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Old 09-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
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Rebirth of the Airstream Class A

There is now, and going forward, a possible major change in top management at Airstream which could result in a return of a Class A Motorhome if demand appeared to be sufficient to warrant production.

This will be a thread where you are able to voice your opinion on the size, style, options, etc that you think would entice you to purchase a large Class A. (I would suggest the offering to be 3 models on quality raised rail chassis in three sizes of 35', 39' and a special order deluxe version of 44'.

Try to keep your ideas on the practical side, and of course, the big question is whether it will be all aluminium, or a combination of a aluminium, composite, and fiberglass.

I would start by saying that the key to any success would to be able to demonstrate to the buyer a successful means of stopping water penetration beyond the exterior barrier.

In previous A Class models, Airstream did have a dome roof, but experience has shown that any seams, or roof penetrations were a problem just waiting for the next rain.

So that would be a priority, a roof that had a dome surface, and an overlap joint at the vertical wall, with automotive quality skylights, and integral roof molded vent mounts.

OK -- lets dream.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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Let's see Dave!
I think that there are many ways to make a classy looking, yet unique Motorhome that shouts Airstream.
The new technologies that have developed over the last 10 years to bond Aluminum together are there, if Airstream make the effort. Adding rivets can be just for effect, or as a locator and supplemental fastener too.

I personally think that going back to its "Roots" and building a modern Airstream Motorhome, that drew on styling cues of the past and present product line would be smart!

Take a good modern chassis, either FRED(FRontEngineDiesel).. Like the Avanti... which is a Thor industries product... I personally think they are ugly, and the design team missed the mark!
2012 Avanti Motorhomes: Class A RV by Thor Motor Coach

Or a pusher chassis...

Havng spent 30+ years in Automotive Design, I can close my eyes and its right there..
A rounded, wrap around front and rear end, evoking Airstream's history and sense of aerodynamic efficiency... Bodyside is flat, and anodised , brush or polished Aluminum, in a choice of colors, but radiused top and bottom. Black or dark tinted windows that are flush fitted. Think European High Speed Trains..
Visually, no drip rail or break in the roof to bodyside flow. There is a joint, but its up high, and not visible from ground level. Water flowing off the roof, is channeled into hidden gutters, like modern cars. Maybe the water can be channeled or filtered and stored for toilet flushing grey use. Body sidepanels are jointed to allow scaleability in length, and maybe have rivets, but glue bonding is better. On the roof, LCD tintable panels for interior light instead of pop-up vents. Solar Panels that fit flush, with the roof too, but can be power tilted up to maximise efficiency. Yes, to slide outs.Yes to basement storage with basement AC, and a smooth unbroken roofline!
Inside is classy, and a choice of modern or traditional, with all you would expect, but with a nod to sustainability and enviromental responsibility.

Don't get me started... But if Airstream needs me, I am available for consultation!
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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You have saved me a lot of time writing this up.
Lets get it built.

I think the FRED chassis would be OK for the shorter length designed for the local camping areas, but the pusher is the only way to go for traveling.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by masseyfarm View Post

I think the FRED chassis would be OK for the shorter length designed for the local camping areas, but the pusher is the only way to go for traveling.

Dave
Agreed Dave.
The more I think about it the more ideas I have!
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #5
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I never was big on large side windows, especially in the bedroom.
However, today I am waxing the Clipper (twice a year) and I wish right now it had bigger windows.

Dave
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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OMG, Keyair, that Avanti looks (almost) just like our 05 LY moho. Not ugly We think she's a beauty.
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:52 PM   #7
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I don't agree Dowpells, your M/H is much better looking...

Whilst I know only too well, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder... In my opinion the Avanti front grill is a sad, saggy disproportionate thing, that looks like it was done as an afterthought. It has poor surface and boundary tension, does not match the shut lines of the hood opening or the headlamp bezels.
For the record, they carefully disguise it in the photos by only taking a front 3/4 shot..
I have seen it in the flesh and it is not pretty!
Whilst the 2005 M/H is not perfect with the grill and headlamps a little too small for my liking, its an older design.
The whole thing is better balanced... take a good look at your M/H and then the Avanti... look at the flow of the lines, and in particular the treatment of the windshield lines, and also how they flow into the roof... Much better!
Why does the whole front end cap on the Avanti look so.... so... Odd?

