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Old 10-10-2008, 12:05 PM   #29
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Legacy numbers & history

I think the idea of legacy numbers has some merit and is worth considering. Some of the issues as well as some some interesting ideas have been posted on this thread.

My brother and I have what I guess you might call, legacy numbers. We have our grandparents numbers 772. It was quite a process to get them. Letters had to be written by the President of the Unit we were members of. It required approval all the way up through the IBT. We even have our Grandparent's original metal numbers that were on the front and back of their Airstream.

The other issue that has come up in this thread is the general concept of collecting and preserving WBCCI history. We had an experience similar to Bevman in Boise in 1998. It seemed the only history the historian was interested in was her own and people she knew. I have long felt that WBCCI does not place enough significance in preserving and sharing it's history. It is out there and it is scattered all over the place. I have heard several tales of family members tossing Airstream and WBCCI memorabilia when someone dies. I know how much work it might be, but I'd love to see WBCCI become a repository for such materials. I'd love to see them set up a history room or better yet a vintage Airstream with a mobile display. Just think what they could add to their website. So much that could be done and done with volunteer help and minimal resources. Just dreaming I totally agree with Bevman that the history is one of the main reasons Airstream stands out as a brand.

It was in part this lack of apparent interest that got me started preserving my own WBCCI history. My Grandparents early slides and pictures were getting towards the end of their life span and I didn't want to loose them. My efforts eventually attracted the attention of Pee Wee and for the last few years he and I have been building a section dedicated to his family Airstream and WBCCI history. Streamer23 was also attracted to the site and his unique perspective on the history of WBCCI is included in another section. Over the years others have also contributed to this effort of preserving and sharing Airstream and WBCCI history. Joe has provided links to some of this material, Here is the link to the entire history section.

Airstream and WBCCI history

Getting back to the legacy issues, as Joe found out there are several lists of caravan participants both in my Grandparent's material and in Pee Wee's. Streamer23 is also a good resource for the history of numbers.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:18 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SierraBreeze View Post
It was in part this lack of apparent interest that got me started preserving my own WBCCI history. My Grandparents early slides and pictures were getting towards the end of their life span and I didn't want to loose them. My efforts eventually attracted the attention of Pee Wee and for the last few years he and I have been building a section dedicated to his family Airstream and WBCCI history. Streamer23 was also attracted to the site and his unique perspective on the history of WBCCI is included in another section. Over the years others have also contributed to this effort of preserving and sharing Airstream and WBCCI history. Joe has provided links to some of this material, Here is the link to the entire history section.

Airstream and WBCCI history
Thanks for putting up the webpage. I for one will spend some time looking at it. It makes me want to put up a site for my Ambassador. Can anyone advise me on the best way to do it?
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:37 PM   #31
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Key is... "the number stays as long as the owner pays" ...their annual membership fee that is.
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Not so.
How not so? The number stays with the owner as long as the membership is paid up... otherwise it goes back in the pool of unassigned numbers.

Playing devil's advocate, what if I have my grandparents numbers and you buy that happens to be the trailer they took to Mexico 50 years ago? Do I get to keep the numbers that I've paid for and have been in my family for 50 years or do you get to take them away from me because you now own the "legacy" trailer?

Or say my great grandparents where historic figures in the club and now I have restored a trailer and want to be assigned the "family numbers" which are currently available. At the same time you happen to have purchased one of the trailers that wore those numbers at one time and would like to get them. Who should they go to?

My rationale, as stated by me several times in this thread, is that the numbers go with the member and not the trailer. That is how it has always been. I think it would be a disservice to change that now .
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:44 PM   #32
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It makes me want to put up a site for my Ambassador. Can anyone advise me on the best way to do it?
That is a very personal choice. Depends on your interests, abilities, resources, preferences, etc etc. I'd suggest looking at as many other peoples sites as possible, get some ideas, and then just go for it. You can always modify along the way. You might get some more ideas from the show_n_tell section and the restoration sections on our website.

Sierra Nevada Airstreams

One thing, it is probably best to start simple and build from there. Sometimes starting with big fancy stuff might look real nice but might just bog you down and get you frustrated.
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:58 PM   #33
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Who is the person that has a record of WBCCI numbers on this forum. I can see the outlines of the old numbers on my trailer (13988) and am curious if these numbers are in the records and if who had the numbers.
Hi Cameron,

I checked out #13988 and will PM you the details of my findings.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:48 PM   #34
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My rationale, as stated by me several times in this thread, is that the numbers go with the member and not the trailer. That is how it has always been. I think it would be a disservice to change that now .
Agree totally.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:47 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by byamcaravanner View Post
How not so? The number stays with the owner as long as the membership is paid up... otherwise it goes back in the pool of unassigned numbers.

Playing devil's advocate, what if I have my grandparents numbers and you buy that happens to be the trailer they took to Mexico 50 years ago? Do I get to keep the numbers that I've paid for and have been in my family for 50 years or do you get to take them away from me because you now own the "legacy" trailer?

Or say my great grandparents where historic figures in the club and now I have restored a trailer and want to be assigned the "family numbers" which are currently available. At the same time you happen to have purchased one of the trailers that wore those numbers at one time and would like to get them. Who should they go to?

My rationale, as stated by me several times in this thread, is that the numbers go with the member and not the trailer. That is how it has always been. I think it would be a disservice to change that now .
What I meant by "not so" above is quite limited. Just that the old numbers for my trailer are available and are available to me (or anyone else) by just requesting them or in my case paying the extra $50 for a second membership. I choose not to do so for the reasons I stated above, plus the purely mercenary reason it will be years before I get this coach on the road so $50 x years = x$ before I could benefit from this commitment.

