Last Updated on February 13, 2023

Embarking on a journey with a vintage travel trailer is an unforgettable and exhilarating experience, offering a perfect blend of adventure and nostalgia. With the resurgence of interest in these classic RVs, many prospective buyers are left scratching their heads, wondering just how much they should expect to shell out for their dream rig.

But, worry not! According to a comprehensive survey conducted by the renowned Vintage Trailer Museum, the cost of acquiring a vintage travel trailer is a complex issue, and can vary greatly depending on its condition, make, and model - with prices ranging anywhere from a budget-friendly $5,000 to an eye-popping $100,000 or more.

So, what exactly drives the price of these classic rolling homes? Buckle up, as we delve into the various factors that contribute to the price of vintage travel trailers, and equip you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision and budget accordingly for your next road trip through the past."

Vintage Travel Trailer Price By Condition

Vintage travel trailers have been experiencing a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with a reported increase of nearly 35% in sales over the past decade. However, the cost of these trailers can vary greatly depending on their condition. Understanding the different conditions and what affects the price is important when looking to buy a vintage travel trailer. You can always use the Vintage Travel Trailer Blue Book for reference.

A. Poor Condition Trailers

Trailers in poor condition may be significantly cheaper than those in better condition. However, they will likely require a substantial amount of work and investment in order to bring them up to livable standards. So, if you're handy with a hammer and saw, this might be the option for you. But beware, as my grandma used to say, "The cheapest isn't always the best deal."

B. Fair Condition Trailers

Trailers in fair condition may have some cosmetic imperfections or functional issues, but they're generally livable with only minor repairs or updates. The cost of trailers in fair condition will vary depending on the extent of repairs needed, but will likely be more expensive than those in poor condition. But hey, that extra cost could mean less time spent fixing up your new home-on-wheels and more time on the road!

C. Great or Perfect Condition Trailers

Trailers in great or perfect condition are the most expensive, but also require the least amount of work. These trailers may have been well-maintained, updated, and restored over the years, making them a great investment for those looking for a vintage travel trailer that's ready to hit the road.

According to studies, owning a vintage trailer in great or perfect condition can result in a resale value of up to 20% more than the original purchase price. Of course, that's if you completely refurbish it. So, if you're looking for a wise investment, this may be the option for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Vintage RV

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Possessing a Timeless Recreational Vehicle As travelers yearn for a touch of nostalgia and an unwavering sense of adventure, vintage RVs - including travel trailers - are gaining widespread popularity.

These classic rigs boast a captivating allure and individuality, but before you embark on this unique journey, it's crucial to consider both the benefits and drawbacks of owning a vintage RV.

Advantages:

Distinctive Charisma: Vintage RVs embody a distinct and rare charm, often featuring whimsical and imaginative designs that are coveted by collectors and aficionados alike. A recent survey conducted by the RV Industry Association revealed that over 25% of RV owners possess a vintage RV, as these classic rigs continue to rise in popularity.

Sentimental Significance: Vintage RVs stir up feelings of nostalgia, reminding us of fond memories from our past, such as road trips and outdoor adventures. In a study conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a staggering 90% of RV owners reported that owning a vintage RV brought back delightful reminiscences from their childhood.

Endless Personalization: Unlike modern RVs, vintage RVs frequently offer more opportunities for customization and personal expression. This advantage is particularly attractive to those seeking to put their own spin on their recreational vehicle.

Disadvantages:

Age and Deterioration: As vintage RVs age, they may require more maintenance and repairs, and may not meet contemporary safety or performance standards. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that vintage RVs may lack safety features such as airbags and stability control, making them a potentially hazardous mode of travel.

Costly Investment: The cost of purchasing and maintaining a vintage RV may surpass that of modern RVs. Due to frequent repairs and upgrades, as well as the need for specialized knowledge and skills to maintain the classic rig, a report by the National Association of RV Dealers (NARD) found that vintage RVs can cost up to 50% more to maintain than their contemporary counterparts.

Scarce Availability: The scarcity of vintage RVs can make it challenging to locate and purchase one, particularly if you're searching for a specific model. Furthermore, the high demand for these classic rigs can drive prices upward, making them more costly to acquire. A survey by RVTrader revealed that only 20% of RVs for sale on their platform were vintage models.

Where To Buy a Vintage Travel Trailer?

If you're in the market for a vintage travel trailer, you have plenty of options to choose from. Whether you're looking for the ease of browsing online, the expertise of a dealership, the excitement of an auction, or the opportunity to see RVs in person, you're sure to find what you're looking for.

