1976 Airstream Landyacht Sovereign 31

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As one of the longest trailers that we’ve seen here on Barn Finds, and an original interior, this 1976 Airstream Landyacht Sovereign 31-footer is quite a trailer. At over 30 feet in length, this is considered a full-sized trailer and most of us could easily live in one this big. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Lake Mary, Florida and the current bid price is $7,500, but the reserve isn’t met yet.

Let’s get some terminology out of the way, which will hopefully make it easier to think about trailer weights in the future. Most of you probably know these terms already, but for those who don’t, the Unit Base Weight (UBW) is the dry or unloaded weight of a trailer. In the case of this trailer, that would be about 5,000 pounds. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight safely allowed for each trailer. In this case, that’s about 7,200 pounds.

The Net Carrying Capacity (NCC) is the measurement limit of how much weight owners can carry on their trailers or RVs. In this case, it would be about 2,200 pounds. Lastly, the Htch Weight (HW) or Tongue Weight (TW) is the downward pressure on the hitch of the tow vehicle. This trailer, having a center bath, brings more weight forward than a rear bath model, and would have an HW of 650 pounds. Hopefully, that wasn’t too much info. This trailer appears to be in fantastic condition, but I wish they would have shown what the rear of it looks like. Almost every other part and area is shown but what you’d see while creeping up on it in the (hopefully) slow lane.

A four-burner gas cooktop is positively decadent! Well, not really, but for 1976, this is a nice little kitchen. It has almost everything a person needed in 1976 and probably for a decade after that, but times change and most people would have to upgrade parts of this interior. The seller says that it’s all original and everything works, so I’d leave it as is. The seller mentions a flatscreen TV, so it has that for a nice upgrade. Although a TV in my travel trailer would seem strange. That’s sort of the point of traveling I thought, to get away from blaring car warranty and walk-in tub commercials and things like that.

You already knew that it had a bathroom, in this case, a center bathroom located across from the kitchen, which can sometimes be a little awkward. With a shower, you’ll have no reason to leave this rig other than to catch your meals in the adjacent trout stream where you’ll be parked for the next couple of decades. Ahhh… hey, a guy can dream. Have any of you owned a big trailer like this 31-foot Airstream?

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Comments

  1. JE Vizzusi

    In the early 1970s I worked as a Electrical Specialist for FMC Corporation in Santa Clara building the FMC 2900R and Club Coach Motorhomes. My dad Supervised our interiors. A gas jet range in a trailer is beyond insane and very unsafe. Easy to leave the gas on a burner. The flooring looks cheap, thin veneers and probably all aluminum paneled walls. When you talk upgrades, you talk lots if re-outfitting and cash plus who’s going to do it? Now lets talk about pulling. Even with a Super Duty I would hesitate pulling 30 feet of train behind me. So under 10k park it hook it up and use as a guest house but get rid of that gas range please! jv -smash palace

    Like 2
    • Jay E.Member

      Don’t understand the post issue with a gas stove. We have one in our RV trailer and in the tiny house we live in. They both works great.

      Like 22
      • gary chamberlain

        Those who want to save the world have taken in their own hands to attempt outlawing gas appliances. Not going to work for many of us!! I’ve just replaced a 70 yr old gas furnace, readying to replace a gas water heater, & install either a Wolfe or Viking gas stove.

        Like 19
    • RKS

      If you’re dumb enough to leave the gas on, well that’s just natural selection.

      Like 27
      • Wade P

        AMEN BROTHER! My Sentiments EXACTLY!

        Like 3
    • Classics Fan

      I don’t understand your comments on the gas range or towability. Propane is the only way to go in an RV. Otherwise you’re restricted to camping spots with electrical hook-ups. Anyone who tows with the propane tanks turned on is asking for trouble. As far as towing, length is secondary to weight. This Airstream is 31 feet but the GVWR is only a modest 7,200 pounds. That’s nothing. I’ve put tens of thousands of miles on my 2019 Ford F350 Super Duty (15,000 pound rated tow capacity) pulling our 35’ OAL travel trailer weighing in at a legal 11,000 pounds. There are bigger units out there as well. All done safely as long as the tow vehicle’s capacity is not exceeded.

      Like 1
  2. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    At 31’ long x 8’ wide, this is bigger than my first TWO apartments combined! Nice “old”(?) Airstream, it’ll take an experienced “bumper driver” to keep this one under control in a hard Cheyenne crosswind. And as some RV parks are very often snobbish with their age limits on vehicles, on the outside this one looks to be one you could list as a 2016 and probably get away with it..

    And I’ll bet your casting a fly for your dinner, Scotty. 👍🏻 Good on ya.

    Like 1
  3. Keith

    Better try jumping up and down on that bumper before you buy! These were notorious for frame rot in the back. If you end up on the ground after a few good hops… well, better that than having spent your cash and *then* finding out.

    Like 3
  4. Stan

    Call the hook 🪝 , and have it delivered to a spot by the lake 🪵, where it can be dialed in.

    Like 10
    • Malcontented Misanthrope

      Any here old enough to remember Lucy and Desi ” The long,long trailer?”

      Like 17
      • Lee

        Turn left, right here, Ricky! Lucy you got some splaining to do!

