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Old 11-29-2019, 12:54 AM   #1
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Vintage Kin - Rounded, Riveted, Aluminum Trailer Brands

Hi All,
I decided to put together a list of all the travel trailer brands/models with rounded and riveted aluminum skins like those on most Airstreams (since the introduction of the 1936 Airstream Clipper). Note that some of these brands used anodized aluminum skins, but they could still be called "Airstream like".

Some of the listed brands were in business before and/or after the dates listed, but only produced rounded, riveted aluminum trailers in the listed years. Also, this list does not include travel trailers shaped like canned hams or otherwise with flat sides, even if riveted aluminum.

In approximate order of introduction of their rounded, riveted, aluminum models:
  • Bowlus: (incl. Bowlus-Teller): 1934-36
  • Airstream: 1936-current
  • Curtis Wright (Clipper only): 1947-49 (Clipper line sold to Silver Streak)
  • Silver Streak: 1949-~1997 (ending year not confirmed)
  • Airlight: 1954-55 (became El Rey for 1956)
  • El Rey: 1956-~1957 (formerly Airlight, ending year not confirmed)
  • Avion: ~1956-~1990 (some debate on exact dates)
  • Streamline: ~1956-~1974 (exact dates not confirmed)
  • Kit (Jetstream only): ~1957-~1958 (exact dates not confirmed, most Kit trailers did NOT look similar to Airstreams)
  • Avalair: ~1962-~1963 (exact dates not confirmed, all models except the Mark II)
  • Travelux: ~1966-~1978 (exact dates not confirmed, Canadian company)
  • Alumacoach: ~1969-~1972 (exact dates not confirmed, Canadian company, maybe only 30 to 40 total units built)
Also related, but not quite enough to be included in the list above:
  • Cayo: 1970-~1974 ("slide in" campers and Class C motorhomes only, separated from Avion in 1970)
  • Argosy: 1972-79 (painted trailer Airstream sub-brand)
Please help me confirm the dates and other details in this list and add any missing brands or models.

P.S. I have decided to exclude Spartan from this list because of their significantly different shape and their wood lined interiors.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:51 AM   #2
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Joe you seemed to have missed a big one. http://www.spartantrailer.com/
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
Joe you seemed to have missed a big one. http://www.spartantrailer.com/
Hi Doug,
Thanks for the input. Perhaps you missed my "P.S." at the bottom. I specifically excluded Spartan because of their different shape and wood lined interior because I knew someone would bring them up. It's almost a shame to exclude them as they were an aircraft company, but I just feel that they do not look like Airstreams, though I suppose others may disagree.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:30 AM   #4
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Boles Aero?
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeweloJalopy View Post
Boles Aero?
The only aluminum sides Boles Aeros I have seen were flat sided, not rounded like an Airstream, but perhaps I just haven't seen the correct model. I'll add it if someone can provide a photo of one.

That said, Boles Aeros are cool and there are several similarly styled brands (e g. Barth, etc.). I am just trying to keep this list to brands and models that are most similar to the traditional, classic Airatream shape and construction technique.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Hi Doug,
Thanks for the input. Perhaps you missed my "P.S." at the bottom. I specifically excluded Spartan because of their different shape and wood lined interior because I knew someone would bring them up. It's almost a shame to exclude them as they were an aircraft company, but I just feel that they do not look like Airstreams, though I suppose others may disagree.
Mine is constantly being called an airstream
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:37 PM   #7
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Some people will call any unpainted aluminum trailer an Airstream. I guess that shows which brand has the most name recognition.
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:09 AM   #8
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Not sure of the accuracy in Thompson & Jameson's recently published "The Illustrated Field Guide to Travel Trailers." This book provides following information for some of the trailers listed:
  • Avion 55 - '02
  • Airlight '54 - '55
  • Alumacoach '69 - '72
  • Avalair '61 - '64
  • Bowlus '34 - '36
  • Elcar 1938 for Model 69
  • Elray '55 - Late '50s
  • Avion '55 - '76 Bought by Fleetwood '76. Streamlined aluminum trailers replaced in '91
  • M-System '35 - '60
  • Mobil-Glide mid-40s - early 80s
  • Prarie Schooner '36 - '60s
  • Silverstreak '49 - '97
  • Streamline '57 - '74

Couple on here not on-your list, addition is based on illustration in above reference. I recommend the above reference - it's available from VTS and Amazon.

