Argosy Galvanized Caps

Most folks know that Argosy units are made by Airstream. Early on, the Argosy brand was viewed by the true Airstreamer as an inferior product. It wasn’t silver.  In fact, the Argosy units initially were not allowed into the Wally Byam Caravan Club (WBCCI). The Argosy units do not have some of the bells and whistles that their Airstream family members have.  For example, the Argosy units do not have windows in the main entry/exit door.  Another example is that my Airstream 345 motorhome have a retractable reel for the water hose and power cord.  My Argosy motorhome has a simple hose fitting and electrical plug.  Personally, I don’t mind the simplicity since it can mean easier repairs and increased reliability.

One of the major differences between an Airstream and an Argosy (other than the paint) is the front and rear top caps.  While the Airstream units are entirely aluminum, the Argosy units have galvanized steel front and rear caps. It is not uncommon to see Argosy units that have been re-brand as Airstream units by previous owners.

“The Magnet Test”

There is one sure fire way to tell if a unit was originally an Argosy. You can do what I call the “Magnet Test.”  A magnet will stick to the galvanized steel top caps of an Argosy but not the aluminum caps of an Airstream. Here are some good pictures of the caps on a motorhome and a trailer.  One thing is for sure, the paint seems to peel off of the galvanized steel long before it peels from the aluminum!

Polishing an Argosy

One other common thing you see is owners striping of all of the paint off of the unit and polishing it up. The only problem is that those galvanized steel caps will not polish like the aluminum sides and roof.  You can clearly see this on the pictures that I have provided. 

Personally, I say enjoy the fact that Argosy units are painted.  I have seen lots of really cool paint jobs in all sorts of colors.  The plain bright white is awesome.  I have seen metallic gold, fire engine red, charcoal gray, two-tone, and of course, Airstream silver!  Whatever you do, enjoy it, have fun, and go ahead and express yourself. 

Happy Travels,

Fred