If you’ve ever had the pleasure of calling an Airstream home (temporarily or not), or even merely seen them in pictures, you know it’s the Rolls-Royce of tow-behind trailers. They’re hotel suites on wheels replete with modern furnishings, accouterments and creature comforts like Bluetooth connectivity and wifi hotspots. You can’t really rough it in a modern Airstream — they’re just too damn well built and appointed. New models, which start just under $37,000, sleep two and top out at $150,000 with room for five. And if you had your sights set on the mid-sized model, prepare to drop more than $86,000. The trick here is to buy vintage, save thousands of dollars and still get the floor space you wanted all along.
This 1977 Airstream Tradewind 25′ tips the scales at a scant $19,500 – nearly $18K less than a new model – but don’t think you’re getting some beat up Winnebago from a police auction that’s done time as a backcountry chemistry lab. Almost everything on this vintage Airstream has been cleaned, replaced or updated, from the A/C, refrigerator, stove and heating system to the flooring and woodwork. The last owner even put some elbow grease on the aluminum exterior panels to bring it back to a mirror finish.
If you compare this classic to its modern 25-foot counterpart, you’re doing it all wrong. You have to look at this compared to the newest Airstream closest in price. A ’77 model won’t have Bluetooth, Wifi, solar energy stores, TVs or USB ports, but with the $17,500 you save over the 16-foot Basecamp, you can add all of those things to modernize your 25-foot Tradewind and still not have spent as much as you would have on a Basecamp.