Airstream’s silver bullet design is beloved among road trippers and fans of vintage Americana. But, the brand’s iconic aluminum exterior is actually rooted in Bowlus Road Chief — a lesser-known RV company whose history dates back to the birth of modern aviation. Now, after almost 90 years, the brand has resurrected one of the most striking vintage travel trailers we’ve ever seen.
Bowlus Road Chief’s flagship Endless Highways epitomizes towable travel trailer luxury. For road trippers for whom an ordinary Airstream isn’t enough, and only the best will do, this camper spares no expense. The riveted, hammered aluminum shell pulls heavy inspiration from early 20th-century aircraft design — literally. The company’s founder, Hawley Bowlus, was an early aerospace designer with a hand in the construction of Charles Lindbergh’s famed Spirit of St. Louis.
In its brief run, the company produced just 80 campers, but those designs would go on to be copied and imitated by other fledgling RV companies of the day. It was popularized in Popular Mechanics and Sunset Magazine. Two served in the California Highway Patrol, and Clark Gable even ordered one. It’s been 85 years since the original Bowlus Road Chief rolled off the assembly line, and today the design remains virtually unchanged. The look is bold, timeless, raw, and guaranteed not to be mistaken for any other RV, including an Airstream.
Inside, the Endless Highways is a sophisticated affair with more than two dozen unique luxury amenities, state-of-the-art technology, and high-end fit and finish throughout. The 26-foot-long model boasts a spacious master bedroom with two twin beds that convert to a king. The dining area converts to sleep two more for a total of four guests. The full, hotel-style bathroom features teak flooring and chrome fixtures. The main cabin will comfortably seat four while the adjacent galley kitchen is outfitted with stainless steel counters, plus a sink, dual-burner cooktop, and ample storage. What truly sets it apart, however, is the long list of apartment-like features including heated flooring, an on-demand hot water system, a dedicated, private Wi-Fi network, a cell service booster, and plenty of charging stations.
Bowlus Road Chief also promises a best-in-class lithium iron phosphate power system with a full week of off-grid capacity. That includes running the microwave and all power outlets. What’s more: With a 4,000-pound GVWR, it’s towable by most crossovers, SUVs, and even electric vehicles like the Tesla X. Pair it with an EV like the soon-to-be-released Rivian R1T pickup, and you have the ultimate go-green-anywhere camping setup.
The Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways starts at an eye-popping $185,000. If that’s too rich for your wallet — or you’d prefer not to have to cash out your 401K just to live the van life — the company’s entry-level On the Road model starts at a mere $137,000.
If you’d rather try before you buy (or, for most of us, try before you pretend to buy), AutoCamp’s Yosemite outpost is the perfect place to get your vintage silver bullet camper fix.
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