When is a Spartan Manor an Airstream?

When is a Spartan Manor an Airstream?

Champagne House, Veuve Clicquot

Champagne House, Veuve Clicquot

For those knowledgeable of the history of the RV Industry and familiar with vintage trailers the short answer is never.

Now thanks to confusion over at the Champagne House―Veuve Clicquot―or overly indulging the crisp and silky full-body structure and sparkling highlights of its La Grande Dame 2004, a beautifully renovated “1946 Spartan Manor Airstream” takes center stage during a recent one-day appearance (June 2) at the London Wine Fair.

To compound the error The Drinks Report failed to check its sources and ran with the story.

“In the midst of its nationwide tour of UK Season events, Veuve Clicquot’s impactful and beautifully renovated 1946 Spartan Manor Airstream will take up position in the centre of London Wine Fair…as part of plans to bring innovation and added value to the on-trade sector,” states The Drinks Report.

“Wines to be showcased at the Airstream will include the house’s signature style, Yellow Label, Rosé, and Vintage 2004.”

This oxymoron of sorts may have started when Christina Jesaitis, senior brand manager for Veuve Clicquot, said “We’re excited to be bringing the Veuve Clicquot twist to the Wine Fair for the first time and whilst our timetable of events with the Airstream allows us just one day at Olympia, we’re confident the day will be productive.”

1954 Spartan Mobile Home at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1954 Spartan Mobile Home at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To bring clarity to the confusion over at the venerable Veuve Clicquot and The Drinks Report a brief history of the two icon RV manufactures follows.

Spartan Manor

Spartan Manor travel trailers were manufactured by the Spartan Aircraft Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, starting in 1946.

Previously known as Mid-Continent Aircraft Company, the company was reorganized under the Spartan name in 1928 by oil baron William G. Skelly, and operated until 1961 manufacturing aircraft, aircraft components, and Spartan Manor travel trailers. The company was widely known for the luxurious Spartan Executive aircraft produced in the late 1930s and early 1940s made prominent by owners such as Howard Hughes and King Ghazi of Iraq.

J. Paul Getty acquired the company from Skelly in 1935. After the ebb of personal aviation and the increased competition in the aircraft business following World War II, Getty ended aircraft production and redirected production to focus on the rapidly rising demand for housing and leisure.

Using the same internally braced and space-saving monocoque design of the Spartan Executive 7W, the company produced its first all-metal trailer. The company followed previous design strategies, offering lavish and full-featured trailers.

Airstream

Airstream, manufacturer of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the oldest and most recognized recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1958 Airstream Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) at the RVMH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The design of the Airstream was based on an airplane fuselage with lightweight aluminum and the effect was stunning, sleek, and silver.

The Airstream is an eye-catching vintage classic. First appearing on American highways in the mid-1930s, these sleek aluminum icons were compact, cozy spaces that could be hitched to the family car and taken out on the open road—and nearly a century later, their timeless design has lost none of its appeal.

Airstream is currently enjoying renewed popularity among celebrities, event planners, and young travelers who appreciate its distinctively American blend of functionalism and beauty and air of nostalgia.

Born in the California backyard of inventor Wally Byam and inspired by a trailer designed by Hawley Bowlus, the famed chief builder of The Spirit of St. Louis, the Airstream’s modernist aesthetic has remained relatively unchanged in eight decades, and its industrial durability has earned a reputation without peer with more than 65 percent of all Airstreams still on the road today.

Following founder Wally Byam’s credo, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements,” Airstream has remained a timeless classic throughout its 82-year history.

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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