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-   -   They canít be this dumb, can they? (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f224/they-can-t-be-this-dumb-can-they-203387.html)

AKNate 12-01-2019 01:03 AM

They canít be this dumb, can they?
 
Quote:

ďWe canít kid ourselves that we can just tweak the formula here and expect it to go on for the next generation.
Quote:

...the instantly recognized Airstream silhouette, aluminum cladding, and what seem like artisanal rivets. ďIf you stick with all three of those things you end up with exactly what we have,Ē Wheeler said. ďWe have to show flexibility to shift direction at least in one of those areas, maybe two.Ē
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebus.../#4811f6a920a9

wave man 12-05-2019 01:39 PM

Never underestimate stupid.

Shiny16 12-05-2019 02:26 PM

I think that’s just a fancy way of saying we need a cheaper line that a 25 year old can afford and pull with his Subaru.
Look for the Steinway Boston equivalent to come.

uncle_bob 12-05-2019 02:32 PM

Hi

Ummm ..... errrrr ...... Basecamp ..... errrrr ..... Nest ......

Bob

SteveSueMac 12-05-2019 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2313450)
I think thatís just a fancy way of saying we need a cheaper line that a 25 year old can afford and pull with his Subaru.
Look for the Steinway Boston equivalent to come.



I 100% know the reference here [emoji3]

Well played.

Tater 12-05-2019 02:37 PM

A.pop up Airstream that is shaped like a Conestoga. With silver canvas.

Shiny16 12-05-2019 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 2313452)
Hi

Ummm ..... errrrr ...... Basecamp ..... errrrr ..... Nest ......

Bob

Ummm errrr ...do you really think either of those are at the price point of the average 25 year old?

djb75 12-05-2019 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tater (Post 2313455)
A.pop up Airstream that is shaped like a Conestoga. With silver canvas.

Tater - you've hit it. Maybe they could buy the Opus trailer company and switch the colors to all silver. Maybe even a really big solar blanket so it would look like a polished AS.
https://newatlas.com/air-opus-camping-trailer/48009/

Foiled Again 12-05-2019 05:32 PM

Took a very good course years ago on selling successfully. Main thing they taught was that people buy emotionally and back it up with logic after the fact.

I always thought I was the opposite... but after analyzing myself a bit, I realized that I do make those emotion based choices.... but also have a pretty good limit switch. I keep a 6 year old truck even though there is a lot of pretty new truck bling available. Every new truck will be thrilling for six months... but the payments will last 7 years and at the end the truck will be a used up, dinged up mess. Paid for - can be sexy in its own way. I really like a neighbors tricked out golf cart that looks like a Smart car. I might.. get one.

Those TV shows that help people who earn 80K a year and have 150K of credit card debt just prove what will happen when spending and income aren't tied to each other.

Castaway 12-05-2019 06:03 PM

Whatever they do will not devalue my 2012 Flying Cloud so I pay no attention to what may be in the future. However a trailer with the AS silhouette will send shock waves through the WBCCI( which might be fun to watch)

bweybright 12-05-2019 07:17 PM

So we on this forum are probably on the mature side of things and getting close to being done with buying new trailers so will be running ours till we have to put them aside for safety sake. The basis for my comments, feel free to correct me if I am mistaken.
There is no mistaking that the kids of today are not like us.....for better or worse just reality. Which means they are not going to buy items like we did, do, and will....and we will be dying off eventually.
So why is it so wrong that the head of Airstream publicly admit they are looking to these kids?
We are a literally going to be a dying breed, and he wants to look to position the company to stay alive for the future, which also means after we are gone? Should we wish Airstream be put in our casket with us?
It is not an easy or joyous thought...but the reality that as we age our purchasing power and importance to companies matters less after a certain age....unless it is AARP, Medicare insurance packages, funeral insurance policies, retirement home facilities.
My hope would be that he find a way to look towards the future while embracing us as well to keep a holistic approach to their customer base. Yes I know I am probably in fantasy land here but hope springs eternal.

Shiny16 12-05-2019 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveSueMac (Post 2313453)
I 100% know the reference here [emoji3]

Well played.

I really donít mean to put down the Boston. I donít play but my wife and son both do. If I was 25 I would probably be looking at a Boston across the room instead of the Steinway that sits there now.
I think itís a brilliant way to introduce people at a lower price point to the Steinway family without degrading the Steinway product. I could see Airstream introducing a product a long the same lines.

skyguyscott 12-05-2019 08:46 PM

The linked article was thin, even by internet standards. The one sentence summaries above are pretty spot on, and not much else is there.

So, Airstream wants to move "down market" in hopes of capturing a younger market and more share. This is a risk for any luxury brand (and I'll not debate here if AS qualifies as a lux brand, but for the point of argument...) You can see the risk; imagine if Royles Royce or Bugatti did the same. Cadillac tried that years ago and it only tarnished their reputation and gave the market that a Caddy was nothing more than a Chevy with thicker plastic and a higher sticker.

AS has tried broadening their line going all the way back to Argosy (and even earlier with the "Wally Bee") -- with patchy and uneven success. Nothing has surpassed the travel trailer yet, but the new Class B Interstates seem to be doing well in their market segment. The (nest) and BaseCamp are still deep in damage control, which is a shame, literally.

AS has a thin needle to thread. Among the challenges:
  • Younger people in general have less $$ than earlier generations, and don't seem as interested in travel, especially camping.
  • Like most young people of all generations, luxury isn't high on their list, so a lux brand is still more aspirational.
  • What is high on their list is technology, especially being connected to the internet, which is harder to do when in the boonies
  • Many young people might associate AS trailers with their grandparents, or "soooo 20th Century"
  • What the few young people who are interested in camping can afford is a pop-up, and there are plenty out there, some even made by a Thor company, so have you thought this through? (i.e. maybe let a sister company hook the kids on a Thor trailer and and get pining for the AS brand as they get richer, if not older. You know, like GM used to)

Of all their initiatives so far, it would seem the BaseCamp concept is the most promising, but they so badly botched the engineering, design and execution of that product, it may not be salvageable, unless they take it off-line for a few years for a complete redesign, FIELD TESTING, and get it right. They would need to find a way to make it both more durable, lighter, and less expensive.

PS, am I the only one that snickered at "artesianal rivets?"

shucklemoon 12-05-2019 11:23 PM

The world is full of people who think their best ideas happen after they've put too much magic powder up their noses. Hollywood is simply too small and too poor to give all of them jobs (anyone else remember the 2013 remake of "Carrie?").

rmkrum 12-05-2019 11:32 PM

They canít be this dumb, can they?
 
Counter example: my youngest son was the one that found, bought and paid for the 2007 International CCD 22í family Airstream.

Iím a boomer. Heís a millennial, I think.

FC7039 12-05-2019 11:53 PM

Unless you own stock in Thor why would you care? It is not like property values. You own yours. Enjoy it and let other enjoy what they want. Are you offended if someone buys a SOB? Are you better? I just donít understand this.