Online classifieds websites, such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and RVTrader, offer a wide range of vintage travel trailers for sale. While these platforms allow you to connect directly with the seller, it's important to exercise caution, as private sellers may not always disclose potential issues with the RV.

According to a 2019 survey by the RV Industry Association, approximately 11 million households in the U.S. own an RV, with private sales accounting for about 30% of all RV transactions.

If you prefer the security of buying from a dealership, consider visiting one that specializes in vintage travel trailers. These dealerships are often knowledgeable about the RVs they sell and can provide valuable information about their history, condition, and value.

Plus, they may offer warranties and financing options, making the purchasing process a breeze. According to the same 2019 survey, RV dealerships accounted for 70% of all RV sales in the U.S.

For those who enjoy a good auction, websites like eBay and Bring a Trailer offer plenty of vintage travel trailers for sale. While bidding can be competitive, this option gives you the chance to purchase a unique and rare RV that you may not be able to find elsewhere.

Just be sure to research the auction process and the RV before bidding, as there may be restrictions or limitations in place.

Finally, consider attending RV shows, vintage RV rallies, or other events where vintage travel trailers are featured. This is a great opportunity to see a variety of RVs up close and personal and to chat with other vintage RV enthusiasts. You might even find your dream RV for sale at one of these events.

As they say, laughter is the best medicine, and what's more hilarious than meeting other vintage RV owners who have a shared passion for retro campers?

So whether you choose to buy your vintage travel trailer from a private seller, dealership, auction, or event, there's a wealth of options available to you. So, pack your bags, grab your sunglasses, and hit the road – your vintage travel trailer adventure awaits!

What To Consider Before Buying a Vintage RV: Tips that'll Rock Your World

Research

  • Before you hit the road to find your dream vintage RV, make sure you've done your homework! Brush up on different makes and models, their history, and what they've got going for 'em or against 'em. There's also a whole checklist of inspecting a vintage trailer. You can find all sorts of info on RV forums, blogs, and magazines.

Budget

  • The average cost of a vintage RV can vary from $10k to $100k, depending on make and model, condition, and if it needs some TLC. According to a report by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), it's important to set a budget and keep in mind costs like restoration, maintenance, and upgrades.

Condition Check

  • Give the vintage travel trailer you're eyeing a thorough once-over. Look for any signs of damage, wear and tear, and overall condition. If you're not sure what to look for, it's always a good idea to get a pro to give you a second opinion.

Restoration Costs

  • Restoring a vintage travel trailer can be a blast and super satisfying, but it can also take up a lot of time and money. Make sure you factor in the cost of restorations in your budget and be ready to get your hands dirty. A survey by Vintage Trailer Supply found that restoring a vintage travel trailer can cost anywhere from $5k to $50k.

Purpose

  • Why do you want to buy a vintage RV? Are you planning to use it for road trips, full-time living, or renting it out? Knowing the reason you're buying will help you figure out what features and amenities are important for you.

With these things in mind, you're ready to start your vintage RV search with confidence! Remember, the journey is half the fun, so don't sweat it and have a great time!

What To Consider Before Buying a Vintage RV

You'll want to make sure you're making a wise investment when buying a vintage RV. Before making a purchase, keep the following in mind:

  1. Research: Do your research before you go buying! Learn about the various antique travel trailer makes and types, their history, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. RV forums, blogs, and publications are just a few examples of the online venues where you can find this knowledge.
  2. Cost: Depending on the type and model, condition, and restoration, the typical price of a vintage RV can range from $10,000 to $100,000, according to a report by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Set a budget for your purchase and include expenses for improvements, upkeep, and restoration.
  3. Condition: It's important to carefully examine the vintage travel trailer you're considering. Look for obvious symptoms of deterioration, wear, and general condition. Consider getting a professional inspector to give you a second perspective if you're unsure of what to look for.
  4. Restorations: Restoring an old travel trailer can be a gratifying and enjoyable job, but it can also take a lot of time and money. Make sure to account for the expense of repairs in your spending plan and be willing to put in some extra work. The average cost of renovating a vintage travel trailer can range from $5,000 to $50,000, according to a survey by Vintage Trailer Supply.
  5. Motivation: What makes you desire to purchase an old RV? Are you going to live there permanently, use it as a vacation home, or rent it out occasionally? You can choose what features and amenities are crucial for your needs by considering the purpose of your purchase.

You'll be well on your way to discovering the ideal vintage travel trailer for your requirements and price range if you keep these things in mind. And never forget that half the fun of finding something is in the quest itself!

Make and Models That Hold Their Value

Brands and Models With Strong Value
It's crucial to take into account both the RV's present condition and its ability to maintain value in the future when thinking about buying a vintage travel trailer. In the past ten years, the number of registered vintage travel trailers has increased by 12% yearly, according to a National Park Service study on the subject. It therefore comes as no surprise that there is a growing interest in which antique RV makes and models retain their worth the best.

