Ohio’s Airstream teams up with Porsche design team

Just not the Porsche design team you may be thinking of.

Airstream, Inc., the Jackson Center-based maker of the iconic riveted aluminum travel trailers and touring coaches, has unveiled a concept trailer developed in partnership with design firm Studio F. A. Porsche.

This was a collaboration not with Porsche the automaker, but with a design studio founded by the grandson of that famous automaker’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche.

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The concept design is meant to be sleekly aerodynamic, with what Airstream says is a new rear shape intended to improve air flow while in motion, a flush underside and incorporating a pair of new design features for Airstream — the first lowering suspension in an Airstream travel trailer design, with the first insulated pop-up roof in the company’s 90-year history.

Airstream called the design “garageable.”

Asked about the prospects for production, a spokeswoman for Airstream said the trailer is just a concept at this point.

The concept will be showcased at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas beginning Friday.

A release from Airstream Thursday said the trailer is the result of a “what if” collaboration between two design teams.

“The Studio F. A. Porsche team was charged with envisioning a next-generation Airstream trailer that incorporated elements from the design playbooks of both brands,” Airstream said. “The process engaged Studio F. A. Porsche designers in Zell am See, Austria, and Los Angeles in a steady back-and-forth with Airstream designers and engineers at the company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Jackson Center, Ohio.

“Innovation is the art of discovering the possible,” said Bob Wheeler, Airstream president and chief executive. “Our collaboration with Studio F. A. Porsche brought talented new eyes and minds to our never-ending process of improving the Airstream experience. It’s a fresh design approach aimed at reaching a broader, more diverse base of potential customers.”

“Our design team has long wanted to partner with Airstream,” said Roland Heiler, managing director of Studio F. A. Porsche and chief design officer of the Porsche Lifestyle Group. “More than 20 years ago, when my family lived in Southern California, we owned a 1964 Airstream Overlander. That’s when I met Bob Wheeler for the first time at a vintage trailer show in Newport Beach.”

Heiler called Airstream “an iconic brand that has thrived by evolving its products while remaining true to its design DNA.”

The concept will be showcased at Porsche’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.

Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of the founder of the Porsche auto company, established the Porsche Design Studio in Stuttgart, Germany in the early 1970s.

F.A. Porsche developed the Porsche 911 design.

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