StephSH 12-06-2019 04:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rmkrum (Post 2313553)
Counter example: my youngest son was the one that found, bought and paid for the 2007 International CCD 22í family Airstream.

Iím a boomer. Heís a millennial, I think.



Heís probably a Gen-Xer, everyone forgets we exist, but weíre all sitting around shaking our heads at our parents (Boomers) and our kids (Millennials), LOL

Fair_Enough 12-06-2019 05:10 AM

I see nothing wrong with Airstream thinking about the future. Them building a more affordable and lighter camper is fine, even though a Nest or Basecamp is far from affordable. There are plenty of light trailers on the market, but maybe Airstream thinks if they build something slightly better and as appealing as the best of that myriad out there - there are some interesting things out there - and apply the universally recognized monicker on it - generation next might buy it. I just wish they would build the quality we think we are buying and lighten them up. A 20í trailer has grown to about 5000í empty. Cabinets falling off shouldnít be.

knowmercy 12-06-2019 05:28 AM

Not to sound like a complete jerk, but I've run the materials and labor cost on shell construction and I think there are other ways they can save money and appeal to a lower price point, demographic. Airstream charges a fairly nice premium for their name. I'm not arguing quality and craftsmanship, but they have a lot of opportunities to simplify the design to save some cost. The "airstream premium" is where I see the most opportunity. You can have "made in the usa" tables built from quality materials by local craftsman that don't cost $150, for instance. Anyhow, my 2 cents.

OTRA15 12-06-2019 05:46 AM

OT

Hmmm . . . Boston pianos are new to these ears. What are the cost savings?

https://www.steinwaypianos.com/dam/j...20&%20Sons.mp4

PS -- The answer to the original question is "yes" IMO.

:sad::wally::sad:

Piggy Bank 12-06-2019 06:52 AM

This is an interesting conversation.

It is not only the Z's. My boomer friends nearing/recently retired also would buy the nicest most spacious QUALITY rig you can pull with a Subaru.

Quality does not equal fancy.

They are looking for room for 2 people and a dog, with a workable kitchen and bathroom.

This IS the emerging market for travel trailers. I would call them the "won't buy a truck" travelers.

panamerican 12-06-2019 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AKNate (Post 2312313)


Look, I get that they are concerned about how mills and zeers are gonna keep the company afloat long after we start pushing up dandelions.

But Airstream has a long history trial and error. Take the Argosy line that was the test bed for things and a lighter more affordable version of Airstream. Only a handful of the good stuff from that experiment endure even today in the Airstream lines. Many things were left behind along with the Argosy line.

Squarestreams and SquareArgosy. Fad that lasted what? A year? Two? Three?

They had what I considered a gorgeous motorhome concept they partnered with (I think) BMW. Never made it past the prototype drawings, most likely because it would have been a 1/4 mill rig.

Then came Basecamp, followed by Nest. Really cute if you are backpacker, but not really useful, at least for the 30-50 crowd, and for the price you can easily get an SOB that can be towed with a Subaru....heck, maybe even two for the price of one Basecamp or Nest

Here is where Airstream gets into trouble. They have this brand and it fits a niche and yes, they refresh the colors and change names from Safari to Flying Cloud and bring back other iconic name of basically the same trailer.

People buy Airstreams because they look cool and they are a timeless RV. I don't believe diluting the brand is the answer. Bringing back plain jane type trailers is going to be viewed as religious experience by most of the Airstream ownership, let alone the club.

Bottom line, Wheeler better be careful. Think of other icons that lost there way, only to come back to basics later....Mustang is one that comes to mind....Thunderbird another....maybe Wheeler has family working at Ford. :brows:

smithcreek 12-06-2019 07:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by StephSH (Post 2313564)
He’s probably a Gen-Xer, everyone forgets we exist, but we’re all sitting around shaking our heads at our parents (Boomers) and our kids (Millennials), LOL

Totally non-important post on my part here, but I'm a Gen Xer, born in 1966, and always thought my parents were of the generation right before the boomers, the tail end of the silent generation, and children of Gen-Xers are the generation after millenials. :huh:

I suppose there is no cut off, but there definitely are generational differences in how people approach life and finances. I was born at the start of Gen-X and I feel very little in common with baby boomers. Not saying that as a negative, just feel there is a large difference between the events that shaped my life and the ones that shaped theirs.

And to the point of this thread, put me in the camp that says I have no idea how you dilute even one of the things mentioned and still have an Airstream.

uncle_bob 12-06-2019 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2313458)
Ummm errrr ...do you really think either of those are at the price point of the average 25 year old?

Hi

They *are* trailers that don't look like a "normal Airstream" so they fit that part of the article. They *do* have more appeal price wise than the traditional trailers.

Bob

GeeSag 12-06-2019 07:25 AM

I am surprised Livin' Lite did not make it
 
I expected to see Livin' Lite trailers fill the void between Sticks-n-Staples SOB's and the huge step in price up to Airstream.

They had a really cool concept at a price point that was much more in reach.

I wonder what Bob Wheeler is thinking: No point in going after the sticks-n-staples market. But it does seem there is a wide open gap in the middle range market.

I am hoping to see more models in Nest family.......A 25 foot fiberglass shell would be cool if the price was right.

Renascence 12-09-2019 11:20 AM

Maybe Wheeler is trying to drum up business. ?

Moral of his story, 'Buy today, for tomorrow, you may not have the options or choices you have today. Really doubt that though.


I find it hard to imagine that there would be a significant future decrease in AS market, current models, with the 'Glamping' mindset of many people today. Most days it's hard to know exactly what I think let alone others in the crowd. Thanks for allowing my FWIW.

PS - I like artisanal, sounds fashionable.

Foiled Again 12-13-2019 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Piggy Bank (Post 2313609)
This is an interesting conversation.

It is not only the Z's. My boomer friends nearing/recently retired also would buy the nicest most spacious QUALITY rig you can pull with a Subaru.

Quality does not equal fancy.

They are looking for room for 2 people and a dog, with a workable kitchen and bathroom.

This IS the emerging market for travel trailers. I would call them the "won't buy a truck" travelers.

Agree - especially with the general impracticality of the big mother truck as a daily driver. Kinda drawn to the A-frame trailers. Agile, low maintenance, can tow with most midsize cars, has a toilet, fits in a normal garage, etc. And as I cut back on traveling frequency and distance, blowing $20K or less for yard art seems relatively more sensible. Kinda like picking up used buckets free behind restaurants is a better deal than any bucket that costs $135.

In the eastern USA especially, the cost of storing and camping in any big trailer or moho continues to go up astronomically.

triptick 01-10-2021 11:26 AM

We own a 1987 AS Sovereign, and take some pride in keeping her ship-shape. I think what might be missing lately is the idea of sustainability. There is something sustainable in keeping a trailer on the road for 30 or 40 years or longer. I was raised to buy the highest quality thing you can afford, instead of buying lower quality, disposable items. I think some in this new generation get that and may think a bit more about long term consequences...at least I hope they do. It's not about having more stuff, which is kind of becoming a problem now and in the future.

