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John 02-18-2003 06:12 PM

Quick claim?

What's the story behind this beautiful "Buck"???


InsideOut 02-18-2003 07:29 PM

From what I understand, he had his eye on it in a abandoned lot for a couple of years and kept asking the owner about buying it.

The "seller" finally realized he was never going "get around to cleaning it up & using it" so...he finally said he would sell it for $500. When he went to pick it up, the seller told him to just take it, because he obviously wanted it bad! So as a matter of principle (and I think for tax purposes) he paid one dollar and towed it off!

Choose an old adage:

1. The squeaky wheel gets the grease or
2. Being in the right place at the right time

Either would apply...


Tikihut 03-04-2003 09:48 PM

I paid $3000.00 for Argosy Minute and I will probably put at least another 2 grand it to it I need a new awning and give it a new paint job this spring or summer.

Sneakinup 03-05-2003 05:02 AM

$1500 for my 72 Overlander. :D

I'm completely modernizing the interior. It didn't really need it, but I plan to attemp some full timing in a few years, and wanted to do it the way I want. No rush. I'll be replacing Univolt, Hot water heater, eventually the furnace (in Florida for now). I guesstimate I will have about $5-6,000 in to it all totalled when I am done. That sure beats $50 grand for a brand new one!

72 27' Overlander
92 GMC Suburban

Silvertwinkie 03-05-2003 02:05 PM

So for those that spent less than $5k, you did save a bundle compared to new, but how much money did you spent getting the way you wanted it? You should also put an hourly rate on time and factor that in as well.

I think this way is a great way to go, don't get me wrong, it's just that I have seen so many older units out there from the 60's and 70's that needed so much work, buy the time I got everying done that I wanted, I calculated I'd have spent about $10k to $15k(not including my labor) on top of the $5k cost of the older unit. That put the total cost near $20k-$25k factoring a dollar value for labor. That would mean to me that I could have bought a brand new International for another $5k or less depending on how good my negotiating skills were. I had a sales guy down to about $30,500 for a new International at a show.

I think there is something to the older units, but honestly, outside of loving a particular model, is it really that less expensive in the long run?



Silvertwinkie 03-05-2003 02:14 PM

My bad, I missed Peter's post.

But now that I read it, you can see my point. Even if you cut in half your labor you are still into a fair chunk of change for a renovation.

The flip side is that if it's a hobby, there is no price tag you can place on a hobby if you can afford it. But even as sucked into a hobby as I get sometimes, reality still sinks in.

There are exceptions galore, so please don't think my thinking is "cookie cutter." I am sure there are many, many places this makes sense. But I think the love sometimes may cloud the better judgement on when to pass. Been guilty of that myself.



Sneakinup 03-05-2003 02:17 PM

I understand your point about the cost of labor, but my time working on the Airstream is "a labor of love." As Mastercard would say, "Priceless!"

Still, for less than $6000, I am going to have an almost brand new, customized trailer done just the way I want it. Not from the factory with finishes and fabrics I really don't care for. No offense to anyone that has a new A/S. It's just not me, which is why I am going this route... aside from not having that kind of money. :D

