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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Aug 8: Wally & the Airstream

 Way back in my youth (oh no, another "those were the days" story?), when I lived in the lunch bucket town of Saint John, New Brunswick, an occasional event was the visit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club. The what? Let me step back a bit and explain. Being an industrial city, there were very few fancy cars, even the local multimillionaire drove a rather plain, dark blue Mercury sedan. I think that the Cadillac dealer sold maybe two cars a year in a busy year, but thankfully for him, Pontiacs and Buicks also shared his showroom floor. So back to Wally Byam.

In 1936 Wally founded the Airstream Trailer company and started to build those iconic and very recognizable, rounded and expensive, aluminum trailers. Everyone knew an Airstream when they saw it. Top quality, but lighter for "relatively" easy hauling. You saw an Airstream and you usually saw rolling wealth.......

What better way to see the USA and later, the world, than in your very own Airstream. These trailers were and are extremely popular, so a club was started, where the members could travel together in huge convoys. When they visited a community they were welcomed with open arms and cash registers, since they brought money. Unusual that the actual Wally Byam Caravan Club was started in Canada in 1955 in Kentville, Nova Scotia (go figure).

 These clubs went everywhere, but please don't ask me how they ended up in Egypt (that is what the internet is for). You can see from these pics, that hosting one of these visiting caravans was no small task. Just pray that on the highway, you were not the first car behind these trailers and that your hotel reservation was going to run out in an hour.

 Different from these days of the big suvs and fancy pick-up trucks, back in the day, even though the Airstream was relatively light, the only thing that would work effortlessly, was a big V8 American car. Since these Airstream owners had money, their tow vehicles were more often than not luxury cars..........

Note that in both of these pics, Cadillac was the tow vehicle of choice. So that when the Wally Byam Caravan visited fancy car deprived Saint John, this was a real event for a car focused little guy. Row upon row of all sorts of the luxury cars, that we seldom got to see, unless they were tourists passing thru (like the caravaners).

Great family events, even if your family was the size of a small town (note another Caddy in the row behind). Obviously the Newcombs enjoyed each others company. And here is another pic showing the type of car that pulled those Airstreams, back in the days before the luxury trucks took over........

So much has changed over the years, but the Wally Byam Caravan Club still rides the highways and bi-ways of the world, looking for new sights and experiences. But what hasn't changed much at all? You guessed, it the classic Airstream.........

One doesn't change perfection. What would Wally say if he were alive today? Probably, "Hook her up and let's hit the road!".

Until next time......

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