Goin camping 01-10-2021 01:04 PM

Will they bring argosy back?

ROBERT CROSS 01-10-2021 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tater (Post 2313455)
A.pop up Airstream that is shaped like a Conestoga. With silver canvas.

Plus, no TV needed, just go to the local Rent-a-Nag, get 1,2 or 4 for the BIG wagon boyz. :rolleyes:

Bob
🇺🇸

ShawnSk 01-31-2021 11:15 AM

Boomers don't want anything to change, then complain that millennials are killing applebee's, Harley, curtains, and all the crap we aren't interested.in.

Goin camping 01-31-2021 05:18 PM

Airstream has a herd of sister companies under the Thor umbrella.

Do they plan on doing an SOB build with an Airstream sticker? The Nest and Basecamp were already too expensive for the young ones.

About the only way I see them pulling it off is to make their own version of a Scamp. Unique look, light weight and low budget.

Can't wait to see what they come up with since they seem to be uncomfortable being the only ones in their current market spot with an all aluminum product.

Because if you look at it. They can wait until the youngsters age and increase their budget until they can afford an Airstream.

sterlinghick 01-31-2021 06:30 PM

I’m at the very end of the baby boom. I can afford an Airstream. The problem is that it isn’t exactly what I need. I definitely want the nostalgia factor. I don’t want the crazy finishes, the leather, and the high-end electronics. If the Airstream God’s were to build my perfect camper, it would be 25 feet, have a double bed and be something of a retro model. It would have the basics, such as a full bathroom, a kitchen with a microwave, 2 way refrigerator and a decent sized usable sink. The interior would look like something out of the 50s or maybe the 60s. It would be light enough to tow with an average F150. I basically want an old Airstream built today.

OTRA15 01-31-2021 06:54 PM

They canít be this dumb, can they?
 
Yes!

:sad::wally::sad:

kscherzi 01-31-2021 06:55 PM

At some point a person needs to decide of they want the perfect thing, or they want to do things with the thing they get that lets them do it.
Quote:

Originally Posted by sterlinghick (Post 2456081)
Iím at the very end of the baby boom. I can afford an Airstream. The problem is that it isnít exactly what I need. I definitely want the nostalgia factor. I donít want the crazy finishes, the leather, and the high-end electronics. If the Airstream Godís were to build my perfect camper, it would be 25 feet, have a double bed and be something of a retro model. It would have the basics, such as a full bathroom, a kitchen with a microwave, 2 way refrigerator and a decent sized usable sink. The interior would look like something out of the 50s or maybe the 60s. It would be light enough to tow with an average F150. I basically want an old Airstream built today.


AnnaBelle33 01-31-2021 07:17 PM

Agree 100%. Iím an older Gen Xíer and own a technology company - Iím loving the 2021. I think weíve purchased our last trailer. Buy a Bambi or Caravel, rip out what you donít want & then retro it out. #winning.

rmkrum 01-31-2021 07:33 PM

Heck, our GenX son bought our 2007 International CCD 22 footer. We inherited it from him, and he gets it back when weíre done with it. The only truely electronic crap it has is the entertainment radio and TV we hardly use, and my ham radio rig. The rest of it is run by mechanical switches. Works fine for our needs.

And yeah, Iím a technology wonk working in the computer security field. And Iím a boomer!

wulfraat 01-31-2021 08:38 PM

wow, lots of negative sentiment. Feels personal :)

Airstream is a brand. It's a powerful brand here in the US and Canada to a certain degree. Once you buy an Airstream chances are you will buy another and stick with the brand, upgrade to a more expensive model, etc...

Bob and his leadership team are looking for new ways to provide accessibility to the brand. What is wrong with that? Nothing is changing, Airstream will continue to produce $160k + travel trailers that are lux so those who one can continue feel good about the money they spent.

Airstream leadership are just exploring how a consumer can experience the airstream brand at a lesser price point. It's a for-profit business after all.

The average cost of a travel trailer in North America is $23,000. The entry point for airstream is $39,100. The are simply looking to bridge that gap some with new and innovative, accessible products the represent the brand. if you do the research this was the investment thesis behind the original basecamp.

Airstream do not want to damage their brand by producing crap. The Airstream brand is by far the most valuable asset Thor owns.

BTW - I agree with one of the prior comments. If you own one and don't plan to buy another one etc.., who the heck cares. Enjoy what you own and cruise on ....

Etee 01-31-2021 10:07 PM

Airstream did it to themselves. They forgot Wally Byam's axiom: Ounce's make Pound's. Unless they learn to innovate with weight, smaller modern vehicles will not be capable of towing them, leaving buyers with no choice other than a truck. The original Bambi was 1875#'s. Today's Bambi: 3,000.

jcanavera 02-01-2021 09:50 AM

For me it was an evolution to get to my Airstream. You grow and learn and from my simple beginnings with an old VW bus (non camper), to a tent. I learned a lot about quality and spending a little more but getting longevity out of my purchases. I loved the Coleman built pop ups and upgraded those to get more living space. They returned top dollar when I sold them. My first hard sided trailer was a 21' 1982 Hi-Lo which truly was a quality product. I kept that trailer 14 years problem free and an $8,200 purchase new netted a $5,600 sale when I sold it privately. An interesting side line is that Hi-Lo was the first trailer line owned by Thor prior to them purchasing Airstream from Beatrice Foods. It was not uncommon to see a Hi-Lo up at Jackson Center service facility. Hi-Lo's used the same axles as Airstream and many Hi-Lo owners had their axle alignment done by the service facility.

I took a turn south after selling the Hi-Lo and bought an Excel which was a Thor branded aluminum framed 30' box. Was 14K at the time and I got my first exposure to what I learned was a poor quality trailer. I sold it within 2 years. Learned some big lessons from that short term ownership. Some of which were quality issues and some realities of how the aerodynamics of a trailer can make a big difference.

The Airstream was always something I felt was never in my future and going to the local RV show each year was something that I felt was out of my league. I knew that Thor trailer I owned was a piece of trash and was desperate to dump it....but where would the quality be. I wanted a long term purchase and while at the annual show I looked at a beautiful 2001 Classic. Way out of my price league but I took a brochure and went home. While paging through I saw the Safari line and after calling the dealership about pricing, I remember my excited exclamation to my wife that we could afford the Safari. We ordered a 27' model with twin beds.

I learned a lot from that purchase. It was my first trailer without a dinette. The Safari had two fold down tables at each end of the sofa. As it ended up we hated those and disliked not having the permanent table that we use today. Second was the twin and I didn't like sleeping against the wall and dealing with the curved corner. The big killer however was the air conditioner. The trailer came with 13.5 Penguin and was woefully inadequate when temps got into the higher 90's. Had the dealer check it out and even went to JC to have them check it. The answer came back is that the A/C was working to the best of its ability. I did go out and bought a lone Zip Dee awning which we had mounted to the street side of the trailer to take a lot of that direct sun off the side. That helped a lot but I wasn't totally satisfied with the purchase I made.

