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An Endless Source of Friendships

This article is part four in a series about Wally Byam’s Creed. Wally Byam was a proud man. In Airstream, he went beyond just creating a product: he created a lifestyle, connecting people to a life of travel adventure and new friendships. He wrote down his Creed, which has been recorded and adopted by generation after generation of Airstreamers. The part of his Creed I’ll talk about today follows: To encourage clubs and rallies that provide an endless source of friendships, travel fun and personal expressions. First came the Airstream. Next, Wally Byam led his Caravans, far and wide. Then Airstream

Wally Retires

The first Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan was in 1959. In the late 1950’s, before embarking on the first of these incredible adventures, he made plans for retirement. He turned over the keys to the California factory to Art Costello, and Andy Charles was chosen to lead in Jackson Center. A separate sales division organized the Caravans and managed the Wally Byam Caravan Club. My mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, would continue the Caravans and assist the WBCCI. But until his retirement, scheduled to take place after he returned from Africa, he was still in control of the corporation.

How Pee Wee Became Pee Wee

I don’t remember the very first time I met Wally Byam. I was just a baby in diapers. Over the years, I visited Wally and his first wife, Marion, at a typical California bungalow on St. Andrews Place in Los Angeles. When Wally remarried, I spent the occasional weekend with him and Stella at their home on Roseview, which had a marvelous view of Los Angeles. Wally, in 1951, was planning and organizing a new project within and outside of Airstream Trailers, Inc. His first Caravan would soon travel from the Texas border to Managua, Nicaragua and back. It was

Wally’s Kindred Spirit

In 1953, Wally Byam shipped his Airstream to Europe. He made arrangements to have a Volkswagen van ready as his tow vehicle. First and foremost, he was there to attend the International Trailer Rally, an annual event that was to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The European trailers were cute and small, with practical floorplans. Wally wanted to review the trailers, looking for engineering applications, cabinet hardware, floorplans to improve the Airstream, and appealing décors. Wally also met with a number of European trailer manufacturers. He befriended many, finding kindred spirits among them. One acquaintance in particular became a lifelong

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