Airstream

One of the most highly sought-after brands in the vintage RV world is Airstream. Known for their iconic aluminum bodies and timeless design, Airstream travel trailers have been popular with RV enthusiasts since the 1930s. In fact, it's said that "An Airstream is not a trailer, it's a lifestyle!"

Shasta

Another popular brand that is known to hold its value well is Shasta. These trailers were produced from 1941 to 2005 and are prized for their retro look and affordable prices. In fact, according to RVTrader, Shasta trailers can range from $5,000 to $30,000, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious RV enthusiasts.

Spartan and Silver Streak

Spartan and Silver Streak are two other brands that are known for holding their value. These trailers were produced during the 1950s and 60s and are prized for their sleek design and mid-century modern look. According to Vintage Camper Trailers, these models can fetch upwards of $40,000, making them a valuable investment for those who are passionate about vintage RVs.

Remember, it's important to take into account the make and model of the RV, as well as its potential for holding its value over time. Airstream, Shasta, Spartan, and Silver Streak are all brands that are known for their durability and timeless designs, and they are a great place to start your search. Just remember, "A vintage RV is not just a means of transportation, it's a work of art!"

Why Are Vintage Travel Trailers So Expensive?

Sometimes older trailers can cost more than newer trailers, especially if they have been renovated. If a trailer has survived all these years and is still in great shape, collectors will pay a premium. And just like old classic cars, there is that wow factor that newer RV's just can't give you.

Determining Restoration Costs: How Much Does it Cost to Renovate a Vintage RV

Calculating the Cost of Restoration: How Much Does it Cost to Upgrade a
Vintage RV?

While restoring a vintage RV can be a joyful and exciting experience, it can
also empty your bank account like a black hole. Depending on the age and
condition of the vehicle, the scope of the rehabilitation job, and other
factors, restoring a vintage RV can be very expensive. The Vintage Trailer
Association found that the average price of restoring a vintage RV is between
$5,000 and $50,000.  

Although the costs involved in renovating a vintage RV can seem
overwhelming, it's important to know exactly what they are. Fixing the chassis
and frame, modernizing the plumbing and electrical systems, remodeling the
inside and exterior, and procuring materials and equipment are some of the
typical costs associated with restoring a vintage RV. 

Get a professional inspection of the RV before beginning the repair to
prevent any financial suprises during the restoration procedure. You can get a
more exact estimate of the costs from an inspector, and they can also alert you
to any potential problems that can surface during the restoration process.

Researching and comparing costs for the various goods and services required for the restoration process is also very important. You can
prevent overspending and make informed decisions as a result of this. Budgeting
for Your RV Restoration Project, 2022

In conclusion, renovating a vintage RV can require a substantial financial outlay, but for many enthusiasts, the results are priceless. The restoration process may be a thrilling and rewarding experience, whether it's for the love of preserving a piece of history or for the pleasure of owning a distinctive and useful RV. It will be a rough journey, so just be sure to buckle up and hold on tight!

Depreciation difference between new and vintage

Are you considering a new or vintage RV for your next road trip adventure? One important factor to consider is depreciation - the decrease in value over time. Here's what you need to know about the difference between new and vintage RVs when it comes to depreciation.

New RVs: The Rapid Decline

New RVs are notorious for losing value quickly, with some models losing up to 40% of their value within the first year alone! It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's the harsh reality of buying a brand spanking new RV. And the decline only continues from there.

Think about it, the moment you drive that new RV off the lot, it becomes a "used" RV and its value starts to drop. It's like the classic saying, "new car smell, new car depreciation."

Vintage RVs: The Slow and Steady

On the other hand, vintage RVs hold their value much better. These timeless beauties have a certain charm and character that just can't be replicated by a shiny new model. And because they're no longer in production, their rarity only adds to their value.

Sure, you may have to put a little elbow grease into restoring a vintage RV, but the payoff can be huge. These RVs have a timeless appeal and often hold their value, sometimes even appreciating over time. Just look at classic cars - they're worth more now than they were when they were new.

The Takeaway

When it comes down to it, it all comes down to personal preference. Do you want a brand new RV with all the bells and whistles, or do you want a classic piece of Americana that's as unique as you are?

Just remember, the depreciation on a new RV can be brutal, so if you're in it for the long haul, a vintage RV may be the way to go. It's the ultimate slow and steady wins the race scenario. And who knows, you may end up with a vintage RV that's worth more in a few years than what you paid for it. Now, that's a road trip adventure worth taking!