1965 Airstream Caravel 17’ — perfect for America’s next inspired author

HofArc’s latest vintage Airstream renovation is a very rare 1965 Airstream Caravel 17’ named Shelly. She’s perfect for a the next Hemingway-wanna-be who’s working on the next Great American travel novel.

Shelly is ideal for someone who simply wants the basic necessities of life in a cozy space while exploring the Great Outdoors. She’s just the right size for a single person, a couple, or more who want an iconic all-American vintage Airstream for wandering America’s national parks, byways and hideaways.

Vessel: 1965 Caravel 17’ — Shelly was originally built by the West Coast Airstream Factory at 12804 E. Firestone Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA. The factory was eventually closed, with future trailers built at Airstream’s main factory in Jackson Center, OH where Airstream’s continue to be built today.

According to a mid-‘60s national travel magazine photo caption, “[The] new Airstream Caravel combines small size with travel/living comfort for a family of six.” (see photos). The February 1965 article in Mobile Home Journal described the “new 17-foot Caravel” as “the first travel trailer big enough for a family of six yet light enough to be towed with a compact car. The new Caravel weighs in at just 2250 pounds with a hitch weight of just 250 lbs.”

Location: If Loretta Lynn was a Coal Miner’s Daughter* then Shelly was a gold miner’s daughter. Although Shelly was born in Los Angeles in 1965, she was dragged along with her family to Sutter Creek which is located in the heart of California’s Gold Country. This past year she came to Santa Barbara for a partial makeover, and she’s ready for another 50 years on the road with a new family.

Purpose: If there’s a Wikipedia entry for the “Mobile Tiny House Movement,” there should be a photo of this vintage Airstream. As a mobile lightweight tiny space, this 17-foot Airstream was way ahead of its time. It’s the most efficiently-sized off-the-grid mobile space available with full-function and full-height convenience. Shelly is one of only a few miniature vintage Airstreams still available today. For most of her 46 years she was lovingly stored in a barn, and her pampered conditions shows it.

Goal: Maintaining the vintage value of this special Airstream was a top priority since the as-is condition of this Caravel was in such good shape. HofArc’s goal in restoring Shelly was to maintain as many of the historical elements as possible, such as the propane radiant heater and stove/oven, while utilizing modern systems, such as a new Dometic refrigerator, and all-new finishes to update her performance and feel. In her current condition, we fully expect her to enjoy another half century of adventures.

Design Highlights: Appliances and systems have been inspected and are in proper working condition or have been replaced new. The interior has been lightened and cleaned up. New roller shades and bamboo flooring. Designer fabric seat cushions reflect the interior’s warm natural palette. The kitchen and bathroom countertops have new carbonized bamboo strand surfaces for maximum durability and aesthetic appeal.

Drive Systems
Based in Santa Barbara, CA, Hofmann Architecture is the world's leading Architecture firm specializing in mobile space design services. The firm was founded in 2010 by Architect, Matthew Hofmann and his father Wally. Inspired by a vision of spreading a better way of living, the firm has designed over 400 custom projects for a wide variety of applications. Today, nearly a decade of experience designing and living in mobile spaces has culminated in their creation of Living Vehicle™, an all new mobile space designed for living.
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