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Vintage Caravel Airstream Trailers

Updated on April 5, 2015
Alice Airstream
Alice Airstream
Vintage trailer rehab.
Vintage trailer rehab.

1965 Airstream Caravel Trailer

Vintage Airstream Trailers

by George Bogosian

Airstream trailers, I love them.... I have want one…. I know! I’ve owned “Alice” Airstream for ten years and we’ve had our times together. She’s (I prefer the female reference, it helps me maintain a level of etiquette in her presence) a 1965 Caravel, which puts her into the vintage class. She is 17 feet long from stem to stern. (it's just a land yacht) Most of the experiences were wonderful and beyond, some of them challenging and others downright unfriendly.

So I drove from New Hampshire to Cincinnati, Ohio with 3,500 bucks in my pocket.

Bill (I’m protecting the innocent) said it was in good condition. But what did I know….. not really understanding what was meant by “due diligence”. I was in love with Airstreams and was blinded by the shine of her aluminum exterior and the roundness of her… well…you know…you’ve seen them or you wouldn’t be reading this. It was like looking across the room and falling in love.... when all that you had made was eye contact. You remember don’t you?…. you just could not help yourself…. regardless of what well intention friends said. So you know how I felt.

When I rounded the bend and saw that it was sitting there in the yard looking like an Airstream….on tires that looked like they would roll and an aluminum roundish body with a trailer hitch saying “hook on to me”….well, I knew it was mine. Bill was very nice even before we settled on $3,000 for me to claim ownership. I was uncertain about the orange shag carpet that was on one of the walls and the brake lights not working, but I was in lust by that time and there was no holding back. It was NH or bust with that old trailer and I was now the proud owner of a vintage Airstream. I’ve never regretted the ill informed decision I made and the Gods were in my court that day and many other days since.

Airstream rehab interior

Comfy is good!
Comfy is good!

OK, a little reality check for all of you wondering or dreaming about a vintage Airstream.

And mind you.... there is a difference between an Airstream and a vintage Airstream owner. Let’s face some facts. You don’t need as much money to purchase a vintage trailer compared to a “newer” model. The owner personalities are different. I’m not implying better.. just different. The new Airstream trailers are expensive and those owners have more coin available to purchase the Cadillac of trailers. Vintage folks are more “do it yourselfers”, they also don’t herd up as much; although having said that.... joining the Tin Can Tourists club has been a great place for any vintage trailer (25 years or older) and their owners to meet up with like minded brethren. I’ve met some interesting characters... and trailers by attending some of those gatherings. There is lots of "show and tell" and information shared about restoring one’s trailer. Advice is plentiful and it’s interesting seeing the different choices people made in “fixin’ up” their trailer. A vintage trailer, regardless of it's make, needs to be a labor of love if you’re the one fixing up or restoring the unit. It needs to be a hobby unless you’ve decided to pass on the work to a professional…but that can take the fun and satisfaction out of the game.

Alice Airstream at rest.

Home sweet home.
Home sweet home.

It’s been ten years since I began ownership and it’s mostly been a labor of love with times of mild to extreme frustration. It’s the process one must enjoy in life and not necessary the final destination. But that’s too much philosophy. The classic trailer has brought some notoriety at gas stations and stops all along a journey. People approach with both fact and fiction with their remarks about the old trailer. The adventures continue and the trailer has helped provide memories of places and people. A vintage Airstream trailer is not needed; it just has made the journey satisfyingly interesting.

I’ll look for you out there on the road with your trailer.

© 2010 George Bogosian


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