September 29, 2022

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Travel Finishes First

Airstream’s Old Painted Travel Trailers Are Still A Vintage RV Gem

4 min read

I’m using a split from gawking at personalized RV builds to just take a peek at a further variety of camper that tugs on my coronary heart. Classic travel trailers rock, and here’s another that would glimpse fantastic parked at any campsite. The Airstream Argosy was built to be a much less expensive trailer that you acquired just before you got a “real” Airstream. But today, they are a true gem for vintage RV fans.

A couple times just about every 12 months, I run into a classic Airstream whilst out and about travelling the state. They’re normally a sight to stop and stare at and their house owners are enthusiastic about their aluminium-bodied living quarters. But less typically I find Airstream’s old experiment into more very affordable journey trailers: Argosy. And when I do find one of these beauties, they’re normally crushed down and just about neglected. It is time to glow a light-weight on an vital portion of Airstream’s earlier.

Image: Airstream

These of you who aren’t familiar with Airstream’s designs may be a bit confused by the paint. Right after all, Airstream is recognized for its shiny aluminium campers. What’s heading on, here?

According to Airstream, the Argosy line of campers was produced in 1972 to serve two principal applications. The initial was to transfer Airstream down into the mid-price tag camper industry. The other was to use the Argosy line for Airstream to consider out new suggestions right before relocating them into the key line.

An Argosy was different than the regular Airstream. While a mainline Airstream introduced itself in shiny aluminium, an Argosy had coats of paint. Airstream claims that the paint hid the dents and scratches in the aluminium sent in from the Airstream plant. And metal was utilized for the front and rear conclusion caps as an alternative of sections of aluminium.

Image: Airstream

The interior was also brought down-market to additional in good shape the travel trailer’s price bracket. And where an Airstream arrived with a life span promise, an Argosy got just a single year. This price-slicing meant that an Argosy could be had for $US1,500 ($2,082)-$US3,500 ($4,859) less expensive than an equal Airstream at the time.

The prepare for the Argosy line was to get persons hooked on the RV way of life then afterwards get them to switch to a a lot more highly-priced Airstream. The company was sensitive with promotion and manufactured absolutely sure that purchasers realized that an Argosy was merely almost an Airstream. These campers weren’t even in the beginning eligible to be part of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, a team for Airstream house owners.

Image: Airstream

But it was not all about being low-cost. Airstream employed the Argosy line to test out thoughts it was far too worried to try out out on the mainline. The most notable is panoramic windows, which proved to be incredibly well known.

Image: Bring a Trailer

As the Airstream Hunter blog site notes, individuals conclude caps were also an experiment. Airstream used them to examination if close caps could be built more cost-effective and simpler than making use of many aluminium segments. Regrettably, paint did not normally stick perfectly to the caps.

In 1974, the Argosy line expanded to involve the Argosy Motorhome. And of course, this was an Argosy vacation trailer adapted to fit on a Chevrolet chassis.

Photo: Airstream

Possibly even additional astounding than the Motorhome is what the corporation formulated the automobile into. The Motorhome was applied as the foundation for the Argosy Compact Bus.

This was not an RV but a little shuttle or transit bus. I mean, just take a search at this:

Photograph: Airstream

In 1977, Airstream would shrink the Argosy line down plenty of to make trailers that could be towed by a compact vehicle. The Argosy Minuet weighed in at 1,236 kg. It was marketed as the lightest self-contained travel trailer.

That “self-contained” portion is critical, as you could get fibreglass trailers that were 454 kg lighter, but they weren’t as totally-showcased.

Photo: Airstream

At this stage in automotive historical past the oil disaster and a economic downturn was shifting the landscape. The identical occurred for Airstream, as well. The Versailles plant stopped producing Argosy campers in 1978, and Argosy as a total disappeared just after the 1980 model yr.

Argosy would only make a temporary comeback in 1986 to have the identify slapped on a more generic journey trailer and a fifth wheel.

Picture: Airstream

Both of those of which would end up changed by Airstream-branded trailers.

The white and purple Argosy featured in this article was put up for sale on Convey a Trailer. At the time of producing it was a single a realistic auction. On the other hand, it has offered for $US83,000 ($115,221). Cheaper kinds can be observed dotted all more than the market.

Image: Convey a Trailer

Nowadays, Argosy campers delight in a loving fandom and they are even welcomed in the Airstream club. Whilst Airstream hasn’t offered production quantities, it claims that Argosy campers are exceptional. Quite a few sit falling apart, neglected and overlooked.

Photograph: Convey a Trailer

They’re continue to employed as a foundation for restorations and tailor made work currently. And though Airstream no lengthier would make the Argosy line, its spirit lives on in some of the company’s latest offbeat designs.

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