We wave goodbye to Gaydon in all-electric silence. Available in selected regions across the world (although, not the US), the new model combines a 3.0-litre, supercharged SDV6 diesel engine with an electric motor to produce a total of 340PS and 700Nm of torque. Officially, it can average 64L/100km, emitting 169g/km of CO2.
After having driven through France, Belgium and a small slice of the Netherlands, the next morning we arrive in Merenberg, Hesse, at the glistening, aluminium Americana-filled home of Airstream Europe.
Our Airstream 684 is ready for us outside. It’s been specially adapted for the sub-zero adventure: the water pipes are heated and insulated, there’s an on-board gas-fuelled generator for electricity wherever we go, and we’re even trialling a prototype gas bottle warmer. Other than that, this is a standard, luxurious Airstream. At the front end, the U-shaped lounge is upholstered in soft, red leather upholstery, from where you can watch one of the two satellite TVs (the other’s in the rear bedroom). The kitchen is smart and modern, with a solid Corian gallery worktop. Drawers close softly, while cupboards shut with a reassuring clunk. Everything feels solid and of the finest hand-built quality.
European Airstreams differ to American ones, although both are built on the same production line in Jackson Center, Ohio, where Airstream has been building its iconic trailers for 84 years. The riveted aluminium aircraft-construction body is shared, as are the construction methods, but the European and US markets have their differences – European trailers are slightly narrower, roughly 20-30 per cent lighter, have wider beds, and are fully homologated for all of Europe.
Our first overnight stop is at Camping & Ferienpark Falkensteinsee, near Hamburg. It’s 0ºC on our first morning, and we already feel cold. But a breakfast of porridge and heady coffee – all created on the four-ring hob inside the Airstream – soon warms us all up.
Our aim for the day is to drive to Padborg Park race circuit in Denmark. Alas, when we arrive it’s completely covered in snow. But then again, there aren’t many hybrid cars that could tow 2500kg of Airstream to a snow-covered race circuit and complete a lap – we probably even set a niche lap record.
That night, my colleague stays in the Airstream, while the photographer and I stay at a nearby bed and breakfast. Come morning, my colleague is by far the most awake out of us all, beaming as we start to waken up over breakfast. But soon the conversation becomes more sombre, and brows furrow as we realise that the tail-end of Hurricane Ole is passing over – and today we’ll be crossing gargantuan bridges through Denmark, including the mighty Øresund Link that connects Copenhagen with Malmö in Sweden.