Two years later at a dealer rally I saw a 30' Classic slide out. Loved the queen bed in the back, the center bath, and the dinette that was part of the slide. The space overwhelmed me, and of course awnings all around. The dealer made me an offer and I bit. I decided however I wanted to order one. Mainly because we wanted a different interior choice and I wanted a larger air conditioner than the 13K unit which was standard for the Classic at that time.

So almost 18 years later I still have that Classic. Other than some initial issues with a shower leak and a very poor drawer latching system (which I overcame) my trailer has performed well. I did have a brake assembly fall apart on one wheel at about year 14, have replaced two skylights due to cracks. Under warranty we replaced one skylight, water pump due to bad check valve, and of course fixed a shower leak. We've had one recall where they had to check the wheel bearings due to Henschen using the wrong grease (they used the right grease on mine). I've gone through two brands of ST tires first the Marathons and then the E rated Maxxis. In both case even though I am a stickler on running at 65 psi on the Marathons and 80 psi in the Maxxis, after 3 seasons of use, belt slippage did these tires in. I did the 16" Sendel/Michelin upgrade after that and tires are no longer an issue.

As beautiful as the new trailers are however it's the gimmicks (at least in my eyes) of the heating systems, the shades, the automatic awnings, drop down screens (to name some things) have made the the trailers require a higher level of service and support. That in itself has tarnished the brand and instead of improving fit and finish we now have trailers that we cannot maintain anymore. In some cases fixing problems with these trailers have gone beyond the expertise level of the local dealerships. And to make matters worse what will be the support with parts and expertise as these trailers age.

If Airstream loses its luster I think we will all point to the advent of these gimmicky appliances and inability to get problems corrected in a timely or proper manner from the local dealerships.

Personally I would not purchase a new Airstream Classic today based on the complexity of the new trailers. I consider my Classic slide out a real gem and am so happy I bought mine back in the fall of 2003.

FYI, you might find it interesting that in a Consumer Reports study they noted that the majority of repairs and warranty claims on new cars and trucks today are non mechanical. Meaning the engines, drive trains, transmissions are really good. The weak point is the wiring and technology built into our vehicles.

I hope that Airstream will consider building a line of Airstreams with the basic mechanical appliances that the majority have used over the years. We pay a price for this "advanced" technology.

Jack

sterlinghick 02-02-2021 03:54 PM

Curious - on the Safari, could you have upgraded the AC if you wanted to spend the money or was that not an option?

Luke Grisott 03-15-2021 09:43 PM

We love our Airstream. I think anyone can afford an Airstream. I see so much waste among the young adults who spend hundreds of dollars $$$$ to stay hotels, and do this often . Also those staying in the dorms while attending college . Would do well to purchase an Airstream . Then park in long-term monthly RV resort. And guess what they have a home that can follow them to their new profession after graduation. An Airstream $$$ less than a dorm cost for 4 years and you have a home you can take with you anywhere your career take you. Wished I had known about this would’ve owned an airstream many years ago.

PA BAMBI II 03-16-2021 05:49 AM

Where it all started
 
Take a look back at Airstream in its infancy. We're talking the very early 1930s. Some AS scholars posit that Wally bought up the leftovers from the ill-fated Bowlus-Teller trailer company, but the fact that both companies offered an iconic riveted aluminum travel trailer in 1936 puts this assertion in question.


Bowlus offered the most advanced travel trailer to date (back then), by far. But...that's all he offered. Even the tiniest Papoose model was a high quality, riveted aluminum trailer with a high price point.


Wally, ever the businessman as well as a great designer, had begun his trailer company business building more run-of-the-mill English caravan styled trailers of wood and masonite construction. He offered varying levels of fit and trim for varying income points, as well as a build-it-yourself kit for shade tree mechanics of the day. The plans for the kits are supposedly what started him toward his fortune.


In 1936, when the Clipper was introduced, it was a high-end travel trailer for sure. But, Wally did not stop making the more basic wood framed trailers he had already been making years before. There were entry level trailers. The Clipper was for the rich, or for the aspirational customer who wanted to eventually trade up.



Where Bowlus failed was by offering ONLY a luxury product. He had no base model trailers to sell in volume. Wally succeeded by doing the opposite.


After WWII, Wally started up the company again, but gone were the wood framed trailers of the 1930s. Only the iconic silver bullet remained...and with a true following that lasted decades and decades.


The modern Airstream company delved into the Argosy line, a more cost-effective version of the Airstream which ironically was a test bed for new ideas and innovations NOT yet found on true Airstreams. Then the Squarestream, Basecamp, Nest, all of which have been mentioned here.


It seems the true formula that makes an Airstream an Airstream does not need to be deviated from. It would be nice to offer a true base model in the envelope of a riveted Airstream. Cut down on the whistles and bells. Make them lighter by going with a more minimalist design.



I am a proud GenXer with a comfortable income (I'm not rich...) and a STRONG work ethic. I got into both of my 1960s Airstreams for an initial investment of less than 8K, then spent (and currently spending) untold hours of sweat equity to make them new again. Airstreams are affordable, if you are willing to put in the time to renovate them. For some, this is not a viable option. My 1960s models are far lighter than modern Airstreams due partially to design/construction changes, but also because they were much more minimal and utilitarian...with very little crap tacked on to make them heavy and bulky. That is why small, vintage Airstreams are so highly sought after by campers and collectors alike.



I agree with the earlier poster that a new and basic 25' model with full kitchen, bathroom, and a double bed would sell well. What are people willing to give up to travel?


For one...we have never camped with a television. I can stay home and watch that.

Dennis C 03-16-2021 05:57 AM

My wife and I considered a Bowlus Road Chief before we bought our Airstream. Our 23FB is about the same size as the Road Chief, and offers many similar features. However, the Road Chief takes things to another level. Each one is bespoke, created for an individual buyer. The quality, materials, and finish are fantastic. I’d love to own one. Ultimately though, I wasn’t prepared to spend $250K for a Road Chief when I could get an Airstream for much less money. I’m happy with my decision, but I still find myself looking through the Road Chief promotional materials that hit my inbox every now and then.

PA BAMBI II 03-16-2021 06:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis C (Post 2472069)
However, the Road Chief takes things to another level. Each one is bespoke, created for an individual buyer. The quality, materials, and finish are fantastic. Iíd love to own one. Ultimately though, I wasnít prepared to spend $250K for a Road Chief when I could get an Airstream for much less money. Iím happy with my decision, but I still find myself looking through the Road Chief promotional materials that hit my inbox every now and then.


The modern Bowlus trailers are amazing. I have perused the sales materials and videos on the internet. They are WAY out of my price range. But here again, the new ones seemingly have more whistles and bells than a spacecraft.


Looking over some conversions, a Bowlus in 1936 was $1250 and a Clipper $1450. This translates to $21K-26K in today's money. Both top of the line trailers in their day, they'd be considered quite spartan today. But $21K-26K is kind of affordable.



