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 Originally made from wood, Wally later developed his groundbreaking design - taking inspiration from an aeroplane fuselage, and using lightweight aluminium to produce a sleek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 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."
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.