        Like 4
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Hmm, I happen to see a theme here with the author, perhaps wanting to relive those wonderful memories before the weight of the world crushed our spirits,,,kidding, but Scotty, as a kid, like me, did a lot of camping. Nothing this glorious, we both came from middle class families, and did fine with a truck camper, like Scottys, or a humble Shasta, like ours. Back then, we just didn’t associate with these behemoths. My old man was cheap, so we’d always stay at the “3 “Ws” or less” in the Woodalls, sometimes nothing more than an over flow lot. These were for on the “other side”, by the lake with flowers blooming and cherubs playing fiddles,, with all the other so called, “high class” campers. Many times for us, it was for the night, and was better than the back of a gas station. Did that too.
    This? Pretty classy, and I agree with Stan, you’d be a fool to actually pull this thing around, I mean, take a Mack to pull it. Folks went with one piece motorhomes for a reason. Schlep it to an undisclosed location, prop it up, pull the wheels, home sweet home. Considering what the LEAST expensive Airstream goes for today, not much more than a teardrop for $40grand,and “tiny homes”, all the rage today, about the same, makes this a freakin’ deal,,depending on the “funk” inside, and every vintage camper has it.
    I think as pulling these becomes more and more of a chore, you’re going to see more of this. And why are the burners on? And I’m sorry, ever crap on those toilets? Mmm-hmm, this is what I’d do. Park it inside an insulated, heated 2 car garage, and have a nice bathroom in the garage, live in the trailer, hey, it could happen,,,

    Like 1
  6. Jay E.Member

    The value of this will be limited because slide outs changed the RV world. It is amazing you one or two will transform the functional space of a trailer for two people.
    At under $10k I can sort of see the attraction of having this for a guest house, but as a towing proposition it looks like a parking headache.

    Like 4
  7. Papa Bear

    If they are right at it being 7200 lbs, it should tow great. I tow a 38 ft gooseneck LQ horse trailer that is a lot heavier with my Super Duty and have no problems. At the right price this would be a great trailer, no glide out, but the length would help some with the extra room.

    Like 6
  8. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Just curios, what would have pulled this back in 1976? A one ton?

    Like 4
    • eric22t

      typically yes any 300/350 would tow this. i have even seen heavyduty 200/250s do it. i personally owned a 76 d200 camper special, that was rated at 9000gvw and had a big block. all suspension and brakes were actually d300. and yes she hauled this or more many times. always used loaded hitches with sway control and made very very sure the trailer brakes were in top notch condition.

      Like 5
      • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

        Thanks eric22t ! It sounds like you did it right. I can’t imagine a wagon pulling this back then! Take care, Mike.

        Like 1
    • Mark Kurth

      Up till the mid-70s, a lot of full-size sedans were rated to tow in the 7000-8000 lb range. Station wagons had more rear overhang, so sedans actually worked better with heavy tongue weight. Most manufacturers offered towing packages that included HD brakes, cooling and trans.

      We tow a 28′ Avion with a 2020 Jeep Gladiator with the Max Tow package (7,700 lb capacity). The Gladiator tows well and it’s much more maneuverable and economical than the 2010 2500 Super-Duty we used previously.

      Like 1
  9. Troy

    Looks like a giant silver Twinkie, nice rig to big for my 1/2 ton to pull safely anyway. Make for nice excuse to get a bigger truck.

    Like 5
  10. George Birth

    Nice trailer to set up as a retirement mini home. Save on tax bills enough to make it affordable. If the reserve wasn’t too high it might be worth it.

    Like 3
  11. Peter K

    The pricing on these units is all over the board. If this unit is all original then you may be better off gutting the interior and doing a complete remodel which could set you back $20-40K. If you are going to go that far then replace the floor too and check all the mechanical parts to the trailer as well.

    Like 3
  12. Grizz

    I have a 31 foot Airstream, same as the one showed today, I have owned it many years and it is a super trailer. Lots of room and everything works as it is supposed to, the best part is the roof and siding, no water leaks, no rust and no wood to rot. The dealer I bought it from delivered it using a chev Impala and he said he delivers Airstreams to Florida every fall and back again to Ontario.
    The best money I ever spent.

    Like 6
    • MarkMember

      I have a ’73 Sovereign. The mid bath is ideal from a weight displacement POV and helps w the rear separation from the main frame. I have a rear bath unit and had to have the separation repaired. I did a body off near full restomod done and couldn’t be happier.

      The length leaves me w regrets from a towing POV, but once parked there’s nothing like a full size Airstream! I used to tow it w a Tahoe, but it was WAY undersized so now use a Ram 2500 diesel and I barely know she’s back there.

      Re propane appliances, I have a four burner (would do two burner only looking back), three-way fridge and propane powered instant hot H20 heater. They could all be electric only as we don’t dry dock, but we used to and so propane was important at the time.

      Regarding leaks, there is always a failed rivet somewhere. Just did a buskote seal for the roof to minimize the leaks and lengthen the life of the subfloor at the edges.

      Like 3
  13. TheOldRanger

    I never liked the outside looks of the Airstream, but most I saw of the insides were really good. These were the mark of people who had money back in the day… and I never ever heard any of those who owned one ever complain about it.
    Nothing wrong with having a gas range and what fool walks off from leaving a flame going??

    Like 5
    • Boyce Miller

      My parents ordered a new 34’ Tri-axle back in the day when the dealer delivered it to the house, my mother refused to accept it with black wall tires. Those were traded out for white sidewalls that day.

      Like 5
  14. Grant

    Remember the movie, “The Long Long trailer”? Pulling this along a narrow mountain road would provide me with no pleasure at all. Just save your money and stay ant a nice bed and breakfast.

    Like 1
  15. Thomas

    I love these comments. I would have to have a good sized lot (like 5 acres ) to put all these wonderful jewels onto if I bought every one ☝️ I drooled on.

    Like 0

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