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Old 04-06-2014, 07:43 AM   #1
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Should this be the new Airstream?

Hello all.

First a disclaimer. I'm not trying to set the house on fire but start a discussion.

Lets face it, aluminum is not getting cheaper, while exotic carbon fibre is. At what point should Airstream consider changing over to this extremely strong yet light and durable material?



The new trailer is made by Global Caravan Technologies but can cost up to 3/4 of a million dollars.

Would you consider buying a carbon fibre trailer or motorhome if the cost to buy were comparable?
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:50 AM   #2
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Thats gorgeous. No fasteners no seams no leaks! Very cool but a long way to go on price. I would definately consider it if the price was comparable.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:32 AM   #3
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If the cost were comparable - sure. Would be interesting to see Airstream do it with their signature shape/look.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:58 AM   #4
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I like it. Things like this spawn new and better technologies.

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Old 04-06-2014, 09:17 AM   #5
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I've done a little work with composit materials in another hobby, and one of the things talked about is no fasteners, and there's a big reason for that. You need to see what happens to composits with loose fasteners on vibrating assemblies to understand. Many times worse than what happens in Aluminum.


Airstream would not only have to change materials, but completely change how their trailer structure is built and manufactured, and then it would no longer be an Airstream.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:23 AM   #6
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I've wondered about the merits/disadvantages of a black RV. Many days that I am camped are "warm" days. Nice enough that just having the windows opened and it's still comfortable inside, but I have noticed that on those days, often the folks with black motorhomes are closed up and running the A/C.
I reckon it could be a nice advantage on a cold sunny winter day.

I have read elsewhere that the group that is trying start this new trailer is a bunch of the same guys that tried a go at it with Earthbound, which left some investors wondering where their money went.

It is a cool looking trailer.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:25 AM   #7
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I wouldn't want one. Too much to go wrong that's hard to repair.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:49 AM   #8
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Another squarestream.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:00 AM   #9
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I was wondering about repairs but searching the web it seems repairing carbon fibre is akin to repairing fibreglass. I could be wrong though as I could have sworn you needed an autoclave to set up carbon fibre, but that may only be for the initial form set up. Small repairs are probably much easier. It maybe much cheaper to repair than aluminum. Since carbon fibre is very durable it certainly wouldn't crease, wrinkle or scuff nearly as easily as aluminum.

While there are people that would say that if Airstream were to build out of carbon fibre it wouldn't be an Airstream, I beg to differ. Airstream is a principle or concept of building trailers with lightness and durability as its core component. Is not using carbon fibre, which is extremely light, durable and strong adhereing to the Airstream principle?

Change can be a good thing. Try replacing your door hinges and see how long it takes, because a fastener came loose and a PO left it to elongate the hole. Change is what keeps companies alive (except "New Coke"). Change for the better that is, with new technologies and easier and better ways to build your products.

You could one day buy an Airstream, shaped like the Airstreams of today with a funky retro interior that would never leak or rot, never need to be repolished and be lighter than the Airstreams made today for better fuel economy.

Glad everyone is keeping it civil.

Cheers
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:12 AM   #10
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Think uniqueness.

Airstream trailers are unique, and that's a good part of why they sell. Leave well enough alone.

The fiberglass Airstream motorhomes were, in opinion, not unique, or at least not unique enough to command the prices that they wanted.

Carbon fiber is, at the moment, unique, perhaps just unique enough for Airstream to jump back into the motorhome market with it.


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Old 04-06-2014, 10:12 AM   #11
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Tony,
In my very limited experience with CF components for motorcycles ( fenders, etc ), your statement about needing to cure in and autoclave is accurate. You could lay up CF just like you do fiberglass ( and some of the cheaper components were done that way ) but when doing so, the resulting piece made from CF was essentially the same strength and nearly the weight of FG. So yes, to do it "right" you had to do it the more expensive way.

As to repairing a damaged panel on a trailer like this, if the end product is painted, then I agree, I see no reason why you couldn't repair it as is done with FG. But if you are going for the natural CF look ( as this trailer is depicted ) then it looks like you would have to replace the entire panel. Which is always problematic when a company goes out of business. Seems likely that damage to one of these trailers would end as an insurance write-off, or, if not done that way, then a patch job.

Certainly a lot of advantages when it's repair time to sectional pieces of an aluminum skinned A/S. That's the way a LazyDaze motorhome is made too....all the outside panels are in sections ( aluminum ) so that they can be repaired more easily if need be.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
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I think this is the future for many applications. Pay up front and hope to gain over the long run. You can't recycle it so it better last for ever?

That black box would sure look good behind this 2015 Caddy.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
Would you consider buying a carbon fibre trailer or motorhome if the cost to buy were comparable?
No. We own an Airstream because it's an American icon, has a rich history and they bring a smile to my heart….maybe when those are "vintage" I'd consider one. Cost has very little to do with it.

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Old 04-06-2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
While there are people that would say that if Airstream were to build out of carbon fibre it wouldn't be an Airstream, I beg to differ. Airstream is a principle or concept of building trailers with lightness and durability as its core component. Is not using carbon fibre, which is extremely light, durable and strong adhereing to the Airstream principle?



Cheers
Tony

Should have said, then it will no longer be an Airstream, as we know it.


Think of how long the "better" Squarestream lasted......
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:28 AM   #15
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No thanks, I'll stick with aluminum because I like the look of aluminum and rivets in the iconic shape. There are many alternatives available; this is just another. Airstream has watched people building and buying a better mousetrap for over 80 years and is the only one surviving as the innovators have come and gone.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:06 PM   #16
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Hmmmmm

750 K ??? You could buy a house, trailer, tow vehicle, an Interstate, and a motorhome.
Would I want to navigate with a 19 foot tow vehicle, plus a 35 foot trailer? With that overhang, you better stay on the blacktop.
Maybe rich movie stars would use them on location.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:39 PM   #17
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it looks like a great add on vehicle for a funeral home to tow behind the hearse for group funerals.


Is it really necessary for carbon fiber vehicles to be black or is that just part of the "bad" image


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Old 04-06-2014, 12:45 PM   #18
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They start around $150000. A friend of mine went to the press event about a month ago. The trailer was bare on the inside and for several panels they used a 'carbon fiber film' on top of another material. The event was to create buzz; the trailer is nowhere ready for production.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:21 PM   #19
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Did I just miss it, or was there nothing in that video about the INSIDE? Think about what an odd omission that is. A trailer isn't selling a hull, like a boat would. A trailer is selling living space. So ... where is it?


I have limited experience with Carbon Fiber. I only know one thing about it. Carbon fiber is more toxic than fiberglass--you can't sand it or cut it without a full face respirator. Supposedly the fiber is like little needles, that get in your eyes or lungs or skin. To me, that's a big drawback.


Although, if someone is going to spend $150,000 for a travel trailer, I guess they can afford to hire someone to take the environmental risk.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:33 PM   #20
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My GOD is that thing hideously FUGLY!


No sense of proportion, absolutely HORRID paintjob (look closely when they close-up around the lights and front corners), terrible attention to detail (check out how that side marker light is mounted), stupid "headlights" for some unknown reason using what looks to be something inspired by a 1970's era Star Wars spaceship drawing, basic steel frame (why no weight savings there?) and frankly it looks like something Batman's Grandfather would own...years after he traded in the sleek aerodynamic badass Batmobile, he settled down and got himself an old-folks trailer but painted it black just to remind himself that he was, at one time, "cool."


Looks like something THIS guy would camp in:
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