You can’t fault Michigan brothers Brian and Jason Maynard for snagging the 31” 1974 Airstream from the guy who was living in it in his aunt’s driveway: it was the perfect fit for their proposed Cuban Missile mobile cigar-bar concept. And since the trailer has now hosted events like a cigar-themed charity fundraiser for the Westland City Police Department SWAT team, it’s not likely that guy’s going to insist on his money back.
Perfect fit it was, but in need of some special care to get it cigar-event ready. “The remodeling took approximately 4 months from start to finish,” says Brian Maynard. That work meant gutting the trailer and putting in custom features like the wall-to-wall Brazilian cherrywood floor. “The most challenging part was getting the wood panels for the walls to bend and match the curve of the trailer framing, especially at the ends of the trailer where there are compound curves,” says Maynard. “The only way to get it done was to soak the panels in water for a few hours, then put them out in a hot parking lot and let them start to curl up naturally. Then our refurbishing company used about 600 rivets to attach the panels.”
The brothers have been working the trailer rentals out of a four-county area in Michigan for the last nine months, and business has been booming. “We have had 100% positive feedback from anybody who has been inside it,” says Maynard. The Airstream’s humidor is furnished with a rotating stock of premium cigars of different styles and prices: “We leave the cheap cigars with the plastic tips to the gas stations and frat houses of the world; nothing but quality smokes in the Cuban Missile!”
Customers don’t have to worry about clawing their way through waves of smoke. “The ventilation was our chief concern,” says Maynard. “There are two quiet-yet-powerful electric vent fans in the ceiling. I have personally seen more than 15 cigars burning at once in this trailer and the air had a very pleasant residual cigar smell, but no smoke,” he says.
The trailer rentals start at $500 for four hours, and go up from there. Events have ranged from weddings and country-club golf outings to a whiskey festival, and even a Detroit live TV broadcast. Whether whiskey or water, rental parties must supply their own beverages, and there’s a cigar hostess available upon request.
The trailer seems to get as much attention as the cigars. “It takes most people a good three or four seconds after stepping through the door to get their bearings and figure out exactly what they’re seeing. Then it’s, ‘whoa—this is awesome!’” says Maynard.
There is some symmetry between the shape of a cigar and the shape of an Airstream, and Maynard nails it: “We needed something instantly recognizable, classy, iconic, and unique,” he says. Even the guy who had it in his aunt’s driveway probably would agree.
-By Tom Bentley