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Old 12-22-2010, 05:15 AM   #1
minigoogoo
 
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Default Our second Westy!

I cannot say for sure, but we may be the only people in the US who have owned two Sprinter Westfalias! If 250 were imported into the US, we have owned 0.8% of the total available stock (compared to 0.4% for most 'single Westy' owners...).

A little over three years ago, we started with Westy #189, now living happily with a lovely couple down in California (and re-christened the 'Silver Flyer'). Aside from the Mercedes kit and decal removal, we didn't do too much to the rig. We owned it for about 16 months before (sadly) selling it to help fund a new home purchase.

DSC03663.JPG

At that point, I bought an NCV3 cargo van, intending to do a self-built conversion. I made a few modifications and additions (windows, crew bench seat, etc.), but life and careers got in the way of finishing that project. Sold it a month ago, intent on buying another Westy.

DSC04780.jpg

After nearly two years away from Westy ownership, we now own #59. Purchased on the east coast, and unable to swing enough time to bring it home in one trip, it has been hibernating with family in Michigan for a few weeks. I'm off on Saturday afternoon to retrieve it, and will bring it back to the moist Pacific NW next week. We're really excited to have a blue one (I've heard that there are only 5, 7, or 10 of the blue ones in the US...). We think it is a nice change from the previous silver body.

DSC04838.JPG

This one is a bit of a cosmetic project, partly due to age, and partly due to a previous owner who was a bit sloppy with the wax. I've already ordered many bits of MB black plastic (all of which are surprisingly inexpensive), which will replace the wax stained (and/or faded) black parts around the body. New bumper covers are on order, the Mercedes kit is in-hand, and I have an extra set of steel wheels that will be sandblasted and powdercoated dark gray before going on the van. The Airstream decals and Dodge badging will go away, as will the silver and blue stripes. The days are numbered for the running boards and batwing antenna as well...

DSC04842.JPG

For those who are students of such things, this van seems like a bit of an oddity in the Airstream import/update schedule. As stated, it is #59, so it is early in the US build sequence. It has the older 'italic' Airstream logos (falling off), which to me go along with the early build number. Yet, it also has running boards, which I had understood was an addition to later vans, along with alloy wheels (which ours does not have). It also has the Airstream installed grab handle on the upper cabinet (later addition), which our #189 van did not have... I guess none of that really matters, as it is in good condition, with relatively low miles, and ready for our family to use as much as possible!

Stay tuned, and I'll post updates as various parts of the clean-up are completed.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Looking good, juju
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Congrats on finding such a nice looking van.
Have fun with that,
Jef
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Congratulations, minigoogoo, from the Silver Flyer.

Name suggestion - Blue Angel...
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

How did you end up finding this Westy? I've seen 2 or 3 on ebay in the past 24 months or so, but 'stumbling' across one for sale seems a bit of a challenge... Any tips?
Cheers,
Troy
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Old 12-23-2010, 04:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy View Post
How did you end up finding this Westy? I've seen 2 or 3 on ebay in the past 24 months or so, but 'stumbling' across one for sale seems a bit of a challenge... Any tips?
Cheers,
Troy
Troy,

Unfortunately, I don't think you typically 'stumble' across these. In addition to ebay (where you are almost certain to pay the highest price IMO), there are the occasional ads posted on Craigslist (google search 'Airstream Westfalia craigslist' or 'Airstream Westfalia used' or similar). Interestingly, both of our Westys were purchased used from Airstream dealers, and in both cases I got lucky and happened to hit on their ads within a day or two of being posted. I can't recall the exact search terms I used, but they were the fairly obvious ones. You will find that most of the ads that come up are old and obsolete, but you will occasionally hit on a current listing. If you are serious about finding one, the key is to be patient and search often. You obviously want to find it before the next guy.

As a reference point, in the four months since we got serious about purchasing again, I managed to find seven for sale (not all at the same time though). Most of these have come and gone, but even the good ones weren't selling as quickly as in 2007 when we bought our first one. They are definitely out there, but you have to be patient and be ready to jump if you are serious about purchasing. Take your time, get a feel for the market and prices, and be prepared to travel for the right van. It seems almost a guarantee that the right van will be on the opposite side of the country from where you are.
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Old 12-23-2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Kenny View Post
Congratulations, minigoogoo, from the Silver Flyer.

