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Old 01-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #127
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George Washington slept here! How many times we have heard this cliche. This particular Bubble, is a Wally slept here. It had one use and one use only, his scouting of the 1956 European Caravan. This was in 1955.

If you wish, the only trailer that was ongoing for Wally was the gold trailer. He used it from the Spring of 1957, until the end of the African Caravan. Now that is truly an icon of value.

There have been many trailers that "Wally has slept in", but do they have the value that a Cadillac that Elvis drove? I don't know.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:32 AM   #128
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Perspective

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George Washington slept here! How many times we have heard this cliche. This particular Bubble, is a Wally slept here. It had one use and one use only, his scouting of the 1956 European Caravan. This was in 1955.

If you wish, the only trailer that was ongoing for Wally was the gold trailer. He used it from the Spring of 1957, until the end of the African Caravan. Now that is truly an icon of value.

There have been many trailers that "Wally has slept in", but do they have the value that a Cadillac that Elvis drove? I don't know.
There are several other icons. The 1948 Byam and Vanderbilt trailer used in Europe, and then on the 1st Caravan in 1951. The Commodore trailer used by Neil and Wally at the Democrat and Republican conventions in 1952, and the shipped to England for the Coromation of Queen Elizabeth.

Even though Wally didn't sleep in the "Atomic Bomb Test" Airstream, it is very historic.

So the emphasis on the Bubble, is fine, but it isn't at the top of the list of Wally's Airstreams.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:38 AM   #129
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PeeWee thanks for your Perspective.

I think the Gold Trailer should be moved inside of the main office at Jackson Center and protected from the elements. In all the pictures I have seen it is sitting outside, I have assumed maybe incorrectly that it is always exposed to the weather.

PeeWee who owns the Gold Trailer? Because it is sitting at Jackson Center I have assumed it is a Airstream Asset but I could be incorrect.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:54 AM   #130
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Stella's Gold Trailer

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PeeWee thanks for your Perspective.

I think the Gold Trailer should be moved inside of the main office at Jackson Center and protected from the elements. In all the pictures I have seen it is sitting outside, I have assumed maybe incorrectly that it is always exposed to the weather.

PeeWee who owns the Gold Trailer? Because it is sitting at Jackson Center I have assumed it is a Airstream Asset but I could be incorrect.
Jim,

Airstream built the trailer for Wally and Stel in 1957. It was based on a sketch Wally did on the European Caravan in 1956. The floor plan and trailer was done for Stel. Why the gold? I don't know. I believe the material came from Reynolds Aluminum.

When I left Airstream in 1969 Art Costello sold me the Gold Trailer. I kept in until 1977 and sold. I became office bound and could not use it or maintain it.

The person I sold it to changed it from its classic styling by adding strips, and other deco on the outside. Also the interior was torm apart.

Airstream purchased the trailer and is the current owner. They are restoring the Gold Airstream to its original character, the best they can.

If you go to the Sierra Neveda Unit's website, I have posted several interior shots of the GT, the way it used to look.

http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/memories/history/peewee/index.html

Pee Wee
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:08 AM   #131
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PeeWee, thanks.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:10 PM   #132
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In case this hasn't been noticed, and I only noticed this morning so I apologize if a new thread was started elsewhere...

This Bubble is on the auction block today! It's gone up quite a bit in it's suggested value since we last saw it.... between $75 an $95K! And has all kinds of wonderful new information attached to it that's available in the online description at Gooding Company :: Homepage (free registration required).

So sign up and take a look, and for future people looking back at the archives, I'll include a portion of a screenshot that I grabbed. I hope airhead2 - or whoever this eventually ended up belonging to between May 27th and today - has a successful transaction. It sure is a special and beautiful trailer, and certainly belongs in the hands of a loving owner. Best of luck!
I cannot see how this trailer can be worth anywhere near the projected price, but in any case I am disappointed. This trailer will now be treated as merely an investment. It will no longer be owned by an Airstream afficianado. This bodes ill for our hobby, because once the "investment" types start buying Airstreams for the investment value, the prices shoot up artificially. This will cause vintage Airstreams, and especially those with historic pasts, to soar out of the reach of the people that created the hobby and appreciate them the most. This is a sad day indeed. If the trailer reaches anywhere near the projected price, say good by to vintage Airstreaming as we know it. I've seen this exact phenomenon happen in other parts of the collector car hobby and it is never good. I hope for a "no sale".

And for those that might say price escalation has been going on for several years, the answer is yes, but at least it was mainly for the purpose of using the trailers, not stashing them away in a garage only waiting for the price to escalate enough to put them back on the market.

Feel free to disagree, but that's my opinion of what's going on here.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #133
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This will be my last comment on the topic, and it's a bit of context - and I understand that I can only get so much mileage by using someone's terrible decision to make someone else's decision look better.

A few years back there was a clown down in Florida who was finding old Airstreams from the 1940's onwards, Globe Trotters, Wee Winds and Bubbles, many in really decent shape. Because there are a lot fewer people capable of restoring an old trailer compared to the people who'd like half of a trailer to turn into a wet bar... this guy decided to chop them all up and sell the pieces on eBay. It reminded me of the fly-by-night people who sell splinters off 2x4's as a piece of Christ's cross... except these were the real deal - rare trailers that could've had an exceptional second act on the road.

