Musical and architectural systems collided with the collaboration of Yamaha Corporation and HofArc this past month. Together, the Japanese and American partnership custom transformed a 1964 Safari Airstream into a dynamic exhibit display that premiered at the Anaheim Convention Center’s 2013 NAMM Music Show. The project took just six weeks to complete from conception to delivery –it’s literally opening new doors in the Airstream renovation world. HofArc is the first known renovation firm to successfully create an Airstream with a tri-folding gull wing door.
The key to HofArc’s gull wing is its uncomplicated, compact design. The driver’s side of the trailer sports a 10’ wide, all-aluminum, tri-fold gull wing door that swings up vertically and rests elegantly atop the iconic 22-foot silver-clad ceiling.
“The beauty is in its simplicity,” explains HofArc President and lead designer Matthew Hofmann. “The door remains a cohesive part of the Airstream, rather than an obtrusive object jutting into space.”
The client, Yamaha Music of Japan, ordered HofArc to create a stylish expo vehicle for displaying their cutting edge Vocaloid electronic audio system. Yamaha’s executives challenged HofArc to design an Airstream that would draw consumer’s into the expo space.
According to an onsite Yamaha executive, the Airstream’s silver design competed favorably with a multitude of other exhibits. “The silver Airstream is a powerful magnet that works even better up close,” said a performer tech from the trailer’s transformed stage. “When the opening is washed with spotlights and sound the consumer’s senses are drawn to our product.”
Custom Airstream designers have designed single door gull wings that open and extend over the entrance, but HofArc’s is the first-of-its-kind three-hinged Airstream gull wing door. “The advantage of this design is the footprint fits in a space no larger than the Airstream itself,” says Matthew.
“Our metalwork designer and welder is one of the Central Coast’s top classic car modifiers with more than 25 years of experience,” adds Matthew’s partner and father, Wally.
“We’re fortunate to be able to work with Steve Augerot, owner of Steve’s Rods and Customs of Carpenteria.” (Click here for more about Steve and his shop.)
Typical gull wings – positioned on the side, front or back – open like a garage door over the entrance. In 2010, Airstream added an exterior gull wing door for an 11’ x 8’ inside the space to store off-road toys in its 34’ PanAmerica unit. A door folded upwards as a fold-down ramp dropped to the ground.
The gull wing allows the exhibitor to expand the inner space left and right, displaying product or service with ease. A 10’ x 3’ logo can be displayed up high on the highest panel. The door is securely latched with slide bolts and a safety cable ensuring it will remain in place. When it’s time to hit the road, display equipment is securely stored inside and the door locked watertight.
Clearly, Yamaha’s Vocaloid team was pleased with the final product. After the show, the Airstream was loaded onto a ship for transport to its new home in Japan where it will continue to be used as a display vehicle at indoor and outdoor exhibitions.
“One might say the client is singing our praises,” adds Wally.