House of Mirrors

This 1967 Airstream has been polished to a mirror finish

If you ask vintage caravan enthusiasts to name the most iconic caravan brand of all time, some will nominate the luxurious Don caravans, which are often dubbed “the Rolls Royce of Australian caravans”. Others will suggest vintage Sunliners, which were built in NSW at the largest fibreglass production facility in the southern hemisphere. Yet others may opt for the Propert, with its unique folding design. But in the end, most will agree that American Airstream caravans fit the bill perfectly.

Airstream started producing caravans in the 1920s and was the only American caravan company that survived the Great Depression. From as early as the 1930s, Airstream were building aluminium clad caravans, while Australian caravan manufacturers were still using wood into the 1960s. Airstream caravans also had luxury multi-roomed interiors with en-suite bathrooms long before they became common.

Airstreams were built using materials and design principles from the aircraft industry, and have a distinctively rounded, aerodynamic shape, so they are often called “Silver Bullets”. During the heady days of the moon landings, the Apollo 11 astronauts were quarantined in a specially built Airstream on their return to earth, while they underwent health checks. Yes, these caravans are definitely icons.

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