59toaster 03-05-2003 03:02 PM

My wife inherited our 59. It's in reasonable shape. I do have a floor repair to do and I fully expect to put at least $1200 in it in the next 60 day's. That will get it in travel shape, get the floor repaired and new tires, wheels and hopefully get the electrical right (just scored a 1000watt inverter for $100 :D ). Unfortunatly most of the LP gear is missing except the princess stove and the heater. Heater has a blower motor problem but I should be able to fix that relativly cheap.
That will get me campground ready but I know some of the camping we plan to do will be Boondocking so I have to get the rest of the LP stuff found. Smiley has a 2 way fridge I'm interested in but I don't have the time to go get it or a vehicle to drive out there that it would fit in right now so I have not made a comitment to buy with him.
We are still deciding what to do with the inside. Most of the original cabinets are there and other then some bumps and bangs not bad shape. They are servicable. We are missing enough parts or they are beat up enough that it would be very difficult to do a proper restore as I had first hoped. Stupid stuff like the walls painted with interrior house paint and smudges here and there on the trim from not taping them off and it's baby blue. Looks horrid. So I'm going to proably have to strip out the cabinets and then strip the walls back down to the metal to make it right. My overheads at the gally are aluminum housing and I have seriously thought about polishing it. I think polishing the whole interior would be too much but just those cabinets would be a neat contrast to the wood sliding doors in them. The vent for the Lp fridge is beat up as well and I have a race shop that I know the folks at that could easily make one out of aluminum. Then a nice formica on the counters with the aluminum banding would still look right with the old Princess stove. I have to redo the dinette as well.
There is one item in the whole camper that keeps stoping me from just pulling everthing out and tracing patterns and redoing it in a pickled oak is the life time warranty sticker on the inside of the wardrobe. It's still in near perfect shape and I hate to loose it.
I'm also missing the windows on either end. The front has a ugly window A/C hanging through it and the rear has a peice of lexan. I think I'll need the whole assemblies including the frame that is attached to the body. THose are going to be hard finds and proably cost me a good amount. The A/C stays till I can afford to put a roof unit on it. Those will proably be next years main projects. I understand I'm going to have to reinforce the roof to handle the weight of the A/C as well.

I'm still in the process of shoping and buying a proper tow rig also LOL.

InsideOut 03-05-2003 04:18 PM

Different strokes for different folks...
I think it is just a much a "love of old things with character" as much as anything least for me.

...the total cost near $20k-$25k factoring a dollar value for labor. That would mean to me that I could have bought a brand new International for another $5k or less....
Personally, I would not want a new trailer...I would much rather have an older one with character and history (warts and all) than have something brand new. I'm with Sneakinup when he/she says:

I am going to have an almost brand new, customized trailer done just the way I want it. Not from the factory with finishes and fabrics I really don't care for. No offense to anyone that has a new A/S. It's just not me, which is why I am going this route...aside from not having that kind of money.
Although, it wasn't a financial decision for me...I could have bought new if I wanted, but I chose vintage.

I dispise the disposable society we live in today. It costs more to fix things (cars, cameras, appliances, etc.) than to replace it...arrrgh! Maybe I was born in the wrong generation...

I don't shop at the "me to" label-conscious stores, the "big boxes" that try to tell me which color is "in style" this season only to be told it's "out of date" next, nor do I live in a suburban tract home. Not that there is anything wrong with any of these's just not for me! I would much rather create my own identity than have a new trailer right off the production line that looks just like "so & so's" across the way.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled that Airstream still makes our beautiful american icons with basically the same design as when they first came out for folks who aren't into the extra effort of a restoration or aren't able to take it on for whatever reason. It keeps the dream alive for more people of all different walks of life to enjoy.

Just my 2-cents...


John 03-06-2003 07:16 AM

My needs require a late model(used) trailer, with a stand alone shower and enough room to add a comfortable chair. My current trailer fits my needs 100%.


Listen to this- I bought a 1973 Chevy C-10 for $2,500.00 and then stripped it to the frame and put about $13,000.00 worth of new components back into her. It took about nine months with the help of a great friend(from Friday night to Sunday night). Two people @ $50 per hr, you're looking at over $100K dollars. But we never looked at the money, we were having too much fun.

This truck didn't have a computer, no pollution control(except for the charcoal filter), dual batteries, dual fuel tanks, the bed was made into a camper and I could fix everything on it myself. Now that's truly "Priceless"!!!!


Silvertwinkie 03-06-2003 07:39 AM

I can see all what you all mean. I have a '64 Glasspar boat that I spent a summer restoring. It cost me about $1,500.00 to restore and a summer to get her back into shape, so believe me I know what you mean.

