One of our newer members from up North mentioned the cost of new RV's and boats vs. the older models and how they are still just as good (if not better!) as new but cost a fraction of the new models.

Well, some folks just can't see that buying into an older RV is worth it. Maybe it's the lack of DYI skills, the mentality that newer is always better (ever house train a puppy vs. a rescue dog?), that old RV's are just gross and out-dated. You pick the excuse.


I put it to you that owners of older RV's are maximizing the value and embodied energy put into their rigs by maintaining their use. No throw away society here! We save, preserve, learn and promote what is a more efficient and responsible lifestyle for RV'ing.

Post your thoughts, your experiences on saving and using a classic RV to the group. There is that attraction for some to gravitate to the past and I am one of those that don't bat an eye driving a 20 year old car or figuring out how to reuse tools and other things tossed out by others.

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Well, I know it's boat related but this is where that discussion started from. I can show you this example. It is between 2 production boat that were mass-produced:

It is a 1984 Irwin 34 sailboat. It is actually 37' if you count the a reverse transom, 4 feet draft. Sleeps 6, full kitchen, navigation station and bathroom with shower.

Modern equivalent for comparison:

https://cdn1.theglobesailor.com/doc/charter/boat/19651/photo/oceanis-351_85089_max.jpg

A close contender would be the 2018 Beneteau Oceanis 35.1: It is actually 32'3" long (while still being called 35.1, they count the length of the bow roller where the anchor rest and the swimming platform that you can open like a tailgate in the back). It can be ordered with either 2, 4, or 6 berth to sleep. Draft is 4’10” and it is 12'2" wide... but the cabin inside is narrower then the one in the Irwin because of tolerances required by cheaper production techniques.

I sailed both and they both sail very well although the Beneteau works better in light wind and the Irwin better in heavier weather.

Now price wise. on average, the used Irwin 34 is between 5 and 10% the price of the Beneteau. Make some repair and let's say the total price goes to 50 000$, that's still 20% the price of the new boat. That's about the depreciation the new boat will get in it's first year,. Draw your own conclusion.

Julien, my conclusion is you dont see many 40 year old boats in Texas. And I always say boats cant go uphill, heres proof.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za63ltkMGGE

What the heck is that??? An anphib RV?? I don't know how you find this stuff and I bet that RV is even more money for the chance to really foul things up on a trip. Why settle for dingbats that can't drive a Class A anyway when you can give them the option of sailing on the water, too!!

I wouldn't call that sailing... just stupid. 

I went on Camping World's RV sales site and the used ones my size and comparable go for 80K. That's a 2.9% cost for mine vs. the used ones. Wow. I just could not plunk down 80K on an RV, no matter if it was my permanent home or whatever. That's a lot of cash on something that's not going up in value.

Bought my Argosy in 2000 for 2 grand. Have put a ton of work into her but not that much money over the years. With the popularity of vintage my Argosys value has been on elevator ride way up. 5 years ago I started carrying agreed value insurance on her in the amount of 25,000. After an accident punched a hole through her outer skin, inner skin, and water tank Progressive paid out 4600.00 in damages after my deductible and didn't argue even with me telling the adjuster I was repairing her myself. I'm pretty sure the settlement amount was more than I have in my old girl. They only made "x" number of trailers each year and more of them are scrapped out everyday. As demand for vintage is surging supply is drying up which means that sale prices will increase. There are a number of rv makes that have seen massive price increases amongst their vintage models over the last few years.

To the op, we originally bought vintage because it was what we could afford at the time, but we fell in love in with our old girl. I had an immediate attraction to her because we are both vintage 1973. When we were able to afford a newer trailer we were unable to find one that fit our needs any better than what we already had so we fixed more on our Argosy.  At current stage we could swing a new small Airstream and have even looked a time or two but come back to the same conclusion that we love our old girl and we are too big of tightwads` too spend 50k+ on an rv. All of the new gadgets scare the hell out of me as far as maintenance goes. I don't like all of the control boards, on board computers and motorized furnishings. I enjoy manually lighting the pilot lights, it's part of my camping ritual.

I'm in complete support of all vintage makes and models and preach it to anyone that will listen around the campfire. I enjoy seeing more vintage rvs making it back out on the road and hope that their popularity continues to gain steam.