As for modern...over $100K for a new Airstream and $250K for a Bowlus? It is quite obvious the demographic being built for today.

Shiny16 03-16-2021 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Luke Grisott (Post 2472026)
We love our Airstream. I think anyone can afford an Airstream. I see so much waste among the young adults who spend hundreds of dollars $$$$ to stay hotels, and do this often . Also those staying in the dorms while attending college . Would do well to purchase an Airstream . Then park in long-term monthly RV resort. And guess what they have a home that can follow them to their new profession after graduation. An Airstream $$$ less than a dorm cost for 4 years and you have a home you can take with you anywhere your career take you. Wished I had known about this would’ve owned an airstream many years ago.

I think a college student should spend time getting the most he can academically and not be saddled with repairs and upkeep of an Airstream. The savings would be minimal.

panamerican 03-16-2021 06:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Luke Grisott (Post 2472026)
We love our Airstream. I think anyone can afford an Airstream. I see so much waste among the young adults who spend hundreds of dollars $$$$ to stay hotels, and do this often . Also those staying in the dorms while attending college . Would do well to purchase an Airstream . Then park in long-term monthly RV resort. And guess what they have a home that can follow them to their new profession after graduation. An Airstream $$$ less than a dorm cost for 4 years and you have a home you can take with you anywhere your career take you. Wished I had known about this would’ve owned an airstream many years ago.


I think this is a massive oversimplification/generalization. Nearly 70% of students take out loans and the cost of a new Airstream is well out of reach of what a student loan can provide. Moreover, going the pre-owned or vintage, there will be costs associated with maint or maint that was differed, let alone finding a place to park it with basic utilities long term.

RVing is also not for everyone, even though a luxury or quasi-luxury RV isn't really camping/RVing, I know dozens of people that simply want no part of it and want to hop on a plane, rent a car and stay in hotels/resorts. This is as much of a lifestyle choice as ours was to NOT do that or do it very little.

Not everyone can afford an Airstream....many can't even afford a house and of no fault of their own in many cases.

Maybe I should stop buying/wasting money on collecting full-sized arcade games so I can afford that Learjet I've been eyeing. ;)

Shiny16 03-16-2021 07:00 AM

The Bowlus looks amazing. I just don’t think I’d want that much attention.

panamerican 03-16-2021 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2472095)
The Bowlus looks amazing. I just donít think Iíd want that much attention.


That it does, but last time I looked it was mostly a high priced empty nester RV. It's virtually impossible to haul a family around in one, even a small one comfortably....but if you did mange to do it successfully, it would be one cool looking way to do it. Sans the cool look, and at a lower price and more real estate, I guess I'll just have to slum it out with Airstream.

I wonder when Avion will return. ;)

ROBERT CROSS 03-16-2021 07:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FC7039 (Post 2313556)
Unless you own stock in Thor why would you care? It is not like property values. You own yours. Enjoy it and let other enjoy what they want. Are you offended if someone buys a SOB? Are you better? I just donít understand this.

Exactly...We have ours, don't plan on buying another, and the stock's a keeper.....for now.;)

Bob
🇺🇸

Double J 08-24-2021 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skyguyscott (Post 2313535)
The linked article was thin, even by internet standards. The one sentence summaries above are pretty spot on, and not much else is there.

So, Airstream wants to move "down market" in hopes of capturing a younger market and more share. This is a risk for any luxury brand…

The (nest) and BaseCamp are still deep in damage control, which is a shame, literally…

AS has a thin needle to thread. Among the challenges:
  • Younger people in general have less $$ than earlier generations, and don't seem as interested in travel, especially camping.
  • Like most young people of all generations, luxury isn't high on their list, so a lux brand is still more aspirational.
  • What is high on their list is technology, especially being connected to the internet, which is harder to do when in the boonies
  • Many young people might associate AS trailers with their grandparents, or "soooo 20th Century"
  • What the few young people who are interested in camping can afford is a pop-up, and there are plenty out there, some even made by a Thor company, so have you thought this through? (i.e. maybe let a sister company hook the kids on a Thor trailer and and get pining for the AS brand as they get richer, if not older. You know, like GM used to)

Of all their initiatives so far, it would seem the BaseCamp concept is the most promising, but they so badly botched the engineering, design and execution of that product, it may not be salvageable, unless they take it off-line for a few years for a complete redesign, FIELD TESTING, and get it right. They would need to find a way to make it both more durable, lighter, and less expensive.

PS, am I the only one that snickered at "artesianal rivets?"

Ya, “artesianal rivets” is pretty comical.

I think moving “down market” is a risk for any “luxury” brand, but one way I think it can be done with limited damage is to offer something significantly smaller. To me, the base camp and nest are are quite big and don’t seem much smaller than the Bambi, which is still pretty big compared to more compact trailers out there.

While I really like how you laid out the problems air stream has with younger consumers, I mostly disagree with it. What I see are the problems with the current AS line up is that they are far too big, not just to be towed with a Subaru, but to be towed off road. And that is what I see the younger generation wanting. That is why they are driving Subarus in the first place and why 4x4 sprinter vans are so damn popular (or any 4x4 van). Not sure where you live, but where I am at, it’s the younger generation shelling out 50k-100k for used 4x4 RV vans, and the most popular are the most luxurious; Mercedes Sprinter vans. They are able and willing to shell out the cash for luxury, but only if versatile. Ain’t no millennial looking at an airstream and thinking that would be great to take exploring on off-road forest trails, so young people don’t even consider AS an option.

This here is the direction I think AS should go if they want to attract that adventure-millennial. Looks cool, small, light, can offroad (check out the boondock version). This, done up with some aluminum to give it that aircraft feel and maybe tweak the design to be more bullet shaped, add some side skylights and could be different, cool and feel luxurious enough to charge +50k.

https://nucamprv.com/tab400-camper

Double J 08-24-2021 01:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shiny16 (Post 2472095)
The Bowlus looks amazing. I just don’t think I’d want that much attention.

Quote:

Originally Posted by panamerican (Post 2472096)
That it does, but last time I looked it was mostly a high priced empty nester RV. It's virtually impossible to haul a family around in one, even a small one comfortably....but if you did mange to do it successfully, it would be one cool looking way to do it. Sans the cool look, and at a lower price and more real estate, I guess I'll just have to slum it out with Airstream.

Agreed, Bowlus looks cool af, but not practical. For example, not being able to stand upright doesn’t seem practical especially for $250k. 6’4” is not a very luxurious ceiling height especially if you are 6’3” tall like me. Also, did you see how they set up the solar panels on the roof? Nope, because they’re in the closet not charging the batteries and taking up limited storage space. The kitchen doesn’t look fun to cook in if you have to constantly move out of the way whenever someone else wants in or out of the trailer. Fridge is super small and there doesn’t appear to be outside storage. But man it looks really damn cool

mickeyme 08-24-2021 05:08 AM

InnovationÖ.
 
Hereís the thing - by building a quality product (recent issues notwithstanding), Airstream is limiting their market. With so many trailers still on the road years after they were built, they need to look at ways to get into new markets and give people reasons to buy new trailers if they want to survive as a business.

