A concept travel trailer developed by Airstream and Studio F.A. Porche, a design firm known for creating the Porsche Design brand, will be unveiled Friday at the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas.
The concept will be shown at Porche’s SXSW exhibit where Airstream and Porsche Lifestyle Group executives will unveil a 1/3 scale model of the trailer and a Porsche Macan tow vehicle.
The 16-foot travel trailer includes aerodynamic advances, the companies said, including a new rear shape intended to improve air flow while in motion. The RV has a flush underside projected to reduce drag and Airstream’s first lowering suspension in a travel trailer.
The concept vehicle also is garageable, featuring a pop-up roof top that can be lowered flat to the travel trailer’s roofline. The adjustable suspension lowers the RV and enables storage in some home garages, the companies said.
Other spec details, such as vehicle height and weight, were not yet available, an Airstream spokesperson said.
“Innovation is the art of discovering the possible,” Airstream President and CEO Bob Wheeler said. “Our collaboration with Studio F.A. Porche brought talented new eyes and minds to our never-ending process of improving the Airstream experience. It is a fresh design approach aimed at reaching a broader, more diverse base of potential customers.”
Airstream said the connection between Airstream and Porche began two decades earlier, when Wheeler met Roland Heller, the Porche managing director and chief design officer of the Porsche Lifestyle Group. The pair met at a vintage trailer show in California. Heller owned a 1964 Airstream Overlander at the time.
Conversations about the collaboration began in 2020 during the pandemic, Airstream said. Much like previous collaborations with Pottery Barn and Tommy Bahama, the manufacturer expects a positive response to the new concept RV, Airstream said.
“We feel very strongly about collaborations,” Airstream said. “There is a lot of value in these collaborations and a lot we can learn from these poplar designers.”
Airstream provides collaborators the freedom to bring their design brand touch to RVs, but Airstream said the company also is careful not to abandon the manufacturer’s legacy ethos.
“We bring their work into our space but do not put too many restrictions on our collaborative partners,” Airstream said. “Still, we remember that Airstream has an iconic brand and that is something we take very seriously. We do not want to mess that up too much, so we look for ways to continue to improve while not altering or changing who we are.”
The concept vehicle’s pop-top roof is the first on an Airstream travel trailer in the manufacturer’s 90-year history. The Rangeline Type B motorhome, built on the Ram ProMaster chassis, has a pop-top tent option.
The pop-top played a role in creating the aerodynamic RV, the companies said. Airstream said the need to anticipate towing by electric vehicles puts a premium on future aerodynamic designs.
“Aerodynamics play a large role in what we are doing,” Airstream said. “How can we improve upon that? EVs are coming and we need to be ready for that.”
The pop-top roof required relocating the rooftop air conditioners. The concept vehicle’s ducted air conditioning is placed above the RV’s floor. Several other systems are inside a 10-inch-deep basement, including the hot water and heating components, spare wheel, holding tanks and the lithium battery.
The vehicle’s rear includes a rear hatch, available in some Airstream travel trailers. The concept vehicle redesigned the hatch into a two-piece design, with a hinge-up hatch and a drop-down tailgate. Awnings can attach to the hatch to extend covered space.
The floorplan is unique among Airstream RVs. The wet bath, incorporated into the front roadside corner, features a door creating an enclosed, private area and swings to hide the toilet when not in use. The concept recalls the Duo-Space bathroom unveiled at Elkhart Extravaganza in September 2022 by Roadtrek on its Pivot Type B motorhome.
In the adjacent galley, a hinge-up counter extends in front of the main entry door to expand available counterspace. The rear seating area transforms from dining to working to relaxing space. The seating area converts from dinette seating to an 82-inch by 61-inch sleeping area. Reclining seat options allow owners to enjoy the views through the open hatch.
“Like earlier concept vehicles, the Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche concept travel trailer builds on Airstream’s design DNA and our commitment to aerodynamics to create a vision that is both familiar and excitingly new,” Wheeler said. “While our concept projects do not always reach the marketplace, the resulting lessons and innovations often influence present and future designs as they make their way into our main product lines.”
Airstream said the manufacturer’s team believes creating collaborative concepts such as the new travel trailer is valuable.
“Everyone loves getting to work on these, from an employee and internal perspective,” Airstream said. “From a consumer perspective we make sure to provide something for all consumers and demographics.”