Vintage RVs Make A Rousing Comeback

Last updated on September 1st, 2021 at 08:34 am. Originally published on September 9th, 2015

If you’re under the age of retirement and you have shopped for a motorhome recently, then you are well aware of the serious expense. Even cheaper gas motorhomes start at a cool $100,000 — and that’s just the base model.

But what if you think outside the box? Many younger travelers are doing just that by purchasing and restoring a vintage RV.

The Wall Street Journal recently picked up on this trend. Stating that, “Interest in vintage RVs is fueled by road trip nostalgia and an improving economy, but also mirrors an upswing in the mainstream RV industry, which rose 5.5% in the first half of the year.”

So what constitutes a vintage RV? Today motorhomes built from the 1960 to 1980s are making a comeback. Many Winnebagos, Airstreams, andDodge Travcos can be seen back on the road. In fact, the Winnebago recently released a flashback version of their classic rig updated for a new generation. Shasta Trailers soon followed suite with their remake of their super cute, 1960s, 16-foot Airflyte Trailer. With Airstreams at an all time popularity high, it’s not hard to see the fascination with the classic RV. Clubs and renovation supplies are popping up all over the globe, making it easier than ever to fix up an old rig.

While a vintage RV may cost less than a new one, you can figure the updates will add up. Just because you buy a Dodge Travco for $25,000 doesn’t mean it won’t cost you another $30,000 to recondition. For many though, this is part of the charm. The process of restoring a childhood memory, sharing it with the ones you love, and becoming a modern Tin Can Tourist.

Here are a few hints for buying your first vintage motorhome or RV:

1.  Make Sure the RV Has a Current Registration and Title

If the RV has been sitting for awhile it may not have insurance. You will need to contact an RV specialist to make sure you can get the proper coverage before you buy the rig. On occasion, the age of the unit will preclude sales tax in some states. Check to discover the rules and regulations.

2. Vintage RVs are Different than Older RVs

A Vintage RV is usually at least 25 years old, a design that was highly popular in its era, and in overall good shape. An old RV is cheap, ugly and rarely worth the time and effort it will take to get it back on the road.

3. Pinterest Makes Modifications Look Easy

The truth, however, is that most vintage RVs are hard to retrofit, especially when it comes to appliances. Before you buy your rig, do some research on what you can and cannot easily do. Also, check for mold and water damage. These two issues can severely complicate your updates. When in doubt, always have a professional certify your purchase. It’s important to know what works and what doesn’t before you sign on the bottom line. Check the roof for leaks and the floor for rot. These two problems are usually a deal breaker.

4. Parts are The Key to Any Retro Restoration!

Google your intended rig and see what’s available. Check the forums for suggestions and talk with vintage parts suppliers. It’s not always easy to find what you need. Spending a few hours in advance will save you a major headache later on.

What do you think? Would you buy a vintage RV? Why or why not? Share your thought with our readers and then share this article with your friends! Thanks.

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