Airstream and Porsche Design team up to design the trailer of the future – L’annuel de l’automobile

American recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer Airstream invited Porsche Design to answer the question that no one dares to ask: what Airstream trailers could look like designed to meet the expectations and needs of a new generation of buyers. to become. The fruit of this collaboration takes the form of a futuristic travel trailer unveiled in recent days as part of South by Southwest (SXSW), a major fair that ends today in Austin, Texas.

This annual fair, which began on March 10, combines conferences from all over the world with a festival of music, film and interactive media. Last year, Porsche AG — the manufacturer — took part by presenting a future vision of its vehicles.

This year, however, the actor present at this fair was Porsche Design, a subsidiary of the manufacturer also often referred to as Studio F. A. Porsche. To take this look at a hypothetical future, its Austria- and California-based designers conferred with Airstream designers and engineers, who work out of the company’s headquarters in Jackson Center, Ohio, a small village less than 1,500 inhabitants.

Using computer-assisted aerodynamic efficiency tests, they imagined a work unveiled at SXSW which admittedly did not have the scale of the show presented by Porsche AG at the same place, the year last. This concept takes the form of a collection of digital renders and a 1/3 scale model. He was not even entitled to a fanciful name that would have made people dream. Airstream foolishly calls this futuristic RV a “travel trailer” — a travel trailer.

At the very least, this thought exercise has shown that an evolution of the iconic silhouette of the riveted aluminum Airstream trailers seems necessary, as can be heard in this promotional video produced in the United States. Indeed, since the appearance of the Clipper, in 1936, the brand’s first model, this rounded shape has hardly changed.

This concept also puts forward various innovative ideas that we associate with the habits and expectations of this new generation of RV buyers. We think, for example, of the presence of a roof that lifts vertically to modulate the clear height of the passenger compartment, generous windows that illuminate the interior and a low suspension thanks to which city dwellers could park this trailer. in a common sized residential garage.

A love nest

5 meters long, this single-axle trailer was designed for two occupants only. No more family trips? In fact, we may have omitted to specify that we imagined a small mobile love nest, who knows.

It has also been given an interior layout as luxurious as that of a suite in a chic hotel. With its horizontally divided rear bulkhead, which can be unfolded, the lower part could even turn into a terrace. The upper part would serve to protect against the rain or the sun. There would even be an awning integrated into the frame of the hinged roof.

The passenger compartment would also have a kitchenette equipped with two induction hobs, a sink and a refrigerator. Facing the side door, there would be a complete bathroom with shower and toilet. Then, at the bottom, two side benches would be grouped around a freestanding table which retracts when the beds are deployed. Finally, a sophisticated multimedia channel and WiFi would keep travelers in touch with their connected reality.

In order to reduce air resistance and, at the same time, the impact on the consumption of the vehicle serving as the trailer, this trailer would have an air suspension allowing its frontal area to be lowered.

Its designers also evoke a reduced mass allowing towing by a compact utility which would be driven by a heat or electric motor. In the context of this joint project, the presence of a Porsche product in front of the Airstream concept was self-evident. Note, however, that the German manufacturer chose the Macan and not an electric Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo for the illustrations and the model. This may be because the utility has a towing capacity of up to 2,400 kg, while the electric car is limited to 1,523 kg.

This concept, whose future clearly remains very hypothetical, is also reminiscent of another promotional project carried out by Porsche and Airstream in 2020. To ride the wave of interest in RVs generated by the coronavirus pandemic and raise the eyebrows a little North American motorists, a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid and an 8.3m 251B trailer had been shown to be a perfect pair for family trips. But in this case, they were real production models, and not a model…

There is Porsche… and Porsche

Porsche Design is a name associated with Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (1935-2012), a designer and designer who was the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. The one who was also nicknamed Butzi was therefore the son of Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche (nicknamed Ferry).

From 1958, Butzi worked in the family car manufacturing business to become its design chief, in 1962. A year later, he presented the 901, the coupe that would become the famous 911.

In 1972 Butzi founded Porsche Design in Stuttgart. Over the years, this design company would launch a wide range of products ranging from watches and sunglasses, to perfumes, jewelry and electronics. Its products sometimes carry the “Porsche Design” brand, sometimes the “Design by FA Porsche” brand.

Photos: Airstream

About the Author

Luc’s parents say that the first three words he said were: mom, dad and… Volvo. We do not know in what order he said them, but everything leads us to believe that he was predestined for a career in the great world of the automobile. It was through the media that he approached it. Since the 1980s, he has edited various periodicals including, among others, the VAQ’s Old Auto Magazine (his “school”), the bilingual magazine Formula 2000, Le Monde de l’auto, Auto Journal and AutoMag. At the beginning of the 21st century, he wrote for Le Devoir, but also, and Auto.Vtélé.ca. Currently, it can be read on the pages of the and sites, as well as in Prestige magazine. Luc has been part of the L’Annuel de l’Automobile team since its creation in 2001.

Airstream and Porsche Design team up to design the trailer of the future – L’annuel de l’automobile