If the 2005 and even the Mk2 Airstream Classic M/H from the early 90's looks better than a 2013... how far have we come??

Oh, and if anyone really wants to see how wrong they can get it... Look at the ACE...
Oh my goodness... I have NOTHING good to say about it at all!
http://acemotorhome.com/
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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Hi, I think Airstream should make something unique, modern, aerodynamic, comfortable, well built, in 32' or 36' configuration. But Monaco beat them to it with their Vesta. Maybe Airstream should look at one of these before designing theirs. If I were to switch to a Class A, from my trailer, I would buy one of these.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post

~~

Oh, and if anyone really wants to see how wrong they can get it... Look at the ACE...
Oh my goodness... I have NOTHING good to say about it at all!
2013 ACE Motorhomes: Class A & Class C Hybrid RV by Thor Motor Coach
The ACE looks like it was designed from a sketch by Dr. Seuss.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:39 AM   #10
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I don't agree Dowpells, your M/H is much better looking...



Oh, and if anyone really wants to see how wrong they can get it... Look at the ACE...
Oh my goodness... I have NOTHING good to say about it at all!
2013 ACE Motorhomes: Class A & Class C Hybrid RV by Thor Motor Coach
Maybe it just needs a few more swirly stripey thingies. Sal.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:31 AM   #11
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My idea of a Class A Motorhome is to get to the next level of comfort beyond an Airstream Trailer. Once a trailer gets longer than 28' of so it becomes more of a challenge to tow, handle, park, etc. This is where those with the ability step up to a Class A and travel, park, and enjoy life for extended periods on the road with little or no hassle just as they would do at home.

My thoughts are that a Class A is made for traveling to many destinations. If you are going to stay in one place most of the time, you are probably better buying a park model trailer or a Class B or C where you are going to be close to service sites and don't require the larger storage capacities available to a quality Class A.

This can not be done on a light duty chassis that will not carry the liquids, and supplies, that are required for extended travel. (We are talking here about a home away from home.)

That is why I suggested the size start at 35' and up, because it is not practical to have 100gal fresh water capacity on a unit smaller than this.

If you have a quality HD chassis of GVW of 29000# min. for the 35' model, built for balance with light weight aluminium and similar materials, the motorhome will handle the same, and give basically the same fuel mileage on the road loaded or empty.

Airstream in not a integrated chassis/engine/body company as is Navistar/Monaco so the plan would be to stick with Freightliner Chassis, that have service centers in every small city on this continent and parts available world wide.

This quote from Monaco "There’s also a very distinctive and stylish grille design to help Monaco-spotters identify the Vesta from across the campground." is not what I am looking for in a Class A. An ugly grill that sticks out like a sore thumb. I would hope Airstream would have a design that does not need a whack of chrome on the front of an otherwise bland body to draw attention to their new Class A.

As mentioned above by Keyair, design is not done by committees located in separate rooms.

Enough for now, I have to finish my wax job on the Clipper.

Dave



Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I think Airstream should make something unique, modern, aerodynamic, comfortable, well built, in 32' or 36' configuration. But Monaco beat them to it with their Vesta. Maybe Airstream should look at one of these before designing theirs. If I were to switch to a Class A, from my trailer, I would buy one of these.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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I decided to have another cup of coffee.

If you look at the GM coach body designs of the late 60's there was a great effort to flow design detail with practical application.


The widest part of the coach is in the beltline area, with the bottom sill actually inside the tire track to avoid curb damage. The window area flows into a rolled roof, and the "Buffalo" had the smaller frontage with the roof tapered up to the coach roof.

