'I got it in the days when movies moved slower,' says Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks of the Airstream caravan that served as a home-from-home while shooting some of his biggest hits of the past 30 years, including Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Sleepless in Seattle. But now Hanks is offering the polished aluminium 33-footer at a Bonhams classic car auction in Carmel, California, on August 13 - where it's tipped to realise up to $250,000.
'And you haven't lived well until you survive a movie-stopping thunderstorm in an Airstream while on location in Carolina.'
But if thoughts of 'trailer park trash' still spring to mind when you see 'U.S.A' and 'caravan' written in the same sentence, there's a good chance that you've meandered through life without hearing about the late Wally Byam, inventor of the Airstream and a man so very American that he was born on 'the fourth of July' (1890).
Byam developed a wanderlust as a result of riding with the mule trains that his dear ol' gran' pappy ran out of Baker City, Oregon, later lived in a shepherd's hut - one made for real shepherds, not for English second home owners with literary aspirations - and then plied the bitter waters of the Bering Sea as a hired hand on a tugboat shuttling between Astoria and Alaska.
Byam eventually settled down, married a woman called Marion James and founded a business publishing DIY magazines, one particular issue of which contained plans for 'how to build a travel trailer.'
In reality, they should have been called 'how NOT to build a travel trailer,' because the instructions proved to be all wrong and elicited a flood of complaints after furious readers found themselves knee-deep in pieces of odd-shaped plywood that refused to fit together.
Airstream proper was born when Byam opened a small factory in Culver City in 1931 - although it was to be another five years before the first aluminium-clad travel trailers hit the road. They were based on the earlier 'Road Chief' created by aircraft designer William Hawley Bowlus who worked on the Spirit of St Louis, in which pioneer aviator Charles Lindbergh made the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927.
Byam had been a Road Chief salesman, but when production stopped in 1936 he adapted the design to create the original, aluminium Airstream, the 'Clipper', which could sleep four, carried its own water supply and featured electric lights and an air conditioning system powered by dry ice.
The onset of war temporarily put the skids on Airstream's business and Byam was forced to shut the factory down. But experience in fabricating aluminium meant he and many of his staff quickly found work with California's Lockheed and Curtis Wright aircraft companies.
The brand was soon introduced to Europe when Byam and his tycoon friend, Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr, took an Airstream on a tour of the war-ravaged continent in order to make films for a series of lecture tours - creating what was dubbed 'the world's most travel(l)ed trailer' in the process.
Today, around 85 new Airstreams are built each week at the factory in Jackson Centre, Ohio and more than 200,000 are thought have been made since the firm was founded.
Little could they have guessed that a 13-year-old boy called Tom Hanks from Concord, California would also end-up sitting in an Airstream 25 years later - and that he, too, would be dressed as an astronaut.