One of the first things you can’t fail to notice when you enter the garden is the caravan sat on the decking. This is our vintage Airstream or ‘Silver Bullet’ as it’s more affectionately known.
When we decided to open our new café The Garden Pod we came across the Airstream on eBay. A beautiful vintage 1970’s model that, by a stroke of luck, has been converted to a catering unit in the 1990s. One PayPal transaction later and we had our kitchen on wheels, complete with oven, sink and fridges.
But whom do we have to thank for this iconic piece of design? In 1929, a Californian man called Wally Byam built the world’s first Airstream trailer. It started out as a tent on a car chassis, but it wasn’t very weather resistant, so he replaced the tent with a teardrop-shaped permanent shelter and added a rudimentary kitchen. It was easy to tow and created such a buzz that Wally decided it might be “a pretty good business to get into”.
Wally died in 1962, but his company lived on and in 1969, the Airstream trailer had its first major redesign. The end result was an Airstream with rounder edges and a more distinct ‘bullet’ shape. Almost fifty years on, we think you’ll agree it’s looking better than ever.
About 15 miles outside Tampa, Florida there are eight Airtsreams buried nose down in the ground. Frank and Dorothy Bates originally installed them in 2007 as an art exhibit to draw in tourists from all over the world.