So I see the ďmadness.Ē

Personally, I think they need to look at a different demographic - those of us with families who want a trailer that can hold all of us and still be able to use a tow vehicle that can comfortably do the same. Use lighter materials - lots of innovations in that area. Get rid of the extras - we really donít need a single tv, let alone 3.

For that matter, going lighter weight is also a good way to carry the brand forward as we head into the age of electric tow vehicles. We arenít there yet, but it would be great if Airstream were already producing a trailer that was ready when we are.

jondrew55 08-24-2021 06:13 AM

There are lightweight campers out there of varying quality for families. We were looking at a Rockwood bunkhouse model with a Murphy queen bed. Towable with a midsize SUV. I believe Lance also makes some high end trailers with windows that kind of compete with AS but I don't think they are very light weight.

Putting vehicles on a diet is no easy task. Weight reduction programs in the military are good examples of this. If you ever go to an airshow and you can walk up to a V-22 tilt rotor you'll see what I mean. It seems fragile enough to knock over with a strong sneeze. And weight reduction also is why most RVs seem so cheesy. Thin laminate panels, lightweight fiberglass showers, cheap plumbing fixtures. All part of a weight/cost/quality trade off.

There's really only so much you can do to get a trailer light enough to tow with your standard car. rPods come to mind as well as some of the teardrops you see out there these days.

I'm all for AS experimenting to attract a different demo as long as they don't lose the formula that has attracted it's core user base. I don't know if we now own our "forever" trailer since we have changed it up every few years for a long time. I'd hate to think we'd lose the option of buying another one in 5 years like our new Globetrotter because AS went after the rPod crowd.


Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)
Hereís the thing - by building a quality product (recent issues notwithstanding), Airstream is limiting their market. With so many trailers still on the road years after they were built, they need to look at ways to get into new markets and give people reasons to buy new trailers if they want to survive as a business.

So I see the ďmadness.Ē

Personally, I think they need to look at a different demographic - those of us with families who want a trailer that can hold all of us and still be able to use a tow vehicle that can comfortably do the same. Use lighter materials - lots of innovations in that area. Get rid of the extras - we really donít need a single tv, let alone 3.

For that matter, going lighter weight is also a good way to carry the brand forward as we head into the age of electric tow vehicles. We arenít there yet, but it would be great if Airstream were already producing a trailer that was ready when we are.


ealmasy 08-24-2021 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)
Hereís the thing - by building a quality product (recent issues notwithstanding), Airstream is limiting their market. With so many trailers still on the road years after they were built, they need to look at ways to get into new markets and give people reasons to buy new trailers if they want to survive as a business.

Survive? Not sure if you all noticed, but there are an array of other threads here about Airstreams being sold out across the country and year-long waits for delivery. Yes, this is in part due to the pandemic, but it is also a reflection of the fact that the median age in our country (and worldwide) is rising, which means more money to spend on expensive toys like Airstreams and more time to use them. Our population as a whole is getting older, not younger.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)
For that matter, going lighter weight is also a good way to carry the brand forward as we head into the age of electric tow vehicles. We arenít there yet, but it would be great if Airstream were already producing a trailer that was ready when we are.

Airstream is already producing trailers that are ready. Even low-end electric vehicles have crazy amounts of torque compared to similar internal combustion options. The only issues right now are range and charging speed, both of which are rapidly being addressed via the current furious rate of research on battery technologies.

One of the biggest reasons Airstreams endure and hold their value, IMHO, is that the company focuses on improvement, rather than change for the sake of change. This is what will enable Airstream to survive and thrive in the future Ė they have a winning formula, and are (mostly) sticking to it.

Piggy Bank 08-25-2021 06:49 AM

Why not go to The Vault?

Who here hasn't heard over and over how the "Original" Airstreams from the 50/60/70s were more nimble and could be towed by a regular car. Why isn't Airstream going into the vault and dredging up the past a bit?

They would be lighter/narrower and stripped down by today's standards. Exactly the point. Small fridge or even an ice box space for a Yeti cooler or inverter plug in-cooler with solar battery power supply to recharge. Bathroom with tub/shower (dogs and kids!), window that opens in the bathroom vs fan, or even the vey small wet bath that some had which still had decent room to stand up in, gauchos, a gas cooktop, no microwave, no TV, no stereo, easy-to-open windows and a fantastic fan. Option for AC. Option for technology package (wi fi booster/upgraded batteries/lots of usb plug/onboard propane generator to run computer.

Only real challenge would be to add both gray and black tanks, amiright?

panamerican 08-25-2021 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)
Here’s the thing - by building a quality product (recent issues notwithstanding), Airstream is limiting their market. With so many trailers still on the road years after they were built, they need to look at ways to get into new markets and give people reasons to buy new trailers if they want to survive as a business.

I see your point, but not sure I agree. Pandemic shortages aside, Airstream has sold every trailer they've built as far back as I can recall. Today with 8-9 month waits, clearly there are still a lot of folks out there, many that if they can't pay cash, can get a high end unit for maybe around $600/mo (15 year note). Interest on an RV loan is tax deductible. Most car payments my younger friends have are around $400/mo (quasi luxury, not entry level), so it's not beyond reason, yet....but as they (Airstream) keeps increasing prices, eventually it will, so AS has to have a lower cost unit, but when that will be? Hard to tell, I would have bet real money that it would have hit already, maybe a few years ago, since prices have nearly or maybe more than doubled since I got into this 20 years ago. Not all those annual increases were material or labor related, and more than cost of living.

Really great trailers, no question, but from a Monday morning QB's perspective, some downright mind numbing mgmt decisions and inconsistent product quality- some that can be tied directly to poor mgmt IMHO.

uncle_bob 08-26-2021 06:46 AM

Hi

If you hop back to the 1950's and listen to what owners were saying back then, quality was no better ( and possibly worse) "back in the day". They also had some pretty crazy repair bills on their tow vehicles ..... lots and lots of talk about "I need to find one that lasts" ....

Bob

jondrew55 08-26-2021 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 2531030)
Hi

If you hop back to the 1950's and listen to what owners were saying back then, quality was no better ( and possibly worse) "back in the day". They also had some pretty crazy repair bills on their tow vehicles ..... lots and lots of talk about "I need to find one that lasts" ....

Bob

Yea, the good old days. Like car safety. Remember how much safer older, bigger, heavier cars were?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPF4fBGNK0U

panamerican 08-26-2021 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jondrew55 (Post 2531033)
Yea, the good old days. Like car safety. Remember how much safer older, bigger, heavier cars were?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPF4fBGNK0U

I saw this one a couple of years ago. I absolutely love it. When I was younger and dumber, I used to think all that steel around you was a benefit, and although it would barrel through most cars of today like a sherman tank, the reality is all the collision energy has to go somewhere and without crumple zones and modern tech, the entire car is the absorption passing it full onto the occupants.

