Clipper No. 1 returns to Jackson Center


JACKSON CENTER — What is believed to be the first rounded, riveted aluminum travel trailer produced by Airstream, Clipper No. 1, has been added to the company’s vintage collection at the Airstream Heritage Center.

The Clipper was designed and built by Airstream founder Wally Byam.

That first model was documented extensively in the 1930s in an effort to market the travel trailer to travelers seeking a premium way to see the country. But after World War II, the whereabouts of Clipper No. 1 were lost to the passing of time.

Legends abound. The model was said to have been sold to then President of Mexico, Lázaro Cárdenas. Rumors were that it ended up in a traveling Mexican circus. And then — as with many relics of the past — its story faded into mystery until it was re-discovered in Mexico City in 2017. Forty weeks of rebuilding and restoration later, Clipper No. 1 has returned to its original glory.

The addition of the 1936 Clipper No. 1 means that visitors can now view what is believed to be the very first Airstream Clipper model alongside both the 1938 and 1941 models. Located inside Airstream’s headquarters, The Heritage Center now houses three of what are believed to be only 12 Clipper models known to remain.

In addition to this exhibit, the museum provides a rare and in-depth look at Airstream’s story.

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