I had an extremely strong opinion about that, and didn't hesitate to let him know. A clue: it didn't include anything with the line "your trailer, you can do what you wants with it." No, that was a situation where I needed to stand up to a vulture who saw our hobby - took advantage of their resurgence in pop culture prominence, and exploited it for his own shortsighted gain.

Whether airhead2's decision to auction Wally's Bubble will artificially inflate the market or not, I don't know. But I do know that right or wrong, it's not even on the same planet as willfully destroying something we love for a quick buck. The Bubble may end up hidden in some zillionaire's garage, or propped up in a museum, but I wonder if - thousands of dollars later - it'll ultimately be better off than it was - forgotten and decaying in some backyard. And much better than being turned into three wet bars by a jackass on eBay.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:08 AM   #134
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One gets a chance to own something built and owned by an American icon perhaps once in a lifetime. I don't feel good about selling my position prematurely (period).

I understand the concern about a hobby turning into a manipulated market, but I don't see any correlation with regard to the sale of the Byam Bubble. X251 is a one of a kind experimental build with an unparalleled history.

The famous trailers that PeeWee mentions are unobtainable. Also, Wally and Stella didn't just sleep in the Bubble. X251 was built to Wally's specifications to suit a unique purpose. Here is some background in Wally's own words:

"It was at Copenhagen, at the 1953 International Trailer Rally indeed, that I received my comeuppance. Anxious not to offend anyone with a crude display of American wealth and proficiency, we had decided to take a rather primitive little 16 foot Airstream Bubble. But when I saw the fancy European trailers there, I was the one who was embarrassed."

"Parked right alongside us was one of the smartest little French jobs you ever saw... an interior that looked like Madame Pompadour's boudoir. The German trailers were mechanically ingenious, full of folding and unfolding furnishings... the British trailer was... absolutely the last word in conservative taste..."

Instead of adding gadgets Wally decided to focus on efficiency (brilliant and bold). X251 was constructed to be as light weight as possible. A magnesium chassis, and I believe cork floors, were used. The goal being to amaze the Europeans by towing the Bubble behind a 1955 Volkswagen convertible with a whopping 35 h.p. Wally and Stella accomplished this goal in 1955 when they attended the International Trailer Rally in Saar Valley Germany with X251. Then they toured Europe in preparation for the famous European Caravan that occurred in 1956.

X251 is not only significant in design, and ownership by Wally, but it is a clear surviving example of how ingenious Wally was as a marketeer. Talk about being ahead of the times. He was truly amazing.

Currently there are no other Airstreams as historically significant as X251 discovered in private hands. Therefore, worrying about the sale price inflating the market is moot.

X251 is a great piece of Airstream history. Let's leave it at that, and support the new owner.
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Old 01-20-2009, 05:02 AM   #135
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Some people own trailers.

Some people love the trailers they own.

A guy like me would have loved that trailer.

No museum or collector would cherish it the same way.

It is now a financial asset. A trinket on a shelf.

Sure hope I am proved wrong.

Sure hope Wally's trailer finds the love it deserves.

I also hope the new owner seeks me out to restore it to her original condition.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #136
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I wish I had known Wally's Bubble was here in the valley at auction. I would have collected PeeWee and we would have gone to see it and take massive amounts of photos. I certainly hope it has found a new loving home that will care for her in the manner she so deserves. Wonder if its still here in town?

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Old 01-20-2009, 10:14 AM   #137
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Good Question..
You could call and ask..if this is local for you;

Let us know~
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:28 AM   #138
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Well, I just called and spoke with them. It is still here and I have tentative plans to go out tomorrow AM and take pictures if it is still there. It has been sold and I hope to find out more info tomorrow when I go out. I'll keep you all posted here on this thread.

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Old 01-20-2009, 10:49 AM   #139
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OK the cat is not quite out of the bag. HOW Much did it sell for at the auction???
75,000 in a down economy?????????? I guess I will have to eat my hat. There is a sucker born every moment in my opinion and to pay 75,000 ????????????
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:21 AM   #140
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You know, you all assume that it was purchased by some Asian investment banker looking for the next Shelby Cobra. What if, it was purchased by one of our own...or a kindred spirit that will appreciate it, maybe even use it. One such person, not a member of our forum to my knowledge, that loves Airstreams and has the deep pockets to make such a purchase is Matthew McConahey (SP?). He may have purchased it and have it in his personal "collection" to use as a weekend get away trailer. Jay Leno drives Dusenbergs valued at more than $1 million on a daily basis on the freeways of Los Angeles because he loves old cars. And trust me, he knows the providence of everyone of his vintage and near vintage automobiles. He even drives his steam driven cars on the roads of LA. Point is, this bubble may be seen at future WBCCI rallies or forum rallies, too. It doesn't have to be stored away to decay from dry rot just because it is unique and fetched a high price.

And give airhead2 a break. I'm sure it was a gut wrenching decision to sell the Bubble and I can bet you that everyone of us would have used a premiere auction house like Goodings to get every possible penny if we had to give up such a treasure rather than take our chances on e-bay that we might only get the going rate for an unrestored '50's Bambi. I do believe that there is a lot of "sour grapes" on this thread. We all would love to have owned this trailer, but for the very reason that we would love to own it, it is out of our reach and that frustrates us to know that there is someone out there that can afford it that might not appreciated it for the same reason we do...and then they might.
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