I’m having a split from gawking at tailor made RV builds to take a peek at one more form of camper that tugs on my heart. Classic journey trailers rock, and here’s another that would glimpse fantastic parked at any campsite. The Airstream Argosy was designed to be a cheaper trailer that you acquired in advance of you bought a “real” Airstream. But nowadays, they’re a real gem for classic RV enthusiasts.
A handful of periods each and every calendar year, I operate into a vintage Airstream while out and about touring the place. They are always a sight to cease and stare at and their proprietors are enthusiastic about their aluminum-bodied dwelling quarters. But considerably less generally I find Airstream’s previous experiment into far more affordable travel trailers: Argosy. And when I do come across one particular of these beauties, they are normally crushed down and just about neglected. It is time to shine a light on an significant component of Airstream’s previous.
Those of you who are not familiar with Airstream’s types might be a little bit bewildered by the paint. Immediately after all, Airstream is recognized for its shiny aluminum campers. What’s heading on, listed here?
According to Airstream, the Argosy line of campers was created in 1972 to provide two major needs. The 1st was to shift Airstream down into the mid-selling price camper current market. The other was to use the Argosy line for Airstream to attempt out new thoughts ahead of transferring them into the key line.
An Argosy was various than the standard Airstream. Whereas a mainline Airstream presented itself in shiny aluminum, an Argosy experienced coats of paint. Airstream states that the paint hid the dents and scratches in the aluminum despatched in from the Airstream plant. And steel was utilized for the front and rear end caps instead of sections of aluminum.
The interior was also brought down-market place to additional fit the travel trailer’s selling price bracket. And wherever an Airstream arrived with a life time assure, an Argosy got just a single year. This expense-chopping meant that an Argosy could be had for $1,500-$3,500 more cost-effective than an equivalent Airstream at the time.
The approach for the Argosy line was to get people hooked on the RV life style then afterwards get them to switch to a extra high-priced Airstream. The enterprise was delicate with marketing and created confident that prospective buyers understood that an Argosy was basically almost an Airstream. These campers weren’t even initially qualified to be part of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, a group for Airstream proprietors.
But it was not all about currently being low cost. Airstream utilised the Argosy line to try out out ideas it was also afraid to attempt out on the mainline. The most popular is panoramic windows, which proved to be extremely common.
As the Airstream Hunter blog notes, those finish caps had been also an experiment. Airstream employed them to examination if close caps could be designed much less expensive and much easier than employing multiple aluminum segments. Regrettably, paint did not always stick well to the caps.
In 1974, the Argosy line expanded to include things like the Argosy Motorhome. And certainly, this was an Argosy travel trailer tailored to match on a Chevrolet chassis.
Possibly even much more incredible than the Motorhome is what the enterprise developed the motor vehicle into. The Motorhome was utilised as the foundation for the Argosy Compact Bus.
This wasn’t an RV but a tiny shuttle or transit bus. I mean, just choose a glimpse at this:
In 1977, Airstream would shrink the Argosy line down ample to make trailers that could be towed by a compact automobile. The Argosy Minuet weighed in at 2,725 kilos. It was advertised as the lightest self-contained vacation trailer.
That “self-contained” aspect is important, as you could get fiberglass trailers that had been 1,000 pounds lighter, but they weren’t as totally-highlighted.
At this issue in automotive history the oil crisis and a recession was switching the landscape. The very same transpired for Airstream, as well. The Versailles plant stopped building Argosy campers in 1978, and Argosy as a full disappeared following the 1980 design calendar year.
Argosy would only make a short comeback in 1986 to have the title slapped on a additional generic travel trailer and a fifth wheel.
Both of which would finish up replaced by Airstream-branded trailers.
The white and red Argosy showcased here was put up for sale on Convey a Trailer. At the time of crafting it was a person a affordable auction. Having said that, it has offered for $83,000. Less expensive ones can be found dotted all more than the marketplace.
Currently, Argosy campers love a loving fandom and they are even welcomed in the Airstream club. When Airstream hasn’t offered generation quantities, it claims that Argosy campers are uncommon. Several sit falling aside, neglected and overlooked.
They’re continue to employed as a foundation for restorations and personalized jobs now. And though Airstream no extended would make the Argosy line, its spirit life on in some of the company’s recent offbeat patterns.