ACT News


Be a star - but be prepared to pay for these shiny vans

The shiny aluminium caravans will be familiar to Australians from countless US films.

Now Airstream is attempting to crack the local market, but these imports do not come cheap, selling in Australia for $115,000 or $135,000, depending on size.

Visitors will get a chance to inspect two of the first Airstream vehicles made to Australian specifications at The Canberra Times' Home, Leisure, Caravan, 4WD and Camping Show at Exhibition Park which opens today.

They have been manufactured since 1932 in the US, and have become part of the popular consciousness.

After returning from the moon landing in 1969, Neil Armstrong and members of Apollo 11 were quarantined in an Airstream for three weeks.

The vans hold cult-like status among owners, who have their own club of enthusiasts who hold rallies across the US, and they are a trend in Hollywood, with A-listers Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Lenny Kravitz, Sandra Bullock George and Hugh Grant all said to own them.


Even top-end design companies, including Ralph Lauren, have styled individual Airstream interiors.

Alan Imrie, the managing director of the Australian distributor A&A Industries, said that in the US, Airstream caravans were often passed down from generation to generation.

''They're a bit of history that people like to get into to add their own design flair,'' he said.

He said there were an estimated 200 Airstream vehicles in Australia that had been imported individually, but this year marks the first time they had been brought into Australia made to local specifications.

Airstream owners can customise the colours and fit-out of the vehicles, and an ice-cream company has already purchased one in Australia to use as a mobile outlet.

The Home, Leisure, Caravan, 4WD and Camping Show will feature more than 300 exhibits - everything from barbecues to doors and guttering.

There will also be cooking demonstrations, including from Eva Stovern, who calls herself the caravan chef and develops recipes using 30 ingredients, a two-burner stove, two saucepans and a frypan.

The Canberra Times' Home, Leisure, Caravan, 4WD and Camping Show at Exhibition Park opens today.