There’s been a remarkable lack of fanfare around the launch of the PanAmerica. (Last time we looked, it wasn’t even mentioned on Airstream’s own website.) Which suggests that Airstream is either tightening its marketing belt, or dipping its toes carefully into the toy hauler market.
It’s not a ground-up new design, but that’s a good move. The PanAmerica has the familiar Airstream aluminum monocoque shell, which reportedly gives 20-percent better fuel economy than a standard box trailer.
The real news is at the back. Here you’ll find a a garage with lockers, a bulkhead door leading to the living space, and a fold-down loading ramp. For one moment, we were excited by the thought of driving a 10-foot long Fiat 500 up that ramp. But the entrance is too narrow, at just 52 inches wide. Still, the garage is plenty big enough for even an Ultra Classic Electra Glide, all 889 lbs of it.
The PanAmerica is 34 feet long and tips the scales ‘dry’ at 7,500 lbs. But the GVWR is a hefty 11,500 lbs: that’s at the top end of the scale for Airstream trailers, and the same as the Classic Limited models. For towing, you’ll need a Class V hitch to handle the 1,400 lbs hitch weight, and a truck like a Ford F-250/350. (Especially if you’re carrying anything heavier than surfboards in the garage.)
The four-berth interior lives up to Airstream’s usual high spec. The aesthetics aren’t as good as the International CCD models but they’re still far better than most toy haulers: you get flush cabinetry, indirect lighting, stainless steel appliances and touches of leather here and there.
The door between the garage and the living space is good news for wheelchair owners. Airstream has already started looking at modifying the layout for Mobility Challenged travelers; as customer feedback comes in, the factory will offer customizable PanAmerica packages.
The price? Around $85,000. Not cheap, but then again, Airstreams never are. They’re built to last, resale values are up there with the best, and the styling doesn’t date. If you like your toys but don’t want to sacrifice style, this one’s for you.
Airstream’s other new trailers for 2009 include the Flying Cloud range in 19- to 28-foot lengths. There’s also a new interior for the Sport, which is probably the most forward-thinking model in the line-up and the one with the brightest future. It’s six inches narrower than other Airstreams, has a more aerodynamic exterior and a lower center of gravity—which makes it the most fuel-efficient trailer in the Airstream line.