I am suggestion something similar, 102' wide body, with the cockpit tapered to 96" at the windshield(s) and the roof sloped back to the main body.

Airstream could do this with little tooling update by utilizing existing production with new endcaps somewhat similar to what this gentleman did in his backyard.


Back to work.

Dave
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, I think Airstream should make something unique, modern, aerodynamic, comfortable, well built, in 32' or 36' configuration. But Monaco beat them to it with their Vesta. Maybe Airstream should look at one of these before designing theirs. If I were to switch to a Class A, from my trailer, I would buy one of these.


I agree Robert, its better.
Look at the way the top and bottom lines of the windshield flow, match and draw your eye along to the side window lines, even if they don't line up quite perfectly, the visual flow is acceptable. On the Avanti, the curved corners of the windshield isolate it visually and as a result make it look bulbous...
I don't like the grill on the Vesta so much, as I feel its a little contrived and clumsy above the headlamps, but at least they tried!
Its better than the Avanti.
On these Motorhomes, the issue is the amount of surface they have between the chin and base of the windshield... but they handled it better... They lifted the headlamps up, where they make the front more balanced and added tension and a feature below them that draws your eye around the corner to the line above the front wheel. The addition of the blinker/foglamp below disguised the bulk a little more, but I would have prefered them bigger. I am not a huge fan of the small projector style headlamps, but I understand the reason why everyone is using them... the sheer cost of developing and producing a custom reflector for a low volume Motorhome is prohibative. By using an off the shelf part and incorporating it into a fuax chrome look casing, they get 80% of the look at 10% of the cost.
By adding the wings to the grille they also disguise the acreage there and I understand they were also trying not make the lower grille look tall and pinched... I would have prefered to have seen a panel or dark painted area below the windshield to make the glass look deeper... Notice that the chrome chevron above the grille opening starts from the center, and as it flows out it lifts up, and runs into the front side window which is upswept to the rear... Nice touch!
I do like the nearly flush roof tho, and the integrated awnings... NICE!
Detail, Detail!
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keyair View Post
Let's see Dave!
I think that there are many ways to make a classy looking, yet unique Motorhome that shouts Airstream.
The new technologies that have developed over the last 10 years to bond Aluminum together are there, if Airstream make the effort. Adding rivets can be just for effect, or as a locator and supplemental fastener too.

I personally think that going back to its "Roots" and building a modern Airstream Motorhome, that drew on styling cues of the past and present product line would be smart!

Take a good modern chassis, either FRED(FRontEngineDiesel).. Like the Avanti... which is a Thor industries product... I personally think they are ugly, and the design team missed the mark!
2012 Avanti Motorhomes: Class A RV by Thor Motor Coach

Or a pusher chassis...

Havng spent 30+ years in Automotive Design, I can close my eyes and its right there..
A rounded, wrap around front and rear end, evoking Airstream's history and sense of aerodynamic efficiency... Bodyside is flat, and anodised , brush or polished Aluminum, in a choice of colors, but radiused top and bottom. Black or dark tinted windows that are flush fitted. Think European High Speed Trains..
Visually, no drip rail or break in the roof to bodyside flow. There is a joint, but its up high, and not visible from ground level. Water flowing off the roof, is channeled into hidden gutters, like modern cars. Maybe the water can be channeled or filtered and stored for toilet flushing grey use. Body sidepanels are jointed to allow scaleability in length, and maybe have rivets, but glue bonding is better. On the roof, LCD tintable panels for interior light instead of pop-up vents. Solar Panels that fit flush, with the roof too, but can be power tilted up to maximise efficiency. Yes, to slide outs.Yes to basement storage with basement AC, and a smooth unbroken roofline!
Inside is classy, and a choice of modern or traditional, with all you would expect, but with a nod to sustainability and enviromental responsibility.

Don't get me started... But if Airstream needs me, I am available for consultation!
Steve,
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see something drawn up as you describe. I saw the flush fitting windows on a Class B over the weekend, and had to start thinking about 'would that work on the Airstream?'
Thanks, Derek
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