The only way I can answer your other questions, you devil you, is by passing the buck. I think they would be addressed by the club if they choose to open this particular can of worms. Speaking only for myself I would not lose any sleep if another member felt strongly they have the more legitimate claim. I try to follow 2 rules which I borrowed from somone else: #1 don't sweat the little things #2 there are no big things. Admitedly, sometimes I need to be reminded.
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:51 AM   #36
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Numbers 2 comes after 1

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The participant lists for both the 1959-60 Cape Town to Cairo and 1963-64 Around the World Caravan's exist. In fact, I have been casually trying to put together a list of which trailers (years, lengths, models, etc.) were on each caravan (it's a short list of confirmed trailers so far), because I have seen more than one claim that an old Airstream was on one of those caravan's that was baseless. When member numbers and names and old caravan photo's were checked, there was no correlation to the claim. If you look to any other old Caravan's (like for example, the 1956 European Caravan), the available documentation will be even less, so authentification would be even harder. I suspect that with effort, Participant Lists could be found in old WBCCI archives, but it might be up to the claimant to provide photo evidence to back up the claim that the trailer itself was on the Caravan.

So, I would agree that it takes much more than just having an old number on a trailer to "prove" it's legacy. For example, an Airforums member has a trailer with old numbers on it that match a trailer that was on the 1957 Mexican Caravan, but the problem is the trailer is a 1959 Airstream, so clerely it was bought after the members with that number returned from the Mexican Caravan.

But that said, I do like the idea of reserving original numbers for those trailers that were on some of the famous old Caravan's, and that were owned by Wally Byam himself and possibly other famous club members. I know that recently Wally's 1955 Bubble (supposedly used on a Eurpoean Caravan, but which based upon photo and other evidence beyond a reasonable doubt belonged to him) came up for sale and I think was bought by an AirForums member. I would say that trailer should be eligable, except that they would never allow anyone else to be assigned Wally's WBCCI number of 1. Similarly, I have seen here or somewhere else that at least one of Helen Byam Schwamborn's original trailers has turned up, but again, I doubt you'd get her number 2 assigned to anyone else. Of course in both cases you might get permision to display the number 1 or 2 on the trailer (maybe with a reomovable plaque or other display that shows your true WBCCI membership number).

One other complication is that the numbers 1 thru 99 (or is it 100?) are controlled and assigned as they see fit by Airstream Corp. A few of the participants from each of the Cape Town and Around the World Caravans had numbers below 100.
Numbers, numbers, numbers, my oh my, numbers!

My number is two, it is a family number, my Mother was Helen Byam Schwamborn. It will retire when I travel over the last hill. This is how it should be.

I owned Wally's African gold trailer for seven years. I did not change the trailer. I didn't do a bastardization that happens to so many of the classic Airstreams. The person I sold it two really did a number on the trailer. Since Airstream purchased the trailer and brought it back to the plant, they have tried to restore its original state. I have sent them the pictures I have of the interior to assist them in their restoration. It truly was a one of a kind. I don't think we will ever know exactly how many number one trailers Wally actually had.

I left the trailer exactly the way it was in Africa. That meant that I didn't remove the number one. I received a nice letter from WBCCI Headquarters, Art Costello and words of wisdom from my Mother...remove the number one that was Wally's number, it is retired and it will never appear again on a trailer purchased that Wally owned. That makes sense. They told me to put a number two on it. I never got around to doing this.

The number, the number, new owner, new number.

There has to be some type of control. It has been an ongoing mathematical oddity. I have a letter to my Mother asking for a number under some strange situation, that had no merit at all.

For many of the early years there were sometimes two and three Airstream owners that had the same number. That was a consideration for their traveling on a Caravan prior to the establishment of the WBCCI. As members died the numbering system fell back into place.

In the days of old we were all newbies, and our Airstreams were only one facet of the experience. We coveted our trailers, club memberships, the Caravans we were on, definitely our Blue Berets, and most of all personal contact with Wally Byam and Helen Byam Schwamborn. Let's not forget our contacts with Stel Byam, Art Costello and Andy Charles. These were the cherished things.

If you want to find the roster for Africa it is posted on the Sierra Neveda Units website. I will be sending SNU a pdf on the Around-the-World Caravan.

Numbers, numbers, numbers!

Pee Wee
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:51 PM   #37
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Around the World Roster Posted Here

You will find the Around-the-World Carvan roster at this site.

Recollections from Pee Wee
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:06 PM   #38
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What would be the best way to research whether your number has historical significance? Is there a sight to go to for other caravans?
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Old 10-11-2008, 05:20 PM   #39
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What would be the best way to research whether your number has historical significance? Is there a sight to go to for other caravans?
Not really. PeeWee probably has the largest collection of information about these caravans. Much of it can be found at the Sierra Nevada Unit's web site. Fred is the VAC Historian and he has a lot of information as well.

You have to remember that having the numbers does not mean the trailer went on that caravan. It means that the owners went on that trip, maybe in that trailer or maybe in a different trailer. In the case of Lumatic trailer, the numbers did match a trailer from the Around the World Caravan. It was the picture of the trailer sitting in Moscow that proved that it was in fact his trailer on that trip.

You could always post your numbers here and see what happens...
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