No, there’s no other vehicle pulling this Airstream-like 1940s camper down the drag strip, nor is something else pushing it toward the finish line. Instead, we’re looking at the Airscream. This is a self-propelled camper contraption—built by Oklahoma-based Farmtruck and AZN—that can run 12s in the quarter-mile, albeit with a catch. With that mention, perhaps seeing the Airscream drag racing a Lamborghini seems… ah, who are we kidding? This is still an amusingly confusing sight, isn’t it?
Those of you who follow the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws show may be familiar with Farmtruck and AZN, a pair of Oklahoma-based builders whose machines and wild drag racing style keep the audience glued to the TV.
As for the Airscream, whose 400 ci Chevy small block crate engine makes its name self-explanatory, this is the duo’s 2022 machine and perhaps its wildest ride to date.
However, before we get under the aluminum skin of the thing allow us to mention that the Airscream attended a Texas No Prep Kings drag racing event earlier this year, where it was caught on camera by the National No Prep Racing Association Youtube channel. The crazy camper battled AZN’s Jeeper Sleeper Grand Cherokee (2:00 point of the first clip below), a Chevy Tahoe PPV Alabama police vehicle (5:05 timestamp), and a Lamborghini Huracan Performante (9:57 timestamp). For the record, the 640 hp Italian exotic is capable of low-10s runs in the 1/4-mile when stock and could probably tow such a camper.
What makes Farmtruck and AZN’s Airscream trailer so quick in the quarter-mile? It rides on top of an engine-swapped van!
As explained by the builders in the second video below, the Airscream can pull high-12s quarter-mile runs with trap speeds of around 100 mph. Sure, a camper’s structure wouldn’t be able to withhold the forces involved in the process, so what’s the trick here?
Well, underneath the skin of the trailer, we find a 1977 Chevy van, which is the actual recipient of that 400 ci V8 crate engine. As for the age of the camper, the boys assumed this was a 1940s model thanks to one of its propane tanks, which is still present up front, being labeled as a 1949 product. Now, as they admit, the camper could be newer, not that it would make a difference.
The idea for the project came to Farmtruck’s mind after seeing a trailer that lost contact with the truck that was towing it mid-traffic. Speaking of which, the guys also drive Airscreamer on the road, albeit only occasionally, but we’ll get to that.
The project took a ton of work
This unique hot rod may appear like a hack job, but it’s quite the opposite. So while most of the sheet metal is still original, the sides had to be adjusted so that the windows, the doors, and the wheel wells of the camper match that of the van. Fresh metal was also added, but this was weathered right down to the screws, so the thing looks like it spend too much time in your (un)friendly trailer park.
Original bits like the side lamp are mixed with a pair of headlights and a roof-mounted escape hatch—the camper’s body can be lifted off the van via electric actuators operating on gun rails, but your beard will gain a few inches by the time the process is complete. So the said hatch, together with a fire suppression system were required in case of an emergency.
Driving the thing on the road is best done by two people
No, that’s not tin foil on the windows, even though the builders were aiming for a “meth shack” look when they had this old-style-appearance, bubbly tint installed. As for seeing out the window, each side of the camper has a GoPro installed, but the cameras aren’t connected in some bird’s eye view system like the ones modern cars have. Instead, the driver mainly looks at the monitor displaying the front camera (you can also see out the window during day time, kind of), while the co-driver keeps an eye on the side monitors!
Nevertheless, the mechanical side of the third-generation Chevy G-Series van was completely overhauled. So while the 400 ci small block makes about 500 hp, this is aided by a 100 shot of nitrous for a grand total of about 600 hp. It’s worth noting that even the exhaust of that V8 is disguised, shooting upwards as if somebody had a fireplace inside the camper.
The motor sends its power to the Mickey Thompson drag radial-shod period-correct rear wheels via a built Turbo400 three-speed automatic and a 9-inch rear end, while the all-round Wilwood disc brakes provide matching stopping power. There’s a mechanical fan keeping the engine cool and drag-tuned suspension that sees the thing barely lifting the front wheels on the prepped surface, which is ideal for drag racing.
Besides the bits we already mentioned and a pair of bucket seats with multi-point harnesses, the cabin is pretty much stock. However, the skin of the camper still moves around quite a bit despite the extra bracing.
Still, the Farmtruck and AZN are confident: we could drive this thing all the way to California if we wanted to!