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Old 01-07-2010, 12:29 PM   #1
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What does Airstream mean to you?

Hi everybody, I am an achitecture student at the University of Waterloo and we are currently doing a case study of Airstream trailers so I thought that the people here might be able to help me out. I was wondering what Airstream as a brand and product means to you? as well as why you chose Airstream over the competition? Also any stories or information you would be willing to share from your experiences with Airstream and on the road would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your help.

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Old 01-07-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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It represents freedom, good taste, adventure, quality, etc. Something about a travel trailer that is 45 years old and is even better that when it was new. Airplanes are a lot like Airstreams in that they can be updated with the latest in technology & style but still keep it's unique feel. I've been in "Beaver" float planes from the early 50's that function just like new. An Airstream also makes a statement where ever it goes. Keep checking this forum as I'm sure many others can say it better.....Tim

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Old 01-07-2010, 12:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Hendrik View Post
Hi everybody, I am an achitecture student at the University of Waterloo and we are currently doing a case study of Airstream trailers so I thought that the people here might be able to help me out. I was wondering what Airstream as a brand and product means to you? as well as why you chose Airstream over the competition? Also any stories or information you would be willing to share from your experiences with Airstream and on the road would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your help.
Check the June 16,1997 issue of People magazine.

Check the Wall Street Journal issue dated December 11, 1996.

If you wish, post an e-mail address, or send it via a PM, and the above info can be forwarded to you.

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Old 01-07-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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Good basic engineering; the appliances are run-of-the mill, available in all rvs. The engineering of the frame, shell material, shell shape, weight-distribution, all make the trailer tow better than SOBs in general.

The "status" bothers me a bit.......yes, they cost more than other trailers per foot......but this does not make me as an owner a better/superior person.
Kistler & Brenda

2002 Classic 25'
2003 Expedition EB 5.4L, AWD, AdvanceTrac Class IV hitch pkg. Reese dual cam/Prodigy
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:34 PM   #5
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What does Airstream mean to you?

There is a certain mystique associated with Airstreams -- it is among the few products of industry that immediately creates a picture for most Americans with just the mention of its name, joining other similar products such as:
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Ford Mustang
  • Maytag Wringer Washer
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Connestoga Wagon
Its iconic status has some attraction, but for many that attraction is supplanted by other issues. For me it brings back warm memories of childhood when friends of my family owned the 1964 Overlander that is now mine. Many who are unfamiliar with the logevity of Airstream products are amazed when they learn that there are coaches that have been the camping home of families for three or more generations. While mine isn't a family heirloom, I did go on my first camping trip in the Overlander when it was new and I was five years old -- it was simply a quirk of fate that I acquired the Overlander in 1995 through a blind advertisement in a shopper publication. It was in the hands of its second or third owner (the paper trail isn't clear on this issue) when I purchased it; and it would be about six months before I learned of my early history with the coach.

A photo of the coach during one of its early visits to my family farm is attached below:

The photo was taken in 1968, and I am the one leading the pony -- the Overlander is in the backgrond.

The photo below is of the Overlander taken recently about 300 yards from where the photo above was taken:

Good luck with your project!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:33 PM   #6
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They are iconic examples of 1930s Americana art deco design. The man responsible for introducing them to the world, Wally Byam, once said he didn't make changes; he only made improvements.

They are also highly engineered pieces of equipment. He drew on his experience working in the aircraft construction industry doring WW-II in designing his trailers which is why they last so long. Wally only used the best materials such as aircraft-grade aluminum (.032" 2024 T3 Alclad) but that was discontinued in the 1970s. They say about 70% of all the Airstream trailers ever built are still on the road today.

Some owners like the new ones; some like the vintage Airstreams. Some like them both. They are quite different.

Airstream also represents a lifestyle; a culture. There are several books on the subject such asAirstream: The History of the Land Yacht by Bryan Burkhart and Airstream Living by Bruce Littlefield to name a couple.

Good luck with your project.
"Mister Mike", Chief Engineer, Amateur Radio Station W1RC
Founder and Benevolent Dictator, New England Amateur Radio Festival, (aka NEAR-Fest),
At the Beautiful Deerfield NH Fairgrounds (Next one October 11th and 12th 2013)
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:24 PM   #7

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Welcome aboard....


Float around the Forums for awhile and you will get all the impressions you need.

I find it interesting that so far the most recent date mentioned is 1997.

I relish the Lifestyle...the newer offerings however do not live up to their exalted "icon" reputation. mi2sents
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 01-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #8
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For me my AS represents: home, stability, quality, fun, freedom, good taste even though my AS is a 1968. She is iconic and almost as old as I am and in better shape. After you have used another brand of trailer and step into an AS - there is a very big difference in feeling. With all of the curves and rivits . . . they are just special. The new AS comes with a petigree and the vintage makes the petigree. Just take a look at our silver bullets. What's not to love. Pull into a RV park and in just a few minutes the folks from the biggest rig will be over to say hello and to let you know that they once had (and wished they still had) an Airstream.
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by airstreamjudy View Post
good taste even though my AS is a 1968. She is iconic and almost as old as I am and in better shape.
You know, that's a good point. Airstreams are so similar through the years that they defy the ravages of style which cause other things to be 'in' or 'out'. Enthusiasts can tell what vintage they are looking at at a glance, but most people can't tell a vintage Bambi from a new one. And it helps that they are frequently restored to better than new.

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Old 01-07-2010, 04:18 PM   #10
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To me Airstream represents:

Classic Americana...

Good Times with Great Friends...


No matter where you go most people always recognize an Airstream. You generally don't get that type of recognition with another brand.

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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Old 01-07-2010, 04:29 PM   #11
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:33 PM   #12
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All of the above. Iconic, classic, American, adventure, quality, and a whole lot of emotional. For a camping person, owning an Airstream is like a motorcycle rider owing a Harley. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Jim and Sandy

"To know is nothing at all. To imagine, is everything." --Albert Einstein
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:53 PM   #13
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Well, we bought ours a little over a year ago mainly because we sold another make trailer that we had owned for quite a few years and which we liked a lot. We only sold it as it had cost us a lot of money and continued to be a bit of a money pit. (That make is no longer in production).

After selling the old RV, we researched just about every trailer made today and none seemed to suit us in terms of layout / appearance / quality other than the Airstream.

Initially I wasn't happy to pay the price and thoight about getting out of RV'ing, but eventually concluded we still enjoyed the lifestyle and I wouldn't be happy with anything else!

(PS - I did a calculation during this time and concluded that it would be just as cheap for us to rent someone's condo each year, but we still enjoy the gypsy lifestyle with our own home on wheels!)

If I'm honest, I suppose another reason for buying the Airstream was that I had always admired the looks and knew that it was considered to be both an icon and the Cadillac of RV's!

Since buying, I am still impressed and happy with it, although I have learned from this forum that the quality of newer units such as ours doesn't measure up to those of bygone years. Can't say (touch wood) that we have had any serous problems with ours so far though.

I do feel pretty proud towing it down the road, and we have already had some very nice comments! One couple stopped us in a mall car park and asked if we could take their picture with it!

When we get where we are going, it suits us to a T as our home away from home! There is something just real nice about being in it!


No regrets since buying
Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:06 PM   #14
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I have to say that at first I was discouraged with my Airstream because the price didn't justify the quality...I had some leaking trouble but once I got that straightened out I have to admit there is a certain satisfaction with towing something as iconic as an Airstream ....I have to admit it tows great....I have come to Florida for 4 years now from NH and have no troubles as far as towing is is great but they could work on quality before they let a unit leave the factory

Bob & Carla
05 classic 25'
WBCCI # 1836
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