The cost issue seems to be a common thread with us Vintage owners. While we do gravitate towards what we see as the rigs we knew growing up the modern RV's just seem like they are trying too hard to be homes on wheels or more. I expect that when traveling either on land or water to not have all the conveniences of my home and that is part of the adventure.

I think that this is a trend not only seen in RVs, It is true also with boats where the cabins are more and more like floating condos with full features galleys (kitchens), several heads (WCs) and a dining area that is more like a living room with a cocktail table that turns into a large dining table by flipping a panel then just a seat with a foldable table.

Let's face it, overall design and floorplans have improved a lot since the beginning. We can put more stuff in the same space as with time, designers were more experienced and found several ways to improve usage of available space.

Is it for the better, I think yes for most people as it gives options. Can I live without those new features? Sure.

There is a different thrill in using both old and new design, as the same trip can be totally different but equally fun in both an old and a new rig.

What is important in the end is how they are used and if the user is having a good time using it.

Good morning, Daniel Long; 

     There are several reasons why I have an "older" motor home: 

     One thing is that they were of a more simple design, and I can work on them myself.  With so many of the new electronically controlled systems today, now you must find an electronics technician with mechanical aptitude who also has the required computer diagnostic system to inquire of the vehicle what is wrong with it.  

     Speaking as someone who has worked in electronics all his life, I do not like all of the electronic systems that have replaced the older simple mechanical systems in so many ways in the "modern" RVs.  Even with the equipment and the experience I have, if the parts are not reasonably available, I cannot repair them.  An electro-mechanical system usually can be bypassed or worked around to restore functionality to some level and let you keep moving.  So many of the modern totally integrated computer controlled ones can leave you waiting for a large Class C tow truck. 

     The concept mentioned just above also applies to the appliances in an older motor home. 

     The roof height above the roadway on my motor home is only 9 feet.  That means that I am pushing between 24 and 36 square feet LESS sail area through the wind as I move down the road.  There will be some effect on fuel economy. 

     That 9 foot roof height also means that, for me, there is room left up there for antennas.  That is important to me, and the new modern motor homes taking advantage of 13.5 foot maximum allowed vehicle height do not have that space.  

     Of course, that taller height does allow the new motor homes to give you all of that storage space in "the basement."   However, that also means that they take five (5) steps to get up into them.  Mine requires only three (3) steps to get up into it.  Those additional two (2) steps can be significant to many people, including a lot of them who are older now, and they can afford to have a motor home or other RV now, but can they conveniently get up into them to enjoy them?  

     Regarding a lot of the modern "upgrades" available with the modern motor homes, many of them can be fitted into an older motor home also.  Mine now has all "Warm White" LED lighting inside, and most of the outside lighting is also LED, but not the headlights, yet.  The LED lighting really helps the coach battery system run time, and also reduces the load on the alternator when driving at night.  Solar panels can be fitted to almost anything to simplify, extend, and enhance "boondocking." 

     Again, looking at simple physical characteristics, many of the RV facilities in National Parks and some other places were designed and built for RVs with a maximum length of 35 feet.  The modern 40 to 45 foot long motor homes simply will not fit.  My venerable motor home is 32 feet and 4 inches long.  It can go just about anywhere and park there.   This also includes most shopping center parking lots where I can take two spaces head-to-head and fit into that space. 

     The interior design of an older motor home is something that I still appreciate.  I wanted to do something with a motor home back when the Dodge Travco came out, and I was also interested in the GMC motor home.  The woman I was married to back then vetoed that idea both times, even when it was pointed out that the GMC motor home had overcome several of the objections she voiced.  Well, I am not married to her any more, at her request, and the child support years are over also, so no one cares what I do with my money now; not even the State.  Well, actually the State might appreciate the somewhat larger annual fees they charge for the motor home, but it is not at all like the profit they made off me back during the child support years.  (Yes, the legal references are available showing that this is true.)   But now I do have and I am enjoying a motor home from that time period.  

     As you can tell, not only are there practical reasons for having an older RV, there can also be emotional reasons.  In my case, that also includes the point that this particular motor home did belong to a young lady who I had worked with and flown with.  When she died completely unexpectedly, her sister who became the executor of her estate, offered it to me at a very reasonable price.  It had sat for several years, and it did take a few days working on it to get it capable of being driven again to get it home. 

          Enjoy; 

          Ralph 

          Latte Land, Washington 

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