or front bath. The bath is right behind the drivers seat. At a minimum it would be a B which is a double bed with center bath.

The same applies to M24D5S5318 and M24D5V5315. These two motorhomes are identical in every way with the exception of which plant they were built at. I have been in both of them and own one of them. They have a double bed in the rear and are center bath units.


Brad
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bkahler View Post
Joe,

Thanks for tackling the vin number effort. It's definitely interesting to see it come together.

I do see a couple of discrepancies. My 74 motorhome vin is M20D4V0159 and is a rear double bed with a center or front bath. The bath is right behind the drivers seat. At a minimum it would be a B which is a double bed with center bath.

The same applies to M24D5S5318 and M24D5V5315. These two motorhomes are identical in every way with the exception of which plant they were built at. I have been in both of them and own one of them. They have a double bed in the rear and are center bath units.

Brad
Thanks for your input Brad,
I believe the A/B/T/D layout descriptions to be generally correct, but just like the MH that was a "T" inside and a "D" outside (or vice versa), production discrepancies do exist. If we find a significant trend, we'll have to figure out how to deal with that in the decoder.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:36 PM   #5
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1972 Argosy 26
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'72 Argosy 26

Please add ours to the list!

26...D2V...0203


Thanks
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:50 AM   #6
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how can i tell...

if my 22 foot '59 is a flying cloud or world traveller? thanks!
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:38 PM   #7
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What are the numbers above the serial number

There are some numbers over my serial number and can’t seem to figure out what they are ? I’m new to this entire airstream thing
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Old 08-26-2020, 11:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by H-Bomb View Post
There are some numbers over my serial number and can’t seem to figure out what they are ? I’m new to this entire airstream thing
No one that I am aware of, even at Airstream, knows how to decode the numbers at the top of that plate. My guess is that we will never figure out how to decode them.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:11 AM   #9
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Was there an in between period in late-1980?

Was there an in between or weird time between the 1980 and 1981 VINs?

Here’s my VIN, from an October 1980 International 28, and it doesn’t conform to either the 59-80 or the 1981 and newer formats. Any ideas? The axles, length, etc model info letters conforms to the 1981+ formats, but the 1STT start doesn’t (nor does the R for the year, since it’s definitely not a 96.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:25 AM   #10
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It has a 17-character VIN, so it is definitely using the 1981+ VIN system. I have never studied that document to know how accurate it may or may not be, but given that I beleive it to be created many years after 1981, I would not be surprised if it was not perfect for the early years.

As the co-author of the 1959-80 document, which was based as much as possible upon Airstream production records, I do occassionally see cases that a serial number stamped into an Airstream does not match the production records, like for example an extra character that can't be explained. Seems the office staff and production floor were not always in sync.

Is you VIN at least close to what the 1981+ document states, maybe only differing for one or two chatacters?
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:21 AM   #11
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It’s pretty close, but with some oddities

It conforms quite closely… It accurately details the model, length, width/frame, axle count, etc, but it has some characters in places that the 1981+ doc describes as “Not Used”. The two items that don’t match are:
- the 4th character is type of trailer and describes sort of the floor plan/layout (in my VIN it’s the second T in “1STT”)… in the 1981+ doc it describes T-Z as “not used”.
- the character in the 10th position should be an A for the model year, but on mine it’s R, which would be 1996, but I’m sure that’s not possible LOL.

I haven’t tried playing with the check digit, but the above was interesting. It’s super helpful to hear about the behind the scenes processes that go down and how these numbers can vary from the documented office numbers. When I first started looking in to it I was a little worried, but it’s making sense now. I sooooo appreciate your help and effort you’ve put in and published in the doc.
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:32 AM   #12
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I received a response from Airstream. Turns out it's a 1981 27' International, and most likely they double stamped or botched the first character and it should be a 1 instead of I.

I'm amazed and appreciative of Airstream's continued support for trailers and vehicles that old! Awesome!
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