1973 Land Yacht International Rear Bath Twin Bed Airstream Travel Trailer
It has been stored almost its entire life under the same roof. Actual usage was extremely minimal.
Even the curtains and upholstery are all still original.
The front catalytic heater, range, and oven have been tested.
Refrigerator was making ice on both gas and electric like a champ!
Air conditioner runs great and also has a heating insert to take any chills off.
This was a top of the line model and included almost every available option.
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My parents bought this after they had gone to the World’s Fair in Knoxville which took place in 1982. They attended in a brand new truck with a camper topper. On that trip, my father decided that he wanted an Airstream, so when they got back, shortly after (I think that fall) he found this one up in Hurley. It was Swee Trailer Sales (I think I spelled that right, but they’ve been out of business for years, so I can’t check. Seems to me there’s a sticker on the trailer somewhere). I wasn’t along with them (I was shortly out of high school), but my parents always told me that its original owners were a construction or some such company who had it on hand for jobsites kind of like a VIP trailer, but rarely had a reason to actually use it – which of course showed, since even to this day it’s all original.
My parents brought it home and we built a second shed for the farm for other reasons, but also with storing this trailer in mind. Since it was a 24/7 family dairy farm, there wasn’t a lot of camping time and I was more into boating at the time – but we would take turns on the weekends where I would stay back and my parents would take it to a popular area campground (45 miles away) and join their friends with their respective campers (it was kind of cute how they would get adjoining campsites in kind of a “circle the wagons” fashion. I don’t think they ever took it camping any further away – they had plans to, but just never took the time. I should add, while their friends had shorter but more square camper units and towed with larger engines, my dad towed with a Dodge 318 – yes, for 5500 pounds that was marginal, but he used to take particular pride in getting there on a single quarter tank while their friends had to fill their dual tanks before returning home…Airstreams really did pull lighter! My dad was rather particular about keeping things in pristine condition, so he insisted almost right after they got it that I get my own camper to use with my friends rather than taking a chance on maybe less careful people using their Airstream, so I only was able to use it a few times during those years.
Years later my parents acquired a 5th wheel and truck that my uncle had owned, so this Airstream became my personal camper. But time constraints in my life by that time – plus I was soon to be married and my wife always found these type Airstream trailers claustrophobic to her personally (ironically she loved a 16 foot Scamp I managed to acquire years later – figure out that logic)…so with the exception of two or three additional times, it remained stored in that same location unused just by circumstance.
That’s probably more information than you want or need, just trying to fill in a little background as to why it wasn’t used very often – if anything, it was more preserved than anything.
The tires are probably original. They still look great – which is understandable since they rarely received any direct sunlight – but tires are something I just wouldn’t take a chance on with age because I’ve seen too many disintegrate for no reason with age and they can do a lot of damage to trailer bodies when they come apart. I noticed one seems to slowly lose air over a weeks’ time, but I would predict that it would hold to get you somewhere with caution (might recommend avoiding freeways just from heat buildup at higher speeds). From looks and lack of tread wear, I wouldn’t bat an eye at still using them – it’s just that unknown because of what I’ve seen with age that makes me caution a potential buyer. That same truck that used to pull this had also been stored in that same shed and I decided to use it this past winter (it still only has ~26,000 original miles on it) – it only took a few trips to town before a tire went flat and they had to be replaced. It’s a shame and somewhat shocking what happens to tires with age!
We used to use mothballs to prevent mice – not always effective and I’m not going to say I’ve been entirely successful at removing all traces of that mothball scent (in more recent years I used more powerful ultrasonic methods instead – warehouse, not household units) – but I will report that any mice, of which there were few, did not do any damage because they seemed to be content with paper. Trailer specific items show no evidence of chewing anywhere that I’ve found, and I searched pretty deep while cleaning in preparation to sell.
I have checked and verified operation of the gas appliances such as the range, oven, water heater, refrigerator, and front catalytic heater. I have also replaced the furnace pilot light orifice, but to be honest, that unit always has been a bit cantankerous, so I just avoided using it and we didn’t camp when it was cold anyway. I’ve heard most people update to an electronic ignition replacement if their planned use includes cold, but others prefer things to remain original.
The fridge tested great on electric as it did on gas and I did test on separate days. I did not check anything with the water system beyond making sure the pump ran, and I also have not checked the brakes – but I have no reason to believe those aren’t as well preserved as everything else has been. I have checked running lights and only know of one exterior bulb that wasn’t lighting at the moment but is easy fix that I just haven’t had time for yet. The original Univolt (converter/battery charger that provides 12 volts when plugged in) malfunctioned (quit), but I replaced it with a replacement convertor unit that I had purchased as a spare for a motorhome that we used to own. I left the Univolt in its original place because they were unique and had not only a fuse block assembly, but also tied into the front monitor system inside, so this way everything still works. It does not have a current battery – I will leave that up to the future owner to replace with the type they desire.
When I first acquired the trailer, I replaced the original antenna with a Winegard satellite dish and then upgraded to a more modern Winegard batwing design for the over-the-air antenna. Of course, times and technology constantly change, so there are upgrade options too numerous to mention if your needs are different. There are more automatic satellite options, better over-the-air antenna systems tuned for newer digital TV reception, and now WIFI and cellular broadband options as well. All depends on what, if any, technology you plan to use.
The air conditioner in this unit was one I always admired. Shortly after we first got it, the start capacitor malfunctioned. Our local refrigeration place replaced it and it has been fool-proof ever since, and yes, I did test it recently, the compressor started easily. When I first planned to use it, I also added a heat strip and updated thermostat to take the chill off if plugged in instead of using propane heating. And I have to add – for some reason, this unit is more efficient than any other camper air that I’ve encountered and I miss it a bit because it ran on a smaller generator and has no problem on a regular house plugin and yet has great cooling capacity. Unlike most RV air, it even has a drain tube that exits out the bottom of the trailer rather than just running off the roof wherever it can run from gravity. They were able to build them less power hungry with still superior cooling capacity and include an interior drain tube back then and not the same way now baffles me – unless this was just an unusually efficient unit…or maybe that’s another reason why Airstreams were renowned for their quality. One of those few trips I mentioned was to the Milwaukee Mile during 117 degree heat – it kept us cool all that weekend – on a 3500 watt hand-carry generator no less!
That’s pretty much the highlights. As I’ve mentioned, everything is pretty much original, which is sometimes important to some collectors. All the curtains and cushion fabrics are still original and in great condition. There is only one thing that I’m aware of that isn’t in great condition, and it was a common problem for these specific years. Airstream used what they called “tambour” (I think that’s the term) cabinet doors – that rollup material which is similar to a roll-top-desk. These doors were no exception, they tend to separate between the slats, even though when we realized that, we became super cautious and treated them with “kid gloves” because that’s their weak point. We’ve always tried to be careful, but there are some slats that have separated, so I just left most open after cleaning. In years following, the Airstream factory changed the design to include a heavier cloth like backing from what I heard, so they are able to be repaired or replaced as near as I know. I’ve heard others just convert them back to regular doors like Airstream used in years previous and decades later.
Given its history and because of its retained value and rarity of being so close to original, I would naturally love to see it go to a good home where someone would love it and take care of it as much as my family did!
Please contact me if you would like more information or would like to arrange a time to see it in person. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!
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