Glamper Material? 1966 Airstream Ambassador

In case you haven’t heard, “glamping” is one of the trendiest things amongst the well off. A shortened form of “glamorous camping,” glampers frequently take older campers and dress them up with all kinds of modern conveniences. This 28′ 1966 Airstream Ambassador looks far too original for that to happen, and now it’s for sale here on eBay with no reserve. Bidding as I write is up to $8,200 with 50 bids, so there’s a lot of interest in this old streamliner. You’ll have to tow it home from Conroe, Texas if you are the winning bidder.

The seller tells us there’s only one small dent on this Airstream (top front). It “pulls great on the highway” and has four new tires as well as functional brakes. We are to assume the air conditioning is non-functional, and to avoid leaks the two rooftop units are covered with tubs at the moment. The seller is also unaware if the propane system is working or not.

Inside, the camper looks cleaned and at least relatively well taken care of, although the seller cautions that you’ll need to work on the exterior lights as well as the plumbing and restroom area.

Looking towards the rear of the trailer, it’s easy to see how these were a step up from the usual diner decor used in typical campers at the time–this looks more like a period hotel room to me. Can you imagine a car show or race weekend operating out of this level of comfort? What fun!

You’re cruising in style in the front as well. Not only that, but you can hobnob with other Airstream owners — that’s right, there are clubs galore to help you with technical advice, parts, towing help and anything else you can think of to make your Airstream perfect for you. There are even all kinds of parts sellers that specialize in Airstreams! So what do you think? Is Airstream camping (or glamping, for that matter) in your future?

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Comments

  1. Van

    Nice looking camper. I tend to prefer older campers. Spartan campers from the 40s and 50s. I guess I should find out about the finer points of trailering.

  2. Howard A Member

    Hmm, never heard of “glamping”. Campgrounds have changed drastically from when I was a kid. The camper was for sleeping only ( and those dreaded rain days camping, how many times can you play Parcheesi) and outdoor activity was what you did. Today, it’s these “slide-out” behemoths that are more like your living room than a camper, and I suppose that’s ok. The “Airstream” was a different matter entirely. The “hoi-paloi” camped in Airstreams, usually in a separate place grouped together with other Airstreams,( being pulled by Cadillacs) sorry, no “lowly Shastas here, go over by your other Shastas, Avalons, Scotty’s ( no relation) and Holiday Ramblers” Really, it was like that years ago. Airstream was top of the line, as you can see how it differs from the Shasta. Warning, these are heavy, better have that 454, and a “no-limit” gas card to pull it. High class, all the way.

    • rando

      “hoi-paloi” – haven’t heard that in a while. The “Hoi-paloi” were the “glampers” of the day?

      • rando

        Hmmm, after looking it up, I was wrong in what I thought “hoi polloi” meant. I thought it was the upper class, but it is actually the masses. I would have thought the masses would be in the Starcrafts, the pop ups, the Shastas, etc. I would have thought the Airstream was the camper for the upper echelon.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi rando, my “hoi-palloi” reference was from the 3 Stooges, who always portrayed the rich and famous as “the hoi-palloi”.

      • macvaugh

        The Three Stooges misused the term “Hoi Polloi” for “Hoity Toity” in 1935. The English language as spoken in the US hasn’t been the same since: http://blog.writeathome.com/index.php/2011/10/hoity-toity-or-hoi-polloi/

        Growing up in Glacier National Park, I’ve seen my share of both, and the Airstream campers tipped better.

      • Brad C

        Wrapping up the restoration of a ’57 Airstream, currently — in chat rooms dedicated to our hobby, there are rumors and tall-tales of people in vintage trailers being turned away from some of the higher end campgrounds today. “Nothing over ten years, no exceptions!” they claim they’re told.

        But no matter; a true glamper carries their glamour on the inside… so that even a night spent in a Walmart parking lot can serve as an occasion to turn on that turquoise blue transistor radio, pour a martini, and sit under your awning with your plastic, pink flamingos.

      • rando

        And THAT is what I LOVE about this site – I learned something. I did not watch enough Stooges to realize. Thanks Guys.

    • Steve

      “Avalo”/ “Avion”? My unlce had one of those. I believe it was related to the Airstream. My dad had 32 or 34 ft bumper pull Argosy. He towed it behind hos 350 powere 89 Chevy one ton welding truck when he was working, or bhind his 82 6.2 diesel suburban when vacationing. Neother pulled them very fast, but did the job.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Steve ( must be on a cell phone, but got the idea) Avalon was a camper kind of like the Shasta, the Avion was an Airstream look alike, but didn’t have the interior the Airstream had.

