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Old 07-26-2017, 08:19 AM   #1
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WBCCI number 45?

I have a 76 Sovereign and the removed/ghost numbers are 45. I know that's not original to the unit, but maybe the previous owner had more than one? Any help on researching this would be great.
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:21 AM   #2
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:22 AM   #3
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Scotty033x View Post
I have a 76 Sovereign and the removed/ghost numbers are 45. I know that's not original to the unit, but maybe the previous owner had more than one? Any help on researching this would be great.
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The original owner almost definitely had more than one WBCCI number. I wasn't an Airstreamer in the 70s when that trailer was built, let alone a WBCCI member. But these days, all new members are issued 4- or 5-digit membership numbers. If they rise to the exalted ranks of WBCCI Region officers or higher, they are awarded a 3-digit number to reflect their new exalted status. The higher the officer, the lower the number. And I'm reasonably sure that even back in the 70s, the process was similar.

The main benefit to the lower numbers is that when they show up at a rally, the parking committee volunteers automatically know they park that person's trailer in the front yard close to everything rather than way down in the south pasture.

I didn't know about that when I first joined WBCCI, so when I attended my first Unit functions and introduced myself, I was confused when they told me I got a "good" number (1105). To me, a number is a number is a number, and none had more status than any other. And the peculiar thing is, no one explained to me WHY a low number was good, until I looked it up for myself in the club constitution and bylaws. But to my estimation, they were wrong, because "good" numbers only count if they're less than 4 digits; for 4- or 5-digit numbers like mine, a number is a number is still just a number.
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:08 AM   #5
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Airstream controls numbers 1-100 mostly for employees who may have a trailer, with a couple of exceptions. Wally was #1. Wally's cousin who ran the Airstream California facility for Wally and created WBCCI, Helen Schwamborn was #2 etc
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:13 AM   #6
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Airstream controls numbers 1-100 mostly for employees who may have a trailer, with a couple of exceptions. Wally was #1. Wally's cousin who ran the Airstream California facility for Wally and created WBCCI, Helen Schwamborn was #2 etc
So 45 may have been the original number after all. Thank you for the correction. Learn something new every day, though as my age increases, so does the chance I'll have to learn the same thing again after I forget!
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:42 AM   #7
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In the beginning of the club, members had two and three digit numbers. I saw a two digit number a few years ago for a trailer owned by the original member's family, I believe it was in the 60's. That member went on the one of the first Mexico caravan with Wally. Now Airstream corporate controls the two digit numbers.

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Airstream controls numbers 1-100 mostly for employees who may have a trailer, with a couple of exceptions. Wally was #1. Wally's cousin who ran the Airstream California facility for Wally and created WBCCI, Helen Schwamborn was #2 etc
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:29 AM   #8
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Very interesting info. This also has different colored awnings than I've seen anywhere. I'd really like to find out more history
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Old 07-26-2017, 01:37 PM   #9
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The book "America's World Traveler AIRSTREAM" has number 40 on back cover fly as well as a couple times in the book. Number 50, 60 and 85 are also shown in different pictures. The number scheme changed over time. It was my understanding that they were assigned for each of the early caravans, but soon folks wanted to keep their number so a permanent system was established.

The history docs at the factory were used for the book, so a bit of investigation with them before all the old timers are gone might be worth the effort. The WBCCI main office staff in Jackson Center might be of help too, if for no more than to send you back to the factory with a name or to the WBCCI historian.

Good luck with the investigation. Pat
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #10
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Old 07-26-2017, 08:04 PM   #11
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Here's a bit of information to enlighten or confuse matters.

My 1966 Directory lists #45 as belonging to a Mr. Chet Coffey of Concord California.
Mr. Coffey traveled on 4 Caravans, the last was Western Canada in 1956. The listing also indicates he was not a president, past or present, of the Club, Region or Unit.
With such a low number in the directory I would suspect that Mr. Coffey was one of the original members of the club.
Based on the number of years between caravans and the age of the trailer it would be reasonable to conclude the number may have been transferred at a later date. If you know how many owners the rig has had you may be able to narrow down the search.

That being said, the first ghost number on my Tradewind was applied in 1972 and was still plainly visible behind the second number. It may be that this was Mr. Coffey's last trailer and the number is original to the trailer.
Clear as mud? Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreams.

The thread, Reasearch by WBCCI Number, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ber-19191.html
has members with older Directories that may be able to help you narrow down your search.

Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:02 PM   #12
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Just saw this thread. Building off previous replies, here is the story on #45 on a 1976 Airstream.

#45 was assigned to Mr. Coffey thru 1970. It was then unassigned from 1971 thru 1974. Starting in about 1970, control of the WBCCI numbers 100 and below were specifically given to Airstream to control, although I do not believe they took any numbers away from current assignee's, they just controlled reassignment from that point forward. It is likely that Mr. Coffey just "aged out" after 1970.

In the 1975 Membership Directory, #45 was reassigned to Eugene L and Albertis Burns, c/o NATO, Sarasota, FL. The #45 Burns were last listed in the 2009 membership Directory, then in Mesa, AZ. The mystery here is that #45 was the Burns' third WBCCI number. They were assigned #14959 from 1967 thru 1970 and lived in St. Louis, MO from 1967 thru 1969, before the NATO, Sarasota address became active in 1970. From 1971 thru 1974, their WBCCI number was #148. Finally, from 1975 thru 2009 their number was #45.

The Burns' are credited with the following caravans:
65 - Eastern Mexico Fall 1969
66 - Western Canada Summer 1969
70 - Western Mexico Winter 1970
75 - Eastern Canada Summer 1970
78 - Yucatan Winter 1971

Thus all of their caravans occurred before they were assigned #45 and before they would have purchased a 1976 Airstream.

What we don't know if why they changed numbers twice. #148 was reserved for Airstream company usage from 1962 thru 1969. When it was released from that usage and control of the number below 100 was given to Airstream. #148 was unassigned in 1970 before being reassigned to the Burns' by the club in 1971. Seeing that #148 was unassigned in 1970, they may have simply have requested that number at the time, but very soon after, numbers in the 100 series were reserved for WBCCI Presidents and Vice Presidents.

Airstream assigned #45 to them in 1974, since the 1975 Membership Directory was issued at the beginning of the year. Why? We may never know. They never took any additional caravans, so it seems unlikely that the Burns' were company employees. The NATO address suggests he was active military or some other sort of government job.

We also do not know how long the Burns' may have owned the 1976 Sovereign. Maybe just a few years or maybe all the way to 2009. Maybe there are records with the trailer that can clear up that detail.

That's all I got.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:50 PM   #13
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Wow, thanks for the information. When I took possession it had Kansas plates. I had the previous owners title with their name, but turned it in to get my title. Wish I'd made a copy.
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Old 11-08-2017, 05:43 AM   #14
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