Airstream: classic aircraft shells as luxury houses on wheels

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When a 26-year-previous Matthew Hofman introduced his personal architecture business, he purchased a 1978 Airstream trailer and redesigned it to are living in. He received so substantially interest for his personal little household on wheels (a hundred and sixty sq. ft) that he started renovating Airstreams for consumers.

Considerably less than 5 many years afterwards he’s recrafted more than sixty Airstreams, but he finds each one particular a design and style obstacle supplied their aircraft-fashion shell.
“Airstreams are like an egg. They are what’s identified as semi-monocoque construction which is like, it’s an airplane so that creates the integrity as a whole so everything moves with each other. So there are no walls, there are no roofs, there are no diaphragms that make load, but it’s all one particular unit. It desires to be whole. And then at the time you begin to do issues like cutting out panels, then it truly begins to come to be a design and style obstacle.”

The initial riveted aluminum trailer, the “Road Chief”, was designed in 1934 by aircraft designer Hawley Bowlus who experienced worked on the Spirit of St. Louis. Two many years afterwards, Wally Byam, who experienced aided sell the “Road Chief”, introduced his personal business identified as Airstream. The original “Clippers” value $1200, costly for the time, but Byam couldn’t fill orders rapid ample.

Like the “Road Chief”, Airstreams were being designed more like aircraft than common journey trailers. It’s a fashion which has acquired them a loyal following.

When we frequented HofArc’s twenty,000-sq.-foot property in Santa Barbara, CA, the workforce were being doing the job on “Wanda” for an Australian relatives of 5 to tour the Outback and a Spartan (Airstream competitor) mobile household for consumers to use as a holiday pod in Hawaii. Hofman sees the little houses that go by as furnishing his consumers with freedom.
“We’re all immediately after a sense of freedom, it’s truly the driver on the excellent American road trip.”

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39 thoughts on “Airstream: classic aircraft shells as luxury houses on wheels”

  1. How do we contact him and his company? What is his website?

    I have a 1986 Argosy squarstream that I I'm either going to sell or have rebuilt. It's in excellent condition as it is. Does this company have a website or contact information?

  2. I polish metal for a living. These look great. I wonder if they put a clear coat to protect the polish otherwise it will oxidize turn slightly white. But they can be polished again much easyer if no clear coat. But every time you polish it you are removing a layer of metal.

  3. Awesome travel trailers! My favourites have always been Airstream trailers. Just their shape alone I like. If I had the money and the perfect tow vehicle, I'd buy one, have it fixed up a little bit, and travel the USA, Canada, and some of Mexico.

  4. I see lots of airstreams but no aircraft shells. What's up? And, yes I know the Airstream uses aircraft type materials and techniques, but they are not aircraft. I honestly thought someone was onto a good idea and wanted to learn more.

  5. Matthew,…I like that you're building from a physics and educated background too…that's huge…you're training in architecture taught you much….

    What is your website name please…..I'm gonna look you up.

  6. Alright Matthew,…..brilliant career choice…..if you need people to help you out in California….I would consider working for you and having one built for me at the same time…..I win,….you win…..and the business grows.

    Living modern American life is unsustainable….and I need very little…..fortunately.

  7. I stopped listening when he said that Airstream pioneered the idea of the travel trailer in early 1900s — which is so ignorant it is baffling. Because it's not like travel trailer (or RV) history is a frickin' secret. The very first production Airstream was a 1936 Clipper, which was almost identical to the Curtis Wright it copied. Meanwhile Hawley Bolus had already produced a riveted aluminum airframe trailer several years before. But travel trailers were being built in America almost at once the Model T was produced. There's no excuse for the sort of ignorant drivel this video gives voice to.

  8. Oh my goodness, I would work for this guy for free, just to gain knowledge and experience in this sort of reconstruction. Brilliant. I love airstreams. As a child, I always dreamed that my family would get one. We never did, but I still want one! LOL. I'm 54. Airstreams, to me, are a big part of the original American Experience.

  9. you are not a tiny home builder you cutomize airstreams for profit . just having your business in santa barbara is so $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. plus do you realize what it would cost to ship a traier to hawaii $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, plus all the zoning restraints .

  10. You mentioned the polishing area where you polich the Airstream trailers, once polished out do you respray the exterior panels with clear coat like when the trailer left the factory?

  11. Airstream did not pioneer the idea of the travel trailer.  There were lots of others building travel trailers before Airstream.  Airstreams are not liked by everyone who owns a travel trailer.  Many people complain about the small cabinets due to the round corners.  I've heard people say they got poorer fuel mileage when they towed their Airstream than when they towed other comparably sized units. 

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