Airstream Forums

Airstream Forums (
-   Airstream History (
-   -   FOUND!! Wally Byam's '55 Cruiser - 1956 European Caravan trailer (

goransons 02-01-2017 12:52 AM

FOUND!! Wally Byam's '55 Cruiser - 1956 European Caravan trailer
4 Attachment(s)
Today Megan and I purchased a 1955 "Cruiser" off of the Portland Oregon Craigslist. I had been tipped off by a great friend (a different Wally, FLYRC on the forums) to an odd trailer on the page.

Being a 1955, why did it have 7 segments, why did it have the jalousie windows on both sides? I dismissed it (it was over priced) and it sat for several weeks.

Sunday night I ran across it again, and started noticing more things, an odd bumper, more pictures showing the H-20 lock, but noticing it had signs of a front kitchen, lots of airstream badges, just too many odd things to explain including the different water heater and front rock guard.

I shared photos Monday morning with Joe, the VAC historian, who confirmed the trailer as Wally Byam's. It took 18 hours but the trailer is home safe. It's going to be a HUGE restoration project, but the end goal is to get as close to original as possible while still being practical for our family to use (in other words it will have functioning appliances and modern wiring etc).

I've got several big projects, Airstream (including "Windy") and house, so it will be done gradually. It's already been suggested we start a go fund me sight to help restore it but we'll cross that bridge as we take in what we have. Here are just a few pictures, a few more to follow after some much needed rest. We're going to need to find quite a few things, the short wave antenna, jalousie hardware for one window, the original light fixtures, latches, drawer pulls, and I'm sure more as we dig in further. Our plan is to restore the outside to original conditions, even the bike rack.

Thanks to Joe for providing the historical pictures.

goransons 02-01-2017 12:55 AM

xrvr 02-01-2017 01:27 AM


Trnpk Crsr 02-01-2017 01:49 AM

Was the Caddy included in the deal?

Aerowood 02-01-2017 07:50 AM

You've got the disease bad, but I guess everybody needs a hobby. Great find.

RandyNH 02-01-2017 07:54 AM

That's awesome. Do you get to officially put the "1" back on it?

goransons 02-01-2017 08:16 AM

The Caddy, I WISH! Will I do some looking for it, certainly would love to find it!

Kip, guilty as charged, however some things are going to have to get sold to do this project. Not sure what yet, it may be our Streamline, could even be our SS clipper, not sure, but I know the bank account won't support this many trailers, nor will my parking area next to the garage.

Randy, We plan to put all the exterior writing back, including the names and caravan info, but will fly our own red numbers (8671) in the window that we were fortunate enough to get which originally belonged to Cecil and Mary Tolle who took our 63 Safari on the Around the World Caravan in 63-64.

I'll post more pictures this afternoon, but alas I have to go to work!

streaminwild 02-01-2017 08:23 AM

Nice save. It's hard to imagine how a trailer with accolades as this one, can be so neglected to the point of non recognition. Obviously the story about this trailer was lost long ago. Congratulations you have found Airstream's Holy Grail. The Craigslist ad, is still up. Restore this one to the finest detail.

goransons 02-01-2017 09:24 AM

That's the plan Streaminwild. Can anyone ID this water heater model? Never seen this type. The top reminds me of Bowen models but not sure. Hoping someone has a usable one somewhere.

goransons 02-01-2017 09:24 AM

streaminwild 02-01-2017 09:54 AM

You may want to get the owner history. Take lots of pictures and document everything. Your story on restoring this icon ''Saving Airstream's #1''... will make a great book. Of course pictures for the book has to be previewed on this forum;) You may not know it yet... but good karma is heading your way.:)

goransons 02-01-2017 11:28 AM

The club historian (Joe Peplinski) has info for the owner after Wally, and we have info back to 1977 in Oregon. Will be interesting to see if we can piece the rest in. Based on the butterflies and flower paint job I'm guessing it had some free spirited owners in the 60's. ;)

shadrick5 02-01-2017 11:34 AM


Janet H 02-01-2017 11:54 AM

Very cool! You'll need a bigger garage... ;)

ericpeltier 02-01-2017 12:02 PM

What! A! Find!

goransons 02-01-2017 12:11 PM

Janet I agree. I need a winning powerball ticket to buy the orchard across the street. Across town there is a big barn I can have if I could move it. Just a few hundred k short I think, probably 7 figures

Royce 02-01-2017 12:30 PM

Congratulations, and better you than me! It would be nice to have but I would much rather spend my time camping. :)

Driftin Di 02-01-2017 12:37 PM

That is very cool indeed. Please post pics and things you do as you do them!

kdickinson 02-01-2017 12:40 PM

There is a similar trailer with the decals or painting detailing locations visited that is suspended in the air at the RV Museum in Amarillo. Not sure the history but I bet they have it online - could somehow dovetail or relate to this one as another piece of the history puzzle

Melody Ranch 02-01-2017 12:44 PM

I wish you were closer
Congratulations!!! Now, dive into it. Wish you were closer because I have an entire, original interior and the new plywood walls for my Liner. I am sure most of it would be the same as your project...if your going original. I have my eye on you.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.