They say a picture speaks louder than a thousand words. What more convincing proof of Airstream’s superior construction than Doomstown, USA?
What’s Doomstown, USA, you ask?
In the aftermath of World War II, the Cold War, science, and Airstream all converged in Nevada. There were decades of worldwide frenzy about potential doomsday and universal destruction from an atomic war between the western powers and the Soviet Union.
Students drilled at school by hiding under their desks to protect themselves from an atomic bomb. They were taught how to leave their classrooms and, in an orderly fashion, seek shelter in school basements.
As part of a major nuclear testing program, the government decided to create what they called Doomstown, USA in 1955. They set up building structures and asked mobile home and RV manufacturers to donate trailers for the test. The Airstream that was donated wasn’t new – it had already weathered 60,000 miles of the roughest road conditions across Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
They detonated a bomb, intended to destroy Doomstown. But the Airstream, just over 10,000 feet from ground zero, was still standing and was even still roadworthy. Where other trailers tipped over or were completely destroyed, the only damage to the Airstream was a slight dent in the rear and two broken windows. Not a rivet popped, and not a seam opened. Box-type trailers tipped over and were severely damaged from the bomb’s shockwaves.
One year, at the fall Palm Springs, California rally, I stayed in the “Atomic Trailer.” I have been asked if I suffered any residual effects. No! However, a few years back when the glow wore off, I began purchasing night lights again. (Just kidding.)
Airstream has survived rough terrain around the world, atomic bombs, and industrial tests. There is no doubt that from the first Airstream Clipper to today’s Land Yachts that Airstream has never deviated from quality and enduring construction. For over eighty years Airstream has been the choice for the road enthusiast looking over the next hill or around the next bend. Taking their home with them with comfort and excitement in travel.
Pictured in front of the Airstream from left to right are Virgil Sciullo, Ed Brown, and Art Costello.
Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. Each week, Pee Wee shares one of his many stories, including his experiences on the iconic Airstream Caravans, his time spent working in the Airstream factory, and the many Airstreamers he’s befriended, far and wide.