My point is that it cost $1,500.00 and a whole summer (more or less). To me the labor of love thing makes sense (but was still a consideration when I decided to pick up the boat). The price was right and I know that if I sold it, I could get that money back(not that it was a real issue). Point being, I didn't spend $6k-9k, but I could have and it would have been almost the same as buying a boat new and taking the depreciation.

What I guess what I am trying to relay, is that are the folks that spent over $5k ($5k-15k) better off than the folks that spent less than $5k? Of course there are circumstances where someone that paid less than $5k has a unique situation, and vise versa, but I am talking in general. Is there a point for some folks where they begin to think with the heart only and dive in with the best of intentions and find that although they got it their way, which is cool and all, but at a cost that is too close to a new or the same as taking the depreciation hit? I'm all for refurbishing too, but I can tell you from my '64 Glasspar situation, it didn't cost much because I was lucky and it being a boat made it more resistant to rust, oxidation, and things that make metal and such not designed for a wet environment to deteriorate at a signigicantly higher rate if not maintained properly (plus the boat has no head, fresh water, beds, heat, A/C, etc).

I never owned my own trailer before this one, so there wasn't much to throw away to get it. I looked at some legacey units and then priced out what some of the major components would cost to replace/ repair and took my time into consideration. My findings were that I would have had to spend more than I felt the unit(s) were worth that were below $5k in cost in most cases, but that was just my opinion. In this regard you may be preaching to the choir, I have a 1980 Delta 88 that I inherited and I keep a bottle of O+ plasma, morhpine and a scalpel ready at all times, although not as much since she went into retirement "up north." Working in technology, this is also my biggest peave that after 3 years the units are doorstops. Maybe you can hold them for 4 years, but after that, to the junkyard/recycler they go and another $400k for new workstations, servers and even more if you "upgrade" software.

It's the Gillette syndrome. Notice how mops are doing the same thing lately too? I guess it really just depends on the end user's passion, taste and wallet size!




John 03-06-2003 08:11 AM


Background infor on my 73 C-10:

I wanted a truck that was pre-emission controls, one that I could fix anything on(no computers) and had a good body.

Since I was working and had the money and I planning on taking a 2 yr sabbatical, I wanted a new 1973 Chevy C-10 to explore US, Canada & Alaska.

I was rebuilding something to meet my needs. It didn't have anything to do with cost or cost overuns or emoitions. It was to learn and know this truck inside and out. To be self-reliant!!


Silvertwinkie 03-06-2003 08:51 AM

The '73 C-10 Chevy is a hell of a machine too. They look cool too!


59toaster 03-06-2003 09:14 AM


Originally posted by John

Background infor on my 73 C-10:

I wanted a truck that was pre-emission controls, one that I could fix anything on(no computers) and had a good body.

Since I was working and had the money and I planning on taking a 2 yr sabbatical, I wanted a new 1973 Chevy C-10 to explore US, Canada & Alaska.

I was rebuilding something to meet my needs. It didn't have anything to do with cost or cost overuns or emoitions. It was to learn and know this truck inside and out. To be self-reliant!!


