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The Bowlus and the Clipper

I am always amazed when I go through old files and uncover wonderful treasures that take me back to an earlier time, or provoke thoughts of how far Airstream has come since its early days. This time, it’s a photograph taken in 1984 of a very iconic trailer: a 1936 Airstream Clipper. A note attached to the photograph says it’s the prototype for Wally Byam’s Airstream Clipper models. There are many experts who can – and will – qualify this photograph. Over time, I’ve learned about the Bowlus, a predecessor of the Airstream trailer, as well as certain Airstream configurations.

Toughness, Leadership, and Trust

Last week, Dale wrote about Art Costello, former President of Airstream, Inc. He discussed the way Art’s leadership continued to move the company forward after the passing of Airstream founder Wally Byam. This week, read about the trust Costello instilled in others. Wally Byam had many talents. As a leader, he was thoughtful and caring, a master at understanding the strengths and weaknesses of his employees. When Wally returned from the African Caravan in 1959, he planned to go into retirement. The seas were calling, and he wanted to spend time on the water, sailing under open skies. So he


Who was Art Costello?

Some individuals are so much larger than life they cast a shadow over others. Wally Byam was one of these people. But having known Art and his family, I have no doubt about his strength as a leader and the important void he filled after Wally’s death in 1962. Without his knowledge, and without the lessons he learned as Wally’s protégé, Airstream’s survival is doubtful. The two met at a time when Wally was general manager for travel trailer manufacturer Curtis Wright. They weren’t hiring, but Wally met with Art anyway. Suddenly they were interrupted – a worker needed a


Into the Forest

We enjoy dreams, sometimes in our sub-conscious and sometimes in reality. Wally Byam, Airstream’s founder and creator for the Airstream Wally Byam Caravan, took 41 Airstream owners, 104 people, and three auxiliary vehicles to Africa. They traveled from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt. How do you staff an African Caravan? Wally Byam was the Caravan’s leader. He had to make several significant choices. From the Airstream factory in Santa Fe Springs, California, he chose Arthur Ruiz to be the group’s mechanic. Through longtime media friends, Pete Turner was selected as the official photographer. Pete would go on to

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