Editor’s Note the following article appeared in Financial Times offering a first-hand report of author Matthew Garrahan’s experience booking a trip with Airstream 2 Go, a rental firm started by former Airstream executive Dicky Riegel last year. For the full story click here.
There is a car museum in Los Angeles to which I sometimes take my children on quiet weekends. It has hundreds of classic cars: a Model T Ford; a Bugatti; wide, sweeping Cadillacs – even a genuine Batmobile – and a diner that serves terrific milkshakes.
Next to the museum entrance is an aluminum trailer, curved like a rocket and still shiny, despite being decades old. It is an original Airstream Clipper and when I was asked if I wanted to take my family on an Airstream holiday, it was the first thing that came to mind.
The company that launched the first “recreational vehicle” in 1932 has updated its trailers over the years. Today’s Airstreams are like miniature luxury apartments and are priced accordingly: top-of-the-range models can cost more than $100,000, which is beyond the reach of casual travellers who want to experience a road trip in their own piece of Americana.
Enter Airstream 2 Go, a new business started by Dicky Riegel, a former Airstream chief executive, with the aim of allowing everyone from curious tourists to diehard Airstream fans to rent one. Riegel was with Airstream for 16 years – “cut me and I bleed silver” he says – and realized there was an untapped market. “Anytime anybody discovered I had anything to do with Airstream, they would ask me, ‘How do I rent one?’ ”
Airstream 2 Go is owned by Riegel and has an exclusive license from the manufacturer to rent the trailers. Wally Byam, who founded Airstream – he made his first trailer in 1929, building a platform on the chassis of a Model T Ford – placed as much importance on design as on functionality, and the aluminium panelled trailer that he eventually constructed became an American design classic. Over the years, Airstreams have been beloved of Hollywood stars as much as adventurous road warriors who embraced Byam’s creed of travel with “all the comforts of home.”
For the full story click here.