Airstream says “cease and desist” to new Silver Streak plans


It had been 20 years since Silver Streak manufactured travel trailers, the aluminum-bodied brand launched in 1946. Entrepreneur Ellie Dillon acquired the rights from former Silver Streak owner Rolf Zuschlag in 2016, writes David MacNeal in RVPRO.

Ellie and her husband, Phillip, along with a team of aircraft builders, determined to bring back the once-famous Silver Streak aircraft body trailers and began to reimagine the trailer with various designs. That’s when it caught the attention of Airstream, owned by Thor Industries.  Soon after, the Dillons received a cease-and-desist letter, which explained how Thor’s Airstream had a trade dress mark for the trailer’s design.

Ellie Dillon’s new conceptual design for Silver Streak.

The trade dress mark document approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states: “The mark consists of the combination of the color silver as applied to travel trailers and a configuration of the trailers comprising generally quarter-spherical leading roof lines and an overall curvilinear appearance.”

However, Ellie Dillon, a former professional athlete, remained undeterred. For years, the Dillons had restored vintage trailers by Silver Streak, Aero Flite, Airstream, and Vagabond Coach for resale, possibly starting a trailer museum, as well as traveling across the U.S. and Europe.

So, applying that know-how to upgrade Silver Streak into the 21st Century was a no-brainer for Ellie Dillon. The reimagined product line would come with upgrades and improvements, creating a trailer that could be shared over generations.

After receiving the letter from Thor Industries, she took the matter to the Florida Southern District Court. Lawyer in hand, a date has been set in federal court for August 2019.


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Magee Willis

Surely there is room for both! Silver Streak is not a new brand.

Johnny T

Can a Silver Streak 5th wheel be made that skirts the issue? I prefer pulling a 5th wheel anyway.

martlin c chambers

Thor has cheapened Airstream since they bought the company but did not decreased the price. I was shocked the last time I went through a new unit. This is not your father’s Airstream!

Thor is afraid that another company will build a trailer as good as the old Airstreams but costing much less than their version of the Airstream.

Thor is a preditory company and all of their lines should be avoided until the company starts giving people what their money pays for, a quality RV.

I won’t even look at any Thor RVs anymore. Quality is way down and service seems to be a thing of the past.


I’m surprised somebody doesn’t try and patent the “Fifth wheel” design.

Tommy Molnar

That’s akin to Harley Davidson trying to ‘patent’ the sound of their exhaust.

Steve flippo

Note to self…remember to not buy an airstream for my next camper.

This bogus airstream patent should be challenged in court. What dimwitted bureaucrat allowed a patent based on term “generally quarter spherical” ??!! You know what else is generally quarter spherical? A box if you just squash in the corners a bit.


Silver Streak should think Apple design rather than Airstream design…that would actually bring RV trailers farther along into the 21st Century.

Bill Bateman

Bashing Thor is probably cathartic for some, but there are many happy Thor manufactured RV owners out there too … probably more of them than the disgruntled. This does not excuse the poor quality control exercised by virtually ALL major manufacturers … just look at the list of recalls in the left sidebar of every RV Travel newsletter.
I do hope the Dillon family succeeds against Airstream in this case.


It’s amazing Thor will sue over a look alike trailer…when every other trailer they build looks like any other trailer on the market.


I not surprised at Thor for doing that. They do not want competion for the junk they make.