Amazing how hindsight is 20/20. :D

Foiled Again 08-26-2021 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panamerican (Post 2531037)
I saw this one a couple of years ago. I absolutely love it. When I was younger and dumber, I used to think all that steel around you was a benefit, and although it would barrel through most cars of today like a sherman tank, the reality is all the collision energy has to go somewhere and without crumple zones and modern tech, the entire car is the absorption passing it full onto the occupants.

Amazing how hindsight is 20/20. :D

I was alive and 11 years old in 1959, and spent a lot of time listening - unobserved - to adults in social situations. Trying to keep a car longer than 3 years? Really? There was a BIG after-market business in undercoating and rustproofing... to give the body a chance of surviving up to 5 years. Road salt plus acidic pollution from steel factories, paper factories, etc. just destroyed car bodies. I remember one year where half a dozen people had failures in their manual transmissions - and automatics? Jeez, I got 13 MPG when I had the manual, now I am lucky when I get 10 MPG! Oil was mostly just oil, and was black sludge at 3000 miles. STP additive was first produced on 1954 (Scientifically Treated Petroleum) "the racer's edge". Most people thought it was too expensive - and anyone who aspired to be solidly middle class would have been horrified to have to drive an OLD junky car. The teenager might get it and be grateful for worn upholstery and poor compression... and the parents would be happy that the old buggy couldn't go over 50 MPH. The 3 year car loan was about the only flavor available. 7 years? You gotta be joking! No one's car lasted more than 5 years. (The Bakers, accross the street did have a DeSoto they bought after WWII ended, but they literally drove it to church when the weather was bad, and to the grocery store once a week.)

jondrew55 08-26-2021 09:23 AM

I still have the sticker for my dad's 1966 Volkswagon Beetle; $1800. He added $75 for the sun roof.

My new truck is 4 times what their first house cost.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Foiled Again (Post 2531088)
I was alive and 11 years old in 1959, and spent a lot of time listening - unobserved - to adults in social situations. Trying to keep a car longer than 3 years? Really? There was a BIG after-market business in undercoating and rustproofing... to give the body a chance of surviving up to 5 years. Road salt plus acidic pollution from steel factories, paper factories, etc. just destroyed car bodies. I remember one year where half a dozen people had failures in their manual transmissions - and automatics? Jeez, I got 13 MPG when I had the manual, now I am lucky when I get 10 MPG! Oil was mostly just oil, and was black sludge at 3000 miles. STP additive was first produced on 1954 (Scientifically Treated Petroleum) "the racer's edge". Most people thought it was too expensive - and anyone who aspired to be solidly middle class would have been horrified to have to drive an OLD junky car. The teenager might get it and be grateful for worn upholstery and poor compression... and the parents would be happy that the old buggy couldn't go over 50 MPH. The 3 year car loan was about the only flavor available. 7 years? You gotta be joking! No one's car lasted more than 5 years. (The Bakers, accross the street did have a DeSoto they bought after WWII ended, but they literally drove it to church when the weather was bad, and to the grocery store once a week.)


uncle_bob 08-27-2021 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jondrew55 (Post 2531102)
I still have the sticker for my dad's 1966 Volkswagon Beetle; $1800. He added $75 for the sun roof.

My new truck is 4 times what their first house cost.

Hi

That was after VW went insane on their pricing. They spent a *lot* of years holding the base price below $1,000 .....

These days, about 13 times a year, folks bring all sorts of absolutely beautiful examples of those old cars to town here. They put a *lot* of hard work into it and it shows. Many of them look better today than they did on the dealer's floor. I think that's great and more power to them.

Don't look at those lovingly rebuilt cars as examples of what actually was on the road back then .... I made good money over several summers patching rust and repainting folks cars back in the 60's. They all were "new cars" by today's standards.

Bob

Fungus 08-27-2021 03:18 PM

A couple of observations:

Young people today will become middle-aged and then old people. I drove a 1966 VW bug (already used up), a 1964 Chevy Biscayne (beautiful car, and used up at 60k miles), Datsun 210, itty-bitty truck. Then went "big" when I finally started making real money and bought one of the first mini-vans (Lee Iacocca's Caravan). There were years when we owned one small family car and I either rode a bicycle to work or a small motorcycle.

As we aged we moved from the those small vehicles to something bigger but it was really the income that drove the buying. I just bought my first AS after years of a pop-up camper, then tent camping with backpacking, then traveling without a camper. I can afford one now. When I was the age of my children, I couldn't. Wait for them to get old, if they can build wealth...

You could say that there could be a difference in generations in that today's young buy experiences whereas we buy assets for value. My administrative assistant made decent money and lived in a trailer-house hovel that they owned. A depreciating asset, so a poor financial decision. She spent her money on family trips to Disney World, something we never did and never would even have considered. We went the cheap route with backpacking trips and saved when we could. Now that we have a small amount of wealth, we travel when we want and, yes, bought an Airstream.

Maybe much of the difference lies in the fact that many X, Y, and mills came of age after their parents acquired the means to either buy the gear, take the trip, or maybe both. They aren't willing to wait for the wealth-building to occur before the experiences start.

Is one way better than the other? I don't know.

Another thing is that we can't compare the cost of things then to now. Gasoline is nearly the cheapest it's been in my memory when adjusted for inflation, and I go back to the 1960s.

jondrew55 08-27-2021 03:36 PM

My cars starting around 1970 sumpthin
1959 Jeep CJ5
1948 Jeep CJ 2A
1970 Ford Maverick
2 different 1968 Mustangs
1966 Chevy Chevelle
1970 Beetle
1980 VW Rabbit
And then a bunch of other stuff. All fun cars. Death traps by todayís standards. The mustangs, Jeepís and Chevelle would be the only ones worth restoring. That CJ2A restored would bring a pretty penny.



Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 2531468)
Hi

That was after VW went insane on their pricing. They spent a *lot* of years holding the base price below $1,000 .....

These days, about 13 times a year, folks bring all sorts of absolutely beautiful examples of those old cars to town here. They put a *lot* of hard work into it and it shows. Many of them look better today than they did on the dealer's floor. I think that's great and more power to them.

Don't look at those lovingly rebuilt cars as examples of what actually was on the road back then .... I made good money over several summers patching rust and repainting folks cars back in the 60's. They all were "new cars" by today's standards.

Bob


Fungus 08-27-2021 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jondrew55 (Post 2531602)
My cars starting around 1970 sumpthin
1959 Jeep CJ5
1948 Jeep CJ 2A
1970 Ford Maverick
2 different 1968 Mustangs
1966 Chevy Chevelle
1970 Beetle
1980 VW Rabbit
And then a bunch of other stuff. All fun cars. Death traps by todayís standards. The mustangs, Jeepís and Chevelle would be the only ones worth restoring. That CJ2A restored would bring a pretty penny.

The CJ2A would be fun to restore. Simple engine. Well, simple everything. Our 1966 VW was six volt. Big PITA. Required constant attention to the grounding and even then the headlights were good for about 100 feet. Rain? Stay home. But working on the VW was a breeze. It was 11 years old when I acquired it. Just sold the 11-year-old Lexus LS. Huge difference in quality between the VW and the Lexus at the same age. Gas mileage was about the same.

