How a 1960s camper became the perfect vehicle for reaching our athletes
Six decades after rolling off a production line in Ohio, our Airstream camper is not only going strong but looks just as stylish as it did in the 60s. Longlasting and contemporary without being faddish, it seemed a good analogy for what ashmei wanted to create with its clothing.
Transplanted from America to the UK before being custom modified to make the perfect adventure wagon, since 2013 our 1964 Airstream Overlander has provided a way to take our ashmei out into the wild where our athletes are. Since then its polished and riveted aluminium bodywork has reflected both sunny skies and grey clouds. But with comfy deck seats and a woodburning stove, whatever the conditions, it’s proved a reliably welcome sight at the end of a hard day's exertions.
Exploration and adventure
Famous for their distinctive aerodynamic shape and polished aluminium coachwork, the earliest Airstream campers were designed in the 1930s by Hawley Bowlus. More famous as an aircraft engineer, he’d been responsible for the construction of Charles Lindbergh's aircraft, the Spirit of St. Louis, the first aircraft to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.
Later turning his hand to designing vehicles for adventures on a somewhat smaller scale, the Airstream quickly became a symbol of exploration and outdoor living.
On the front of its original instruction manual, our Airstream promised ‘a way of life filled with friends and adventures’ for both its current and future owners.
From parking up in the Lake District to camping below the somewhat higher summits in the Alps, ours is still delivering the enjoyment on which it was first sold. We like to think its original makers would be happy to know it’s still getting out and about - just as everyone at ashmei is thrilled when we see any of our early products still being used and enjoyed.
However, having already spent over fifty years on the road before it came into our possession, our camper required some overhauling before it could be sent back out into the world. The first step being a full strip-down along with the nerve-racking task of opening up its flank using an angle grinder.
Making room for a new hydraulic door to allow for a more convivial entrance, it was the beginning of a fit-out that would see the Airstream transformed. Now featuring a bed for long-distance touring, plus a TV, coffee machine, wood-burning stove, it’s ashmei’s home on the road.
Once hooked up to our equally sturdy Land Rover Defender, no road trip ever feels out of bounds.
Taking something and making it into something new. It’s the same thinking that informs the clothes ashmei makes. Whether bringing traditional materials like Merino wool up to date for modern athletes or using post-consumer plastics to create our jerseys, sometimes it’s better to build on what you have.
If you want to find out more, just look for our camper and come say hello.