You need a lot of the shiny stuff to buy a caravan like this. Then again, shiny is completely appropriate. They’re like no other tourers. The good news is, they’re coming that bit closer to a dealer near you.
The Swift Group has taken over the UK sales marketing for Airstreams and has added their own stylish twist to the interior.
It’s keeping things tight, though, with a “network” of six carefully selected dealers and three models, all to full UK specification but very much bearing the hallmarks of Airstream tradition. These dealers are Knowepark in Scotland, Salop Leisure in Shropshire, Catterick Caravans in the North East, Lowdhams in Nottingham, White Arches near Northampton and Highbridge in the South West.
The Missouri here is the baby of the range, but it’s a big baby as far as UK caravans are concerned. Overall length is more than 24ft and it rides on a BPW chassis and alloy wheels. Of course the lighting (and indeed, all electrics) is changed for UK road legality, but the rest is pure Airstream.
That all-aluminium bodywork, for example is a double-skin aluminium that’s riveted, by hand. It explains why no two Airstreams are exactly the same. What you see on the outside here is what you get, too – alloy wheels, the sturdier-than-most ZipDee roll-out awning, the “rear boot” storage and full-width bumper right through to the stainless steel front panels that effectively guard against minor knocks and stone chips. They’re all standard – as well as the exterior shower and gas BBQ connection point.
Step inside and it’s highly distinctive, as soon as you leave the Thule step, noting en route the chequer plate doorway section and lining for the open floor locker that’s ideal for slinging your outdoor footwear. Up front is a U-shaped lounge – sporting here some very stylish Americana leather upholstery creating that vintage diner look – black Manhattan with white stitching is an equally distinctive alternative. At the back is a transverse double bed, with great views out thanks to the curve of the wraparound panoramic windows – ditto at the front, of course.
In fact there’s more than the windows that are curvy – those rounded edges extend to the lockers, table and seating and more!
Bed sizes are 1.85m x 1.41m and 1.99m x 1.24m for the rear and front respectively.
Mid-‘van is the kitchen (offside) and washroom (nearside). The former gets a cooker with three-ring hob, combined oven and grill with extractor above, with an upmarket Franke stainless steel sink set into a white Corian worktop with grooves for drainage (a drainer rack is also supplied – it stows in the sink) and a loose cover-cum-chopping board for the sink itself.
Plus, there’s a fold-down worktop extension and cool frosted sliding locker doors with red inset above.
An aircraft-style door gives access to the washroom, where there’s a swivel-bowl toilet and a fixed basin. The whole room acts as the shower cubicle when needed – and there are plenty of added details, like the enclosed toilet roll holder, soap dispenser, wall panelling, vanity mirror to name a few.
Throughout, there are plenty of features to let you know this has been anglicised – you’ll recognise everything from the Thetford toilet to the Duvalay Duvalite mattress, Dometic cooker and fridge, Alde heating, Sargent electrics and more. Only the Heki rooflight over the lounge looks slightly incongruous. What all this means is such items are easily serviceable. And spare parts can be sourced.
It’s expensive. Of course it is. Not only has each vehicle been shipped halfway around the world to reach us, coming from a factory that produces just 85 units a week, with total work hours per unit ranging from 250-400 (it depends on size), and that’s before Swift gets its hands on it to finish the interior job. But, at least you know you’re getting something that’s far from the norm.
Due to its high value, getting caravan insurance for an Airstream might not be straightforward. Here at Caravan Guard we don’t have a caravan value limit so can offer insurance cover but we’d need two wheel clamps fitted, an approved tracking device to be fitted, and expect the caravan storage location to be secure – be it at home or at a dedicated storage facility. Owners could reduce their premium by fitting an alarm system, reversing camera, extra security marking and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the unique qualities of these all-metal icons. Then again, you can always buy a Swift…
Verdict: Cool and curvy
Plus: Stylishly different, a conversation-starter
Minus: Heavy (and that’s not just the price)
In-a-nutshell: Artisanal, inspirational
There’s more information on the Airstream range on the Airstream UK website (www.airstream-uk.co.uk). To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page
Alternatives: Hymer Nova
Airstream Missouri factfile
|Dimensions||6.81m L, 2.29m W, 2.65m H|
|Safety & security||BPW hitch stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, CRiS registration, keyed deadbolt locking system|
|Key options||Solar front window protection (£1,395), MTPLM upgrade (£50), alternative upholsteries (no extra charge)|