Car video reviews:
Pristine 1948 "Ruby" Airstream Travel Trailer Is Now Sitting in a Museum for All To See
Ever wonder why people are so mad about Airstream trailers and RVs? While the older generations know what's so special about them, the newer generations, not so much. However, we have Ruby to tell us exactly why.

Pristine 1948 "Ruby" Airstream Travel Trailer Is Now Sitting in a Museum for All To See

Ruby Travel TrailerRuby InteriorRubyRuby InteriorRuby with Ruby MannRuby InteriorRuby Materials ListRuby in TransitRubyAirstream Historian Fred Coldwell
Folks, a recent story posted on Airstream's blog sheds light on a vintage travel trailer from back in 1948, an Airstream Wee Wind dubbed Ruby. Best of all, it's so dang well preserved that it's now sitting in Airstream's Heritage Center Museum in Jackson Center, Ohio.

This story started back in 2002, actually, back in 1948, but you know what I mean. Historian Fred Coldwell found Ruby out in Las Vegas following an e-mail tip that he received in March that year.

Upon replying to the e-mail and making an offer on this trailer, Ruby's caretakers weren't sure what to do with it. Coldwell's offer was accepted six months later, and he went out to Vegas to see what time had done to this habitat.

Well, upon arriving in Vegas, Coldwell realized that this beauty had been treated very well, finding that the fabrics, labels, wood, and aluminum were in excellent shape after over 54 years. It even had the original butane tank, stamped with Ruby's build date, January 8, 1948. If that's not enough, the trailer's serial number, "3003," meant that this was the third Wee Wind ever built.

As you would expect of Airstream habitats, Ruby too was built using an aluminum exterior, swing-open door, and was considered "lightweight" and "practical," for its time, of course.

According to the story published by Airstream, Wee Wind trailers were built with a pole that ran down the center from front to back. From here, "I" beams spread out to create support for the bodywork. Overall, with furnishings included, owners were buying a vehicle that weighed 1,200 lbs (544 kg). Apparently, that was weight considered "marginal" for those days.

Since Ruby is in such pristine shape, we can use it to show the world precisely what the interior looked like and what your grandparents could have owned.

Overall, folks were receiving a 3 ft (0.9 m) wide single bed on one side and a 4 ft (1.22 m) wide double bed on the other side, each with plywood as a frame and access to storage underneath.

Features like a radio antenna, a three-burner stove operated on butane, and a riveted sink with cold running water with exterior water hookup, are just a few of the things owners could find. It seems like plenty of interior storage may have started with Wee Wind because this thing is full of options.

For things like lighting, 120 V AC light mounts were added, but during off-grid excursions, the inside was lit with a "liquid fuel lantern" situated in overhead storage.

As for Ruby's story, this beauty was originally purchased by Harry and Ruby Mann, two souls that lived in Los Angeles. As you may have noticed, this gem is named after Ruby Mann, one of the first owners.

Later on, in 1955, the two moved to Las Vegas, where Ruby spent the last of its days not being used very much. Another benefit of Las Vegas is the weather. Due to its positioning in a desert, there is barely any moisture to eat away at the materials used to build a travel trailer.

After Coldwell acquired Ruby, it was kept in a flatbed trailer in Denver, Colorado, before being handed over to Airstream's Museum. If you were curious to see just what 74 years can do, or rather, can't do, to an Airstream trailer, Ruby could be taken as a clear example.

Sure, it may not have been used much, but I'm sure you can figure out how to take care of your own habitat to ensure it stands the test of time. Then again, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories