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Wally Byam’s White Airstream: Restoring a piece of RV history

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By Cheri Sicard

Almost any RV restoration project involves a significant amount of time, effort, and elbow grease. But when the RV you are restoring is of cultural and historical significance, it bumps things up another notch. Such is the case in the video below from the Airstream Heritage Center about the efforts taken to perfectly restore Wally Byam’s personal unique White Airstream.

This particular trailer accompanied Wally and Stella Byam on the 1956 Mexico and European caravans with the Wally Byam Caravaners Club.

The couple who owns the odd White Airstream trailer bought it off of Craigslist. Goes to show that you never know what you are going to find!

They were not sure what year it was and were having trouble identifying it. They consulted an Airstream historian who told them, “You HAVE to buy that trailer. That was Wally Byam’s trailer!”

And so they did, although it was a mess at the time.

Thankfully, the people who did find this diamond in the rough were Airstream fans who had already restored several vintage trailers. They understand and value the importance of this critical part of RV history.

They put a lot of man-hours, money, and love into restoring it to what it had been.

Because the trailer had been the Byams’ personal residence during those caravans, there were tons of historic photos to pull from when it came time to recreate its former glory.  They even furnished it the same as Wally and Stella Byam had.

The White Airstream was one of Airstream creator Wally Byam’s prototypes. Likewise, it contains a lot of features that are unique even from other Airstreams. Starting with the color. Byam’s idea was to be able to paint the trailers to match their tow vehicles. For some reason, the idea never caught on.

You can see the end results of this restoration in person at the Airstream Heritage Center Museum in Jackson Center, Ohio. At least its exterior and what you see from peaking in the door.

##RVDT1982

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Allyn Onderdonk
1 month ago

I have the largest size WB Holiday that they made. My dad told me they only made 13 and he always thought he had the last one still on the road. I may go to Ohio and see the museum.

Jim Schrankel
1 month ago

Thank you so much for your efforts to restore this classic piece of Airstream history! I’m sure Wally and Stella are smiling down on you!

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