Usually for something or someone to earn a spot in a Hall of Fame, it has to have a long and significant history of accomplishments.
(Photo courtesy Mick Ferkey.)
But the 2015 Shasta Airflyte, a reissue of the 1961 original, will take a spot in the RV/MH Hall of Fame this month thanks to a donation from Mick Ferkey, owner/president of Greenway RV in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Ferkey, a board member for the Hall, bought the trailer and has offered it to the Hall on a yearly basis to be put on display.
“We’re going to take our 1954 unit that we have now and move it into the Go RVing section and then we’re going to display this one right next to it,” said Jeff White, vice president/director of operations for the Hall. “That way they can see the past. Obviously, with this new one, it has the same shape and style. It’s just been retrofitted with new plumbing and everything else. It has all the classic features it used to have but with today’s technology.”
Ferkey said that after talking with Mark Lucas, president and GM of the Forest River Shasta line, he realized how much excitement was circulating around the Airflyte and how proud the Shasta workers were of their product.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to bring more people into the Hall of Fame,” he said. “You’re going to get a lot of these employees that work for Shasta that want to bring their family in to show them what they did. They’re proud of their work. I want the public to see what the RV industry can really do when they put their minds to it.”
White said that the retro nature of the new trailer should appeal to the core audience of the Hall as well.
“A lot of the reason people come through here is because they remember being in their dad’s 1968 whatever and they want to remember that and walk through it again because maybe dad sold it in the late ’70s when the kids went off to college,” he said. “Now they can come back and show their kids how they traveled back in the day.”
The reissue of the Airflyte took shape ahead of Open House Week 2014.
Lucas said the company was looking for a way to honor its 75th anniversary and decided on the project of building 1,941 units of the Airflyte to honor the year the company was founded. The reissue isn’t a retrofit. It is an actual rebuild of the 1961 model with the addition of modern amenities such as LED lights and modern plumbing and electronics.
The complete run of 1,941 Airflytes sold out the first day of Open House.
“The entire Shasta team is proud and honored to be represented at the RV/MH Hall of Fame,” Lucas said. “The response to the reissue has been almost overwhelming. At every retail show, and as enthusiasts stop along the road by the factory, we are always entertained to witness people recalling, and even reliving, the fondest memories of quality time with their families.
“Personally, I am honored to have been entrusted with an iconic brand which has influenced the lives of so many families,” he added. “The entire Shasta team shares this sense of stewardship, and is doing everything possible to keep the tradition alive.”
Ferkey says his plan is to loan the new Shasta to the Hall for one year, but his hope is that there is so much interest in the unit that the Hall would like to keep it longer.
“I really want to go year by year with it,” he said. “I told (RV/MH Hall of Fame Foundation President) Darryl (Searer) I want to loan it to him for a year and if he’s still getting a lot of traffic then we can extend it for another year and then another year. We don’t want to just take it out from under them. We want them to keep it as long as it’s going to do everybody good. I want to do it for good for everybody.”
White said he believes there will be a lot of interest from the public in seeing the new Shasta alongside the classic model and that the interest will result in increased traffic for the Hall in the coming months.
“Mick Ferkey’s been the main player in making sure this happens,” he said. “He’s been a friend of the Hall. We really appreciate his efforts to market the Shasta that we have as well as the new one.”
The old, left, and new Shastas will be displayed together at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. (Photos courtesy RV/MH Hall, left, and Mick Ferkey, right. Click to enlarge.)