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Old 07-02-2008, 03:06 AM   #1
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If I were King of Airstreamland...

I have been reading a few threads discussing the new Flying Cloud for 2009. Not so much about the trailers themselves, as not much has changed from the Safari SE line from 2008, but the name itself.

And that led to great discussion about how Airstream is doing things like changing names but not addressing some of the more important issues like quality and weight.

So after some thought, I put down some ideas that I would implement if I were King of Airstreamland.

What is now, in 2008, the Safari and the Safari SE would be called the Flying Cloud. That change is already in place, and there is really nothing wrong with it. What differentiates the SE, the vista windows, the fully opening main windows, the panoramic front and rear windows and the aluminum skin interiors and so forth, would now be standard equipment. The smaller windowed base Safari would no longer have a reason to exist because...

Safari Sport becomes Sport. Again, this change is apparently already determined and it is fine. The existing 17í and 22í plans could be joined by maybe another slightly larger plan, say a 26 footer. More basically equipped than the Flying Cloud units, with non-pan windows front and rear, main windows similar to the former Safari, though I must say I donít see much point in the fabric covering of the interior, but if there is demand for it, it could be an option, as could larger opening windows, pan windows, and other such options. Options are great money makers for the manufacturer, so lets give them that much.

International name goes away, for a minute anyway. A new name drawn from the past in similar fashion to the Flying Cloud moniker for the line formerly known as Safari could be chosen. The reason for this will become clear in a bit. For no particular reason, for sake of discussion, lets refer to this line as Excella. The new Excella takes over the existing CCD and Ocean Breeze designer interiors as they are, and perhaps could be supplemented with other designs. Forest Cabin, Desert Cactus, Hi-Tech, Urban Grunge... The possibilities are endless as to what designers could come up with.

The Classic Limited line continues as is, without name or appearance change. Maybe a few new color schemes, but not much real change.

Importantly, all the floor plans would be the same, from 16, 19, 20, 23, 25 through 27 and 28 right up to 30, 31 and 34í units. The only significant difference between the lines is appearance. Cabinetry, flooring and the materials on seating and bedding areas would be finer and fancier as you moved up from long wearing and sturdy Flying Cloud through the flashy Excella to the exquisite beauty of the Classic Limited.

Back to the International name. Not the existing trailers, we already dealt with them, but the name International. This is to be applied to the already-existing, but not-sold-here-in-North America actual International trailers. That is to say, the ones sold in Europe and Asia. That such smaller, lighter trailers MUST be made available here is crucial to the future of Airstream, in my eyes. Gas is skyrocketing, and the response by tow vehicle makers is going to be to make them more economical. This will involve making them less capable as tow vehicles, as we know them now anyway, and SOBrands have already started making lites, ultralites and superduperalmostweightless units. Granted, they have a lifespan of about two years, but Airstream has a proud history of making lightweight trailers that last decades. And, whatís both critically important and fortuitous, they still do! All Airstream needs to do is certify these units for North American use, and there you have it, a whole new lineup of International trailers, ready for the coming hybrid, smaller, less powerful, lighter tow vehicles.

There is room for the odd-ball units too, like the BaseCamp which is actually perfect for that which it is named, a base-camp. Toys go inside for towing, people go inside for camping. Perfect.

Design Within Reach, I must say, I donít get it. But dealers seem to sell all they get, so somebody gets it, and buys it. Fair enough, keep on keepiní on.

The Interstate motorhomes? Hmm, not entirely convinced, as King of Airstreamland that Iíd keep the things. Airstream makes trailers. Iím inclined to suggest that companies should stick to what they do best, and leave others to do what they do best. But I have advisors in my kingdom, and jesters too, so hey, Iím open to discussion on all this.

Mostly, this is just for fun, but as I continue my quest for the perfect Airstream, I put this to you all for your amusement.
What would YOU do if you were King (or Queen!) of Airstreamland?

Neal, wishing for a 20í like the Safari SE/Flying Cloud, done up Ocean Breeze style...

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Old 07-02-2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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Oh King,
If you would grant my wish - I would like to test drive a 27' FB for five years or so...

AIR #15800

"Wimpy" 1/2 ton 2002 GMC Sierra 4X4 Z-71 Gasser
2000 Safari SS 25'
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:12 AM   #3
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King of Airstream Land

Dear Grand Poobah of Aluminum - May I humbly suggest for your majesty's consideration that the folks at Airstream Inc. who are directly responsible for the design and manufacture of new models of AS trailers, and the Senior Managementhat who approves such changes (and potentially receives the public adulation, huge salary increases, fabulous promotions to the Corporate Headquarters in New York & thus access to the private clubs, corporate jets, yachts & "hunting lodges", etc. when some idea becomes popular) ARE REQUIRED to hook up a prototype trailer equipped with the designer's ideas, pile the Company-provided tow vehicle full of wives & kids and drive and utilize the trailer on long cross country trips all over the USA for a minimum of 4 to 6 months dealing with any & all problems that crop up. He or she would not be allowed to simply call the factory for repairs or help. He or she will be required to follow the same procedures, actions, delays & frustrations that normal owners have to deal with, including but not limited to waiting on the chosen service facility to receive Airstream's approval of repair(s), and then accept the potential associated costs as non-refundable business trip expenses.

I'd be willing to bet we'd see a VASTLY improved quality control process & final stage testing system initiated real quick, leading to WAY fewer water leaks, loud noises from water pumps and on & on & on - including all the other minor glitches most of us new AS owners deal with. "They" constantly use good ole Wally in their sales ads , but don't seem to want to follow his admirable lead in testing the product themselves for areas needing improvement .

And, there is NO reason this rule couldn't be initiated - computers & remote video conferencing blows away any & all excuses that she or he can't be away from his or her all important wide-fanny-compatable leather office chair that long - for the sake of the company don't ya know.
I love that old time rock & roll.
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:25 PM   #4
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Quality control

Whitsend, you are hereby dubbed 'Duke of Quality Control'. All the bean counters who try to cut quality to save a buck are now under your authority. The King, me, grants you the power to trade a new unit for a customer's bad one, and send out the responsible decision maker on a one month road trip in the customer's old one, during which he must live with the problem or repair it at his personal expense.
I think your solution is excellent. Make it so, my Duke!
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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Talking First Jester

Ah, Fyrzowt, my first jester! Welcome to the Aluminum Castle...
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:36 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt View Post
Oh King,
If you would grant my wish - I would like to test drive a 27' FB for five years or so...
Rub 2airs nogg'n and it might happen..

When your tired of it,
forward it to the right coast........Please
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 07-02-2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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Your Shinyness,
I humbly offer The Lime Hollow Boys as Court Musicians.
Your ideas for our hauled haciendas are superb.
John / N2XBW

These aren't the droids you're looking for.
You can go about your business.
Move along.
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