Thanks for giving me a reason to have another cup of tea this morning.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:46 PM   #9
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Thanks DG. I was unaware of that book, but now have put it on my Christmas list.

I put my list of brands and models together mostly from memory and tried to do a little google searching to help bound the year range for each one.

Your info from the book helps firm up those dates in several cases and gives me a few more brands/models to investigate, including Elcar, M-System, and Mobil-Glide which I am unfamiliar with. I am aware of Prairie Schooner, but had not seen anything that looked similar to an Airstream from them. Time for more research.
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Old 12-01-2019, 06:17 AM   #10
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The Tin Can Tourist web site has information on many of these trailers. The web site has a search feature but it's not always obvious how to access the search field. Some of the trailers mentioned in the previous post from DGJackson are rounded, riveted but their interiors are many times wood paneling much like a Spartan and separated into "rooms" in an attempt to be more like a home.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
The Tin Can Tourist web site has information on many of these trailers. The web site has a search feature but it's not always obvious how to access the search field. Some of the trailers mentioned in the previous post from DGJackson are rounded, riveted but their interiors are many times wood paneling much like a Spartan and separated into "rooms" in an attempt to be more like a home.
Thanks. I actually looked up the brands I was researching on the Tin Can Tourists website before I started this thread, but did not have the time nor desire to randomly click on all the other brands.

That said, there sometimes were conflicts on the TCT website within their brand information write-ups and I know their Airstream and Argosy write-ups contain several errors. Maybe someday I will contact them about updating their Airstream and Argosy information.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:54 PM   #12
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66 This a great new thread which will contain great historical info. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:05 AM   #13
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travelux data

nice list!
some Travelux info for you. according to a trademark registry is managed to download some time back, the name was in use from july 1965, approved registered nov 1966. i saw somewhere that manufacturing started in 1967. ownership of the trademark changed hands in 1977. i have a copy of a 1978 owners handbook, and read somewhere that manufacturing stopped in 1979. perhaps traveluxkid can shed some light on this if they see this post.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:21 AM   #14
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Great list.
I'm not sure if it is on here, but I forgot the name/manufacturer of the class C camper on a pickup that has like 13 panels and a door in the back. It is aluminum.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:37 AM   #15
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The Cayo started as a pickup camper, C10 and C11, then developed into the Cayo Motovator as shown here. Another is the more rare Barth class C.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Some people will call any unpainted aluminum trailer an Airstream. I guess that shows which brand has the most name recognition.
Hi

We pulled up next to an Avion (complete with YouTube channel logos on it ...) in a campground in Wyoming. It took me more than a couple of minutes to work out that it *was not* an Airstream ( looks a bit strange for a triple axle ....) ...... We'd been passing each other on the road for about 2 weeks at that point.

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Old 12-11-2019, 11:15 AM   #17
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These are limited production, but you can buy new ones right now.

They are beautiful.


The Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways starts at $185,000.
The Bowlus Road Chief On The Road starts at $137,000.

https://bowlusroadchief.com/
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:16 PM   #18
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Thank you Outbackga.
The Motovator Cayo IS the one I was thinking of.
Looking up Cayo Motovator I see they go back to Avion.
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:37 PM   #19
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The Cayo started as a pickup camper, C10 and C11, then developed into the Cayo Motovator as shown here. Another is the more rare Barth class C.


What a gorgeous camper!!!!
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Old 12-11-2019, 05:46 PM   #20
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Joe you seemed to have missed a big one. http://www.spartantrailer.com/
I believe it is THE big one
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