You have been to the RV shows and have seen the new models. After comparing everything on the floor the one brand that keeps coming back to you is Airstream. You fell in love with the iconic look of the aluminum along with the sleek lines which identify it as a one of a kind RV. Most of all, the quality of the Airstream impressed you. None of the other manufactures even came close to the standards to which the Airstream was built. However, you simply don’t have the $80,000 to spend on a new Airstream. You can still have your Airstream with all the features of the new one at a fraction of the cost by purchasing a used Airstream.
Unlike other brands of RVs, Airstream dealers generally do not have a lot full of used Airstreams. Most used Airstreams are sold and purchased through private parties. This makes the search a little more difficult but there are resources to help you locate the right model at the right price.
Fred’s Airstreams is a good place to start your search for a used Airstream. Along with a listing of used motor homes and trailers he maintains an archive of each ad. These are categorized by year and model. You are able to click and see pictures of both the interior and exterior of most models produced. This is one way you can choose a model, trim level, and a floor plan.
The next resource is the Airstream Forum. This is the largest forum of Airstream owners and enthusiasts on the web. The forum is very active and you can usually get questions answered by members in a few hours. They maintain a large searchable web base for questions already asked and answered. Along with the forum they have a classified section with the largest listing of used Airstreams on the internet. A very useful feature in the classified section is a separate link to all of the Airstreams currently on sale at eBay.
I have owned three Airstreams, one motor home and two trailers. Our first Airstream was purchased off of eBay. Our second was purchased off of a motor home listing and was in Rhode Island. Our present model was purchased in North Carolina. All of these were purchased sight unseen and from private parties. To determine condition and if there are any problems with the unit you must rely on the pictures supplied and then use the resources of the Airstream Forum.
You can post pictures of the unit on the forum and ask for advice. You may get replies about the axles, suspension, frame distortion and other items which you would not notice. The forum members know their particular model and will be happy to share the information with you. There is also a list of volunteer inspectors who are willing to go out and inspect an Airstream which you are considering purchasing. One of these inspectors may live in the area where you have found your Airstream. They will give you their opinion after they have actually seen the unit.
The next factor is price. There is a NADA price guide available for newer models. The VintageAirstream.com maintains a price vs. condition page for older units. This guide is also useful when determining the condition of your newer unit. Expect to pay more for a used Airstream than you would for another brand of RV.
We plan on keeping our 1994 Airstream for many years. This is the model and floor plan we had wanted for quite sometime. We have encountered no problems with the trailer after thousands of miles of travel. People who come into our trailer cannot believe it is sixteen years old. By following these few steps you too can own the Airstream of your dreams.