THE HISTORY OF THE AIRSTREAM

American Wally Byam designed the first Airstream travel trailer in the late 1920s - after his wife refused to go camping without a kitchen to cook in!  Originally made from wood, Wally later developed his groundbreaking design - taking inspiration from an aeroplane fuselage, and using lightweight aluminium to produce a sleek and shiny silver-coloured caravan, which caused a sensation.  

wally byam

Wally started selling plans for his trailers and self-build wood and canvas 'trailer kits,' along with trailers that he built himself in his back garden in LA. After a stint working with aircraft engineer, William Hawley Bowlus, Wally formed the Airstream Trailer Co and began production on the Airstream Clipper - the first Airstream trailer design to be constructed from aluminium - featuring  an advanced insulation and air conditioning system. From these humble beginnings, the Airstream brand has gained global recognition as an iconic symbol of classic Americana, like Coca-Cola or Levis jeans.

"Adventure is where you find it, any place, every place, except at home in the rocking chair."

Wally Byam

Travelling the world in his various creations - Wally and his Airstreams were instrumental in encouraging the romance and enthusiasm associated with recreational vehicle (RV) culture which persist to this day:

AIRSTREAMS IN THE MOVIES

Airstreams are often used as a home-from-home for actors on set and their iconic style also makes them a popular choice as a backdrop in front of the camera too.

In the early '80s, Francis Ford Coppola had a special Airstream trailer commissioned which was subsequently fitted as a mobile film editing suite. It was nicknamed the "Silverfish”.

Airstreams have featured in films including Thor, Charlies Angels, Raising Arizona, Independence Day and many TV shows and countless videos.

CELEBRATED AIRSTREAM OWNERS

Several US presidents and their families have owned or used Airstreams. JFK famously used one as a mobile office when he was checking out new army weaponry in White Sands, New Mexico and Richard Nixon interviewed the crew of Apollo 11 in an Airstream, where they were being quarantined and checked for potentially hazardous moon dust. 

Brad Pitt owns a vintage Airstream motorhome that he likes to call 'the Love Sub'. According to sources Brad lived in the Sub for a short while during 2005, after his split from Jennifer Anniston.

Other Airstream owners include: Pamela Anderson, Adrien Brody, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, David Duchovny, Tim Burton, Andy Garcia, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp.

Due to customer demand, we have also started refitting American RVs as well as vintage Airstreams and Airstream motorhomes. You can find out more about them on our 'American RV' page.

WHY CHOOSE AN AIRSTREAM?

Buying an Airstream is an investment - unlike most modern items, it will just keep on going. With a durable aluminium body - which is designed not to rust - most repairs are possible and you could keep your Airstream for life. As your needs change so can the interior design of your Airstream - keeping it usable and enjoyable for many years, whilst it steadily appreciates in value.

"Just as all the world loves a lover, it has been my experience that all the world loves a trailerite."

Wally Byam

Here at ARC Airstreams we pride ourselves on creating an interior that is personal to each client - whether it is used to promote their business or for their own personal use, (or even a bit of both) we are well-practised at helping our customers to realise their creative vision.

english airstream

Matthew McConaughey owns several Airstreams, including a refurbished 1958 Ocean Breeze model which he lived in full time during 2008, in a trailer park in Malibu. He describes Wally Byam as his hero:

"There was this perception that trailer-park living and RVers were all like gypsies. He was like, No, we're not gypsies. Gypsies have no home. We find a home wherever we go. We're ambassadors. He went all over the world, places that no one else was going, from Cairo to Johannesburg, and he did it all in an Airstream carrier."