Wave Associate Editor
In 1936 Wally Byam produced the first Airstream trailer with its distinct aluminum body and aerodynamic shape. Four years ago Gene Magre decided that he needed something to do so he began restoring Airstream Trailers and turned it into a business called VARR.
“I have been restoring and bringing things back to life most of my life,” says Gene who started out in life as a marine biologist. “I have really enjoyed getting involved with things like this. It’s a niche, it is unique. Everybody loves an Airstream trailer.
Gene doesn’t just restore the sometimes beat-up, run-down trailers, he modernizes them by designing unique interiors or customizing them to be tailored fit to his clients needs.
“We take some of these trailers and turn them into mobile offices, or mobile restaurants or kitchens,” says Gene about some of the customizations he has done. “We restore the outside buffing and repairing the aluminum, we gut the inside and modernize it. We sell many of them to families because they are safe and we put safety first when we restore a trailer.”
VARR just doesn’t restore Airstream Trailers, they are a dealer and a repair shop for old and new trailers. “Not many people can work on an Airstream Trailer other than a dealer,” says Gene, “However, we like to think that we cater to the people. We pride ourselves in designing what they want.”
Since the 1930s Airstream has been an American icon for family travel. The durability and reliability of the trailer has been admired and desired for close to 100 years. Wally Byam was quoted saying, “It’s better to wear out than to rust out.”
“I went to Moab this past weekend, and we have been going back and forth for years now,” says Gene, “And I didn’t see any Airstreams on the road. And then the next thing I know there were 30 on the road. People recognize that it is here to stay and it is not a fad.”