Hello Michael, it’s David at Retrosellers.
Please tell us a little bit about the background to the
Airstream and Airstream Europe.
We launched the first European Airstream in 2005 with a
fully-designed Airstream suitable for European cars,
campsites and roads.
What are the differences between the American and European
They’re very different because we’re narrower, we’re
lighter, all European components, German Oberon braking
system and we’ve got 240 volt electrics and Swedish
central heating system. It’s very different technically
from any US model. So we basically buy the US shells and
everything else is European-sourced.
Why do you think Vintage, Nostalgia and Retro are so
Airstreams are quite timeless, honestly. You could say
they’re retro but modern at the same time. Other people
think they’re like spaceships and they’re so modern. The
design has been the same since 1931 and nothing’s changed
and it never will.
That word timeless is a bit over-used but it’s
appropriate in this case isn’t it?
It’s eighty years old. But if you go onto our website and
look at the interiors you’ll see that they’re even more
of a wow than the outside. So we are very contemporary.
Can you please give us an idea of the variety of products
and options you have available?
International 684 series 2 interior
You can have solar panels, air conditioning, satellite TV,
leather upgrades, electric motor movers on the wheels –
there’s a whole list of options and we actually put the
prices on our website.
The European model is very different from the US equivalent – would you say superior?
I’d like to think so – we use German-made furniture so
everything is very European and the quality is very
The Airstream is a classic look. What sorts of people and
businesses are opting for an Airstream?
People who tend to be engineers, architects, designers,
photographers – of that ilk, you know? And who tend to
love that whole retro look and the build quality and want
longevity. They don’t date, they don’t deteriorate and
they don’t devalue.
You can’t ask for more than that can you?
No and that’s why people buy them. We are twice the price
of a standard white box caravan but in ten years’ time
they’ll still be worth the money that you paid.
some outside shots of the
International 684 series 2
What sort of feedback and comments are you getting from
Pretty huge. Another website to look at is
ukairstreamers.org and that’s a forum for our owners –
it’s not an owner’s club but it is a forum open for new European
Airstreams and vintage ones as well. The Airstream community is really growing now.
I’ve seen Airstreams used at corporate events, as diners
and even recording studios. Can you please give us an idea of
the diversity of applications Airstreams can be put to?
They tend to be mainly used by our customers for what they
call the ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe. For serious touring and
the majority of our owners buy them to escape and to
follow their dream along the coastline or discovering
Europe in some real luxury and comfort.
And what a way to go! I still want to do exactly that
through the States. Maybe one day.
I’d almost like to do a ‘Shairstream’ – an
exchanged where you get a family from California who take
your car and Airstream over here and you take their car and
Airstream over there. I just have to find an insurance
company who are amenable to that.
What are the best and most rewarding things about what
I was on a convoy of Airstream caravans – forty-five of us
ended-up on a wonderful campsite in Venlo a few weeks ago
and to see forty-five like-minded people was great.
Do these people tend to be purists and keep to the original look?
Yes, the exterior shell is a bit sacrosanct but they individualise
Like in The Beatles film Help! where they all go into four separate terraced houses and the
neighbours think they
haven’t changed – Dandy Nicholls says “Fame hasn’t
gone to their heads.” But from the inside they’re all
living in one expansive modern room.
(Laughs) Yes, the interiors of our Airstreams are quite
stunning. They’re retro but modern at the same time –
There’s the two extremes – the heritage side and the
There's three different types actually David. There’s vintage
which tend to be forty or fifty years old and they
do their thing on their own as vintage old-timers. Some
people just buy them as a little office or a Wendy house.
Then there’s the American huge ones, which people tend to
use from racetrack to racetrack and they’re buying the
original spec ones which are really massive. And then
there’s the European standard, which is what we deal with
– new European models. There’s well over 250 Airstreams
now in the UK and a growing community who get together twice
a year in the UK.
What plans have you got for developing the brand?
There's a new range of models. We’re working on a family
model with three bunks to attract more families – a lot of
people have got two or three kids and they want to go Airstreaming.
How easy or hard is it to reconcile the vintage look and
feel of an Airstream with people's expectations for gadgets
and 'home comforts'?
The vintage Airstreams don’t have the modern comforts and
gadgets and you really need to like polishing because the
new ones don’t need polishing as such.
That’s quite a plus.
The Airstream International
684 series 2 interior
We’ve got a clear coat on them so they don’t need hand polishing
more than two or three times a year. And the vintage
ones are extremely heavy.
What are the weights on these Michael?
Ours range from 1,150 kilos to 2,200 kilos.
Normal towing is all that’s required.
How often are you Airstreaming yourself Michael?
I’ve just come back from a fair myself and two of us
stayed in two Airstreams so we tend to use them as we do
shows and we live in them as well.
And a good way to avoid hotels.
Yes, who needs a hotel when you’ve got an Airstream?
I saw one at the NEC caravan show a couple of years ago -
there was a celebrity promoting them.
Yes, David Soul was there.
They really do attract the crowds, don’t they? They're
fantastic, beautiful, timeless things. Well thanks Michael for telling us about your
European take on an American classic.
Thanks David. Bye.