I own my dadís 1951 Chevy truck. Wish I had the garage space to restore it.

wayne b 08-27-2021 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)

For that matter, going lighter weight is also a good way to carry the brand forward as we head into the age of electric tow vehicles. We arenít there yet, but it would be great if Airstream were already producing a trailer that was ready when we are.

Apologies for a potentially newbie question here: Why are contemporary Airstreams so much heavier than they were in the past?

In this 1970 brochure, you have 27 foot trailer with 450lb tongue weight / 4500lbs. The layouts seem very similar to contemporary versions...
https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ayouts-247.pdf

jondrew55 08-28-2021 06:37 AM

The Ď59 Willys was easy to work on. First motor I ever rebuilt ďLĒ head. Did a limited frame up restoration of the 2A. Scraped all the rust off whatever frame I could access without removing the body. Painted it a horrendous metallic blue color. The Ď70 bottle was a huge improvement over the Ď66 my dad had. Electric wipers, 12V system pretty sure it actually had some sort of heater/defroster fans. I got the Maverick for $500 from a lady who said it had a cracked head. Turned out it was just a ticking noise from carbon tracking on the distributor cap. I felt bad and went back to tell her sheíd sold it for much less than it was worth. She said to forget it because the car was ugly as hell and she hated it and when her husband thought there was something wrong with the engine it was a perfect excuse to get rid of it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fungus (Post 2531614)
The CJ2A would be fun to restore. Simple engine. Well, simple everything. Our 1966 VW was six volt. Big PITA. Required constant attention to the grounding and even then the headlights were good for about 100 feet. Rain? Stay home. But working on the VW was a breeze. It was 11 years old when I acquired it. Just sold the 11-year-old Lexus LS. Huge difference in quality between the VW and the Lexus at the same age. Gas mileage was about the same.

I own my dadís 1951 Chevy truck. Wish I had the garage space to restore it.


ROBERT CROSS 08-28-2021 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by panamerican (Post 2531037)
I saw this one a couple of years ago. I absolutely love it. When I was younger and dumber, I used to think all that steel around you was a benefit, and although it would barrel through most cars of today like a sherman tank, the reality is all the collision energy has to go somewhere and without crumple zones and modern tech, the entire car is the absorption passing it full onto the occupants.

Amazing how hindsight is 20/20. :D

Yes...but we were/are smarter...Dad & Mom, (and I still) stayed well behind and 50mph was tops on most all roads.

POI...did you know Packard developed auto park in 1933.

Bob
🇺🇸
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMsRJrlbyMI

uncle_bob 08-28-2021 07:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jondrew55 (Post 2531602)
My cars starting around 1970 sumpthin
1959 Jeep CJ5
1948 Jeep CJ 2A
1970 Ford Maverick
2 different 1968 Mustangs
1966 Chevy Chevelle
1970 Beetle
1980 VW Rabbit
And then a bunch of other stuff. All fun cars. Death traps by todayís standards. The mustangs, Jeepís and Chevelle would be the only ones worth restoring. That CJ2A restored would bring a pretty penny.

Hi

If it was anything like the one I had, that Maverick was "less than the best" to put it very politely .....

Early on, I would burn through a beater used car in about a year. They never cost a lot, but they never lasted either. First new car was after a summer of putting in 80+ hour weeks all summer long. Didn't spend a dime on anything all summer. Taught me to get a bit less excited about new cars ...

Bob

geodazed 08-29-2021 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mickeyme (Post 2530168)
Hereís the thing - by building a quality product (recent issues notwithstanding), Airstream is limiting their market. With so many trailers still on the road years after they were built, they need to look at ways to get into new markets and give people reasons to buy new trailers if they want to survive as a business.



So I see the ďmadness.Ē



Personally, I think they need to look at a different demographic - those of us with families who want a trailer that can hold all of us and still be able to use a tow vehicle that can comfortably do the same. Use lighter materials - lots of innovations in that area. Get rid of the extras - we really donít need a single tv, let alone 3.



For that matter, going lighter weight is also a good way to carry the brand forward as we head into the age of electric tow vehicles. We arenít there yet, but it would be great if Airstream were already producing a trailer that was ready when we are.



I agree with lighter is better. My restored 1966 24 ft tradewind only weighs 4,000 lbs.

jondrew55 08-29-2021 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 2531743)
Hi

If it was anything like the one I had, that Maverick was "less than the best" to put it very politely .....


Bob

Thatís putting it mildly. I forgot to mention it was a manual 3-on-the-tree shifter. I was going from first to 2nd and the shifter literally broke off the steering column. Gave me the opportunity to put floor shifter on it. Added at least 10 MPH to the top end.

uncle_bob 08-30-2021 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jondrew55 (Post 2532281)
Thatís putting it mildly. I forgot to mention it was a manual 3-on-the-tree shifter. I was going from first to 2nd and the shifter literally broke off the steering column. Gave me the opportunity to put floor shifter on it. Added at least 10 MPH to the top end.

Hi

So with another 10 MPH at the top end, you could actualy make it to 45 MPH ? :) :) :)

The engine on mine overheated very easily, along with a number of more minor issues.

Bob

skyguyscott 08-31-2021 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wayne b (Post 2531617)
Apologies for a potentially newbie question here: Why are contemporary Airstreams so much heavier than they were in the past?

In this 1970 brochure, you have 27 foot trailer with 450lb tongue weight / 4500lbs. The layouts seem very similar to contemporary versions...
https://www.airstream.com/wp-content...ayouts-247.pdf

Short answer: because that's what the market wants.

Longer answer: The cabinetry in the '69-80s models was made of an ingenious, light weight cardboard-honeycomb core material with 1/4" plywood veneer. But the market wanted "solid hard wood" which is much heavier - ditto on the countertops.

The so-called engineers in the 70's drilled "lightening holes" willy nilly in the frame, without any structural analysis to guide them. This resulted in weight reduction, but also "rear end separation" and premature frame failure, common in the 70s trailers.

The Argosy line introduced the heavier wrap around corner windows, which migrated to the Airstream line in the 80s, increasing weight. Airstream also added stainless steel rock guards to the front end.

By the 80s, the era of the V-8 sedans and oil embargoes was over and everyone started towing with trucks and SUVs, allowing for heavier trailers.

Foiled Again 09-01-2021 01:48 AM

Good analysis, and very succinct. Two televisions in a 25 foot trailer, plus DVD player, stereo, and on and on. Too bad Jackson Center only sells empty shells to a few select outfitters.

I toured a handicap remodeling contractor recently. They have an upper cabinet adaptor that I would love, simply because I am short. You pull each door.forward and DOWN. The internal sliding rack moves forward and down. I could see every dish, cup and saucer inside.... customizing for an Airstream. $5000+ per cabinet, and I have 3. (Choking sounds) So... folding step stools, eh?


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