Name suggestion - Blue Angel...
Thanks Brian. I was thinking 'Lottablu' or something like that. The surface area and amount of color on these things is amazing!

That said, I keep referring to it as 'Big Blue' without even thinking about it... Probably should go with that.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minigoogoo View Post
For those who are students of such things, this van seems like a bit of an oddity in the Airstream import/update schedule. As stated, it is #59, so it is early in the US build sequence. It has the older 'italic' Airstream logos (falling off), which to me go along with the early build number. Yet, it also has running boards, which I had understood was an addition to later vans, along with alloy wheels (which ours does not have). It also has the Airstream installed grab handle on the upper cabinet (later addition), which our #189 van did not have... I guess none of that really matters, as it is in good condition, with relatively low miles, and ready for our family to use as much as possible!
Hello minigoogoo -

Congrats on your recidivism!

Every dark blue Airstream Sprinter Westfalia that I have seen seemed to have "all the extras" as you describe yours. I am thinking that they were originally planned to be a higher priced package. I know that in Europe custom colors were available and often fancier custom interiors were specified when the custom colors were ordered.

I suppose another option is that it sat on a dealers lot for a stretch and the dealer added the extras in an effort to move it out the door, though.

Either way, you have a beautiful Westy and it is great to learn that it will be owned by someone who appreciates it's design and utility!

Enjoy!

Zach
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

Thanks Zach. The blue ones are a (nice) oddball to me. For some reason, to my eye, the overall van appears smaller and shorter in dark blue than it does in silver.

Just out of curiosity, do you have any sense of why some of the units ended up gray on the bottom + silver on the raised top? I look at those and can't help but think they were finishing up the order with whatever parts/colors they had on hand? Maybe it was intentional? Thoughts?
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(Airstream) Sprinter Westfalia #189 (SOLD)
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Our second Westy!

I have some paint questions.
We purchased a Westy a few months ago and it is non-metallic gray top and bottom. It had WBCCI numbers on it and when my husband peeled them off he left several scrapes in the paint that revealed a bright metallic silver. The gray paint seems very delicate on the fiberglass top like it was painted over a previously painted surface without the proper preparation.

The top has the two large side and one small rear swooshes. It does not have the small hood or top front swoosh. Thankfully. We would like to remove all the swooshes but are reluctant because of the high possibility of paint damage and fading due to age.

We have only seen three Westies up close. Our sum total of family Westy sightings have been five.
#1. My sons and I see one heading north from FL as we are heading south.
#2. My husband and I see one heading south from TN as we are heading north to TN on a Friday to see a Craig's listed Westy.
#3. On Saturday we checked out the Westy but did not purchase. It had a contract on it but we just wanted to see it so we would know what they were like if we had to purchase one sight-unseen. (The contract fell through and this one would come home with us a few weeks later)
#4. That same Saturday at a MB/Sprinter dealer in Atlanta. We stopped in to test drive an Interstate and there was a Westy in the service lot. It was a gray top and bottom with a dark gray stripe around the bottom. All the swooshes were removed, it had the full MB treatment, a door mount spare and after-market front seats. That was all we could see. The paint was a lot more sun damaged than the one we had just looked at.
#5. On that Monday my husband saw one in the Grovetown Cracker Barrel parking lot. This Westy was gray but I have no other particulars since I get the info second hand from my husband. It was licensed in AL and had a store sticker on it with an email. My husband exchanged a few emails with the owner and I have read his posts on one of the forums.

#'s 2-5 were seen in a matter of four days! We have been aware of these since our RV days began in 2007.

Other details about our Westy...It sold the first time in October of 2007. It is #244. It does not have the painted dark gray around the bottom. It has both pull bars in the kitchen. It has running boards. No rear view mirror.

We have removed the following: TV, safe, garbage can, silverware tray and the antenna is the next casualty. A few other things too.

Now for the big questions
Since you have seen some units that are non-metallic gray on the bottom and silver on the top, do you think our top was shipped to Airstream silver and painted gray during the US up-fit? This would explain the bright silver damaged areas.

How likely do you think it would be to remove the swooshes with a craft grade heat gun and not damage the gray paint.

Concerning your rig...do you think they painted over silver on the blue ones too? Have you removed your swooshes yet? If yes, did you do it without damaging the paint and did you experience a significant amount of paint fade?

We have been removing the Dodge badging in preparation for a MB kit and we do have fading and a fair amount to paint oxidation.

Thank you
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