Well I'm not new to putting Chevy's and GMC's together. I do ALL my own repairs down to rebuilding transmissions. My toy 75 GMC Jimmy I bought for $1....yes ONE US DOLLAR. That Dollar didn't include floors LOL. Took me a year to put it together and this was not a restoration it was to build a offroad vehicle. I have no issue with driving over 3ft boulders. Here is a write up I did on a soft top I moderate that site. 10,000 plus users and 3 million+ hits a month. Its just about the most active Chevy truck board on the net. :D
My Daily driver is a 89 Supra I bought with a blown engine and put it back together.
Fuel injection doesn't scare me in the least. Once you figure out how to relate it to a Carberator and figure how to relate it's failure and get savy with a VOM it's not really difficult to fix. THe GM FI used pre OBDII is pretty simple. It only has 3 major points of failure, Fuel pump, Bad signal from distributor and wiring. The spare parts you need is Butt connectors, spare fuel pump and a ignition modual. With those parts you can handle 90% of failures with them and at the very least get it into limp mode.
The big gains is fuel economy. My wifes 79 Blazer is a strong runner. It's tuned as good as I can possibly get it and the best I have ever managed out of it is 12mpg (3.73 gears kind of winds it out). I know people with 88 Suburbans that get 18 because of the Fuel injection and Over drive. This is going to have to be my daily driver and I have a 44 mile round trip that is thankfully againts traffic so I zip right along. My goal is a 89-91 3/4 ton, 350 engine 2wd burb. That will get me the FI, I think the 90 and 91 got the 4l80 HD OD tranny (the replacement for the TH400) the bigger rear axle and it should have at least a 3.73 gear. Should be a good puller. Also Barn doors are high on the priority. I am to the point I hate the tailgate on my wifes 79.
The last and a biggie with me is pre airbag. My wife is a tiny lady and she's in the group where the Air bag is likly to cause her major injuries or kill her because of her seating possition.
90 and 91 were also the only year that got power mirrors in that body style. Another Big plus but I need to check the laws and I may be required to use towing mirrors.
I wish I had not sold my 70 Suburban project. I was going to drop a 350 Vortec in it with a 4l60 OD tranny. That would have made a great vintage puller. It even had a 4.10 gear already.

Silvertwinkie 03-06-2003 09:58 AM

Pretty impressive!!

My dad special ordered an '85 Suburban. The thing was 3/4 ton and was a total beast.


It had all the heavy duty trailer gear, it had a 454, it had factory dual exhaust and man could that SOB pull. He only got 2wd without limited slip which was a total pain, but man on the road with 3 or more tons behind, it was like butter!
It had a four barrel on it that needed a "keep babys away, will ingest and combust!" sticker on it. The 40 gallon tank hurt to fill and fill regularly we did!

The truck was built right around the time GM was going through a bunch of crap with the EPA about adding converters to it, etc. In the end, it had minimal pollution control devices and we waited an extra 6 weeks while GM wrangled with the EPA. It was kind of neat to see a fuel gague in the mid 80's no less that did not say "Unleaded Fuel Only."

The problem with the around 85 454 is that from what I understand they could not get the fuel into the engine fast enough, so no fuel injection came until later, but by that time so had most of the emission contol devices too and I think OBD1 (you'll have to correct me if I'm wrong on that).

He donated the car about 5 years ago. The engine and trans were still ROCK solid with no leaks or burning fluids at 139,000! The guy that came to pick it up said that he was going to buy it from the .org that it was donated to and take the 454 and place it in an older Vette or something. I hated to see it go, but there was almost no body to speak of being here in the rust belt. :)

For me I have my '80 Olds I keep for the same reasons. I like what the PCM can do, but also hate what it has to do too. My '80 Delta 88 has a 307 and the only computer in it, is in the radio. True it does have a catalytic converter and air injection, PCV and EGR (more or less), but that is about it.

I love dumb cars.



59toaster 03-06-2003 10:50 AM

Did you know you COULD NOT get the 454 in a 4wd Burb. They never made a 1 ton burb. The 3/4 ton front 4wd axle is I dentical to a 1/2 ton 4wd except for the 8lug hubs and a larger rotor. The reason is the motor was to much for the front axle. It would snap u-joints and axle shapfts like twigs. HUGE torque out of that motor. You could get a 1 ton truck with the 454 but thos came with the Dana 60 front axle that is double the strength.

