July 31, 2014

Wally Byam and The Caravanner

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During his Stanford University days, Wally Byam worked on the Stanford Daily newspaper as the advertising manager. He continued with advertising with the Los Angeles Times and Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr.’s “penny” newspapers. Before Airstream, he went into the publishing business.

In 1954 Wally Byam launched the Airstream newspaper, The Caravanner.

He knew the power of the printed word – and having access to a subscribers list. Wally wanted to discuss Airstream and the Caravan life that began in 1951.

The mailing list included Airstream owners, Caravanners, prospective customers, and stacks for dealer showrooms. At one time, there were 500,000 names on the mailing list.

In 1955, the Wally Byam Caravan Club was formed by Airstream owners. The Caravanner included rally schedules and stories from club members.

On July 20, 1959 Neil Armstrong became the first “earthling” to walk on the moon. The American public became space junkies and followed NASA’s space adventures.

Early on, Airstream became a contemporary icon, appearing with JFK, Nixon and NASA.

In 1969, The Caravanner had back-to-back issues covering Airstream’s participation in the space program.

Also in 1969, Airstream Caravans took 700 owners to Canada split between the east and west. This was an amazing summer feat by Airstream in their “silver invasion” of Canada.

Time goes by, but Airstream’s iconic trailer continues on today. Movie stars own Airstreams. Museums include them as American design masterpieces. Airstreams are TV and movie stars seen frequently on small and large screens.

There is a camaraderie that brings Airstream owners together for weekends, group travel, and vacations. Whether you get together with other owners, or get away on your own you will find that an Airstream will provide you with lifelong memories.

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