History

Airstream, the Vanderbilt Family, and Politics

In the early 1920’s, Wally Byam met Cornelius "Neil" Vanderbilt, Jr. for the first time. Their friendship would last for the rest of their lives.

In 1948 the two men toured a Europe still recovering from World War II with an Airstream. Vanderbilt, as a writer and ‘filmographer,’ recorded the aftermath of the war through journalistic eyes.

Wally and Neil designed the Commodore together. This state-of-the-art Airstream would then appear in Chicago during the Democratic and Republican Conventions of 1952.

It was party time, and it not for political parties - it was a time of entertainment and socializing with the elite. The bluebloods that only a Vanderbilt could invite. Wally must have been thrilled meeting the members of Neil’s social circle.

We all benefit from experience, and surely Wally got plenty of it in Chicago that year. There is no doubt that Wally acquired new skills in dealing with an elite segment in American society which would help him later.

Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn has silver in his blood. Each week, Pee Wee shares one of his many stories, including his experiences on the iconic Airstream Caravans, his time spent working in the Airstream factory, and the many Airstreamers he’s befriended, far and wide.