Airstream and Porsche brainstorm visionary travel trailer concept
Two icons of vehicular styling have come together to answer the simple question "What if?" More specifically, that question reads,"What if a next-generation Airstream trailer incorporated design cues from Porsche?" The answer is the Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer, a gorgeous design study with styling much more effective and on point than its nondescript name tag. Designed to be aerodynamic, off-grid-capable and easily garageable in the off-season, the two-person pop-up concept lays out a very attractive direction for future Silver Bullets.
We would have really loved to see an Airstream trailer with a sinking rear roofline worthy of a classic 911 or 356, but Studio F.A. Porsche and Airstream decided to go about things more subtly. They've worked on optimizing aerodynamics while at the same time giving the concept trailer a fresh, futuristic look that's unquestionably Airstream ... with a touch of Porsche.
The biggest departure from traditional Airstream design comes at the rear, where a tall, broad wall takes the place of the usual curved bulge in an effort to improve aerodynamics. The reimagined rear-end also houses a split tailgate that opens into a deck and awning combination clearly inspired by the new Vision S camper van from Airstream's European cousin Hymer.
The aero optimization continues with a minimized frontal area, flush underbody and clean rooftop. Hardware that would otherwise be sticking out of the roof or underbody, such as the air conditioner and holding tanks, are sandwiched inside the body and chassis, ensuring that air doesn't get hung up on any protrusions.
The clearing off of the roof also allows for a pop-up design that ensures the trailer sits low during the ride but offers plenty of headroom at camp. In another nod to the Hymer Vision S, the pop-up is insulated.
Also bringing the 16.4-foot (5-m) concept Airstream lower to the ground is the first adjustable-height suspension in Airstream's history ... at least its concept history. Not only does the suspension allow the trailer to adjust for lower, more efficient highway travel and higher-clearance off-road towing, it lowers the concept enough to slide neatly in a household garage, something the average Airstream can't quite do.
All that aero optimization helps the concept trailer outperform its contemporaries in CFD aerodynamics performance. Airstream says that third party validation confirmed it to have improved aerodynamic characteristics as compared to the Airstream 28RB and Basecamp 20X. That, coupled with a low theoretical weight underpinned by lightweight composite design, ensures the trailer could be readily towed by electric vehicles and small ICEs and hybrids, including the Porsche Macan with which it poses.
The floor plan is similar to that of the Airstream Basecamp, sleeping and seating the trailer's two occupants on a dual-bench rear dining lounge that drops and reconfigures into an 82 x 61-in (208 x 155-cm) super-queen bed. The front kitchen area takes advantage of the large panoramic windows, allowing campers to enjoy cooking in the outdoors even when they're inside the Airstream sheet metal. A flip-up countertop connects the front kitchen to the console next to the dining bench, creating a larger L-shaped cooking space before folding away to clear access to the entry door.
A wet bathroom compartment fits cozily in the front corner next to the kitchen block. The dual-position door can close off the toilet while leaving the shower floor open to add a little extra elbow room and spaciousness, swinging open to reunite toilet and shower into a single wet bath space.
Designed with an eye toward off-grid camping, the concept Airstream has lithium battery power and roof-mounted solar. The cooktop in the kitchen appears to be an induction design, indicating the possibility of a fully gas-free, all-electric equipment setup.
Airstream and Porsche Lifestyle Group executives will reveal a 1/3-scale model of the Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer behind the hitch of a Macan at this weekend's South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The model will appear at Porsche's booth, where the theme will be "Porsche X" collaboration. It will join the Lightship L1 prototype as future-looking trailer concepts debuted at the event.
Airstream notes that while not all of its concepts make it to market, they do often influence production trailers. The aforementioned Basecamp was an example of a collaborative concept that eventually made it to market, first revealed in conjunction with Nissan in 2005 before launching just over a decade later. The Ford Airstream fuel cell crossover didn't get quite as far, though.
The 8.5-minute video dives into the cross-Atlantic collaborative process and the design choices behind the concept trailer.