Yeah the MPG is why I'm not looking for the 454. It would make towing a breeze till it came feeding time.
The emmisions BS really had GM in a mess in the mid 80's They had these wierd modified carburators with mixture control solonoids that were problematic. The cars had a CCC (Computer Controled Carb). It was a modified quarajet but it had a throttle possition sensor, O2 sensor, MAP sensor and a computer monitoring the fuel mix. VERY problematic. Those were never installed on trucks as far as I can tell.
GM started FI on the trucks in 87. It is honestly set up like a aftermarket system. It uses a seperate harness, plugs into the fuse box like an accessory. I'm in the process of buying a used GM FI for my 75. Other then the intake it's a very simple install.
The rust is another reason why I want 88 up. GM's rust prevention was pitiful before then. Internal cavities like the rockers were bare metal. In 88 they started dip Galvanizing so they quit rusing from the inside out. It also created a paint problem. That's whay all those late 80's early 90's GM products had the paint coming off them in sheets.
I have a 91 that I want to go look at. Spec wise it reads identical to what I'm looking for. Only thing not in the ad is if it has barn doors. The rest of the options sound like it's pretty loaded so it should have the power mirrors. It has the paint problem. Asking price is $4k. If I can get my car or my wifes 79 sold quick and it's exactly as the ad reads I'll buy it. Sounds like it was used for pulling a camper so I might even luck out and it have a decent brake controler and hitch. :)

InsideOut 03-06-2003 10:57 AM


What I guess what I am trying to relay, is that are the folks that spent over $5k ($5k-15k) better off than the folks that spent less than $5k?
We only spent $3500 for the price of entry. We have put about $5000 in our restoration and all the "goodies" I have bought in the last as I see it, although the financial angle wasn't a concern, I'm still ahead! Even if I had bought new, I probably would have put about $2000 to make it "home sweet home".

Click the "photos" or "www" link below for some photos of our progress...

Shari :)

Silvertwinkie 03-06-2003 12:01 PM

Nice unit! Miss Lily looks happy too. ;)

Regarding the 4x4 w/ 454, I do kind of remember my dad wanting 4x4, but remember that there was an issue. That sounds about right.

He since got a 2000 Silverado and that is a fantastic machine as well. Still I miss the old Burban. Like John's '73, it had some personality to it. Call me weird. Can't explain it.



Photobitstream 03-12-2003 05:24 PM

I picked up a mechanically decent 1965 Overlander in late January for $2,000. The a/c blows cold, the holding tank plumbing works fine (unlike our 2000 SOB for which we paid $17k+), the floor is solid, and the oven looks like it may have been used once or twice. The wood is in good shape.

Now to the bad parts:
Rust damage under the holding tank drain, the previus owner replaced the water heater with a 20 gallon electric water heater and butchered the skin to get it in place, the original fridge is long gone and replaced with a 4 cu. ft. electric only fridge, the front lounge is missing and replaced with a rear seat from a Dodge Caravan.

I dropped off the trailer at Birchwood Beauties in Vacaville, CA, a couple of weeks ago. Scott Lockwood is going to fix the rust damage, build an L-shaped computer desk into the front, add a telephone jack and coax cable for satellite TV, and (if budget allows) remodel the street side of the kitchen to install a larger electric/propane fridge and replace with oven with a built-in microwave and additional storage. The last step will be installing wood laminate flooring.

That'll do it for this year. Next winter, budget allowing, I'll have Birchwood Beauties install a solar electric system and fix some of the damaged skin, including replacing the household water heater with a proper propane heater.

I'm not sure I want the outside too pretty, though. I keep a lot of computer and camera equipment in the trailer and people are less likely to break into an ugly trailer than a pristine, newly restored trailer.

I figure I'll have $12k-$14k invested in the trailer by the time it is finished to my specs. That will get me a completely self-contained mobile office/living quarters for less than half the price of a new 25-foot Safari. with the money saved my wife and I can buy a used 30-32 foot airstream to replace the SOB.

Roze 06-15-2003 11:46 PM

need one more price category
Believe it or not you need to add one more category: "under $1000" I have been fortunate enough to find one at this price although after adding tires and license it went over that amount. Thanks!

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