Fans of the Airstream Interstate

The Spring 2011 issue of Airstream Life magazine arrived just in time before we departed with our Airstream Safari for a trip to celebrate the festive season of Mardi Gras and see the beginning of the spring wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  Seen on the cover of this issue are Tim and Margaret Frazier with their dog Lucy and their Airstream Westfalia.  Zach Woods writes in the cover story, “Big Fans of the Small (Airstream) Westfalia”, “By most estimates, there were 192 Airstream Sprinter Westfalias imported into the United States [for only two years, 2005-2006], all based on the Mercedes Sprinter diesel van… The number of owners is small, but their passion for these very efficient and effectively designed campers is huge.”

dsc_0047-airstream-life-spring-2011.jpg

Passion also runs high for owners of the Airstream Interstate Sprinter,  first produced in 2003, a Class B van based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and inline-five cylinder diesel engine.  While we were camping at Borrego Palm Canyon, we spotted an Airstream Interstate and had an opportunity to chat with its avid owners, David and Ann, from Oregon.  They are very private people, but are passionate about their 2007 Airstream Interstate and graciously shared information about it, even though they had just got back from a long hike up Palm Canyon.

dsc_0108-2007-airstream-interstate.jpg

According to David and Ann, ever since they bought it in May 2008, it’s been a head-turner.  Some have followed them down highways and into gas stations just to see it up close and to chat with them.  Streams of people have visited them while in campgrounds.  Indeed, while I was interviewing them, another couple in an RV stopped nearby and walked over to ask questions such as, “Is this really an Airstream?”

dsc_0113-interstate-curbside-view.jpg

David laughs when he says, “It’s like a VW bus on steroids!”  Their 2007 Airstream Interstate is similar to the one shown here on Airstream Forums with specs detailed by Colonial Airstream here.  It features a Buff Ultraleather sofa bed that opens in the rear dinette area.  “It’s more comfortable than the one we sleep on at home,” David says.

dsc_0117-2007-interstate-interior.jpg

The galley area features a flush-mounted round stainless steel sink with folding faucet and a 2-burner recessed cook-top with covers.

David loves to cook and has brought the Wolfgang Puck Induction Burner into their galley.  David says that induction cooking is a faster and more efficient method of cooking.

According to Wikipedia, “An induction cooker uses induction heating for cooking. Unlike other forms of cooking, heat is generated directly in the pot or pan (cooking vessel), as opposed to being generated in the stovetop by electrical coils or burning gas. To be used on an induction cooker, a cooking vessel must be made of a ferromagnetic metal.”

dsc_0110-wolfgang-puck-induction-burner.jpg

The galley area also features a 3-cubic foot refrigerator and microwave oven.

David says that fuel economy and affordability were two big selling points for them.  He says that he averages 21.8 mpg, which is important to them in light of the rising fuel prices and the fact that they live in Oregon and have to travel long distances to get to warmer climes when doing winter camping.  David says that they only had a few minor problems with their rig and says, “George M. Sutton RV provided excellent service, just as if we had purchased the Airstream Interstate from him.”

The 2011 Airstream Interstate 3500 is now available and is based on the Mercedes Sprinter Van Unibody Construction with a Mercedes 3.0 liter BlueEfficiency V-6 diesel engine.  According to Airstreamer (Official News and Articles from Airstream), “The partnership between Airstream and Mercedes-Benz has yielded a Touring Coach that fuses the legendary quality and design of the Airstream brand with the comfort, control, and luxury of Mercedes-Benz.”

And that makes this fan just want to whistlewhile his heart races!

Comments

  1. says

    Wait till the next issue of Airstream Life, when we’ll have a piece about the new Airstream Avenue b-van. It’s very similar to the Interstate but on a Chevy (gas) chassis, a bit shorter for better in-town maneuverability, and about $20 lower in price!

  2. insightout says

    Sounds like there might be an Interstate in the future for the Larry & Bill show. Rich and I had the opportunity to talk to Chris Schumacher and Larry Epstein, Schumacher Mercedes Scottsdale, at the Barrett-Jackson auction in 2009.

    “Sticker shock” would be an understatement, although the demo unit was dazzling. They offered a substantial discount off the suggested ( i.e., extraterrestrial ) MSRP. It occurred to me that the discount, by itself, was more than twice what we had paid for our 1986 excella in 1998.

    It took two beers and a cheeseburger for me to awake from the coma.

  3. Bill D. says

    Well, there is no Airstream Interstate in our immediate future, so long as I have the strength, coordination, and range of motion to hitch up our 23′ Airstream Safari to our truck and attach the heavy sway bars. (I’ll be 64 on Sunday!)

    But I do love the concept and the tropical oak laminate cabinetry (same as our 2007 Safari) seen in the Interstate above.

    I can tell you, however, that had we thought outside the box 5 years ago when we were first contemplating purchasing an Airstream, and knew what we know today about the economy (and that hitching, trailer prep and maintenance do not get any easier with age), we might very well have chosen the Airstream Interstate.

    To put the “sticker shock” in perspective: The money that we spent on the new 2006 F-250 Super Duty diesel truck and the new 2007 Airstream Safari (together) would have been comparable to the cost of a new Airstream Interstate. And, considering its fuel economy, the savings would have continued over the years and we would have had only one yearly registration and insurance payment instead of two!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box

  4. Tom says

    As much as I’d love a Sprinter-based Class B (I have friends who adore their Roadtrek), it looks like it would be a real chore to get sea kayaks up on that roof. Too bad…

  5. David says

    Bill,

    It was great meeting you and having you interview Ann and me. The article and photos turned out very nicely.

    I am very pleased that you had the opportunity to see our Interstate and understand the joy that it brings to our life. The Interstate is what fits our lifestyle and needs, for others an Airstream trailer may be the perfect solution. Hopefully your article will inspire someone to take the first steps toward an Airstream Life.

    Happy Camping,

    David

  6. Bill D. says

    Thanks, David… I’m glad you liked the article and photos. It was a pleasure meeting you and Ann and seeing your Airstream Interstate and how it brings joy to your lives.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for permitting me to share it with the world.

    Your enthusiasm and passion for the Airstream Interstate is contagious and has rubbed off on me. After writing this story, I started the forum thread, “Fans of Airstream Interstate“, on the Sprinter and B-van Forum, at The Airstream Knowledge Sharing Forums and already many have come forward with their own wonderful stories and photos.

    Thank you so much, and See you on the road!

    –Bill

  7. says

    We bought a twin to this one (color and all) used in 2011 as our first RV and love it. It is a great second car when I need it – usually two or three days a week and our kind of travel is managed perfectly with it.. Our longest trip to date was 4 weeks and about 5000 miles. The 2007 model has a few nicks but it is easy to care for. I did replace the drive shaft with a lower cost shaft built for the purpose with replaceable universal joints. If needed – that approach can save you a few thousand dollars over the Mercedes sprinter single unit shaft.