  3. Jeff

    I grew up camping with my family, spring, summer & fall. Went “glamping” with my sister & her friends last fall at Arches National Park. (Celebrating her turning 50) Her friends glamped while she & I stayed in a small teepee that came with their unit. They had wood stove, king size bed, wooden floor and a shower. The teepee had a battery powered lamp and two cots…got down to about 40 that night! We move on to Bryce Canyon the next night & stayed in a motel…my sister made a B-line for the drug store while I did the laundry…she bought some earplugs!

  4. boxdin

    Airstreams like this one make good beginnings of “earth homes” in Taos NM and other places. The trailer is the starting point and additions, solar, and other systems are added as able.

  5. Big Mike

    Another Family which were my Parents Camping buddy’s own Airstream campers for years, but my Dad would never spend that kind of money to go enjoy the woods as he always put it. But they always seemed to be there with us whenever we would close the shop and take a 3 – 4 week vacation and go some place. Dad would always make fun of them because you can’t take a camper to the sand bar on a river that Dad always went to for his fishing trip.
    These things are nice always have been and I think always will be. I always wanted to own one, but my nice pop-up in good enough for me these days, and if I want to go to the river to fish, I take a tent, because Dad was right, you can’t set a camper up on a sand bar!!!!

  6. Fred W.

    My in laws have one of those behemoths with the slide outs and I can’t understand it. 60K plus expense of truck, which must be top of the line to pull it, and expense of campground each time you stop. With depreciation it’s probably 3 times the price of staying in a nice motel.

    • MH

      You don’t understand. Those big ones with all the slide outs are ment to stay at a permanent location. There to big to haul all over. They are very popular here in Minnesota. Lots of them on permanent sites at the different lakes. They don’t hardly loose and value. When you buy one they haul it and set it for you. I have one and it’s wonderful!

    • boxdin

      Your trailer will not have bedbugs, the hotel very well may have them. That’s enough for me, but I’ve been an RV guy for many years.

  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    First time I ever saw a Chevy 3/4 ton Suburban was in a caravan of Airstream trailers. The Byum Caravan would take over the local campground for several days in the summer. I remember this one trailer–very much like the one featured here–being pulled by a brand new Burb. Sounded like a 292 which, coupled to the four speed truck transmission, would’ve pulled that trailer without a problem….

    • John H

      Mom & Dad would take us to see the Caravan when it visited Hershey, PA, in the 1960s. Dad would park at the Hershey High School, on a hill overlooking the stadium and Hershey Park (it was two words in those days, unlike today!). The Airstreams covered the area between the stadium and the road. It was something to see on a sunny day!

  8. Jay E.

    What I don’t get are the 50K “tiny” houses to save money, when something like this is purpose built at a fraction of the cost and tows nicely too.

  9. JW

    Me and the wife and 2 son’s used popup campers the whole time we camped when they were growing up. Camping means getting out with nature and outdoor activities. It would irritate us listening to those behemoth motor homes A/C running all night drowning out the sounds of the woods at night.

  10. Sam

    This Airstream would be awesome to pull behind the recent Airstream motorhome listing. Double hoi polloi!!!

  11. macvaugh

    I’ve looked the Ebay listing over carefully and I don’t’ think this trailer is as described. Airstreams back in 1966 had airplane fuselage type windows, with curved aluminum channel bent into rounded corners on the windows. They also used what was modern tech at the time, laminate surfaces for counters and walls. This unit looks much more modern than 1966, if those windows are correct and the genuine mahogany wood paneling was original.

    • Brad C

      Good sleuthing, Macvaugh – but as John pointed out below, 1966 was the first of a 3-year run using frameless, curved Corning glass windows. Curved and prone to shattering (often when someone walked into them) they are expensive to source during restorations.

      A savvy buyer will still happily snatch up 66-68 Airstreams… they’ll just be sure it has no broken windows, or is priced low enough to justify splurging on replacements.

  12. Mike Williams

    Love to tow that into Pismo behind my Edsel

  13. John

    Macvaugh, the Airstreams of the mid sixties used Corning frame less glass windows. Very advanced compared to the competition of the day. The amount of mahogany is also correct for that period. All in all it does look to be a very nice trailer. I do notice the stove appears to be under the counter. I’m not sure they were concealed that way but a flip up section if counter is possible.

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