When we first bought our Airstream Argosy we had a simple budget but no real date set when we would be finished. Thus, no goal date. That ended up being a bad idea. And the simple budget? Went right out the window
We soon learned that we were not renovating but doing a total restoration project. This was a much bigger project than either of us knew. It also was far more expensive. We want to put together a honest post for those who are thinking of restoring or renovating one. We have FIVE HUGE things you NEED to know before going into such a project.
- Know what kind of Airstream Argosy you are buying. There a few different one’s and in the 70’s, the Argosy was called “experimental” so it’s quite possible that no two are exactly the same. Some have panoramic windows in both front and back, some don’t. The Minuet for example is thinner in width then some of the other Argosy’s. Some had a metal floor, others had wood. No matter which one you decided to renovate, do your research as to what exact model, year, and who built the frame before you buy. Think of a vintage trailer as a puzzle. Each section at a time. They all play a part in creating the whole puzzle. Because each Argosy can be different, figure out the sections first. Body, Frame, Interior, Condition.
- Frame, Frame, Frame. It makes little to know difference what the Body or Interior looks like if the Frame is gone. Frame restoration is going to take time and it’s the least enjoyable project. Sand blasting all the rust, new axles, and adding a protective enamal on the Frame, (not including any welding that may need to be done) will take a minute. Make sure you add that time into “date goal to finish”.
- Renew your Amazon Prime Membership and buy the book “Patience is a Virtue”. This is huge! We had no idea the specialized gear we would be buying on Amazon. Sometimes other websites were out of stock, but then we would search Amazon and we could get it. Of course Amazon is not the cure of all by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes items on Amazon were more expensive. But the Prime Membership get’s you the 2 day shipping. Again, if you can be patient, shop around, it may just save you money.
- Have a plan! We spent hours and hours watching YouTube videos. So know the design that best fits your needs and lifestyle FIRST. Know exactly where new outlets are going. Where the 12 volt lights and plugs are going. Every little detail of your renovation project should be done first before the first rivet goes in. Also, stop relying on the NASA Scientist on Airstream Forums. There is a point where you will learn, this renovation project is yours and yours alone and everyone does it differently. Everyone! Of course it’s ok to get a general idea how to run 12 volt wire, but to spend months on it, will be a nightmare for your brain.
- Budget. Whatever you think it will cost. Double it. Then add a few thousand. It was the biggest shocker for us. Why? Tools, little things, curtains, paint, solar, it all cost money. For example: Just buying a new bed in a box memory foam bed was hundreds of dollars that we didn’t really think about. It was all the little things that drove our budget way over.
If you are looking to renovate an Airstream Argosy, check out our complete video series and the final result HERE